Distinguished North Carolina Award Honoree
Dr. J ohn Lucas...Making Public Education His Legacy A career in public education that spanned more than 60 years, along with a lifetime of embracing and overcoming challenges, has not only won Dr. John H. Lucas many admirers, but has led to him to receive the highest honor that a North Carolina citizen can attain…the North Carolina Award for public service. Dr. Lucas was recently one of six recipients presented the award by Governor Pat McCrory. Established by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Award, which is administered by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, has been bestowed upon more than 250 notable men and women, including Maya Angelou, Billy Graham, Branford Marsalis, William Friday and James Taylor. For a man who has received numerous awards and accolades over the years, being honored in this way was very humbling, he said. “”It seems now that an award has been received that represents the total population; it’s not from any particular segment, group or subject area, but represents the total of our society. This award represents a contribution that is important to the entire community.” Dr. Lucas, who is 93 years young, continues to serve the community and is an inspiration to many. Although retired for many years, he continually advocates for youth, school funding and social injustice. Lucas Middle School in Durham and other community institutions, including the lobby of the NCAE Center, bear his name. He remains actively involved in his church and can often be found visiting the John H. Lucas Sr. Wellness Center at Hillside High School, which provides medical care to students. Students and their well-being have always been an important focal point for Dr. Lucas, who said his family served as the inspiration for him becoming an educator. The grandson of a school teacher and the son of a minister, Dr. Lucas said the many people he has come in contact with in addition to family – teachers, associates, students – helped influence and provide a motivation for him to strive and excel. And excel he did! Dr. Lucas was a prominent education administrator and leader, holding such positions as principal of Hillside High School, president of Shaw University, and president of NCAE. He currently serves as a lifetime honorary member of the NCAE Board of Directors and is a lifetime member of the NEA Board of Directors. He was very instrumental in integrating the white North Carolina Education Association (NCEA) and the black North Carolina Teachers Association (NCTA) to form NCAE in 1970. “This merger was important because there was a need for one association and a single voice in education. We were striving to ensure a new and stronger professional association for the state of North Carolina, especially for educators. The struggle
we faced proved to be very worthwhile and the Association seems to grow stronger and stronger even though we now face some difficult challenges.” Challenges faced by public education today – especially the shift to dismantle it -- is also a reason Dr. Lucas remains The secret to Dr. Lucas’s success? “Putting God an active first, others second and myself third, and spokesperson. wanting the best for all people and believing Although very that it’s achievable through excellence.” To different from learn more about Dr. Lucas, click here to view when he was in a video about his life. the classroom, public education he said is vital and always will be. “In my opinion, public education is very important because it gives a single voice in moving toward excellence and gives each person the ability to think, to create, to grow and to expand rather than to be suppressed. Education is a fundamental need in the development
Message From the President With all that is happening to public education, I know that there are times when we feel alone in this fight to save it. I want you to know that we are not! There is a growing frustration among other organizations and they are reaching out to NCAE for leadership. A storm is brewing, and we must take advantage of the resources that are available to us in order to ride it out. Click here to read more on how we can work together to keep everyone engaged in our efforts.
Published on Jan 31, 2014