FLINT TWP. — Carman-Ainsworth High School students continued their winning ways with two triumphs last week.
On February 5, Leah Bailey, a senior, placed third in the Detroit Pistons Dream Big Scholarship Competition held at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
On February 6, Mariel Hernandez, a senior, won the Robert E. Weiss Outstanding Youth Award at the Priority Children 20th annual Children’s Champion Awards in downtown Flint.
Hernandez topped 80 other students also nominated for the Weiss Youth Award, which recognizes high school students for exemplary efforts to make Genesee County a better place for children. The Youth Award was among about 10 awards given to various segments of the community, handed out by Priority Children, which is celebrating its 25th year and its 20th annual Children’s Champion Awards.
Bailey’s win in the Pistons contest is the second in a row for a C-A student. Last year, Cameron Edwards, a C-A senior, placed second and won a $5000 scholarship.
For her third-place finish this year, Bailey won a $3,500 scholarship, a Microsoft tablet, Tim Horton’s gift card, and 4 tickets to an upcoming game. She was one of eight state finalists selected to participate in the competition, which is now in its 10th year and was the brainchild of former “Bad Boy” Piston Rick Mahorn.
Contest judges included Mahorn; former Piston and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing; former Pistons Coach and player Ray Scott and former Piston Earl Cureton. The 11-member judges panel also included representatives from contest co-sponsors – Tim Horton’s Coca Cola, Microsoft Store and Avita Water. Scholarships totaling $22,500 were awarded including a grand prize of $10,000.
Through spoken word, dancing and singing, each contestant gave a two-minute presentation focused on this year’s theme: “50 Years Later’ in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the historic 1965 civil rights march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery.
Bailey’s spoken-word performance framed historical details into chapters of a book with the first chapter recounting the lesser-known Detroit Walk to Freedom in June 23, 1963, which preceded the historic March on Washington in August 1963 (chapter two). Bailey’s next seven chapters touched on other civil rights highlights including the Selma to Montgomery March.
Her final chapter occurs 50 years later in 2015.
“It is our responsibility to keep the movement alive,’’ she said in her closing comments and challenge to her peers “You are the author. What will the next chapter be?
The entire awards program including Bailey’s performance can be viewed online at www.nba.com/pistons/ watch-black-history-month-event-palace
Jakobi Lundy-Bass of Loyola High School in Detroit was the grand prizewinner and recipient of the $10,000 scholarship.
Marquawan Burnett of Flint Northwestern High School was also finalist and winner of a $2,000 scholarship.
Mahorn said he started the competition a decade ago because he wanted to teach awareness of what Black History Month is all about.
Current Piston Caron Butler also spoke to the gathering, sharing his background about hardships of growing up in inner-city Racine, Wisconsin and run-ins with the law before making a decision, with the help of mentors, to turn his life around.
Members of the judges’ panel also shared motivational stories about people who have inspired them.