Graduates receive scholarships from Cultural Society

Graduating students have benefitted from participation in “The Youth Black History Reality Show,” sponsored annually during Black History Month by the African American Cultural Society (AACS).

Students have made learning fun, showcasing the contingency of African-American achievers – namely, Frederick Douglass, James Weldon Johnson, Shirley Chisholm, Barack Obama, etc.

Tyler Swire

Scholarships have been awarded to the students, culminated by participation in the show, along with scholastic achievement, and represented by local churches and community.

The ninth annual scholarships were recently awarded at the AACS, giving $1,000 each to Tyler Swire of Matanzas High School and Jocelyn Crockett of Flagler Palm Coast High School.

Tyler’s mom, Hope Swire-Laws, accepted the scholarship since Tyler was on duty, serving in the National Guard in Orlando. He begins basic training at Fort Jackson, N.C., on Aug. 21 while serving in the Florida National Guard and Army and enrolled in business administration at Bethune-Cookman University.

Tyler has participated in “The Youth Black History Reality Show” since its inception.

Jocelyn, a Student Government Association Teen Trendsetter, is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. She will attend St. Johns River State College in St. Augustine where she plans to become a teacher like her mom, Susan Crockett.

She has served the past two years as emcee for “The Youth Black History Reality Show’’ and has been involved since the show’s inception.

SIP exposes students to art
The Flagler NAACP Youth and College Division and “Our Voices Thrive” (OVT) teen magazine have collaborated to create SIP, the Summer Internship Program in the Humanities and Performing Arts. Linda Sharpe Haywood is the NAACP branch president.

The Flagler County School District and the Flagler County sheriff’s office are both SIP co-sponsors, which is a first for the county to dedicate to mentoring and developing emerging young artists.

African American Cultural Society (AACS) president Edmund G. Pinto Jr. is shown with committee member Erma Brooks; Tyler Swire’s mom, Hope Swire-Laws; committee chairman Jeanette Wheeler; and AACS board chairman Richard Barnes.

The seven-week summer program began June 11 at Phoenix Academy. It’s designed to serve approximately 50 youth regardless of race, sex or creed and provide workshops in dance, drama, filmmaking, poetry, creative writing, photography, cultural enrichment and problem-solving.

Students are provided the opportunities to explore their talents, challenge their interests, and expose their minds to greater opportunities.

SIP has requested your partnership because most school budgets have been eliminated or have severely curtailed the humanities and art programs. James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Tyler Perry, Alvin Ailey, and Kenny Rogers are all artists who have benefitted from programs like SIP.

SIP lacks funds and appeals to you because its photography workshop is run with two cameras. The students use their own cell phones to take pictures and download the pictures to computers.

The Flagler school system has allowed the students to use the school’s computers.

Moreover, supplies are needed – notebooks, pens, markers, etc. Instructors, visiting lecturers and established artists/teachers have all committed their time and talent to this volunteer effort.

Once more, the ultimate field trip is an end-of-the-summer weekend to Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. Your generous resources also will enable the students to orchestrate a performing arts, end-of-the-summer production, “The Melting Pots.”

Scholarship winner Jocelyn Crockett poses with committee chairman Jeanette Wheeler.

It will link up with “Ashe,” an art show/performing arts performance, sponsored by the African American Cultural Society. So mark your calendars for this important date of Aug. 19 to attend “The Melting Pots.” More details will follow.

To help, contact Stephanie Ecklin, NAACP SIP administrator, at 386-675-3774 or Katrina Townsend, director of Student Services, Flagler County Public Schools, at 386-437-7526, ext. 2300, or e-mail

Obama office opening in Palm Coast
I’ve learned a lease has been signed and that President Barack Obama’s office will open in Palm Coast at 4882 Palm Coast Parkway. It will be near Sears Roebuck and Company.

Folding chairs, tables and office supplies are needed. However, all items will be returned after the presidential election in November.


As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted and bereaved.


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