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Dr. Adelekan (front row, left) and some of the honored educators after they were inducted.
Chapman hosted the Youth–on-the-Move International Educators Hall of Fame Award Event, Nov. 14 in Folino Theater.
The International Educators’ Hall of Fame (IEHOF) is a museum that recognizes outstanding educators. Its founder, Patricia Adelekan said the purpose of the award event is to uplift the whole field of education.
“When you go to big events they say who are the doctors, who are the lawyers, sports people, entertainers, nobody says all the teachers stand up, so it’s to encourage the other generations to look up to some heroes they may have never known, to give more respect to the whole field of education” Adelekan said.
Adelekan said that the awards go to people who have gone beyond the call of duty.
“One of the things that most of the educators who won the awards have in common that their spirit has lifted them above the normal and seen and tried to address certain issues. Another one is that all of them encountered some hardship or obstacle while doing that” she said.
Adelekan said that the event was organized at Chapman at the invitation of her long-term friend Rueben Martinez, the founder of Librería Martinez de Chapman University, who also served as a member on the committee that organized the event. Martinez said this event meant a lot, both to him personally and for the community.
“When I was sitting there, I went back to the 1940s and 1950s, when I was in school and remembered a lot of my teachers who left a huge impact on me. In the third grade, I had a teacher, Ms. Brubaker, who introduced me to books. Every Friday she would have a book for me to read over the weekend and bring it back on Monday,” Martinez said. “She’s 97 years old and I still talk to her, I’ve known her for 65 years which is longer than I’ve known my mother. I’ve always felt like teachers are not given the recognition they deserve and teachers don’t ask for it because it is a noble profession.”
More than twenty educators were honored at the event for their impact in education.
Ollie Louise Darling Whitaker, who retired from the Santa Ana School District in 1997, was among the inductees.
“It means I have accomplished a goal that my parents set out for me to do. They used to bring me to Chapman for my night classes because I didn’t have a car and then they would come back and pick me up. They wanted me to succeed” Darling said.
She said that if she has some words of wisdom to give to students it would be to continue their education.
“It was hard even in my time, but in this day and age without an education it is extremely difficult to get hired. Go on, do your Masters and PhDs” she said.
Ugo Allesina, a chef and partner at Prego Ristorante, an Italian restaurant in Irvine, was honored for teaching blind kids to cook Italian food.
“It is very rewarding to see the kids smiling, because even with the handicap they still have the touch, the smell, the taste… they love it,” said Allesina