NEED celebrates 50 years

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2013 NEED SCHOLARSHIP RECIPENTS (Photos by Debbie Norrell)

 

On March 14, at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown, the 50th Annual NEED Benefit Dinner was celebrated. It was an extraordinary evening celebrating 50 years of achievement and paying homage and remembering fondly the late Sylvester Pace— the visionary who led NEED to become a full service college access program.  A special presentation of photos of former NEED recipients and organizers morphed into a portrait of the late Sylvester Pace. Pace was the president and CEO of NEED from 2000 until his passing in June of 2012.  
The evening included a lot that was new and exciting. Such as, a fabulous VIP reception, where students were presented with NEED medallions and books signed by the keynote speaker Steve Pemberton, child advocate, motivational speaker and author of “A Chance in the World.” Pemberton currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice President for Walgreens. He is the first person to occupy this role in the company’s 111 year history. ­Pemberton’s message to the students was “figure out what is special about you, find your greatness and bestow it upon others.”
NEED is the oldest African-American scholarship access program in Pennsylvania. Over 22,000 students have been served in over 50 years. One of the founding members of NEED, Rabbi Herald Silver spoke about the humble beginnings of NEED in 1963. The program began after the assassination of Medgar Evers. Back in 1963 their goal was to award 67 students $250 each. On March 14, 20 students received scholarships from $1,000 to $5,000 each.
In closing remarks from Interim President and CEO Claudette Lewis; she thanked the parents of the students and all that made the evening and the last 50 years possible, which included the corporate sponsors and the wider Pittsburgh community for their unwavering support and commitment to the NEED mission—“unlocking the power of education.”
2013 NEED scholarship recipients:
Erika Drain, Aryell Heywood, Fletcher Jones, Canada Montgomery, Natasha Todd, Victoria Bush, Tamara Butler, Drew Buzzell, Kyle Chapman, Janae Fletcher, Campbell Garth, Brea Hogan, Briann Moye, Brandon ­Nelson, Justin Barnes, Jamel ­Habboushi, Alexis Lape, Kelsy Miller, Joshua ­Ombiri and Jerome Watts.

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