There are role models in our community if we just take
the time to look. There are positive men doing their jobs,
taking care of their families, and working quietly to make
a difference in Jacksonville, Florida.
As a teacher sometimes I have to reach out into my
community to ask for help when I feel that I cannot reach
some of my students. Sometimes even my
words of wisdom, knowledge, experience and
caring do not penetrate the senses
of my students so having access to men who do
care and are working to provide positive morals
and ethics to young people are available.
Role models come in many forms that can positively
influence children of in schools across our country. In the
example of Andrew Robinson Elementary School of Duval
County Public Schools; A Magnet School, Title One
and Neighborhood School all three wrapped up into
one diverse learning community.
The misconception by the public sometimes is that learning
is too much of a challenge for many students, but ARE
consistently shows that there can and continue to be
academic successes. The unique aspect of the visits by
these role models, Dr. Johnny Gaffney (City Council),
Kevin Cobbin (Attorney), and Officer Cummings (JSO)
are their commitment to the community, especially
the youth. All three donated their time to visit
Andrew Robinson Elementary sharing wisdom, knowledge
and personal experiences about their youth
growing up in Jacksonville, their participation in athletics,
effects of peer pressure, the dangers of drugs and alcohol,
the value of respect, and why education is valuable.
Spending valuable time with these young men who will
soon be transitioning to Middle School is important to
providing a foundation for success academically
and in the community. When others lay verbal claim to
trying to make a difference these men, role models and
true public servants work diligently to make positive
changes. All three men were born and raised in
Jacksonville, Florida so have a vested interest in
“giving back” to the community they live in, have
attended school in the DCPS system and are raising
their families here.
The discussions continued to focus on the student’s
accountability and responsibility in obtaining a quality
education, showing respect to the teachers and administrators
of the school and to each other. Establishing a foundation of
making positive choices in the community, in school,
and the repercussions of involvement in potential
criminal behaviors. Many times our school aged
young men receive incorrect information from their
peers and because of misinformation make bad choices.
The visits by Dr. Gaffney, Mr. Cobbin, and Officer
Cummings set things “straight” with the students.
Their encouraging words, personal involvement, and
openness has a far reaching affect of encouraging smart
choices and positive behaviors from the students.
Andrew Robinson Elementary P.E. Teacher William
Jackson encourages students to value and participate
in volunteering in the community. Explore where
education can take you by researching new careers
in technology and science.
Advising parents to take advantage of the many
programs at the public libraries.
As a Board Member of JCCI Forward, Vice President
of E3 Business Group, member of National Association
of Black Journalists, Jacksonville Alliance of Black School
Educators (JABSE) and other community organizations
that promote youth, education and community service.
I encourage not just African American men to get
more involved in the Jacksonville community, but
men of all nationalities, cultural backgrounds, educational
levels, and employment skills. More men and women
are encouraged to provide wisdom, knowledge,
and working experiences to the students of local
Your knowledge, skills, experiences and dedication
are needed now more than ever before. The payoff
is immeasurable in positively influencing a young
person who may not have a role model.
William Jackson, M.Ed.
Teacher – DCPS & Member of E3 Business Group, Inc.