The Ben Gross Education Park is home to our learners on Escuela Pkwy who spend time learning at the SJCC Extension. Ben Gross was one of the first people of African descent in the USA to be elected to a city council where he also served as Mayor of Milpitas in 1966. Mayor Ben Gross was a leader in developing the Sunnyhills Neighborhood, the first planned integrated community in America. On Feb. 1st at the SJCC Extension, our students were celebrating Lunar New Year. What a legacy Ben Gross and many of our community leaders established in 1954, where our young people can celebrate their Asian heritage while learning about the cultures and histories of their peers. Black History month is an opportunity for all of us to delve into discovery about our friends and community members of African Ancestry.
Global impact -- African empires influenced history with mathematics, architecture, philosophy, trade and language. SCCABE President Leon Beauchamp and ABEN Executive Director Debra Watkins are local leaders in Silicon Valley who have invested their lives in assuring that the Black history of art, science, technology, culture, and so much more is known to young people so that they can embody the dynamic leadership of their ancestors. Debra Watkins founded the Greene Scholars Program to further the work of Dr. Frank S. Greene, who forged pathways for people of African Ancestry to accelerate in Science Technology Engineering and Math. Dr. Greene holds the patent for the integrated circuit which elevated Fairchild in the semiconductor industry. Dr. Mark Dean, who holds three of the nine patents on the original personal computer and envisioned a device like the iPad long before it was created, plays a major role in our Silicon Valley Tech industry. Dr. Dean said, "A lot of kids growing up today aren't told that you can be whatever you want to be. There may be obstacles, but there are no limits."
Dr. Valerie Thomas, inventor of the precursor to 3D imaging and the longest running satellite imaging program in the world is one example of a learner who knows no limits. Dr. Fern Hunt, a biomathematician who has worked with chaos theory and genetic variations is a proponent of learners finding their pathway based on what excites them in the world. Sunnyhills historians Mr. Daniel Mosqueda, Mr. Donnie Eiland, and Mr. Henry Nichols are driven by their desire to keep us focused on what is possible when we live as a community wrapped around all of our children and youth.
Three MUSD alumni who embody what it means to live in a Culture of We where we seek to know one another are; Ms. Nyla Choates who founded My Roots are Rich, Interim Principal Chuck Gary who has returned for this school year to support our MHS students and team, and MUSD Board President, Chris Norwood. From the City of Milpitas to the Milpitas Unified School District Board of Education and beyond, our students and their families create the tapestry of history that is Our Milpitas Story.
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