Students recognized at Black Alumni Council event

Ledford, Levingston named leadership award winners


Whitley Walton

Seniors Sean Ledford and Danielle Levingston were recognized at the Black Alumni Council program.

Whitley Walton, Reporter

The Black Alumni Council hosted the Black History Month Program on Feb. 13. This year’s theme was “It’s About To Go Down,” highlighting the importance of black voters in the upcoming 2020 election. 

The ceremony began with President Dr. Robert Bridges welcoming the guests, as he has done for the past four years. The gospel choir followed with a performance of the Negro National Anthem, including a pianist and percussionist to add to the song, which was also performed during the Black History Month assembly  

Keeping true to the theme, Marion County Clerk Mrs. Myla Eldridge was the keynote speaker who emphasized the importance of voting. As the first black woman to be in her position, Eldridge stated the necessary requirements in voting: “Step 1: register to vote. Step 2: vote!” 

As she spoke to the crowd, the phrase “It’s about to go down” was repeated in order to affirm the significance of using the power of democracy, as well as manifesting the changes that need to be made in America. Eldridge encouraged everyone to go to the polls, informing the audience to take advantage of early voting and voting by mail. 

As the awards began to be handed out, Ms. Disney Lynn Smith ‘01 Kinslow presented the Black Alumni Council Trailblazer Award to Mr. Eric Saunders ‘01 and Ms. DeAnna Woodruff ‘94 for their continued giving back to the community and leaving a legacy for those to follow after. Woodruff is currently the Black Alumni Council president, while Saunders spoke at the Black History Month Assembly on Feb. 12. 

Following after the presentation of awards, the gospel choir took the stage again to perform an array of soulful music. 

As the evening was winding down, 37 black seniors were honored by name as they received the Tomorrow’s Leaders Award. Presented by school counselor Mrs. Brittany Schaffer ‘00 Denny, this award highlighted the students’ academic excellence. 

Along with this acknowledgment, two students were recipients of the William Violet Leadership Award. Sean Ledford and Danielle Levingston were the winners of this award. In an email, Ledford shared his thoughts about his recognition. “It’s an honor,” he said. “It’s always a great feeling to be recognized for hard work, and to see it pay off.” 

Both recipients, while happy they won the award, were not shocked to have been chosen. “I was aware I was in the running for it, but there are a lot of other qualified people that could’ve won the award,” Levingston said. 

Ledford said, “When I heard about the award I figured I would have a good chance at winning it. I wouldn’t say I expected it, but I was hopeful.” As the winners of the William Violet Leadership Award, they both hope to do good by its name. Ledford said, “I’m very thankful for the award. I hope I can do it justice and go on to be a true leader in our community.” 

Levingston gave a shout out to the Black Student Union. “Cathedral’s Black History Month Assembly and Black History Month Program were an overall success and the Black Student Union is very excited to continue the success into our future endeavors.” Levingston ended with the trademark claim: “Go Irish.”