NAACP Banquet

Members of the Terrebonne Parish NAACP gave big this year.

But so did three restaurants, a doctor and an actor.

It was a big night Saturday at the 37th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet. Local NAACP Chapter President Jerome Boykin Sr. said over 1,000 tickets were sold.

The Terrebonne Parish NAACP Chapter awarded $31,000 to 31 Terrebonne Parish High School students, ($1,000 each) who won the organization’s annual scholarship.

Boykin said 11 Platinum Sponsors donated $5,000 or more to the organization, and 51 Corporate Sponsors donated between $1,000 and $4,000.

Three of the Corporate Sponsors presented big checks: Texas Roadhouse, $25,000; Mike Fesi founder and chairman of Pipeline Construction and Maintenance, $10,000; and Walk-On’s, $5,000.

But this year’s showstoppers were Dr. Patrick Walker of Houma, winner of the 2019 President’s Award, and Actor/Rapper Romeo Miller, guest speaker for the night, who each announced they would sponsor and adopt one of the 31 scholarship winners, and pay for their entire collection tuition over the four years they remained in school.

Walker actually made the first announcement, calling to adopt the students as a challenge.

“What I am proposing tonight is for one of the corporate companies to sponsor one student, and they provide the full four year tuition scholarship for that student,” he said. “Furthermore, I am going to lead by example. The Scripture says that it is better to give than it is to receive. So I will be the first sponsor of one of the 2019 college recipients and I will provide the full four-year tuition scholarship. I will also act as mentor for that student, and I will provide as much information as I can, during their four years in college.”

Miller got to the podium and accepted the doctor’s challenge.

“My next movie check, I’m going to donate that to one of the college students for their tuition,” Miller said. “To all of the students, this is just the beginning of your lives. Do the right thing, and you will get a pat on the back for it. Each of you can change your corner of the world.”

Boykin called Walker and Miller, heart-minded individuals.

“This is a win-win situation when you have people who participate on your program and see the need for creating scholarships for kids who go to college,” Boykin said.

The NAACP president said Monday, both Miller and Walker asked that the NAACP form a committee within the organization to decide how each student would be chosen, although on Saturday, Walker said he would be interested in a student majoring in the medical field, while Miller said he would be interested in sponsoring someone in business, or film.

Terrebonne Parish Council Chairman Arlanda Williams presented a community service award to Boykin, for the work he has done with the NAACP, over the past 22 years. (Williams also presented the award on behalf of Councilman John Navy, who was not present.)

“Don’t stop your work, because at the end of the day, we’re both going to say, may the work I’ve done speak for me,” Williams said.

The 2019 Scholarship winners are listed, along with their high school and intended college:

Tranace Alexander, Ellender High School, University of Louisiana, Lafayette; Joshua Barker, Vandebilt Catholic High School, LSU; Anastasia Billiot, H.L. Bourgeois, Southern University, Michel Claudet Scholarship; Johneika Bruce, H. L. Bourgeois, Southern University, LPEA Scholarship; Reaonna Cage, H. L. Bourgeois, University of New Orleans; Areana Celestin, Terrebonne High School, Xavier University, New Orleans; Madeline Cenac, Vandebilt Catholic High School, LSU; Marianna Charles, H.L. Bourgeois, Delgado Community College; Alex Detiveaux, H.L. Bourgeois, University of Louisiana, Lafayette; Maximillian Doyle, Vandebilt Catholic High School, LSU; Jazmine Ezell, Vandebilt Catholic High School, Xavier University, Rouses’ Scholarship; Alaysha Fleming, H.L. Bourgeois, LSU; Chloe Fleming, South Terrebonne High School, Southern University; Tylian Francois, Ellender High School, Fletcher Community College; Sadie Ganier, Vandebilt Catholic High School, Nicholls State University; Chelsea Gibson, Terrebonne High School, Southern University, Michel Claudet Scholarship; Tristen Gorrell, Terrebonne High School, Southern University; Carlie Hay, Vandebilt Catholic High School, Sanford University, LPFA Scholarship; Taylor Jackson, H.L. Bourgeois, Southern University, LPFA Scholarship; Lindzey Joseph, Ellender High School, Xavier University, Rouses’ Scholarship; Torey Joseph, Ellender High School, Nicholls State University; Tyrese Joseph, Ellender High School, Nicholls State University; Tyrone Joseph, Ellender, Nicholls State University; James Matherne, South Terrebonne High School, LSU, LPFA Scholarship; Terris McKay, Ellender High School, Nicholls State University; Brennan Patterson, Vandebilt Catholic High School, Nicholls State University; Tyrez Smith, Terrebonne High School, Southern University; Lindsey Spence, Vandebilt Catholic High School, LSU; Jazmine Spencer, H.L. Bourgeois, Nicholls State University; Jada Stewart, Houma Christian, Southern University; Bria Swan, H.L. Bourgeois, Nicholls State University; and John Trapp, Vandebilt Catholic High School, LSU. •

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