2003-01-25 / Front Page

‘Partnership For Success’ Honors Local Essay Winners

By Gary G. Toms

'Partnership For Success' Honors Local Essay Winners


Dr. Sylvia Walker, a Howard University professor, was the moderator for the event.Dr. Sylvia Walker, a Howard University professor, was the moderator for the event.

The Partnership for Success (which includes the Howard University Research and Training Center (HURTC), The AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC), the Federation of Employment and Guidance Services (FEGS), the Joseph P. Addabbo Community Resource Center, the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC), Chase Manhattan Bank - Far Rockaway, Century 21, and the Walker-Thomas Fund for Social Advancement) recently sponsored an awards ceremony and luncheon at Gino's Restaurant in Far Rockaway. The event, held on January 20, was a follow-up to a writing workshop that was presented on November 23, 2002, by the Walker-Thomas Fund for Social Advancement.

The workshop gave Far Rockaway students, ranging from 12 to 15 years of age, the opportunity to submit essays entitled "My Career Goals," and from the many entries, the group chose five essays as outstanding.

Dr. Sylvia Walker, Director for HURTC, and a professor at the Center for Disability and Socioeconomic Policy Studies (School of Education) at Howard University, served as the moderator. Walker, who is legally blind, told an awestruck crowd how she battled racism, as a black woman and a person with a physical handicap, while obtaining her extensive list of academic credentials, including her doctorate.

"I was determined to succeed in life. I was not going to let my disability keep me from achieving my goals," said Walker.


The audience was awed by Walker's story of determination and courage. She battled racism within the educational system and a physical handicap (blindness) while obtaining her doctorate.The audience was awed by Walker's story of determination and courage. She battled racism within the educational system and a physical handicap (blindness) while obtaining her doctorate.

"That is what this program is all about. Giving young people a chance to find themselves and pursue their dreams. If I did it, then they can to."

Malcolm Bell won a $100 first prize and certificate for his essay about becoming a computer programmer. Other award winners included Daryl Merriweather, Radiante Harris, Omowumi Famusesan, and Leopold Lydell. They each received a $25 prize and an award certificate. Miguel Franqui, who was not present, was also recognized for an essay submitted in a previous competition.

Several notable members of the Rockaway community served as guest speakers during the celebration. Eleanor Reyna (Education Coordinator for RDRC), Rachel Forde (Director of Workforce Development, RDRC), Selwyn Karp (Board Member, The Walker-Thomas Fund), Steven Bryant (Century 21), and The Wave's own Gary G. Toms (Associate Editor) all praised the youngsters for their accomplishments and urged them to continue writing.

Winston Gilchrist, Executive Producer and host for Manhattan cable's "The Gilchrist Experience", which airs on Channel 34, videotaped the event. Gilchrist plans to broadcast the ceremony on a future show, and he will be working with Queens Public Access Television producers to have it shown in Rockaway.


Rachel Forde, of the Rockaway Development and Revitalizatiuon Corporation (RDRC), was one of several guest speakers at the event.Rachel Forde, of the Rockaway Development and Revitalizatiuon Corporation (RDRC), was one of several guest speakers at the event.

In addition to the November 23 workshop, the Partnership for Success has sponsored a number of activities for students, including a trip to Howard University and an "open house" at the New York City College of Technology. The activities, awards and luncheons are designed to encourage students in Far Rockaway to strive for their highest goal.

"We are so proud of all the children who took part in the contest, and we encourage them to continue submitting essays," stated Walker.

"I grew up in the Rockaways, and this program is a way of giving back to my community and the children. We must continue to encourage, educate, and cultivate them. They are the future."


First-prize winner Malcolm Bell detailed how he plans to become a computer programmer in his essay.First-prize winner Malcolm Bell detailed how he plans to become a computer programmer in his essay.
Radiante Harris is probably a big fan of the CBS hit "CSI." Her essay noted that she wants to become a crime scene forensic scientist.Radiante Harris is probably a big fan of the CBS hit "CSI." Her essay noted that she wants to become a crime scene forensic scientist.

Call him "Dr. Love!" Leopold Lydell plans to pursue a career in dentistry.Call him "Dr. Love!" Leopold Lydell plans to pursue a career in dentistry.
Daryl Merriweather beamed with pride while accepting her award. "I'm going to be a success, no matter what!" said Merriweather.Daryl Merriweather beamed with pride while accepting her award. "I'm going to be a success, no matter what!" said Merriweather.

Omowumi Famusesan's essay outlined her plans to become a lawyer and help people.Omowumi Famusesan's essay outlined her plans to become a lawyer and help people.
The winners pose with guest speakers and supporters.The winners pose with guest speakers and supporters.

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