I remember Principal Tony Clement as the final administrator of Harriet Gibbons High School, back when the Albany City School District converted the beloved high school into a 9th grade preparatory academy. He worked with the students and the faculty and the administration, he cared about them as if they were his family.
That’s part of who he was and why he was so valuable to the Albany City School District.
I also remember when Principal Clement battled several life-threatening illnesses, including the ones that took him to Glory in 2012. There were fundraisers to help defray his health bills, including a “Roni’s for Tony” pasta fundraiser that I remember quite well.
I’ve held the Albany City School District’s feet to the fire on more than one occasion about their shitty treatment of my old high school, how they squeezed it to death and then killed it off, and afterward griped about how it couldn’t survive adversity. That being said…
Last weekend, the building that was once the West Hill Preparatory School has been renamed in Tony Clement’s honor, as the new Tony Clement Center for Excellence.
And you know what this means …
The Tony Clement Center for Excellence now restores an alternative education curriculum to the Albany City School District.
I am not kidding.
Seven years after the Albany City School District shuttered Harriet Gibbons High School … they have finally come to their senses and provided a new alternative education program for middle and high school students in need. And they also did the right thing – they named it after a beloved man who cared deeply about the education and betterment of those in his schools.
And about freakin’ time, if you ask me.
So with that in mind, I’m looking forward to the progress of the Tony Clement Center for Excellence.
Because if it operates in as fine a level as the man for whom it is named…
Then truly, we will have an educational institution that helps those truly in need.