The schools superintendent said there is too much testing but that many careers require testing to advance.

Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Donald E. Fennoy II said Thursday that while he believes there is too much testing in public schools, standardized tests are a necessary part of life.

Speaking at the Urban League of Palm Beach County’s eighth Annual Youth Empowerment Luncheon at the Marriott Hotel, Fennoy said many professionals such as engineers must pass tests in order to advance in their career. He said that while Florida “has manipulated tests in a way that I don’t like,” there will always be situations where testing is required to prove one's proficiency in order to move on to the next stage and cited certifications an an example.

Fennoy’s comments were in response to questions posed during a short question-and-answer session with two students who are members of the Urban League’s youth program – Sterling Shipp of Palm Beach Gardens High and Donyea James of American Heritage School.

 The theme of the luncheon focused on the importance of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum and Fennoy, responding to the students, said Palm Beach County is leading the state in the number of minorities enrolled in STEM education.

On the topic of internships, Fennoy said he is working to expand opportunities for students.

Other highlights of the event included naming the Rev. Kevin L. Jones winner of the Community Champion Award for his work as an advocate for young people. Jones is the coordinator of community initiatives for West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio.

A NULITES Success Story also was featured. NULITES aims to provide kids with opportunities for personal and leadership development.

Twin brothers Kelvin and Kaleb Rolle, 13-year-old eighth-graders at Roosevelt Middle School, told their story of losing their father to cancer when they were 3, which meant their mother was left to raise them and a sibling on her own. They said the Urban League's programs instilled in them the values of hard work, determination and perseverance, which were key to helping them start their own T-shirt business.