“The 100” gives scholarships to SLA graduating seniors

The 2019/2020 Saturday Leadership Academy Annual Youth Achievement Closing Ceremony was unlike any ever held before.  It occurred on May 23rd, in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.  To ensure the safety of our Saturday Leadership Academy students, what is normally a face-to-face celebration of the hard work and accomplishments of spectacular African American young men and boys was changed to a virtual ceremony conducted on the Zoom platform.  Despite the change in format, the event was more festive, and the emotion more powerful than any SLA closing ceremony in the chapter’s 25-year history.

The event began with a call-to-order by Mentoring Committee Chairman, David Bowers, and a welcome and recognition of sponsors Nissan and Truist, from Chapter President, James Thompson.  Next, was a very special sharing of “Wisdom of the Elders”.  This included:

  • 100 Black Men members speaking directly to Collegiate 100 graduating seniors
  • Collegiate 100 seniors speaking directly to Saturday Leadership Academy graduating seniors
  • Saturday Leadership Academy seniors speaking directly to SLA underclassmen.

While every word that was shared demonstrated the deep bonds created through the SLA, the heartfelt communication from Mentoring Committee Chairman, David Bowers, to Collegiate 100 member, Alexander Stephens, epitomized the love, support, inspiration, and power of what the Saturday Leadership Academy represents.

“WISDOME OF THE ELDERS” – DAVID BOWERS TO ALEXANDER STEPHENS

There was a moment.  I don’t know when.

A moment when you wondered – “Can I do this?”

And now here you are.

There was a moment.  I don’t know when.

A moment when you dreamed some of your dream, but not all of it.

What will you do now?

There was a moment.  I don’t know when.

A moment when you said what you meant, but only meant some of what you said.

And today – the universe asks – are you ready.

There was a moment.  I don’t know when.

A moment when doubt, and anxiety, and fear, and not knowing tried to rule the day.

And yet somehow you were able to navigate those waters and come through on the other side.

There is a moment.

A moment when you are invited and challenged to be you, and then some.

To pull and stretch.

To lift. 

To press.

To be all that your family imagined you could be the day you were born.

To sing the song the world needs to hear.

To say the word a person needs to hear.

To build.

To connect.

To open what needs to be opened and close what needs to be closed.

There is a moment. 

Your moment.

And it.

Is.

Now.

God bless you Alex.

We are proud that 100% of our Saturday Leadership Academy graduating seniors will be attending college, so to wrap-up the 2019/2020 SLA Annual Youth Achievement Closing Ceremony, we wanted to give our graduating seniors a special gift.  Typically, we’d do a check presentation in-person at the event.  Since this wasn’t possible, due to adhering to social distancing guidelines, we adapted and came up with a new plan. 

Unbeknownst to the students, we dispatched 100 members to drive to the home of each graduating senior to present them with a $4,000 scholarship check.  The graduates, Dominic Harold, De’Andre Williams, Nyheim McIntyre, Donovan Parker, and Jaden Crosson were surprised, and to see the excitement and joy on their faces was priceless. 

Their dedication to hard work and personal achievement was only matched by our dedication to them.  It was an incredibly special day, and a closing ceremony worthy of recognition on the Anniversary of our 25th year of service in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

#MentoringNeverStops #100BlackMen

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