St. Croix's Back to School Parental Conference will feature retired Army officer as keynote speaker
Published: August 23, 2013
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ST. CROIX - For the third year, the St. Croix School District is hosting a Back to School Parental Conference, that they said they hope will enlighten and empower parents - and the entire community.
The conference will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Educational Complex, and will feature Retired Army Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, founder of the nationally recognized Educational Achievement Services, a non-profit dedicated to leadership and empowerment for the next generation of leaders.
Through the organization, Kickbusch has worked with more than a million children, parents and educators in 43 states. Pushing a message of hope, Kickbusch encourages students to follow their dreams, stay in command of their own lives, and make a difference in their own communities.
St. Croix School-Community Relations Director Janet Brow said this is the beginning of the school year and that educators hope that everyone has a productive school year with combined efforts from school, home and the community.
Brow said having Kickbusch as the speaker will be a dynamic experience for those who attend because she knows how to connect with her audience and will motivate parents as they laugh and cry with her through her inspirational stories and experiences.
"We really want the entire community to come out to this, not just parents," she said. "Everyone will be able to learn something and benefit from this speaker and the conference."
Maria Encarnacion, deputy school superintendant, said Kickbusch made a presentation to teachers several years ago, and her reception was so overwhelming, they decided to invite her back to share her thoughts on parental involvement and motivation to a greater cross-section of the community.
"She came from very humble beginnings with her Mexican background, and her presentations teach that despite a person's background or lack of resources, they can aspire to greatness," Encarnacion said. "She said many people told her she would amount to nothing, but it was the voice of her mother in her head that she listened to, telling her that she can do whatever she put her mind and her heart to."
Encarnacion said Kickbusch's mother also reminded her of the importance of remaining humble, despite your education and success and that was when she realized that with all she had accomplished, she would be nothing after she is dead unless she was able to contribute to the lives of others and create a legacy that would live on and continue to help others even when she is gone.
Encarnacion said parental involvement is important in education and in life in general, and parents need to be reminded that despite their education levels, they need to be supportive and involved.
"It may seem that it is a cliché, but she is proof," Encarnacion said about Kickbusch.
Kickbusch has authored "Journey to the Future: A Road map for Success for Youth," which shares the lessons of her journey from the barrio where she was born, to the U.S. Army, where she became a lieutenant colonel, to her decision to dedicate her life to helping young people open their minds and hearts to achieve their dreams.
Brow said the department is excited about the conference, adding that in 2009 the conference featured television's Judge Greg Mathis, and in 2010, television Judge Glenda Hatchett was the keynote speaker.
For more information about the conference, contact Brow or Encarnacion at 773-0295.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.