Joyce Stowe: 2009 Dr. Carter G. Woodson Award Honoree
For the past 15 years, Joyce Stowe has been volunteering in the Elmont community, serving for many years as president of the Tudor Manor Civic Association and advocating for everything from paving neighborhood streets to the revitalization of Elmont Road Park. She has been an active participant in many “drives,” from voter registration and school budgets to securing parcels of the former Alva T. Stanforth land for the new Elmont Memorial Library.
Ms. Stowe currently serves as chairperson of the Elmont Community Coalition Council—an umbrella organization for the Elmont civic associations. The Council is monitoring initiatives pertaining to economic improvements along Hempstead Turnpike and at Belmont Race Track, and looks forward to new development and the creation of employment opportunities. She encourages residents to join their civic organizations to help keep Elmont area neighborhoods viable and stable.
Congratulating Ms. Stowe on her receipt of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Award, Elmont Schools Superintendent Al Harper spoke about his first meeting with Ms. Stowe. As the new high school principal at Elmont Memorial, he says, “I had invited some community members in so I could get to know them.” Ms. Stowe asked, “Young man, what are you going to do?” He thought, and answered, “I’m going to do what it takes to educate every child in this community.” Mr. Harper said that from that day forward “she made sure that we did exactly that.”
A working mother of four, Ms. Stowe was employed on “Wall Street,” first by the New York Stock Exchange and then moving on to a career at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, during which time she attended Pace University. She retired about a year-and-a-half ago.
“Education of one’s children is the only legacy that parents can leave them,” remarks Ms. Stowe, who recalls coming home after work and making sure her children did every bit of their homework. She adds that Elmont parents today have the advantage of going online to view their children’s homework assignments. All of her children graduated from Elmont Schools and obtained college degrees.
Upon receiving the 2009 Dr. Carter G. Woodson Award, Ms. Stowe, an avid reader of historical novels and political intrigues, spoke directly to the young people in the audience about Dr. Woodson’s struggles to become educated. She said that his thirst for knowledge propelled him to great heights, academically and professionally. He became a writer, a historian, a publisher and a simple organizer.” She particularly noted Woodson’s “courage” to remain focused, and called on the Elmont community to summon that courage and find ways to inspire young people to rise to such heights. She paused, too, to acknowledge the men and women who inspire students every day to achieve high academic performance.
Last year’s Dr. Carter G. Woodson Award honoree, Dr. Sydney McCalla, added that it was “insightful” for the Black History Month Committee to choose Dr. Woodson as the focal point of their annual celebration because he stressed the importance of education as a way to become accepted by society. “We can’t leave it up to the political establishment to force people to recognize that people are equal, regardless of color.” He remarked, “Our schools are no different from any other schools. Our students deserve to get the scholarships and be rewarded for the work they are doing.”
“Education is a gateway for all Americans to succeed in this challenging and changing world,” emphasized Stowe. “Today,” she said, “we reflect on the history of African Americans who are significantly a part of the American mosaic.” As an integral part of that great mosaic, added Ms. Stowe, “African Americans now look into the future and hope for even better opportunities than our forefathers.”
Ms. Stowe said she is “truly honored to accept the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Award from the Elmont community and Elmont Online. She thanked EoL and the BHM Committee “for the work they do each year in preparing the Black History Month program.” She continued, “Your organization has brought a level of respect and dignity and elevated discourse to our community.”
“It was an honor for me to be recognized with the 2008 Woodson Award for the work I am doing,” remarked Dr. McCalla, “even though much of my work doesn’t take place in Elmont, but rather in the underserved South Bronx community.” Dr. McCalla complimented the BHM Committee for realizing the importance of “heritage,” and “instilling pride in our children and showing them that they have the responsibility to carry on.” The annual celebration is “a social event in which we can all participate,” he added. Dr. McCalla acknowledged the Elmont Online website, too, as a fine example to our youth and the community of how people can advance through the use technology. He noted, “President Obama’s website was up and running one minute after his inauguration.
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