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CU gives Local Hero Award
Ithaca, NY. During this year's Martin Luther King Holiday Breakfast we
celebrated and extended the work of Dr. King. The breakfast took place in a
school known only as "Central" when my daughter attended. Today the name and
spirit of the school bring alive the spirit of a local hero: Beverly J
Martin. I was involved in one part of the ceremony, the "local heroes"
recognition section: the awarding of the first annual Beverly J Martin
Beverly J Martin was the first affirmative action officer in the Ithaca City
School System and a mentor for many students and staff. Tompkins County
Economic Opportunity Corporation set up a scholarship fund to memorialize
her. As a member of the scholarship team, I was part of the effort to raise
funds and identify the graduating senior that most exemplified the character
of Beverly J Martin.
The fund raising for this scholarship created something unique. We worked
with Ithaca Hours to print local money, to sell that money, and use the
proceeds to start the scholarship fund. The Beverly J Martin Ithaca Hour is
the first US paper money to celebrate an African-American. When you donate
$10 to the scholarship fund, you will receive a Beverly J Martin Hour to
collect, frame, or spend as $10 wherever Ithaca Hours are accepted.
Our interview team for this award expected to nudge some information out of
these graduating high school seniors to find a diamond in the rough, but it
didn't work that way. We found people not only of academic achievement but
of personal accomplishment. I was totally impressed and humbled by the
nominees. They were awake to the possibility of their own lives. They solved
for themselves the issues of peer pressure. They have goals and the personal
will power and dedication to accomplish goals. They spoke of their mentors;
and I grew proud of our community's support system: coaches, teachers,
I am proud to be a part of raising funds for the future education of the
nominees, though frankly, I trust them to make it on their own. These are
local heroes already. We recognize them for what they have already achieved
and what they expect themselves to do in the future.
A framed commemorative recognizes Diallo House as the first recipient of the
Beverly J Martin Scholarship Award. The plaque will be placed in Greater
Ithaca Activities Communit Center, with space reserved for future heroes.
Bill Myers, Alternatives@pobox.com
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