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Secretary of state talks education with students

Illinois Secretary State Jesse White (top middle) posed with faculty Ralph J. Bunche School Markham Tuesday after speaking students about

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (top, middle) posed with the faculty of Ralph J. Bunche School in Markham Tuesday after speaking to the students about the importance of education at the school's annual College/Career Day. | Terrance Peacock~For Sun-Times

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Updated: June 17, 2014 2:16PM



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White paid a visit to Ralph J. Bunche School in Markham to discuss the importance of education at the school’s annual College and Career day Tuesday.

White, who also served as Bunche school’s “Principal for the Day,” was greeted by an assembly full of students along with other local guests who visited different classrooms to speak about their careers.

White told students how important it is for adults to give students the tools necessary for them to succeed.

“I want to remind them that the easiest thing that (students) will ever get a chance to do is say ‘I quit or I can’t’ and I want them to understand that when there is a mission before them they see it from its beginning to its conclusion,” White said.

Before being elected secretary of state in 1998, White served in the Army, played minor league professional baseball in the Cubs organization, which was followed by a 33-year career with the Chicago Public Schools system as a teacher and administrator.

White first became a politician after being elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1974 and said his advice to the students of Bunche school is to remember every day is a learning experience.

“We just want them to understand that when (students) say they want to be a particular person like a policeman, fireman or teacher, they have to prepare themselves for that experience,” White said.

Bunche Principal Carolyn Palmer said the school combined its college fair where teachers talk to students about what it takes to attend college, with its career day where the staff invited speakers to discuss their careers with the students.

“I believe that the earlier they know about college and the earlier you push it, the more focused they would be towards getting there,” Palmer said.

Guest speakers who attended Bunche school’s career day Richard Mathews, senior principal of Vista National Insurance Group in Oak Brook, and Dion Washington, a detention officer for the Department of Corrections, along with many others.

Along with the guest speakers for Bunche school’s career day, Palmer said it was great that the secretary of state came to the school to participate.

“Just for him to take that kind of time from his day makes me very, very pleased,” Palmer said. “He was a (Physical Education) teacher and ended up being Secretary of State so it shows the kids that they can do anything.”



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