“We’re preparing kids for more than graduation. We’re preparing them for their lives,” he said. “We thank you (NPSF donors) for that opportunity to commit to all of our students.”
Next, Young spoke to luncheon attendees. Young said she had received more than $5,000 in eight grants that provided rocket kits, nonfiction writing materials, forensic science kits and 700 novels for her students.
Young said when students get to the end of a novel, she stops them from finishing so her whole class can read the ending together.
“The days we finish a novel are the best days of the year. That’s magic. This shared experience brings kids together and creates relationships. … I have my grant certificates hanging in my classroom so students know where the books come from,” she said. “Those magic moments and books are because of all of you (NPSF). Every single donor and community partnership is important.”
Teachers should not have to fundraise, Prater said with conviction as he spoke to luncheon attendees in his keynote address. Prater described his experience with crime and how he believes education touches everything.
“People come to me and say, ‘What do we do about the high crime rate in our state?’ or ‘What do we do about the high women incarceration rate?’, and I tell them it’s easy. Move all the money we spend on the back end of people’s lives to the front end of their lives. Put it into education and mental health and substance abuse programs for children.”
Prater said in the state, $7,500 is spent per student, while $18,000 is spent per inmate on incarceration, and something is wrong with that delineation of resources.
“Keeping kids in school and teaching them to read improves lifestyles and the community and literally saves lives,” Prater said after describing his experience with gang members who told him they turned to violence because it was how they were raised.