On Tuesday, August 24th, Wright College and Eli’s Cheesecake were honored to host a visit to the campus by Susan Sclafani, the Assistant Secretary of Education for Vocational and Adult Education. I was fortunate to have met the Secretary in February when she visited the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences while attending a Community Schools Conference. It was a delight on that occasion to introduce the Secretary to the students and staff at CHSAS. The Secretary picked CHSAS because one of her responsibilities at the Department of Education includes the FFA and she had a great meeting with the FFA officer team.

On the visit to Wright, Secretary Sclafani was able to meet with the leadership of the Phi Theta Kappa Chapter (the Community College Academic Honor Society) and then saw a performance by the  Happiness Club, a youth performance program that is housed at Wright. Sclafani then came to Eli’s Cheesecake for a tour to learn how Eli’s Cheesecake is made and to meet some of the associates at Eli’s who have participated in training at Wright. We then hosted a lunch for Sclafani with some of the great educational leadership in our City and State including Chancellor Wayne Watson of the City Colleges of Chicago, Dean Robert Easter of the University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Dean Robert Oliver of the U of I Extension and President Charles Guengerich of Wright.

The discussion over lunch primarily related to the challenges for American education as set forth by Tom Friedman in his best selling book “The World is Flat!” In that book, he states that the number one thing we have to do in America is ensure that our educational system guarantees every young person either a community college, university or technical school degree. This is a huge challenge and it was great to see such committed educators to making a difference