National Writing Project

Jim Gray Gets Special Recognition from NCTE

By: NWP Staff
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 9, No. 1
Date: 2004

Summary: NWP founder Jim Gray received the Distinguished Partners in Learning award at the 2003 M. R. Robinson Dinner at the NCTE Annual Convention. Gray was honored for the groundbreaking work that led to the creation of the Bay Area Writing Project and the National Writing Project.

 

James Gray, founder of the National Writing Project, was among seven Distinguished Partners in Learning honored at the 2003 M.R. Robinson Dinner. The dinner and awards ceremony, sponsored by Scholastic and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), was held at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel as part of the festivities surrounding the council’s annual November convention.

While this is the first year that the event has honored important contributors to the profession, the M. R. Robinson Dinner has been going on since 1932. Back then, in an expression of professional dedication that dwarfs that of even the most committed of their modern day counterparts, members of NCTE actually met right up against Thanksgiving Day. Moved by the steadfastness of this hearty band, M.R. (Robbie) Robinson, the founder of Scholastic, decided to honor those who would not be at home for turkey by providing a traditional all-the-fixings Thanksgiving feast. The event has been held every year since, with Robbie Robinson reading each year, until his death in 1979, the same brief speech from an “unnamed sponsor” whose words honored the work of teachers. Since then, Robbie Robinson’s son Richard Robinson, current chairman of the board at Scholastic, has carried on the tradition. This year one thousand guests attended.

Gray was singled out for recognition by NCTE for his groundbreaking work that led to the foundation of the Bay Area Writing Project and the National Writing Project and also for his involvement with the Central California Council of Teachers of English and his successful efforts to establish NCTE’s James Moffett Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Other honorees included Richard Robinson children’s literature advocate Rudine Sims Bishop, San Diego School administrator and former California Association of Teachers of English president Kermeen “Punky” Fristrom, former NCTE president Jesse Perry, and Puente Project founders Patricia McGrath and Felix Galaviz.

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