By Sarah Williams –
Thirteen boys and girls inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gathered at Brown Temple CME Church recently to celebrate a summer of reading.
For these students, keeping their reading goals in the forefront was most important.
Rev. Inez D. Ray offered a prayer and welcomed everyone who came to celebrate with these conscientious students. Former IMA President Rev. Damita Jo Wilder made opening remarks to congratulate and encourage the young achievers, each of whom was introduced to the audience before being recognized for their accomplishments and awarded prizes and Certificates of Achievement. Mrs. Eula Shaw, a retired teacher and the educational consultant for the program, reminded everyone of the benefits of summer reading, and—equally important—of parents promoting reading activities at home.
Research shows that reading four to five books during the summer can potentially help students perform at higher levels during the school year. At the beginning of the summer, 33 students signed up to read 30 minutes a day for six weeks. Fifteen of them, who persevered, will begin the 2019-20 school year without having lost any of the reading knowledge they had gained during the previous school year.
Two former achievers addressed the young students, motivating them to envision future successes in their lives.
Danielle Hall-White is a cosmetologist and owner of Salon Roche. She emphasized that the students must not allow negative comments to discourage them. When she was in the 4th grade, she admitted, she was not a good student—“a crawler” is how she described herself. But eventually, teachers and others encouraged her and she began to believe in herself. She credits her success to setting goals and working diligently to achieve them. She encouraged the students to do the same—to set goals and not let anyone tell them what they can or cannot do.
Kareemah Lewis grew up in Hillcrest Apartments and excelled in her school studies. She became Assistant Solicitor General of Fulton County (Atlanta), Georgia, and president of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Foundation. She told the students, “There’s a purpose for me being here today. God wanted me to share a message with all of you, especially the children. The future is in your hands.”
“Dreaming above and beyond where you are right now, thinking above your present circumstances, will lead you to consider all your possibilities. If you know the power of possibility, nothing can stop you.
“I want you to consider today: Who are you? Repeat after me. I am divinely and purposefully made. That means God made you for a particular purpose. Your job is to figure out what that purpose is. Always seek Him,” said Kareemah.
Outstanding readers who took home special prizes were Bryson Montgomery (2nd grade), who read 24 books and received a Samsung tablet; Shomar Darity (7th grade), who read 12 books and also received a Samsung tablet; and Joemar Darity (7th grade), who read 11 books and received a fitbit. All other achievers received $10.
The Urban News joins with the IMA in congratulating all the students who were so determined to excel this summer. They are all winners.