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farewell to 34-year 'enjoyable' career
By TONYA V. SMITH
Chronicle Staff Writer
Because many Afro-American
parents show little interest and even
less involvement in their children's
education, a generation of undedicat
ed and underachieving students has
evolved making the jobs of educators
all the more difficult, said Benjamin
W. Warren, retiring principal at North
Forsyth High SchooL"
"1 think schools are meeting the
needs of young people today, but I
don't feel all youngsters are taking
and Ifietf parents who, respectively,
are dedicated to their education and
involved in the local schools, Mr.
Warcen said it's the parents of honor
students who are always in attendance
at Parent/Teacher Association (PTA)
meetings and the parent-teacher con
"Parents need to get to know their
children's teachers and know what
-they stand for,"- Mfr Warren, 59; said.
"Come out to parent-teacher confer
The Richmond, Va., native acci
dentally fell into education. After
coach ai his alma mater. Soon after
that a friend, coaching in Winston
Salem, asked Mr. Warren if he was
interested in a position at Atkins High
School. In 1955, he began his career
in the local schools, teaching science
and coaching football. In 1958 Mr.
Warren received a masters degree
from the University of Buffalo in
After spending 10 years at Atkins,
he moved to then Kennedy Junior
High School where he became an
assistant principal. After three years
there he became assistant principal at
... Photo by Mike Cunningham
Tomorris Home and Rlckle Miller take a moment out to chat with Benjamin Warren.
advantage of the opportunities opened receiving a bachelor of science degree North Forsyth High School. During
? i i- w- * * the 1972-73 academic year, Mr. War
for them in the schools," said Mr. in biology, the pre-med tract, Mr. ? n?u
Warren, who on Sept 1 will end his Warren worked with the federal gov- ren was promoted to principal and
34-year-long career as an educator in emment for a year and then spent two assigned to what was then Walker
the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County years in the Army. town Junior High School. He also
"My plan was to attend medical was principal at Kennedy before
school after I got out of the service," returning to North Forsyth as princi
he said pal.
But before pursuing those plans he Presently, Mr. Warren is one of
took a job as an assistant football only four Afro-American, high school
system. "We all know that in order to
be a success you have to work hard.
Many young people aren't wanting to
Acknowledging the many students
Abortion ruling will limit options for poor
By ROBIN BARKSDALE
Chronicle Start Writer
The recent Supreme Court rul
ing allowing states to restrict abor
tions is expected to have an espe
cially heavy impact on poor and
The decision, handed down
July 3, did not overturn the Roe vs.
Wade decision, but the court did
rule that states may prohibit public
hospitals and clinics from perform
ing or taking any part in abortions.
A. Smith Reid, director of the
family planning unit at Reynolds
Heath Center, said his department is
not speculating on the impact the
ruling will have on poor and Afro
American women. But Marian
Franklin, president of the local
chapter of the National Organiza
tion for Women, said that the court's
ruling has turned the pages back on
women's rights and could have deep
and far-reaching effects on the
area's lower-income women. While
women of higher economic means
will still be able to secure abortions
if they choose, Ms. Franklin said,
the options for poor women will be
"Our organization is pro
choice. We don't comment one way
or the other on whether abortion is
right or wrong. We simply argue for
the woman's right to be able to
make her own decision," she said.
"If the North Carolina Legislature
accepts this legislation, poor
women and young women will be
most directly affected. It's still diffi
cult to decipher the true ramifica
tions of the decision, but we feel
that the war on women has begun.
Leaving the decision to individual
states has opened 50 battle fronts.
And we feel that the poor women
are the women who will suffer the
Laura Smith-Martin, pubic
affairs coordinator at Planned Par
enthood, said that the stage is set for
the North Carolina lawmakers to
restrict the choices of women with
respect to abortions. Funds allocat
ed for state-funded abortions were
cut last year by more than $500,000
and Ms. Smith-Martin said she
expects the reserves to be depleted
by the next fiscal year. Should that
happen, she said, Afro-American
women will find themselves faced
with new crises.
"There is absolutely no ques
tion that^H'* poor women*, who are '
disproportionately black, that will
feel the effects," she said. "Already,
the poorest of the poor are being
serviced with state money and that's
She said that if the state agrees
to restrict the availability of abor
tions, it should also be prepared to
make provisions for the conse
quences of their actions.
"These women will need more
money for social services, more
money for AFDC," she said.
"Women who have money will be
able to have options and they will
be able to travel to obtain abortions
if necessary. A new ruling could
create situations where women will
be taking on children they cannot
afford and that they did not plan for.
I think the fact is that you will end
up with folks needing social ser
vices and the services of agencies
that already are stretched to the
In 1969, when abortions were
illegal, 75 percent of the women
dying from illegal abortions were
minorities. Brenda Williamson,
president of the Women of Color
Abortion Rights Project, is afraid
that the Court's decision could again
result in the same kind of conse
quences for the poorer Afro- Ameri
"Primarily, even in the past,
when abortion was illegal, women
who had money and economic
power, were able to receive safe
abortions," she said. "With the onset
of restrictions, it limits access to
poor women, rural women who use
public facilities because of their
economic status. This will have an
adverse affect on Afro- American
Mrs. Williamson, whose orga
nization is a branch of the state's
Religious Coalition for Abortion
Rights, said that women who want
abortions and are not able to obtain
them will find themselves over
whelmed with responsibilities.
"The woman who now is poor
and struggling will have it double
hard," she said. "I hope the state
does not go back to the times when
the death rate from illegal abortions
was so high among women of color.
I hope it does not repeat that"
Attorney Brinton Wright, the
president of the N.C. Right to Life
group, was unavailable for
comment on the issue.
principals. When the school board
recently announced that he will be
replaced by a white female, some
members of the Afro-American com
munity were upset.
There are a number of Afro
American, assistant high school prin
cipals but who's to say whether those
people are qualified, Mr. Warren said.
"I think we have good black repre
sentation," he said. "I can't say
whether those people are qualified
because I don't work with them. I
don't evaluate them.
"I think we need to have more
blacks becoming interested in admin
istration. In the p^t we have not had
too many interested in administration.
Right now there is a (racial) balance
in our schools. I think we need to
maintain that balance, but get quali
fied individuals. This is no easy job."
Schools are often understaffed,
Mr. Warren said, pointing to the 102
staff members he supervises with the
help of three assistants. Of course, he
said, that does not include the 1,600
students who attend North Forsyth.
Mr. Warren does not regret giving
up his medical career for one in edu
"I've enjoyed it," said the father of
two girls. "I consider myself lucky to
have met the goal I set for myself
once I got into this field, and that was
in a senior high
His has always been an attitude of
helping, Mr. Warren said.
"I've always tried to help every
student, regardless of their back
ground, and that's paid off/' he said.
"I've seen students who were a suc
cess in school and went on to be a
success in life. Tve also seen students
who didn't do as well and they'll
always come to me and say, '1 should
have listened to you.'"
to be a principal
Mr. Warren has seen the schools'
curriculum change to meet the needs
dof young people, he said, adding that
the "Winston-Salem/Forsyth County
schools system, has done a tremen
dous job in that"
Once his retirement is official, Mr.
Warren and his wife Mary plan to do
a lot of traveling.
"I want to travel, enjoy myself and
relax," Mr. Warren said "I really want
to drive to California. I also plan to
- golf, do some fishing and camping." ?
When asked what he'd miss most
about' education, Mr. Warren
answered, "The day-to-day contact
with people - students and staff mem
bers - that's what I think I will miss
the most. "I've had 34 enjoyable years
in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County
system, and I just hope the system
continues to grow under the new lead
ership of Dr. Coble."
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