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Retired Head Start teacher relives ‘Once Upon a Dream’
Apple Pie and SalsaMay 23, 2012 | 1,273 views | Post a comment
The Head Start program has been under attack recently, in a round-about way. On the national level, Head Start has been around since 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. That it has withstood the test of time is a testament of its success. Lawmakers from both major political parties have, up to now, agreed to keep the program alive, obviously because it does what it promises -- gives disadvantaged children a head start in life.
The year that the program celebrated its 25th anniversary, the National Head Start Association held its annual convention in San Antonio. The staff from the Floresville Head Start Center, of which I was a part, took turns attending the convention.
I had been trying to put into words how I felt about the program. The morning that I was scheduled to attend, while having coffee, the words came to me. They all fell into place, and I hurriedly wrote them down. I was hoping that they would give me the opportunity to read it during closing ceremonies. During a break between workshops, I sat down and re-wrote it so that it was legible. Good thing I did because I was not invited to read it, but they did take it. Later, the national president of the association read it to the whole assembly.
I would like to share it with you now. Some of you may remember it. It was previously published in the Floresville Chronicle-Journal.
“Once Upon a Dream”
Once upon a dream, Head Start was born.
Someone, somewhere, heard the cry of the poor,
Someone saw children being held back in school because of their lack of skills and other handicaps,
And a seed was planted -- an idea,
A vision of a place where these children’s needs would be met,
And the seed was nurtured, and others joined the cause, And soon the seed burst and started to sprout,
And it continued to grow and flourish with the help of dedicated teachers and educators, lawmakers, and caring parents,
It was cultivated with sensitivity and creativity ...
And lots of tender loving care,
And the children came -- from all backgrounds,
Children from all races, colors and creeds.
By now, the plant was full grown and its roots were spreading,
And the first seedlings were growing up and becoming successes.
They were overcoming their handicaps because they had been given a headstart in life.
And now this plant, this love child, after a quarter of a century, is in full bloom,
And its colors make this world one big beautiful rainbow.
Would that poverty could be stricken from the face of the earth,
But until then -- thank God for Head Start!
Once upon a dream, Head Start was born.
March 31, 1990
Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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