Funding the dream
Published 8:51 pm Monday, January 19, 2015
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a scholarship foundation honoring the memory of an Old Dominion University graduate who shared the civil rights leader’s focus on education held a fundraising brunch in North Suffolk.
The S. Delois Mayes Scholarship Foundation raises money to provide two scholarships of $2,000 to worthy public high school seniors in Suffolk.
Ebony Wright, president of the foundation, said Suffolk is the focus, because the last time she saw her sister was in the city. Mayes died on her way home to Georgia 13 years ago after visiting Wright.
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Keynote speaker at Monday’s brunch, held at the Hilton Garden Inn Harbour View, was Brandi Cummings of WAVY-TV.
“She talked a little bit about Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream, and also covered a couple of personal things about her dream and her journey,” Wright said.
“She talked about shaping the future and how we should give back and serve — things of that nature.”
Wright said she incorporated the foundation, because her sister was a strong proponent of education. She also championed diversity, Wright added.
The brunch was about celebrating King, who would have turned 86 last Thursday. “We wanted to use the opportunity to celebrate him and also raise money,” Wright said.
The program also included brief remarks by Orlando St. Louis II, one of last year’s scholarship recipients after graduating from Lakeland High School.
Louis, who majors in business at Virginia State University, spoke about what the foundation did for him, “and how it helps his mom to help him with school,” Wright said.
A short film paying tribute to King was shown, and Nansemond River High School student Vera Shinard spoke about what King’s dream means to her.
“She talked about the country evolving and how things are much different than how they were then,” Wright said, “and just the importance of King’s achievements and the sacrifices he made to get us to where we are today as a united country.”
“She spoke about current events and how we need to move past those events,” she added.
Various foundation supporters attended the brunch, Wright said. She listed Suffolk Police Department, Chesapeake-based Camelot Youth Association and Virginia Beach-based Tidewater Volleyball Association among the groups represented.
“We had about 50 people,” she said.
The next round of scholarship recipients is due to be announced May 1. The deadline for applications is Feb. 1.
“Right now we don’t have a lot of applicants,” Wright said. “However, we have it listed on (Suffolk Public Schools’) Scholarship Hub and individually at each school.
“The cost of education is expensive, and anything we can do to help someone is our goal.”
For more information about the scholarship, call 279-8354 or visit www.sdmscholarshipfoundation.com.