Facebook pixel King Birthday Celebration: 'We’re Better Together'

King Birthday Celebration: 'We’re Better Together'

Michael McMillanInspiring speeches and recognition of excellence in the community were the focus of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration presented by St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley and North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice.  

The Jan. 18 event was completely virtual due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to avoid large public gatherings. 

Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides social services, spoke on the celebration’s theme, “We’re Better Together.”

Barbara Thompson and Rance ThomasEmerson Electric Co. received the 2022 Dr. Rance Thomas Excellence in Community Partnership Award. The award is presented to an individual or organization that best reflects service that improves the entire community. Emerson was recognized for its collaboration with STLCC on many initiatives, most recently the Emerson STEM Academy at STLCC-Florissant Valley. Emerson provided a $1 million grant that was used to create a dedicated tutoring and learning space, cover the costs of books and materials for students, and provide transportation and enrichment programs.

Dr. Rance Thomas, who serves as president of NCCU, presented certificates and gifts to the contest winners. NCCU Vice President Barbara Thompson, pictured at left with Thomas, introduced the Oratory Contest winners, who spoke at the event. 

Oratory Contest winnersAmani Cobb, a student at Combs Intermediate School in the Ferguson-Florissant School District, was the winner in the Grades 3-5 category. Two winners were chosen in Grades 9-12. They were Shawn Jackson, who attends McCluer North High School in the Ferguson-Florissant district; and Jiyu Zhang, a student at Hazelwood West High School in the Hazelwood district. Reva Gomes, the parent of a student at Hazelwood Central High School, was the winner of the Adult category. Lynda Phillips, a teacher assistant at Keeven Elementary School in the Hazelwood district, was the winner in the Senior category.

Alayna Epps, University of Missouri-St. Louis vocalist, performed James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” She was accompanied by pianist Paul Higdon, DMA, professor of music at the College. 

Alayna Epps and Paul HigdonKeeping with tradition, north St. Louis County students led and participated in the celebration. Tyler Hoskins, a freshman in graphic communications at the College, served as emcee. Beyonce' Hightower and Javon Spearman, freshmen in general transfer students at the College, were student speakers. 

Amy Brown-Marshall, associate professor of communications at Florissant Valley, served as chair of the MLK Celebration Planning Committee. She is pictured at the far right in the photo below, along with, from left, Javon Spearman, Beyonce’ Hightower, STLCC Chancellor Jeff Pittman, Tyler Hoskins and Elizabeth Gassel Perkins, Florissant Valley campus president and chief academic officer. MLK Celebration participants


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