Meeting a cowboy

You can’t go to Texas and not hear about Willie Nelson and see cowboys. In the photo are a University of Texas student (cowboy), Joan Armstrong and Nancy Lehe.

TALLADEGA COUNTY -- Joan Armstrong and Nancy Lehe, both of Talladega County, represented the Zeta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International at the 2018 international convention in Austin, Texas.

Delta Kappa Gamma is the international society for key women educators, according to its website.

Benjamin Zander was one of the keynote speakers, bringing a global perspective, the international language found in music and the universal need for nurturing personal growth, which Zander inspires.  

Zander has been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory; he conducts the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and has been nominated for three grammys.

Nadia Lopez, speaker, brought tears to our eyes with her story. A Brooklyn native, she has been on NPR, photographed at the White House with her student and President Barack Obama, and appeared on television when honored with the Black Girls Rock Change Agent Award or as a member of  the Education Revolution panel.

Lopez is the founder and principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. The school was founded in 2010 to address a downward trend in a neighborhood that had given up on its students breaking the school-to-prison pipeline. The school had a 98 percent graduation rate among its three graduating classes.  

Lopez explained how she helps her students, all of whom are children living in the underserved, marginalized neighborhood of Brownsville, connect to the world.

A good, inspiring read is her book: “The Bridge to Brilliance: How One Principal in a Tough Community is Inspiring the World.” The story will bring tears to your eyes.

Of course, one has to have fun, and one adventure was to try different cuisines: real Mexican food, French food and good ole down home food, barbecue. All of these get two thumbs up.

Before leaving Austin, you have to take the bat tour. This is a boat ride near sunset before dark in which you can see 2 million bats fly out of an overpass. They fly around 100 miles for the night and return to the overpass before daylight.  

The bats will leave around November and return to Mexico, and mother bats will fly back with their pups to the overpass and leave in November.

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