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Levy celebrates Black History Month

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By Ashley Andresen, Staff Writer

It's all about the power of choice-and discovering that power through education.

That was the resounding theme Saturday night as members of the community came together to celebrate and participate in the 10th annual Black History Month banquet .

Monica Scott, a 2000 graduate of Chiefland High School and a recipient of a Black History Committee Scholarship, was keynote speaker for the evening.

Scott, who earned her bachelor of science degree from Florida State University now teaches physical education and coaches the volleyball, basketball, and softball teams at Holy Comforter Episcopal School in Tallahassee.

There she has led the volleyball team in consecutive undefeated seasons (42-0). "It's not for the glory, not for a pat on the back, but because I love what I do, I love the kids, and I make positive choices," she said. "I've met adversity and I'm still going to meet it in the face, right there, blow for blow."

In her presentation, Scott spoke of life past and present. She remembered an art teacher who had put her name on the board for talking with a check by it. After receiving a second check also for talking, she decided to recite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech. "I was sent to the office and had another meeting with my dad, bad choice. By high school I had put things together and started making good choices and welcomed being different," Scott said.

She spoke about different challenges she'd faced in being the only African American person on a team or at her job and the positive choices that she's made.

"I make positive choices, do positive things to young ones. You don't always get the recognition you may think you deserve, not always someone there to give you that pat on the back.," she said.

Scott directed much of her speech toward the young people in the audience.

"Young people, a lot of things affect your choices, relationships, friends come and go. Jesus stays pretty constant. My space, drinking, drugs, steroids, affect choices. One thing to remember, whatever choices you make now, they'll come back."

She then spoke about how at the end of her day she knows she already made positive choices, she can get in her vehicle, with rims, that she's paid for, she can go to her own house, swim in her own pool, and go shopping whenever she wants to. She said, "remember me, an educated African American female."

Also adding remarks was Rose Robert Butler, a member of the Black History Committee, who spoke of her experience in 1974 when she also attended FSU.

Butler is one of the many who have left town on a scholarship and then returned. She said she left town with some hand made dresses and a little money, her financial aid was late and so coming home, she was sent back with food to eat. Butler received her master's degree in criminal justice and said, "I am grateful to so many people!"

Al Carnegie Sr., president of the NAACP also wanted to encourage more and more to put in the paperwork to qualify for the scholarships. He said, "I encourage all the kids to start from ninth grade up to keep their GPA at least at 3.0 or better and try for every scholarship regardless of what it is. Parents need to stay on kids, especially in ninth and tenth grade and follow them all the way through making sure they keep up their GPA, do their homework, and get their credits."

The Black History Month banquet is also an important occasion for raising money for the scholarships that are given out. There was a donation box at the door for any who would like to contribute. Raffle tickets where also sold for $1 each and then door prizes were given from a drawing that took place at the end of the night. It was said that all of the money goes back to the kids.

Pastor Robert Scott, also a member of the Black History Committee announced the committee would give five scholarships, worth $750 over four years.

He emphasized the importance of supporting and showing appreciation for the Black History Month program saying that they only ask that either the parents or the kids make it to the banquet. "I do what I do because I'm concerned about people, about kids, he said." Scott was honored Saturday with the first Black History Service Award for his devotion and continued dedication to the program.