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Education: The Key to Life

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Transcript of Melanie A. Scott’s address to the Black History Month Celebration kick-off, February 03, 2006.

Good afternoon everyone.


My name is Melanie Scott and as many of you know, I am the telecommunications administrator here at Downstate.  I am also the author of the recently published novel, Abmelanomia.


When people find out I’ve written a book, they basically ask two questions.


First, they ask what the book is about.

Then they ask how long it took to write.


Let me answer those questions here.


The book is about what happens when the world is turned on its ear and there are radical shifts in power, so that people are confronted with the opportunity for true equality.  Does it happen, or is it just a pipedream – Langston’s A Dream Deferred?


I’ll leave you with the question.  For answers, well, read the book.


As for how long it took to write…


It took long enough for me to gain sufficient experience, education and insight to write it.  I started the book in the winter of 1978.  If you do the math, that’s a little over 28 years.


That includes the 16 years the first 3 chapters sat gathering dust, plus the 10 or so years spent editing and shopping for a publisher


My process with works of fiction is that, basically the whole story is laid out for me in about 10 seconds.  It’s then up to me to listen to the characters and flesh out the details.  The characters tell me the story.  I just document it.  The actual writing took about 7 months


Another question I get a lot is, what was my motivation and inspiration for writing the book.


Well, my family infiltrated an Italian enclave in the Bronx when I was just 9 years old, so these issues of race, power and equality have always been with me.


While my personal history provided raw material, it was my 5th grade teacher who was instrumental in giving me the tools and the confidence to complete the task.  She remains a mentor and a confidante to this day.


Since I first started writing Abmelanomia, I have attended numerous military and government schools, private and public colleges, and new age and traditional universities.  What I have learned from all of them is that if education is the key to life, the key to a successful education is knowing that education is a journey, not a destination.


What my parents taught me is that I have a right to take the trip.


I think perhaps the most important thing we should teach our children, and that we ourselves need to learn, is that we have a right to a quality education and all the success that comes with it.


Even 100 years ago when I was in high school, it was not cool to be smart.  Being too smart marked you as a nerd, or whatever the kids are calling them these days.  But you know what, nerds rule the world.


Do you think Bill Gates was a jock?

Michael Capellas and Steve Jobs were both computer geeks.

Steven Spielberg was “one of those weird film school guys.”

Even Howard Stern was a self-confessed introvert until he discovered radio.


And despite their tough persona, I’m sure Snoop Dogg makes it to the studio on time, with his lyrics down pat, and Jay Z and Russell Simmons come to business meetings prepared, having done their homework.


What common denominator was the key to their success?  Education!


We must teach our children that education is the difference between a flash in the pan, one hit wonder, and a household word with a legacy.


Between a Taanya Gardner and a Stevie Wonder.




Listen well!

Get that education, both formal and informal!

Then you’ll be at the top of your game.

This is the key to success.


I mentioned that started Abmelanomia 28 years ago.  Some of you may think that’s a long time.  But I must tell you that my journey through higher education began in 1974 – 32 years ago – and it continues today.  At this rate, by the time I’m “finished” with school, I should be just about ready to retire.




Retire to write books full time!

Retire to teach or tutor!

Retire to open a business, or try screenwriting, or just work in private industry...


My sister wants me to remind you that the educational journey is sometimes an arduous one.  But you must eradicate quitting as an option for yourself or your children.  She wants you to specifically ponder where we would be if Sojourner Truth had quit, if Harriet Tubman had quit, if Dr. King and his beautiful wife had quit?  If any of those who came before us who fought, and struggled, and were beaten, and jailed and even killed had quit?


When laying the foundation for your life and the lives of your progeny, you may not – you must not quit!


A solid educational foundation gives one options and options equal freedom.


You’ll find when you read the book, that the protagonist allows outside influences to cut him off from education, which in turn has a negative impact on his ability to thrive.  His failures dishonor past generations and disable future generations.


So many people – soldiers in the battle for equality -- have gone before us to fight for and win opportunities in so many fields.  We honor them by educating our children and ourselves so that we can make the most of those opportunities.  Our personal successes elevate our families, our communities, our cultures and our country.


If we are to achieve our goals and fulfill our dreams, we must build them on a solid foundation of book learning and good old-fashioned horse sense.


So go to school.  Get that diploma, degree or certificate.  Pursue your dreams.  Write the great American novel. 


In mean time, buy my book, available on

Money should never be a reason not to get a good education.  I recommend these links to start your educational funding search.  Funds are available for quality education at all levels, pre-k through post-grad.  My very best wishes for your in your search to fund your educational journey!

Find Money here!

Fast Web Funding

Available at:

BookSurge, LLC



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