FONTANA, CA- A morning full of inspirational family support, community pride and student celebration. The Inland Empire Alliance of Black School Educators (IEABSE) presented “It Takes a Village” 2016 Scholarship Celebration on Saturday April 16 at the Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Center in Fontana. With the room filled to capacity, over forty scholarships were awarded to Inland Empire High School students for their academic achievements, community service, perseverance and leadership. This event was sponsored by Black Voice Foundation and New Life Christian Church. The scholarship donors were comprised of local organizations and businesses as well as individuals who desire to see Inland Empire students thrive in their educational aspirations. Long time scholarship donor Dina Walker, President of BLU Educational Foundation, stated “Saturday’s ceremony was philanthropy at its best! We see businesses, community, faith-based organizations and individuals contributing to secure the educational futures of our children”.
Mayor Acquanetta Warren of Fontana welcomed the audience to the growing city of Fontana and gave an encouraging message that focused on working together as a community to use education as a tool to attract resources to the Inland Empire region. The highlight of the morning was a series of what IEABSE has coined the “Reveals”. This is a similar process to when a student athlete selects their college choice on national signing day. IEABSE highlighted five stellar students from the entire group of scholarship awardees. Each student was joined on stage by family members and their most influential educators. On the table were their top four college considerations. Their parents began by talking about their children’s challenges, achievements and special qualities. In the short time the parents spoke the audience had an opportunity to peer into the lives of the students and identify with the awesome importance of their future educational decisions. As the anticipation rose to a height, the student was given the microphone and either unrolled a diploma or reported their choice to and audience of cheers. Audience members were both impressed and inspired. “This was an epic and historic celebration of black youth achievement in the classroom, in life and at play. I found the entire experience moving, inclusive, & inspirational celebration of black youth achievement.” Rev Benita Ramsey, Jordan- Rustin Social Justice fund.
Inland Empire high school administrators, teachers, coaches and counselors were also on hand to encourage their students and celebrate in their triumphs. “The reveals were exceptional, allowing both parents and students to speak and key supporters to be acknowledged” Linda Wing, Ph.D. Chief of Information and Accountability. Rancho Cucamonga High School, Arlington High School and Summit High School seniors walked away with fifteen of the forty-three scholarship opportunities. The goal of the Scholarship Celebration was to offer family members, educators and community members an opportunity to celebrate and focus on the accomplishments of local African American students. The ceremony left students motivated, parents hopeful, and donors reassured. Gwen Dowdy-Rodgers, Founder, Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation (YWE) and parent of a prior recipient declared “With so many of our students needing educational support Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation was happy to be able to provide a deserving student a scholarship thanks to IEABE’s community outreach”.
The Scholarship Celebration precedes the IEABSE annually hosted Inland Empire High School Black Graduation Recognition Ceremony (I.E. Black Grad). The I.E. Black Grad is the largest High School Black Graduation Recognition Ceremony in Southern CA and will be held May 14th, 2016, on campus at California State University, San Bernardino, where over two thousand individuals are expected to attend. For more information please contact IEABSE directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.