D150 Hosts All-Staff Assembly

"Every one of you are teachers."

That's the main message presented by District 150 Superintendent Grenita Lathan to her 2,500 employees during the district's all-staff assembly at Renaissance Coliseum.

The annual event take place just before the start of each school year which, in District 150's case, is Monday, August 18.

Lathan also presented a "Thought of the Year."

"Schools should be a place where children are nurtured into their greatness," says Lathan. Lathan told the employees they will be reminded of that during the course of the school year.

The assembly is also the stage to present staff and community awards. Among them is the Don Phares Outstanding Educator Award. This year's recipient is Von Stueben Middle School Science and Language Arts teacher Becky Donahue.

The assembly's main speaker was Wil Haygood, the Washington Post writer whose article introduced America to Eugene Allen, the White House butler who served eight Presidents. Haygood's story of Allen was the inspiration for the movie "The Butler."

Haygood led the audience through an emotional accounting is his search for Allen and his first meeting with the former White House butler which lasted for hours at Allen's home.

Haygood said following his interview, Allen's wife said, 'You can show him now.' Haygood said Allen led him to his basement where there were photographs of Allen with the Presidents he served. There are also photographs of Allen and his wife with various celebrities they were able to meet in the White House including Sammy Davis Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald.

Allen's wife died two days after their interview and Haygood questioned himself whether he should still tell "The Butler's" tale. Haygood said he was urged to do so by Allen's son, who said his mother was the one awaiting Haygood's knock because she had been trying to get various magazines and newspapers to tell her husband's story.

Haygood said Allen had a collection of tie tacks given to him by the Presidents he worked for. Haygood said Allen gave him a gold-plated tie tack by President John F. Kennedy to show his appreciation for writing the article about him. Haygood said he was wearing that tie tack during his appearance at District 150's all-staff assembly.


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