Kings and Queens awarded

Published 9:35 pm Saturday, April 25, 2009

A group of Suffolk children received crowns, tiaras and plaques recently from a man who has spent 20 years finding ways to honor and lift up kids in the city.

Curtis Jackson started his Kings and Queens project in 2007. Children from 4 to 13 were chosen to participate each year.

“They were asked lots of questions about different things, they were taught how to set a table the right way and participated in a singing contest,” he said recently.

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Among the rewards they received were cookouts, dinner at Fire Mountain Restaurant, certificates, trophies, ribbons, plaques and even monetary donations. The participating kids knew him as “Mr. Event,” he said.

The Kings and Queens project was just the latest in a string of such efforts for Jackson, who started in 1989 with an Easter egg hunt and taking children out for Halloween in the Nansemond Square community.

He repeated both events over the years, adding activities such as finding the lucky egg, walking with an egg in a spoon, rollerblades, a relay race, a skate race, sack races, a bicycle race and a spelling bee.

After 13 years, he started collecting school supplies, with the help of Suffolk City Councilman Curtis Milteer and School Superintendent Milton Liverman, he said.

This year’s Kings and Queens project is to be his last, Jackson said.

“I enjoyed the 20 years that I put into these events, and I have the almighty God in heaven to thank for that,” he said. “Now, I must say farewell to give someone else the opportunity to step up and plan something good for the children.”