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Look at Emerson High for vocational expertise

Many years ago, I taught at Emerson Vocational High School. The kids were motivated, the teachers even more so. It was great. Everyone worked hard. Expectations were high. The students had job offers before graduation. Most of them graduated – on time, too.

There were challenges, of course. The school was not located in the trendy Chippewa area. We were in the middle of what was then called “The Murder Triangle,” the neighborhood with the highest number of murders per capita. Some students had children of their own, some were homeless every now and then, all had obstacles to learning in one form or another. It didn’t matter. We kept our heads down and focused on their future.

The recent statistics of the Buffalo Public Schools vocational high school’s graduation rate would indicate that it’s pretty much the same at Emerson now. Much has changed in our city over the decades, but it would seem that Emerson is still doing something right.

If I were in charge, one of the first things I’d do when looking for a template to career and vocational education excellence for city kids would be to look to Emerson. It wouldn’t cost much, wouldn’t need any outside intervention and my guess is that the teachers and students would be happy to share their formula for success. And I’ll bet they’d make you the best lemon bars you’ve ever tasted!

Ann K. Lupo

Buffalo