Athens, Ga. – An internationally recognized nontraditional educator, Ron Clark, will deliver the 2010 Holmes-Hunter Lecture, which honors the first African-American students to enroll at the University of Georgia, at 2 p.m. Feb. 26 in Hodgson Hall in the Performing Arts Center.
Clark, a New York Times best-selling author and regular guest on the Oprah Winfrey show, first caught national attention when as a teacher he inspired a group of students from low-income households in Harlem, N.Y., to achieve the highest test scores in their school. Clark’s story was developed into a film, which debuted on cable in 2006.Television and movie star Matthew Perry played the role of Ron Clark, and the film and actor earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
In 2003, Clark released The Essential 55, which includes his 55 expectations of students and individuals young and old. His second book, The Excellent 11, was released in 2004 and further captured the attention of parents, educators and students alike.
Clark now heads the Ron Clark Academy in metro Atlanta. The privately-funded school serves students using innovative teaching methods and curriculum based on world travel. Each year students in grades 5 to 8 apply their in-class lessons to international adventures. Each student will have visited six of the seven continents by their graduation date. Winfrey donated $1.5 million at the end of last year to support the school.
Students from the Ron Clark Academy gained notoriety during the 2008 election season when they appeared on CNN, singing “You Can Vote However You Like”, a song they created. They became instant media favorites, appearing on several networks and shows, discussing current events, the economy and politics with a sense of composure often attributed to adults. The students were then invited to perform at several inaugural events for President Barack Obama, where they performed another song entitled, “Dear Obama,” which offers advice to the president on energy, taxes, financial regulation and al Qaeda.”
Several of these students will join Clark during his visit to UGA and perform as part of the lecture program.
The annual Holmes-Hunter Lecture honors Charlayne Hunter-Gault and the late Hamilton Holmes, who in 1961 became the first African-American students to enroll at UGA. It’s been held annually since 1985, and focuses on race relations, black history and education with implications for inclusion and diversity.