Education. Caring parents. Education. Discipline. Education. Motivated to succeed.

Education. Caring parents. Education. Discipline. Education. Motivated to succeed.

Ask an educator with aproven track record what a young person needs to succeed, and chances areeducation will be mentioned many times. African-American MorrisChapman grew up in Chattanooga and has influenced many children and teens tostay in school, set high goals and work hard to meet them. The 70-year-old manreflected on his career recently and shared some recollections and memories. “I was mostblessed,” he said. “I had two parents, I was able to go to collegeand I had the background I needed to succeed.” {{more}} In spite of the challengesof living in an era where segregation and discrimination were acceptable, Chapmanrose above this situation and was able to succeed both personally andprofessionally. H graduated from Howard High School, a school, he said thatemphasized academics, pride and school loyalty. “A high percentage ofthe students went to college,” he said. In addition, highpercentages were in the upper percentage of the freshman class, so they didn’tneed remedial courses. Morris had a strongbackground in literature, science, math and social studies, which madeattending college a no-brainer for the young man. Morris credits his parentsas being one of several reasons he decided to attend college. As he was growingup, his parents took time every day to review his school day when he returnedfrom school. The Chapmans ran a drycleaning business, which Morris helped with as a teen, but his parents wantedtheir son to have a better life than they did.They also assumed he would be a positive role model. “They expected me tocontribute to the community,” Morris said. In 1959, Morris started hiscollege career at Tennessee State University, with a major in history and aminor in education. Morris said it was easy to choose a career. “For blacks, you couldeither teach or preach,” he said. Morris decided that teaching would be afield where he could use his God-given talents. After graduating, Morris wasemployed at Riverside Junior High School as a social studies teacher until1968. He then became the project director for the Chattanooga ConcentratedEmployment Program, a program of the U.S. Dept. of Labor. “I directed a programcalled New Careers to train disadvantaged students to be placed in humanservice organizations,” he said. The program, he said, provided supportsuch as transportation and training and paid 50 percent of the student’s salaryin the first year. Morris worked in thisprogram until 1972, when he returned to college to work on and receive hisMasters degree in Education. He became assistantprincipal of Riverside High School and later became principal. The schoolclosed two years later because of lack of enrollment and urban renewal. At this point in his career,he became principal of Dalewood Middle School, and worked there for fourteenyears. Because of legal requirements as well as influential citizens ofChattanooga, Dalewood became an integrated school. “The Brock CandyCompany and other influential whites wanted Chattanooga to move forward,” Morrissaid. The next career move thatMorris made turned out to be the most challenging. He became principal ofWashington Alternative School, a school for those who were sent from otherschools because they were violent, had carried firearms onto school propertyand/or were unable to relate to others in a healthy way. “They had no respectfor themselves or others and violated the zero tolerance laws,” Morrissaid. “We knew not to touch these students, as it might bemisinterpreted.” How does an educator deal with students thathave these kinds of problems? “We hand-picked staffthat realized the kids’ status,” Morris said. With the proper staff, there was no violenceduring the year that Morris was there. In 1999, Morris retired fromthe Chattanooga school system and currently manages a public golf course.   What advice would he offerparents today? “Provide an atmosphereof love and discipline,” he said. “Know basic working skills, socialskills, and put an emphasis on production. Take pride in what you’re doing,regardless of the salary.” In addition, he said that endurance in the faceof difficulties is vitally important. Mr. Chapman’s family reflects the values heespouses. His wife of 45 is a retired education who taught 35years. His daughter is an entrepreneur in Nashville, his son an attorney and anotherdaughter, who has her Ph.D., is on the staff of the University of NorthFlorida. Hiscareer and successful family provide many good memories as Morris looks back onhis life. He encourages everyone to use their abilities to better theircommunities and provide positive role models for young people.