Philadelphia Educator Receives Nation Builder Award From National Black Caucus of State Legislators

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Educator and best-selling author, Salome Thomas-EL, received the Nation Builder Award on Thursday December 2, 2004 from the National Black Caucus at their 28th Annual Legislative Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The award was established to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to, and laid the foundation for, the political progress of African Americans. Past honorees include Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Dr. Dorothy Height, Marian Wright Edelman, Lerone Bennett, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Robin Roberts and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, just to name a few.

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators honored Salome Thomas-EL, a graduate of Philadelphia public schools and an inner city school principal, chess coach and mentor, on Thursday December 2, 2004. Salome was the recipient of the Dave Richardson Nation Builder Award at the ceremony hosted at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel in Philadelphia. Named after one of its founding members, this award was established to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to, and laid the foundation for, the political progress of African Americans. Past honorees include Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Dr. Dorothy Height, Marian Wright Edelman, Lerone Bennett, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Robin Roberts and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, just to name a few. The award was presented during the 28th Annual Legislative Conference of the Black State Legislators taking place in Philadelphia this week.

Salome Thomas-EL is Principal of John F. Reynolds Elementary School in North Philadelphia and author of the best-seller, I Choose To Stay, a memoir written about his life and the success of his students. The book, released earlier this year in paperback, has garnered the attention of Walt Disney Pictures, which has agreed to distribute a movie based on Thomas-EL’s life story. A humble yet dedicated educator; he revived the chess team of an inner city Philadelphia middle school and led them to victory at several national championships. I Choose To Stay is featured in Tom Joyner’s new book, Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, and also received the 2004 Silver Angel Award in the Print category from the Excellence in Media Corporation (EIM).

Salome was recently appointed a board member of the America's Foundation for Chess in Seattle, Washington. The foundation's goal is to implement a chess curriculum in every 2nd and 3rd grade classroom in the country.

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