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Posts published in “Day: April 17, 2007

Kujawa named ASF Star Honoree

By Gilbert Hoffman, Publisher
ALDINE– It was great fun, as hundreds of well-wishers gathered at the Greenspoint Crowne Plaza Hotel last Thursday at an awards luncheon, to honor retiring Superintendent Nadine Kujawa as the 2007 Aldine Scholarship Foundation Community Star.
This award has previously gone to well known educators and community leaders such as W. W. Thorne, Dr. John Pickelman, Mr. Sonny Donaldson, Aaron Glenn, and Jim McIngvale.
The featured speaker at the luncheon was Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas Shirley Neeley. Neeley previously had been superintendent of schools for the Galena Park school district, and has been a friend and colleague of Kujawa for about 35 years.
She mentioned the achievements that AISD has reached under the direction of Kujawa, including nominations twice for the nationally renowned Broad Prize for the best urban school district.
Her theme was, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Her illustration of the point was Kujawa’s career in public service and education, and her achievements.

Neeley also had some fun, joking about their common interest in ranching, and John Deere tractors.
Also included in the program were proclamations from the city, the Greenspoint District, Harris County, State Senator Gallegos, and Congressman Gene Green honoring Kujawa for her career. These were presented by emcee Bennie Lambert, Foundation president, and AISD assistant superintendent Ben Wilson.
Several speakers reminisced about the steps they took from Aldine schools to later success in life, including Armando Walle and Abel Garza. Garza spoke about how Aldine has given “hope to those who have grown up underpriveleged.” They thanked Kujawa and those teachers, some present, that had given direction to their lives.
Kujawa is a native of Aldine, growing up on Hopper Road. She started her teaching career as an elementary teacher at Oleson Elementary. Lambert announced that a named scholarship had been established in Kujawa’s honor. Also attending the luncheon were her husband Harry, and daughter Christine, also an educator.
The event, which is the main fundraiser for the ASF, drew a crowd of businessmen, individual supporters, and educators. The Aldine Scholarship Foundation is set up to generate perpetual funding for scholarships for the first year of college, to a graduate of one of the high schools in the Aldine district.
Currently, the endowment totals more than $1,400,000 and each year over 50 scholarships are awarded. Endowments are encouraged, and start at $1000 and becomes a named endowment when the contribution reaches $15,000. Call 281-618-5440.

A soggy Easter morning….

Wet and cold this Sunday morning, not good weather for Easter services and especially the Easter egg hunt for the kids.
Way back when, we had our Easter egg hunt out in the pasture. One did not have to worry about fire ants back then, thankfully so too. The prize to the finder would be a colored boiled egg or a hard candy egg; long way from the plastic egg with money and other goodies inside for kids this day and time.
While using an instant messenger service, my cousin in Montana asked if I remembered the mean rooster that our grandparents had back then. She said it chased her across the back yard.
Got flogged by a rooster one time, so I learned enough sense to stay away from those things and also learned to stay away from a hen when she had biddies.
Walking home from the Saturday picture show, one would stop by the feed store at the bottom of the hill by the railroad tracks. That place had its own smell and had some nice saddles at times. Come Easter time they would have bright colored baby chicks for sale and that custom is still found today at some feed stores.

Bought a baby chick for several years back then. Kept it in the bathroom in a box with feed and water. After the chick learned to jump on top of the box and get out, it was time for it to go and out to the grand folks farm it went.
Never could tell my chick from the rest after it grew out of the colored plumage; Rhode Island Red if you savvy. Had a hen once that would jump and get a pinch of bread out of my hand.
Was concerned the weather would bring a frost bite to the garden of weedin as it would
mean the fourth planting for the year. The potato tops are full and pretty if you admire such beauty in life as peppers, cukes, tomatoes and honeysuckle in the growth of spring time.
A single Poke Salad stalk is tucked back on the south side of the house by the fence. That stuff comes back each year on its own and has since I planted some berries about 8 -10 years ago.

The enjoyment of poetry

Poetry is something I have enjoyed all my life—poems done by the national/international masters and local or state poets. There always seemed to be a freshness of a new poem that felt good as I read it. Like everything else some poets make worldwide names for themselves: James Whitcomb Riley, Eugene Field, Clement C. Moore and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to name just a few. I have long enjoyed their work.
A number of local, yes and far lesser known, poets come forth every day hoping to have the success of those listed above. Most never get beyond writing verse for themselves, their family and friends, or perhaps being published in the local newspaper or magazine. Nonetheless I have found myself reading and enjoying many of these local poets. Over these past dozen or so years I have published a few local works as part of my column. However, I don’t believe any have ever appeared in the Northeast News. Perhaps someday I’ll change that.

But for today I choose to stay with the masters. I was given a copy of an old weekly newspaper from the early 1980’s. This paper comes from a small, rural village, not unlike small rural villages across this land. The newspaper is as those found in many of these villages as they all have a sameness, yet a freshness as well. The village, town, county or state seems to matter little, but these small but important papers stand out.
In “The Book Bank” November 29, 1982, which I hold in my hand, some four pages of this 24-page issue are devoted to poetry. One of these pages has a few poems penned years ago by Eugene Field. I read them all with pleasure and they brought a smile to my face as I read. One of those, “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” I well remember from my childhood. I hope you do as well.
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
“Wynken, Blynken and Nod, one night/Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—/Sailed on a river of crystal light/Into a sea of dew,/’Where are you going, and what do you wish?’/The old moon asked the three./’We have come to fish for the herring fish/That live in this beautiful sea,/ Nets of silver and gold have we!’/Said Wynken, Blynken and Nod.
“The old moon laughed and sang a song,/ As they rocked in the wooden shoe;/And the wind that sped them all night long/Ruffled the waves of dew./The little stars were the herring fish/That lived in that beautiful sea—/’Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—/Never afeard are we!’/So cried the stars of the fishermen three, Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.
All night long their nets they threw/To the stars in the twinkling foam,—/Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,/Bringing the fishermen home:/Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed/As if it could not be;/And some folk thought twas a dream they’d dreamed/Of sailing that beautiful sea;/But I shall name you the fishermen three: Wynken, Blynken and Nod.
Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,/And Nod is a little head,/And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies/Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;/So shut your eyes while Mother sings/Of wonderful sights that be,/And you shall see the beautiful things/As you rock in the misty sea/Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:—Wynken, Blynken And Nod.”
Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my West Virginia home!
Don Springer can be reached at