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African American scholarship dinner Saturday

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The Register-Mail
Posted Apr 17, 2008 @ 10:26 AM


The Support Group for African American Affairs will continue its goal to support the progress of African Americans in Galesburg by hosting its ninth annual scholarship dinner on Saturday.

The event honors African American students and raises money for future events.

“There aren’t many organizations in town that honor African American youth,” said Wendel Hunigan, president of SGAAA and chair of the dinner. “We’re here to support positive things in the community.”

Last year $4,000 in scholarships were given to college-bound high school seniors and junior high students who were recognized as high achievers. SGAAA awards scholarships along with the W.C. & Thelma Jackson Memorial Foundation Scholarship and the Pete Thierry athletic award.

“Last year was a huge success and we want to build on that,” said Robert Hellenga, member of SGAAA. “The main aim is to provide scholarships to African American graduating seniors who are planning on going to college.”

Hunigan said previous winners of the scholarships have had success in college. One recipient went to the University of Chicago and is studying to become a doctor while another went to the University of Illinois and plans on becoming a chemist.

“We’re not a large organization,” said Hunigan. “It shows how a few people can make a difference in the community.”

The dinner will be in the Main Lobby at Carl Sandburg College at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. There will be entertainment by Greg Vickers.

The keynote address will be given by Naomi Law, a Galesburg native who received her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State university and her masters from the University of Illinois. She has worked for the Joliet Public Schools and Oak Park Schools in Illinois and written several articles and books.

“We’re just hoping we can defray some of the high costs,” said Hunigan. “We just want to recognize a job well done.”

Hunigan said several individuals and Galesburg businesses donated money for the scholarships and will be taking pledges at the dinner for next year’s scholarships. The organization is working to obtain tax-exempt status.

“Then we’ll be able to go off and solicit to a larger group of people,” said Hunigan.

In addition to awarding the scholarships, SGAAA has donated money to the Boys and Girls Club and sent students to College for Kids at Knox College. They will also be holding a Juneteenth celebration in commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation this summer. It will be a block party with a barbecue, music and games for the kids.

“Juneteenth is one of the oldest celebrations for African Americans,” said Hunigan. “It’s like a big picnic.”



Written by Symphony

April 18, 2008 at 6:03 pm

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