The community came out to celebrate the Pasadena Alliance of African American School Educators (PAAASE) 2009 graduating seniors from the Pasadena Unified School District on Sunday Afternoon, June 6.
This 4th annual event, held at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena, honored the seniors from the District's high schools from Blair, Marshall, Muir, NIA Charter School, Pasadena High School, and Rose City. Students received their traditional African Kente Cloth Scarves as a recognition of their achievement.
Scholarships were awarded to deserving seniors, including $15,000 from the NAACP's Maurice Morris Scholarship and PAAASE's newly created Eddie Newman Scholarships Awards, in honor of long time educator and administator, Dr. Eddie Newman.
The Annual PAAASE /Eddie Newman Scholarships were awarded to Erin McGlover from Blair, Marissa Belombre from Marshall, Syamber Reard from Muir, Patricia Charlan from NIA Charter, Cloris Turner from Pasadena High, and Rafael Cervantes from Rose City.
Eleven individuals were chosen to be honored as part of the "Honoring Our Elders" portion of the program. The elders honored this year were: Barbara Bigby, Joe Brown, Tomasina Gross, Opal Hampton, Ruthie Hopkins, Joe Hopkins, Sandra Knox, Nate Lewis, Nettie Piggee, Wallace Pope and Allie Louise Almore-Randle.
The Keynote address was given by Fluke Fluker, Founder of The Village Nation. Other speakers were, Dr. Brian Venerable, youth worker Lonnie Johnson, Rodney Wallace of the Pasadena Police Department, Pasadena Unified School Board member Renatta Cooper, Rev. Byron L. Smith of Calvary CME Church, Rev. Jesse Chapman, Pastor Emeritus of Morningstar Baptist Church, and Pasadena City Councilmembers Chris Holden and Jackie Robinson.
Greetings were given by PUSD School Superintendent Edwin Diaz, Assemblymembers, Carol Liu and Anthony Portantino.
Dr. Jacqueline Cochran was the Mistress of Ceremonies. Entertainment was provided by pianist Sam Walker, drummers Olokum West African Cultural Group and Mezzo-Soprano soloist Jayme Alilaw.
Photos courtesy of Kyle Douglas, Rising Son Photography.