Columbia Urban League honors high school seniors

Melvonia Taylor, Staff writer

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The Columbia Urban League’s Young & Gifted Annual Awards ceremony celebrated the achievements of African-American high school seniors on Feb. 27.

With the theme “Achievement Matters,” Brookland Baptist Church of West Columbia, South Carolina, hosted hundreds of students to recognize their academic, art, athletic, career and technology and leadership accomplishments. The honorees were recognized by Deon Guillory, News 19 anchor, and Stacy Ayers Williams, Columbia Urban League volunteer.

“We want to build a world in which you can grow up and live up to your God-given potential,” Columbia Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin said.

Sonja Taylor, diversity recruitment manager, South Carolina’s Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics, spoke to the students about stepping out of the achievement trap, which means not to become complacent.

“Don’t get caught up in the achievement trap. You are in the achievement trap when you are so caught up on something that you have done in the past, that you don’t go forward in achieving something else,” Taylor said.

In her speech, she challenged the students to refrain from making excuses for themselves, as well as to realize who are really their friends. “Don’t be deceived by everyone who says they are on your team,” Taylor said.

“You represent the promise of the African seed and the American seed,” Benjamin said.

The Columbia Urban League is sponsored by Pepsi, Brookland Baptist Church, Michelin, SCANA, First Citizens Bank, Absolute Total Care and Healthy Connections.

“They provide the funds for us to do what we do with the program,” James T. McLawhorn, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Columbia Urban League, Inc., said.


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