During the past nine years my daughter has been a student at John F. Kennedy School in North Bergen. On Friday, June 22, she was part of the class of 2001. I am the proud father of the class Valedictorian and recipient of the President's Education Award.
As a parent and educator I closely observed the work of teachers and administrators in the school. I felt their effort and commitment through the years. I often saw elected officials and board members present on parent's night. From a parental interest, I followed Nicholas Sacco's performance on his responsibilities as mayor in relation to the educational system.
The man is doing his job and more.
That's why I was deeply disturbed and worried when, like most North Bergen residents, months ago I received a derisive and badly written piece of paper attacking Mayor Sacco for an isolated and unclear incident, in which Sacco had absolutely no responsibility, distastefully linking it to the most vicious and unfair political garbage. Like many of my neighbors, I was disturbed by the personal nature of the aggression. Worried mainly because the people who were running for the leadership of our educational system couldn't even spell correctly.
Kennedy School is an example of academic excellence. Just ask us parents. Mr. Robert Dandorph, the school principal, has earned the respect of this community, but most important, his students love him. They recognized that Dandorph cares about them, striving day to day for their success and rejoicing in it. His leadership is reflected on test scores, on the excellent work of his teachers, yet when you observe the affection manifested by the students toward him, you realize that he has mastered the core of his profession; to teach children with love, to earn their respect and their trust.
Like any parent I came back with that proud feeling that only parents experience when they see their children succeed. I also saw it fit to speak my mind about the North Bergen educational system. I advise Sacco's political foes to correct their grammar and try to find real issues in the political arena to direct their diatribes. When it comes to education they are wasting their bullets on a wall.
I've never been part of any of Nicholas Sacco's campaigns, but in the issue of education he has my full support. Others may disagree with him in other issues, but no one can fairly cast a shadow on his outstanding public school record. Like the ancient Spanish saying goes: "You cannot cover the sun with a finger." That's a fact, just look at our children.
Congratulations to the class of 2001 and to all teachers, administrators and elected officials who should be proud of a job well done!
Rafael R. Martel