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ALUMNI ACHIEVERS attending 2009 Affair of HonorPhoto by Valerie Goodloe
Mothers cried. Fathers beamed.Â Sisters clapped and grandmothers said "Hallelujah!"The object of all this excitement? It was the 28th annual Affaire of Honor, the presentation of the 2009 Angel City Links' Achievers, some of the best and brightest Black high school seniors in Los Angeles, all headed for college and destined for great things. Since its inception, the award-winning and nationally recognized Affair of Honor has generated more than two million ($2,000, 000) in college scholarship funds. With the beneficence of more than $138,000 in scholarships awarded at the luncheon, this year's Achievers are slated to attend colleges all over the country, including California institutions, the Ivy League and the Historically Black Colleges. Inspired by Barack Obama's ascendancy to the Presidency of the United States, the Achievers chose as their theme this year, "The Sky is the Limit."Resplendent in their day-before-Easter refinery on April llth, the more than l000 audience members at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel caromed between rapt attention and boisterous enthusiasm as their young men were featured on a video narrated by the silky voice of Connecting Link Dr. Harold C. Haizlip and written by his wife, author and Link, Shirlee Taylor Haizlip. TV Anchor, Dave Clark, who is currently on air in the Bay Area, guided the program as its master of ceremonies.The excitement crescendoed as the tuxedoed Achievers received their individual Achiever medals and their scholarship and entrepreneur awards for college.The much-anticipated ceremony took place under the watchful eyes of Angel City Links' President, Helen Ketch, Program Coordinator Dora Mayo and the event Tri Chairs, Anjetta Bowles, Susan Cole Hill and Kim Lee. Assisting in every one of the multitude of tasks the major event requires, every member of the Angel City Chapter is required to put in dozens of hours to bring the program to a successful conclusion. For the first time, Tony Magee a motivational speaker and mentee of long-time Achiever mentor, John Alston, led the Achievers through a series of seminars and programs over a five-month period. Despite his absence because of illness, Alston was given his due as a deeply thoughtful and ever-inspiring force in the Achiever Program.As in recent years, a high point of the ceremonies was the awarding of scholarships by former Achievers.These men are college graduates who have become professionals and are now giving back to the program, which was a highlight of their high school experience and transition to manhood. Presiding proudly over Alumni Achievers was Link Harriett Rose, who was one of the founders of the Achiever Program. And the sight of many families and individuals from the community presenting their own awards was a reminder that it takes a village to send a child to college.Douglas Mills was named Achiever of the Year. The top three Entrepreneur Awards went to Joseph Croom, First; Randy Hawkins; Second, and Justin Hawkins-Young, Third.Every Achiever received monetary awards; some of the awards were based on family resources, others for participation in the program, and still others for entrepreneurial efforts in obtaining sponsorship ads for the 568- page commemorative Souvenir Book of the event.Achiever Cameron Marshall received a special monetary award for winning the Souvenir Book cover design competition.The forty four 2009 Angel City Links'Achievers who successfully completed the program and were presented at the Affaire of Honor are:Â Eran Bennett, Laurence Bledsoe, Dorian Branch, Darius Bratcher, II, Myles Bullock, Obdulio Carreras, Bryton Charles, Joseph Croom, Lamar Curry, Richard Davis, Randy Hawkins, Justin Hawkins-Young, Leslie Holloway, Eric Holoman, Primous Howard, III, Justin Humber, Kendall Jackson, Drew Johnson, Moriah Johnson, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Emmanuel Kashimbiri, Christian Knox, Damon Landry, Cameron Marshall, Justin May, Daniel McKinney, Douglas Mills, Mario Mottley II, Brandon Oates, Justin Ogunji, Justin Owens, Donnay Ragland, Jaleel Reed, Mark Reneau, Cameron Stokes, Marvin Taylor, Dominique Thierry, Bradford Tidwell, Christopher Turner, Darion Wallace, Jason Watkins, Deron Williams, Jr. Justyn Williams and Rian Younker. In addition to the President, the Program Coordinator, and the Tri-Chairs, members of the Angel City Links who put this program together are T. Jean Adenika, Cynthia Arnold, Alice Bowens, the Honorable Candace Cooper, Wanda Crim, Evette Dabney, Phyllis Fields, Linda Fuller, Dorothy Goodrich, Joan Whiteside Green, Shirlee Taylor Haizlip, Sonia Hall, Carol Johnson, Dr. Jeffalyn Johnson, Rory Johnson, Corliss Leathers, Paula Leftwich, Anita McCormick, Connie Meigs, Wilma Miller, Vicki Odom, Debbie Pattillo, Dana Perryman, Valerie Rae, Joi Rideout, Harriett Rose, Letia Royal-Burnett, Dr. Karen Hill Scott, Denise Smith-Wilson and Patsy Ward.Tom Cunningham produced the video and created the mammoth souvenir program, which was compiled by Link Norma Harris, Candace Cooper, Wanda Crim, Wilma Miller and Anjetta Bowles. The Ryan Cross Band provided background music and Terrica Banks, assisted by Edward Johnson, created the choreography, which introduced the Achievers as a group on stage.