Nurturing hope: Dillard/Goldsboro alumni show how dreams become real
There is a lot of talk these days about giving back.
You hear it from politicians, sports figures and celebrities, and a whole television industry has been built around it — “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” and “Oprah’s Big Give” to name two.
And it is amazing just what people can accomplish when they decide to look to the future.
This weekend, the Dillard/Goldsboro alumni came back home — not just to reconnect with each other, but to make futures possible for some of the children who are now going to the schools they graduated from.
More than 70 students received a total of $80,000 in scholarships this week, with $37,000 more raised for additional scholarships. For some of them, the money will allow them to complete their dreams of a college education and a career in everything from science and medicine to the arts and even — teaching.
What is so special about this annual event is that it is accomplished by literally thousands of former Dillard and Goldsboro High school graduates who have gone on to create lives of their own across the country.
They hold fundraisers — and even have a friendly competition to crown the person who raises the most money for the scholarship fund.
Some of those who are most active are alumni who have been around a few years and remember when opportunities for blacks were very limited when it came to finding a way to get to college and then to choose a career.
Others are rather young themselves — having recently earned their diplomas.
All of them understand that they are where they are because someone else paved the way.
And they consider it their duty to give back.
We will continue to talk about the problems in minority and other communities. We will discuss how the parents who are not doing their jobs are creating a culture of dependency for many in poor and disadvantaged communities. We will talk about babies having babies — and the need for more opportunities for young parents to learn what it takes to raise a happy, healthy child.
We will also continue to push for stricter standards in schools — not only for behavior, but for achievement, requiring students to actually have the skills they need to make it in the real world before they actually enter it.
But what will make the future brighter for all children — and make it possible for us to look to the future with confidence — will be when there are many, many more people like the Dillard/Goldsboro alumni who not only talk about giving back and making their hometown a better place to live, but actually do something about it.
Congratulations to the scholarship winners. You have earned the right to stand tall.
Now, later, when you are adults with careers and families, don’t forget where you came from and how you got that first start on your paths to success.
We are expecting great things from you.
After all, you will have some pretty big shoes to fill.
Published in Editorials on May 25, 2008 12:33 AM