EDITORIAL: Youth highlight NAACP meeting

York Dispatch
  • Dallastown Elementary earns distinction as National Title I Distinguished School.
  • Native Yorker battles back after brain tumor diagnosis, uses music to help others

Thumbs Up: To the York County NAACP and the students who attended the organization's recent meeting.

Rev. Bill Kerney speaks about a recent Black Ministers Association of York town hall meeting concerning racial incidents at York Tech during a York NAACP meeting at Crispus Attaucks, Tuesday, November 22, 2016. John A. Pavoncello photo


Local chapter president Sandra Thompson invited schools in the county to send student leaders to the meeting at Crispus Attucks last week.

She said the NAACP is relying on the vision and purpose of today’s “aspiring leaders” to effect change.

Students who challenge their teachers and classmates on inappropriate comments or behavior are leading the conversation in a positive way, Thompson said.

York NAACP President Sandra Thompson hosts a meeting at Crispus Attaucks to discuss racial issues in York in the past few weeks, Tuesday, November 22, 2016. John A. Pavoncello photo

Several students spoke at the meeting, voicing concerns over how their schools’ administrations are dealing with racial incidents in the wake of the presidential election.

Students speak up at York NAACP meeting

Addressing segregation, Eli Weary, a 10th-grade student at the Capital Area School for the Arts in Harrisburg said, “If we split these different ideas apart, there’s no chance for us to look at our brothers and sisters and understand them and have them understand us,”  

We think getting youth involved in these important conversations is key to a diverse future.

Thumbs Up: To staff and students at Dallastown Elementary School, one of only two schools in Pennsylvania to be named a National Title I Distinguished School.

Each year, every state names two schools that have had exceptional student performance consistently, have worked to close the achievement gap between student groups or have excellence in serving special populations of students. 


"I was very excited for the students and staff because they were being recognized (for) their efforts," Principal Charles Patterson said. 

He said the elementary school has a high population of special-needs students, all of whom have experienced growth in the last few years.

Dallastown Elementary named National Title I school

"I’m kind of spoiled. The staff establishes high expectations, but they do it in a warm and loving environment, so it’s nice to see those efforts paying off," he said.

Thumbs Up: To Zachary Zortman for his courageous battle to survive a brain tumor.

York native Zack Zortman, 29, underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor  Sept. 30. There is a GoFund Me donation page set up to help with his treatment costs. Thursday, November 17, 2016. John A. Pavoncello photo

The school guidance counselor and singer whose band won the 2015 YorVoice competition in York was diagnosed with a tumor in his frontal lobe, the part of the brain that controls language, comprehension and expressive speech. He was told he’d need surgery.

Zortman’s older brother Jesse has organized two benefits and started a GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost of follow-up care and living expenses while his brother is unable to work.

“When he came out of surgery he couldn’t speak in full sentences,” Jesse said. “Now he’s singing again.”

And he’s singing to patients similar to himself with plans to release a single targeting the struggles he overcame during his ordeal with the tumor.

Native Yorker battles brain tumor to sing again

“I know I have a battle on my hands, but I believe I can beat it,” Zack said.