Photos by Rochelle Porter
On Friday, January 24th, the local San Diego Chapter of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) hosted their “A Mind Is….” Gala awards ceremony in the Grand Pavilion at the Four Points Sheraton at 8110 Aero Drive in San Diego. Hosted by Omari Fleming, reporter for Channel 7, the event was one of several events held by local UNCF chapters throughout the country to celebrate UNCF’s 75th year anniversary.
UNCF San Diego presented four $2,000 scholarships to local students intending to go to an Historically Black College or University (HBCUs). Trailblazer awards were given to San Diego District 4 Councilmember Monica Montgomery and La Mesa City Councilmember Akilah Weber, both of whom are HBCU graduates honored for “making a difference in our community.”
Local students awarded at last Friday’s event include: Kylen Dent (3.72 GPA), a first-year student at Morehouse College who plans to become a Biotech Engineer; Sydney Joyce Kelley (3.02 GPA), a sophomore at Florida A&M University who plans to become a Physician’s Assistant; Endiya Griffin (4.0 GPA), currently enrolled in both Mesa College and San Diego Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical High School who will attend Howard University for a degree in Ethnographic Journalist; and Zyah Cephus (3.8 GPA), currently a senior at Patrick Henry High School, who will attend South Carolina State University.
Over three hundred attended Friday’s celebration and there was a strong HBCU presence. Event Host Omar Fleming is an HBCU graduate of Hampton Mass, Councilmember Montgomery is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, and Councilmenber Weber is a graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, LA, to name a few.
UNCF-San Diego’s mission, in keeping with the national organization, is to raise funds to promote educational excellence and leadership among African Americans and to help UNCF’s 37-member HBCU network of colleges and universities thrive. The UNCF San Diego Scholarship Endowment Campaign, in partnership with the HBCU Alumni San Diego Chapter, has raised nearly $40,000.00 in scholarship funds, The group has future plans to launch an annual Black College Weekend Celebration in San Diego, in partnership with the HBCU Alumni San Diego Chapter who held the HBCU Expo on Saturday, January 25th.