By: David DiPino Contributing Writer
Delray Beach has scored a trifecta in the All-America City award category.
Thanks to student progress and success of a program focused on boosting school attendance and reading initiatives, the city outshined others from around the U.S. to win its third All-America City award.
Delray Beach’s schoolchildren achieved an astronomical increase in reading initiatives and attendance which was backed up with data calculated from the School District of Palm Beach County. The City of Delray Beach celebrated the award with residents at a 2017 All-America City Award ceremony featuring an enormous cake marking the occasion and a Motown Tribute concert by N2 Nation.
“Great job by Janet Meeks (Delray Beach education coordinator) a long-time city employee. Congratulations to all,” said Valerie Smith, past president of the Delray Beach Orchid Society.
Delray Beach is the only city in the state of Florida to win the award three times: 1993, 2001 and 2017.
Bill Bathurst, a long-time Delray Beach resident, realtor at Golden Bear Realty, 217 NE Fourth St., Delray Beach, echoed the congratulatory sentiment.
“It takes a village,” Bathurst said.
John Fischer, founder of Code 3 Events, Inc., a non-profit supporting the Delray Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade and supporter of the community on a daily basis with endeavors of charity to numerous causes, and as president of the Rotary Club, said many team members pull the oars in that water.
“Our Rotary Club of Delray Beach just handed out a $10,000 check in education scholarships to ten Atlantic High School students. Each and every year, we place a brand new Webster’s Dictionary into the hands of every Third grade Elementary School student in Delray Beach,” said Fischer.
Former Delray Beach Mayor Jay Alperin also echoed that the award is not just for one person in the city but that the accolade and praise should be shared citywide and to those who served the city before current city commission and board members.
“Let us not forget under whose leadership the program that won us this award began. (Former) mayor Woodie McDuffie, Janet Meeks was the driving leader with much help from Joe Gillie (former president of Old School Square) not to mention dozens of other citizens, educators and many former employees. I feel confident when I say the kudos are missing to what amounts to hundreds, maybe thousands of people who made this work,” Alperin said.
Bob Weider, aka “Bobby Delray” retired to the All-America City after a career as an entertainment cruise director. It’s hard to find anyone enjoying their retirement around Delray Beach more than Weider.
“Congratulations to Delray Beach and to the entire team of people that made this third-time award for Delray Beach to happen,” said Bob Weider, who attended the celebration at Old School Square. “I love Downtown Delray Beach!”
Wider enjoyed cake by the beach at the festivities before N2 Nation jammed a jazzy set.
“This is why I love Delray,” Simona Jacoel said.