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P.D. Mitchell Awards banquet recognizes academic achievements

The P.D. Mitchell annual Awards Banquet was recently held at the Genetti Hotel on Nov. 5, 2016. Awards of recognition for outstanding academic and scholastic achievements were presented to the 2016 recipients of the P. D. Mitchell Memorial Award, Kaliyah Moore and Frank Rose Jr., received at graduation. The Center established the P. D. Mitchell Memorial Award fund with the WASD Education Foundation.

Kaliyah Moore, daughter of Wayne and Diane Moore, graduated from Williamsport Area High School, Class of 2016 in the top 15 percent of her class and member of the National Honor Society. She was a member of the Executive Board and participated in Student Government. A member of the Lady Millionaire varsity softball team during all her high school years, she received the 2015 Breakout Player of the Year award and received 2015 All State Honorable Mention. A Central Penn League All Star, she also received the ESPN Outstanding Performance Award. Kaliyah is attending Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, studying to be a nurse.

Frank Rose Jr., son of Frank Rose Sr. and Britt Banks, graduated from Williamsport Area High School, Class of 2016 in the top 10 percent of his class and member of the National Honor Society. Frank was president of Student Government and member of Penn College Youth Leadership Program.

He was treasurer of the Executive Board for his Junior and Senior Class and participated as a member of the Gentleman Choir and Concert Choir. A scholar athlete, Frank was member of the Millionaires Varsity football, wrestling, basketball and track and field during his years at WAHS and received the Pennsylvania All Academic Award in football. Frank is attending the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., pursuing a degree in nuclear engineering and nuclear physics.

Other awards were given to community leaders and volunteers. J. Marlyne Whaley, a native of Williamsport and the first African-American elected to Williamsport City Council and longtime community leader, received the P.D. Mitchell Achievement Award. Rick Armstead, resident services coordinator of Lycoming County Housing Authority, was given the P.D. Mitchell Service Award for his service to families and youth in the community; Peter White Sr., former Williamsport Area High School basketball coach whose Millionaires captured a state title in 1984 with a 30-0 record, received the P.D. Mitchell Sports Award and Valorie Taylor, a community volunteer, dance, cheerleading yoga and theater instructor, received the Alyce D. Woody Award.  Alyce Woody was the first Director, (Executive Secretary) for Bethhune Douglass Center, she organized and coordinated programs and events.    Special recognition of Appreciation was presented to Mr. Michael Collins for his many years of dedicated service on the Center’s Board of Directors.

The keynote speaker was Williamsport Native, Lee Fisher, retired high school teacher and former coach from Oneonta, New York.

He spoke about the impact P. D. Mitchell had on his life and all the youth at the Center and how the Center served as the recreational and activities hub for all the African American youths in the neighborhood and community. “Back then, there were places we couldn’t go and the Center was our only haven.” Lee said. Reflecting on memories of watching the faces along the fence at the high school football games, when he and others were too young to play, with anticipation for their turn to shine. Mr. Mitchell and Mrs.Woody, our mentors, saw to it that we did. They taught us sportsmanship and life skills that helped many of us to go on to successful careers. Lee smiled, as he directed his final statement to Kaliyah and Frank, “Don’t forget your past, remember the faces along your fence, go with God and you will find the best is yet to come.”

The Master of Ceremonies was LeRoy Baer, Rev. Zavon Braggs gave the Invocation Solos were performed during the program by Steve Dixon and Rev. Zavon Braggs. Sam Belle. President of the Board of Directors and Mrs. Velna Grimes, Vice President gave closing remarks.

The Committee members for the event were: LeRoy Baer, Chairperson; Sam Belle, Velna Grimes, Linda Jackson, Barbara Allen and Phyllis Braggs-Lee.

The Center Board of Directors, dedicated to preserve the memory of P.D. Mitchell and his legacy are, Sam Belle, president; Velna Grimes, vice president; Linda Jackson, secretary; Michael Collins; Alan Anderson; and John Kiernan.

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