Thirty-eight African-American students from the Evanston-Skokie public schools were honored at the 14th annual African-American Youth Achievement Awards program last month at Evanston Township High School.

ETHS African-American Youth Achievement Award recipients, with Superintendent Eric Witherspoon and Principal Oscar Hawthorne, are Allison Slaughter, Aaron Potts, Lauren Gilbert, Alexis Kombwa, Maxandra Cadet, Adam Collins, Jonathan Denose and Jonysha Perrin.

The program was started in 1999 to pay tribute to African-American youth who on a daily basis keep the visions and legacy of African-American pathfinders and pioneers alive through hard work and sacrifices.

The observance is a Black History Month initiative sponsored by First Bank and Trust, Family Focus Evanston, McGaw YMCA, Northwestern University and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in conjunction with Evanston-Skokie School District 65 and ETHS District 202. 

Specific objectives for the program are:

  • To draw attention to and generate support for the majority of young African-Americans who demonstrate determination and achievement in school, in their community and in their life.
  • To inspire youth to recognize that academic and social achievement is desirable and attainable and that they are “doing the right thing” in aggressively pursuing their educational, social and personal goals and to encourage them to spread the gospel that achievement matters.
  • To provide images and visible reminders through the African-American Youth Achievement Award honorees and their families that achievement matters.
  • To energize adults to continue to rededicate themselves to preparing all children to meet the academic standards of the 2lst century.

Each school nominates two individuals (one male, one female; ETHS nominates eight students—one male and one female per grade level). The nominees are those who best demonstrate the characteristics of pioneering African-American pathfinders by excelling in one of the following categories: character, civility, community service, leadership, scholarship, or sportsmanship.

The 2011 award recipients are:

  • ETHS — Maxandra Cadet, Aaron Potts, Alexis Kombwa, Lauren Gilbert, Jonysha Perrin, Allison Slaughter, Adam Collins, Jonathan Denose
  • Bessie Rhodes School — Ruffin Brandon, Kaitlyn Thomas
  • Chute Middle School — Jonathan Senecal, Michelle Foster
  • Dawes School — Isaiah Harlan-Ricketts, Brittney Henderson
  • Dewey School — Keira Johnson, Jonathan Wilburn
  • Haven Middle School — Keiann Williams, Tafari Dixon
  • King Lab School — Trevor Zemtseff, Alexia Harvey
  • Kingsley School — Tiera Adams, Harrington Gibson III
  • Lincoln School — Jaydon Brown, Shantel Jones
  • Lincolnwood School —  Drew Dawkins, Bryanna Smith
  • Nichols Middle School — Brittany Lynn Bishop, Larenz Brown
  • Oakton School — Chimere Riley-Garrett, Jonathan Noel
  • Orrington School — Vladimir Lauture, Alliyah Rumboldt-Lemond
  • Walker School — Shamir Cullens, Brianna Charles
  • Washington School — Isaac Diop, Tianna Henry
  • Willard School — Braden Adamson-Tate, Tiara Jackson

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