Medina CSD Invites Public To Celebrate Black History Month
Photo Caption: Julie Webber (Medina Central School District Director of Curriculum and Instruction) and Daniel Doctor (Medina Central School District Director of Community Partnerships).
Medina Central School District is inviting the public to celebrate Black History month with them during the month of February. Events will be held in the Clifford Wise Intermediate School’s auditorium and are free of charge.
Tonight, February 9th at 6:30 pm, a talk show style event hosted by Medina’s own Daniel Doctor (Director of Community Partnerships). It will have an Arts and Culture theme featuring Shannon Carter, assistant pastor, published author, songwriter and recording artist. Joining her on the stage will be World Tap Champion Christian JaVaughn who will be performing a fusion of British and West African step dancing and talking about his career. There will also be representatives from the African American Cultural Center – African Dance and Drum who will discuss the influence of African American pioneers in dance and music.
On February 23rd at 6:30pm the film Hidden Figures will be shown. Hidden Figures tells the story about an amazing team of African American women mathematicians who played an important role in the U.S. space race at NASA.
February 29th at 6:30pm will feature a keynote speaker who has 15 years’ experience working as an educator and administrator in Texas. Patrick is passionate about ensuring that all students achieve high levels of academic success, thereby enabling them to be prepared for college and career opportunities after completing high school. This is a topic very near and dear to Mr. Doctor’s heart. “I am such a firm believer in pushing past the obstacles in your life and becoming the best person you can be. As educators and community members, we need to lead by example.
Mr. Doctor points to his own life as an inspiration to many of the young men and women he mentors in the community. “I was the eighth child of nine growing up in Lockport. We were poor, but my mother made sure we didn’t realize that by providing us with clean clothes, food and a roof over our heads. She instilled in us to get an education and shared her stories of hardship of working in the fields and taking care of her children and other people’s children. She sheltered and protected us and made sure to push us to be whatever it was we dreamed of being.”
Mr. Doctor says he was blessed to have teachers who fostered his talents and his aspirations. “I had several great Art teachers who pushed me and because of them I ended up being accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I also auditioned for Broadway shows and made several callbacks to be in The Lion King. Unfortunately, the director felt I did not have the gravelly voice needed for the role and cut me before the show hit the stage. But I was so proud of myself that I made it that far. It told me I had the talent to pursue a stage career if I wanted.”
Unfortunately, a health crisis forced him to return home, where he decided to attend Buffalo State College to pursue a career in education. “I will never forget sitting in one of my classes, which I was failing, and the instructor putting a statistic on the board that a high percentage of children of color in a single parent household would not be successful. That pushed me to succeed and I did. After graduating, I got a job at LaSalle Catholic School making $14,000. I loved every moment of teaching, but I could not afford many things on that salary and took a job in Rochester.”
It was during those long drives from Lockport to Rochester he would pass through Medina. “I would always think this is where I want to be,” he says. When he heard of a job opening, he applied and was asked to come into the office of Assistant Superintendent Mr. Maiorana to be interviewed immediately. Based on his resume and the fact that his fourth-grade teacher, Mr. Maiorana’s sister, sang his praises and he was offered the job on the spot. “Being at Medina Central School District has been amazing. I am so lucky to have such a support network here, like my Superintendent Dr. Mark Kruzynski, Assistant Superintendent Marc Graff and our Director of Curriculum and Instruction Julie Webber. I have been a teacher, an assistant principal, a principal and now the Director of Community Partnerships. I also have three businesses: West Side Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, Daniel’s Men’s Apparel and my antique store, Just What the Doctor Ordered. It has not been an easy road to get where I am and there have been challenges, but like I tell the children in this community, keep your head up and your eyes on the prize. Tomorrow is another day, and you can always shake the dust off and move forward no matter what.”
He continues, “It is so important to instill in our youth that they are someone, and they can achieve what they want and how important it is to focus on academics and a career. I am proud and happy to help mentor these children, no matter what color they are. I was fortunate enough to have great adults in my life that pushed me towards education and my goals. I am looking towards our community, and I am sending out a request to be a mentor, be a leader that our children need. They need that message ‘if you believe it, you can achieve it’. This is the first time we have had a Black History celebration in our district, and I am so excited to show everyone the talent and knowledge we have right here in our backyard. I am hoping they inspire everyone the way they have inspired me and others.”