Members of the Scotland County NAACP Youth Council gathered on Sunday to celebrate the work of community members that have worked to improve the lives of young people.
The NAACP Image awards were presented following a rousing talk by guest speaker, author and renowned educator Henry Pankey.
The Laurinburg native who made his name as an administrator turning around schools in New York and Durham, challenged those adults in attendance at Galilee United Methodist Church to “tell young people the truth,” even when that truth is harsh. He is also a former principal at Scotland High School. He is currently Parkland High School assistant principal.
“There have always been babies born out of wedlock, and they need to know that … and in their times of trouble, that’s when they most need our unconditional love,” said Pankey.
“I’m so proud of our young people,” he added, “but our young people need us.”
Pankey spoke glowingly of Laurinburg and of the Image Awards, saying that “it is important to acknowledge people doing good work in the community.”
“We all need heroes and she-roes to look up to.”
He also reminded attendees of the importance of voting and invited them to “dare to dream.”
“Who would’ve thought forty years ago that there would be a president who looks like you?”
Before presenting the Image Awards, Youth Council Advisor Rena McNeil implored the adults to follow after the model of the award winners.
“We must fight for our children,” said McNeil.
The 2012 Image Award Honorees were Delores Alston (Woman of the Year), Rodney Byers (Principal of the Year), CANN (Organization of the Year), Marie Dudley (Co-Advisor of the Year), Ruth Marie Graham Glenn (Layperson of the Year), Leon Gyles (County Employee of the Year), Parolee Kelley (Civic Service POC of the Year), Judge William McIlwain, III (Outstanding Judge), Modelle McRae (Outstanding Student of the Year), Henry Pankey (2012 Guest Speaker), Shelia Swift (ACT-SO Judge of the Year), Dr. Moses Watson (Corporation of the Year), Dr. Matthew Block (Doctor of the Year), DeAngelo Byrd (Youth of the Year), Trevor Linden Cummings (Teacher of the Year), Mary Evans (Media Personality of the Year), Sallie Mae Graham (Centurion Award), Dep. Mitchell Johnson (Deputy of the Year), Doris McCoy (Mrs. Ardelia Everett Ingram Award), Mr. and Mrs. James McLean (Duet of Volunteers of the Year), Thelma McRae (Parent of the Year), William Swift (Veteran of the Year), Rev. Bill Wells (Rev. GB Gilchrist Award), Ms. Tonya Whitt-Harrington (NC NAACP Volunteer of the Year), and Tony Spaulding (Man of the Year).
“We can’t do anything without these people, and the parents of the community,” said McNeil of the honorees.
“We don’t take (the Image Awards) lightly, as it is up to us to give honor where it is due,” said McNeil.