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Ms. Vanitta Bumpers is new to the WDE family this year, but she’s not new to education.  She has over 25 years of teaching experience! As a 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Bumpers brings lots of enthusiasm and excitement to her classroom. She was born and raised in Mobile, AL and attended Mobile County Schools. She earned her undergrad degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education from the University of Alabama and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Capella University. Ms. Bumpers always knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age.  She used to tutor neighborhood children when she was a teenager.

Here are a few fun facts about Ms. Bumpers. She was featured in Woman’s Day Magazine in 2017 as a part of their “Live Longer & Stronger” campaign.  She went to New York City in November 2016 for a photo shoot for the magazine.  She went back to NYC a second time in February 2017 for “The Red Dress Awards” as part of the Woman’s Day campaign and was on the set of “The Today Show”.  Ms. Bumpers is also a published author!  Check out her book, Ricky Rabbit Learns a Lesson”.                 

 

 

 

Lewis Latimer- Inventor

February 22, 2021

Lewis Latimer was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts on September 4, 1848.  His parents, George and Rebecca were slaves in Virginia but had runaway to Massachusetts living as free citizens. This is where Latimer was born.  At fifteen years old, Latimer enlisted in the United States Navy and returned to Boston once the Civil War ended.  In 1868, he secured a job as an office boy in the Crosby and Gould patent law firm. While he was employed at the firm, he taught himself mechanical drawing.  He learned to use the tools of the trade, such as T-squares, triangles, compasses, and rulers mastering the art of drawing to scale.

Latimer was surrounded by genius throughout his career having been associated with the great Alexander Graham Bell!  In fact, Latimer drafted the drawings that Bell used to patent the first telephone. Bell was in a race to have his invention patented before anyone else registered with a similar device. Working with Latimer late at night, Latimer was able to provide Bell with the blueprints and expertise in submitting applications.  This expertise allowed Bell to file his telephone patent on February 14, 1876, a few hours earlier than that of rival inventors. They had won the race!  

In 1880, Latimer began working as a mechanical draftsman with Hiram Maxim an inventor and   the founder of the U.S. Electric Lighting Company in Brooklyn, NY.  Here, Latimer became familiar with the field of electric incandescent lighting. There was fierce competition in the field to secure patents. In 1881, after many trials and errors. Latimer patented the carbon filament to be used in incandescent lightbulbs.  It was this invention that helped make electric lighting practical and affordable for the average household.  A luxury we are still using today! 

In 1884 Lewis Latimer was invited to work for Thomas Edison in New York.  Edison encouraged Latimer to write the book, Incandescent Electric Lighting:  A Practical Description of the Edison System.  Published in 1890, it was extremely popular as it explained how an incandescent lamp produces light in an easy-to-understand manner.  On February 11, 1918, Latimer became one of the 28 charter members of the Edison Pioneers; the only African -American in this prestigious, highly selective group. 

Latimer’s children had a book of his poems printed in 1925 in honor of his 77th birthday. The poems are sensitive and complement Latimer’s designation as a “Renaissance Man” who painted, played the flute, wrote poetry and plays.  Search the Queens Borough Public Library website to find out more about Lewis Latimer.  Watch here for more stories of Black notables.

Medical scientist Patricia E. Bath was born November 4, 1942 in Harlem, New York, the daughter of a Trinidadian immigrant father and Cherokee Native mother who was a descendant of African slaves.

Bath developed an interest in science early in her life while attending school at Charles Evans Hughes High School.  Patricia received a grant in 1959 from the National Science Foundation to attend the Summer Institute in Biomedical Science at Yeshiva University in New York.  She worked on a project studying the relationship between cancer, nutrition, and stress and this institute.  Graduating from Hunter College with a degree in chemistry, she went on to attend Howard University Medical School.  Ms. Bath graduated with honors in 1968 winning the Edwin J. Watson Prize for Outstanding Student in Ophthalmology.

From 1970 until 1973, Bath was the first African American resident in ophthalmology at New York University’s School of Medicine.  Bath first conceived her invention, the Laserphaco Probe in 1981, and decided to learn more about laser technology traveling to Berlin University in Germany to study the skill.  During the next five years, she developed, tested and produced a model laser instrument that could be tested. The Laserphaco Probe was patented in 1988.  The probe is used during eye surgery to correct cataracts, an eye condition that clouds vision and leads to blindness.  The Laserphaco Probe was a less invasive, less risky and more precise than previous devices and is currently used around the world.

Mrs. Bath’s list of “firsts” are many:   First African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology; the first woman to chair an ophthalmology residency program in the United States and the first African American female doctor to secure a medical patent.  To complete this list is her status as co-founder of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness.  Bath was inducted into the International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame in 2001.

We salute you, Patricia Bath and thank you for your groundbreaking work in the field of ophthalmology! 

 

Gwendolyn C. Parker, I consider teaching to be a blessing and to be part of WCSD family. 

Gwen is a veteran teacher with more than a decade of experience at WHS. I am an Algebra 1, 1-B, and 1-A teacher. I am also an AVID 4 teacher, and I am a track coach. I am a graduate of Chipola Junior College ( Chipola College) and the University of West Florida. Go Braves!

Mrs. Jackson has humbly served in education for 20 years and even had the honor of teaching at her high school alma mater eleven of those years.  Born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she developed a respect and love for learning from her dad, who served in World War II and her mother, who was an avid reader.  Mrs. Jackson graduated from Salem College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a Master of Arts in Teaching.  It was not until she was blessed to meet and marry her husband that she moved to Florida four years ago.  Then in 2019, Mrs. Jackson was thrilled to be given the opportunity to join the outstanding team of teachers, students, staff, and administrators at Freeport Middle School.  As a 7th grade ELA teacher, she brings a wealth of educational experience, hard-work ethic, and professionalism to the classroom.  

-Teaching is not what I do…it’s who I am-

Chelsey has been teaching for 3 years, and loves being a teacher.  She loves to watch her students grow in their knowledge and to learn new things every day.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with family.

Mrs. Tania Eastman joined Freeport Elementary this school year as the guidance counselor. Before becoming a guidance counselor, Mrs. Eastman was in the United States Air Force. She is a valuable asset to our leadership team at FES. She implemented a program at our school that shows how she puts students first.  She is always wanting to learn more to grow as a guidance counselor. 

Antonio Harrison is proud to be part of the WCSD family. 

Antonio is a veteran teacher with more than a decade of experience teaching in Alabama and Florida. He is joining us for his first year at Walton High School as an ESE teacher and football coach.  Coach Harrison is a graduate of the University of Alabama and holds and MBA from the Auburn University System.

Meet Mr. Owen Cole, coach and teacher at Freeport High School.  Coach Cole graduated from Freeport High School in 2013.  He went on to play college football at Tabor College and Troy State University.  Coach Cole has been in education for  3 years and finally returned “home” to Freeport in 2020.

 

When Coach Cole was asked about coming back to his alma mater, Coach Cole responded by saying, “Being a teacher back at FHS has been a neat experience. As an alumnus of Freeport High School, it makes me want to get the most out of these students and show them their full potential.” 

 

We are so fortunate to have Coach Cole as part of our Freeport family.  He adds positivity and integrity to our staff and is a wonderful role model for all our students.  Coach Cole is giving back to the community.

 

Thank you, Coach Cole!

Alexander Miles- Inventor

February 19, 2021

The invention of Alexander Miles’ elevator doors dramatically improved safety for passengers. Early elevators were different from the mostly automated devices we’re familiar with today.  Passengers in any elevator in the late 1880s and early 1900s had to manually open and close doors including the doors leading to the actual elevator shaft.  If the door was accidentally left open, other passengers could fall down the shaft when expecting to step into the elevator.  Alexander Miles invented a device that triggered the shaft doors to open and close along with the elevator doors, which made the elevator ride much safer.  Although rarely connected with this invention, we can all agree Miles’ ingenuity and foresight plays an integral part of our 21st Century world.  In fact, the elevators we use currently still feature automatic shaft doors similar to the invention Miles Patented in 1887!

Miles’ exact birthplace and birthdate are unknown, but he was living in Duluth, Minnesota when he came up with his famous invention.  For more history and African American collections, and preserved culture visit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at www.nypl.org.