As parents, students, teachers and staff walked into Hempstead Hall on Thursday night, the first thing they saw was a large table laden with red books.

As parents, students, teachers and staff walked into Hempstead Hall on Thursday night, the first thing they saw was a large table laden with red books.

Those books were editions of Dr. Willie J. Greer Kimmons' book, entitled “A Parenting Guidebook.”

The first 150 attendees received free copies of the book, authored by the keynote speaker of the Parent's Night, sponsored by the Hope Public School District.

There were several booths set up in the lobby area of Hempstead Hall, including one from each school in the district, the Southwest Educational Co-op, the Hope Migrant Center, the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, and the Arkansas Department of Health, as well as others.

Parents, students, teachers, and staff were treated to a catfish and brisket supper, complete with dessert. Patricia Muldrew was in charge of the dinner and made several of the dishes enjoyed by the crowd. James Clark, with help from others, fried the fish and helped set up.

“The whole operation was a group effort by many people to show our appreciation to our parents and what they do everyday for students,” Dr. Linda Clark, site manager for the 21st Century Learning Center, and leader of the after school group, said.

After supper, everyone gathered in the auditorium to hear the speaker of the hour. He began by saying that he was glad to be there and he appreciated what parents were doing for and with their children.

“I always knew that my momma and my teachers were working together to better my life, but I didn't know how much that entailed,” he said. “My momma was six foot, two inches tall and had a way of disciplining her 27 children.

“What my momma showed me was love, but it was a disciplined love,” Kimmons said. “We have to let our children know that we love them, but we have to set boundaries, also.

“Children learn by example, and they learn at an early age that whatever mommy and daddy do, that behavior must be all right, because that's what their role models are doing,” he explained. “Don't let your child embarrass you. Teach them right from wrong when they are young.

“Set good examples and your children will heed them,” he said. “Show your children that you love them everyday through words and physical affection.”

Kimmons projected several ideas on how to enhance students' reading and math skills at home.

For math, he suggests that the parent and child help to pay the bills by learning to write checks. When grocery shopping, have the child estimate the total cost of the groceries. Teach the child to cook and measure the ingredients, and create a timeline of special events in your family.

For reading, Kimmons suggests to start a family reading hour. Someone reads aloud for a half an hour, then the family discusses main ideas, makes predictions, or creates 'what if' scenarios, or their ideas about the story.
Play reading games with the family, including Trivial Pursuit, and Clue.

“One important thing to do is read to and with your children,” he said. “Have sufficient, appropriate reading material in the home, and make reading fun and enjoyable for your child.”

Kimmons motto is: “Help me to help somebody to save our children and save our schools. Never, ever give up on our children, because our children are our greatest resource. Our children are an extension of us and our children are our future.”

Near the closing of the event, parents were awarded plaques for being so involved in their child's educational careers and their lives. The Beryl Henry Elementary Choir performed two songs, under the direction of Sandra Jones.

The DrumBallet, headed by Zinse Agginie, took the stage for the finale.

Kimmons is based out of Memphis, Tenn. and continues to give motivational speeches about the children of America today, and how to keep them in school.