The Long Is. Branch of the National Association of University Women (NAUW) on Sunday honored three prominent members of the community, recognized a member posthumously, made presentations to eight “Silver Members” and bestowed scholarship awards to seven college-bound students at the group’s gala 34th Annual Scholarship Awards Luncheon at the Long Island Marriot Hotel in Uniondale.
Dr. Yvette Morgan, of Jamaican parentage, received the Dr. Hilda A. Davis Distinguished Educator Award; Guyanese Richard Williams and Jamaican Wayne Spence received the Community Service Award; and Mavis Stevens was honored posthumously with the Johnnie Darthard Memorial Scholarship Award.
NAUW’s Long Is. Branch said the Dr. Hilda A. Davis Distinguished Educator Award was established in 1983 to honor a woman who had devoted her life to helping others personally and through affiliation with many organizations. Dr. Davis, who died in October 2001, was a dean, teacher and professor; she had retired from the University of Delaware in Newark.
The late Darthard was a gifted artist, entrepreneur and creative designer of unique handcrafted jewelry, whose business, “Darthard Creations,” was located on 125th Street in Harlem, NAUW Long Is. Branch said.
The eight NAUW’s Long Is. Branch members recognized as “Silver Members” for 25 years of continuous service were: Lily Campbell Evering, Dr. Betty Carrington, Lynn Carrington-Landeau, Vaunetta Darthard, Elsa Finlay Williams, Valerie Philpotts, Aletta Seales and Joyce Sullivan.
The scholarship recipients were: Kristina Spence, Jason Tomlinson, Brandon Stewart, Lauren Campbell, Avenelle Onaifo, Reann Wilson and Sebastian Bass.
The gala was graced by the presence of NAUW’s Northeast Sectional Director Ann Glover-Lingham; all 15 NAUW branches in the Northeast Section fall under her direction.
“On behalf of all of our members, we would like to extend our congratulations to each of the scholarship recipients this year,” said Melinda Cashwell Edwards, NAUW’s Long Is. Branch president, in her remarks. “We are excited to recognize your outstanding achievements in school and within your communities, and we want you to continue your efforts towards excellence as you embark on the next four years of your academic journey. Congratulations to your families for being your inspiration and supporting you today and always.
“Congratulations to the recipient of this year’s Dr. Hilda A. Davis Award, Dr. Yvette Morgan,” added Melinda Cashwell Edwards, a Queens resident, of Cuban and American parents. “Thank you for your dedication to education for so many years. Congratulations to our 2017 Community Service recipients, Mr. Wayne Spence and Mr. Richard Williams. You work effortlessly for your community, and we commend you.
“To the members that we are recognizing today, with 25-plus uninterrupted years as a member of the Long Island Branch, without your shoulders to stand on, our branch would not be where it is today,” she continued.
Morgan – who has served as the principal investigator of the St. John’s University GEAR UP/NYGEAR UP Program funded by the US Department of Education and New York State Higher Education Services Corporation since September 2001 – said she was “truly humbled to be in the presence of greatness.
“Without the power of the Holy Power, we’re nothing,” said Morgan, who earned her Ph. D in Literacy for Diverse and At Risk Learners from St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens, telling the scholarship recipients and youth that the pursuit of education is “a game changer.”
During his 24 years in state government working as a parole officer, Spence has been very active in the Public Employees Federation (PEF).
Before being elected PEF’s first African-American president, in June of 2015, he held numerous leadership positions, including vice president, shop steward, and division health and safety chair.
“I’m grateful for this honor,” said Spencer in receiving the award, urging the scholarship recipients not to give up on a sound education.
“I really don’t know what life will take you, but you [would] want to fall back on that education,” he added.
In addition to a “healthy Christian life,” Williams said he spent most of his days as a Pulmonary Respiratory Technologist, and continues to be an active member in the church, with the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. He is the president of the Queens Assembly and the vice president of Providence II.
“It is, indeed, an honor to accept this award,” said Williams, who has volunteered at St. John’s Hospital in Far Rockaway, on numerous occasions, dropping off food supplies donated by various churches and then assisting in their distribution. He also assisted in planting flowers around the hospital and collected toys for needy children in the area.
Stevens had joined NAUW’s Long Is. Branch in 1988 and was active for 10 years. During this time, Cashwell Edwards said she served as first and second vice president, and worked with the planning committee of the 1997 North East Sectional Conference in 1994.
Stevens returned to the Long Island Branch in 2015 and died a year later, Cashwell Edwards said. Her granddaughters Zoe and Ciara Stevens received the award in remembrance of their grandmother.
Scholarship recipient Spence is a senior at The Chapin School in New York City. Her passion for social justice has led her to apply to Northeastern and Wesleyan universities. She intends to pursue a degree in Africana Studies and Communications.
Tomlinson, who attends La Guardia High School in NYC, is very interested in music engineering and recording technology. He plans to major in business administration of media communications at State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego or at Howard or Ohio University.
Stewart is currently a senior at the Scholars Academy High School in Rockaway Park, Queens. He is a member of the National Honor Society and a delegate to the State of New York Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders. He plans to major in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland or Georgia Institute of Technology.
Campbell attends St. John’s Preparatory School in Queens, where she chairs the National Honor Society, and serves as member of the Catholic Workers and Zen International Camp. Her goal is to help foster and build a tolerant world free of oppression. She has applied to Harvard, Brown, and Princeton universities.
Onaifo attends Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead, New York. She is a science Olympiad, a yearbook photographer, a DuPont Essay participant and a Spark Challenge participant. Her goal is to pursue a degree in the field of science at either Brown, Princeton, Columbia or Harvard.
Reann Wilson, who attends Malverne High School in Malverne, Long Is., is a member of the National Honor Society and the Set Crew for school musicals. She has applied to Stony Brook University, and City University of New York (CUNY) Baruch and Hunter colleges.
Bass attends Elmont Memorial High School in Long Island. He is a musician, who plays percussion, and plays on the school’s baseball, basketball and swimming teams. But he said his true passion is photography and was influenced by his uncle. He has been accepted at Long Is. University and SUNY Purchase.