Friday, January 8, 2010
Kim Gokce–Champion of the Week
Kim is truly a "Champion" of the community. Before his involvement, the Lewis administration and Board of Education virtually ignored Cross Keys High, and the school system's Latino population, especially along the Buford Highway cooridor. Cross Keys High is not only the worst school facility in the DeKalb County School System, it is arguably the worst in metro Atlanta and one of the worst in the state. Thank you Kim, for energizing the Cross Keys community. It may take a new Board of Education and superintendent to do it, but one day there will be a facility at Cross Keys worthy of its fantastic, diverse and special student body!
Kim Gokce–Champion of the Week
For a man who's the father of a 3-year-old, Kim Gokce sure spends a lot of time at a local high school. And he says that others without children in local schools should be as committed as he is in supporting public education.
Gokce is actively involved at Cross Keys High School and Woodward Elementary School.
He recently helped to organize a Hands On Atlanta work day at the school and a recognition ceremony for an Cross Keys alum who emigrated here from a war-torn country. In recent weeks, Gokce and seven others launched the Cross Keys Foundation (crosskeysfoundation.org), which is seeking to raise funds for scholarships as well as teacher grants and enlist volunteers for a range of projects.
Gokce, who lives a quarter mile from the school, said that many people have a negative impression of Cross Keys High School because the building is old and in bad shape and the school's population is predominantly immigrants and Latinos.
"People look at the building and think it symbolizes what goes on at the school" said Gokce. "That's unfair to the kids." Gokce said he's determined to get the neighborhood to support the school and the students.
"I feel like a vibrant public education is an important piece of our civic landscape. I cannot imagine a community like Brookhaven without a premier high school that everyone is proud of" he said. "These are fantastic kids doing amazing things."
He points out that part of his passion for young immigrants stems from his background. He's a first generation American; his father emigrated from Turkey.
Observers applaud Gokce's efforts. "Re-engaging an entire community to support its local public schools is tough work, and most people don't have the motivation, dedication or intestinal fortitude to take it on" stated Decatur resident Julie Rhame in an email.
Cross Keys Principal LaShawn McMillan also sings Gokce's praises. "Kim is a big cheerleader for Cross Keys, and he has no hidden agendas" stated McMillan via e-mail. "He has done so much for the teachers, students and the Cross Keys community. He is a huge asset."
Gokce, a Internet systems consultant who also runs the Web site communityradar. com, is also the president of the Hills Dale Neighborhood Associationand a member of the Brookhaven Community Connection.
If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week,
please contact Kathy Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 404-373-7779, ext. 104.