Salome Thomas-EL on C-SPAN2

Salome Thomas-EL appeared on C-SPAN2 before throngs of supporters to promote his ground-breaking book, "I Choose to Stay." The program was recorded in Philadelphia on the 25th of February 2003, but was aired on the 22nd of June 2003. The event took place at the Hyatt Regency hotel on the waterfront and was taped during the formal book-signing event. C-SPAN 2 ran an hour-long show and the local media also provided press coverage that evening.

Thomas-EL, Principal at
Reynolds Elementary and chess-coach extraordinaire, told the packed ballroom about his motivation to write the book and reflected on his own challenges as a child in the inner-city as the seventh of eight children. He articulated the grim realities of life for Black children in the inner-city and thanked and named the teachers who inspired him to succeed. In a charge of activism, he stated that there not only needs to be a concerted effort to attract more teachers, but he also proposed an academy for grooming teachers. He remarks received generous applause.

His speech was filled with passion and while reading the last chapter of his book, he was overcome with emotion. The chapter centered around the triumph of Otis Bullock, a Vaux student who beat the odds and became not only the first of Thomas-EL's students to graduate from college, but also the first in his family to graduate from both high school and college! He is now a third-year law student at Temple University. Thomas-EL asked Bullock as well as other Vaux and Reynolds students to join him on the platform… it was an inspiring moment. Mayor John Street of Philadelphia had earlier given his praises and was proud to make mention that his very own son has decided to become an educator.  It appeared to be a wonderful evening. 

The book is now available and is published by
Kensington Publishing (ISBN 0-7582-0186-9, U.S. $23.00, Canada $26.00). Also visit the "I Choose to Stay" website.

Other Sources:

The Chess Drum, "Former Vaux Students Making the Grade,"  22 July 2003.

The Chess Drum, "Book on Chess Triumph has "Staying Power," 14 June 2003.

The Chess Drum, "I Choose to Stay" now available at bookstores!!"  7 March 2003.

The Chess Drum, "Chess Coach unveils book about chess triumph at Philly's Vaux!"  26 January 2003.

The Chess Drum, "A Principled Chess Coach says, "I Choose to Stay,"  27 February 2002.

The Chess Drum (Historic Moments), "Roberts Vaux "Bad Bishops" (1977-1981)."

Roberts Vaux Chess Team website (1997-98)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 22 June 2003