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    Summit touts help in education for Memphis parents

    By Scott Carroll - The Commercial Appeal -

    As most parents can attest, navigating a young student through his or her academic career often means sharing in the child's failures and successes, as well as managing the frustration and fatigue that comes with them.

    But on Saturday, Memphis parents received guidance on the matter from the Tavis Smiley Foundation at the group's 2012 Parent Education Summit.

    Officials with World Overcomers Ministries Church, where the summit was held, estimated that more than 100 people attended workshops on tutoring their children, prepping for standardized tests and obtaining scholarships during the free day-long seminar.

    Financial aid -- and how to obtain it -- was especially of interest to some attendees, including Alonzo McGee. His 14-year-old son, a student at Power Center Academy charter school, has hopes for a career in sports management or marketing.

    McGee said after the seminar that he was surprised to learn how many scholarship opportunities might be available to his son.

    "I didn't know all that was out there, but now I do and I can help him better, get him ready," he said.

    The importance of parents like McGee being involved in their child's education cannot be understated, said summit speaker and Smith and Nephew case processing engineer Valerie Huery.

    "I think it's really important that parents have the balance along with principals and administrators, because it takes a village to raise a child," she said. "If the parents aren't pushing on their end to find resources to help them, then the kids can fall behind."

    As an assistant director with Urban Youth Initiatives, seminar attendee Jeanette McKinley-Bowen said that she has seen firsthand the academic struggles youths face without parental support.

    She shared Huery's sentiment.

    "The parents have to be involved," she said.