The Negro Educational Emergency Drive, better know as NEED, hosted their 54th annual scholarship benefit dinner at the Wyndham Grand Hotel ballroom, March 5. Fifty youth scholars received scholarships through NEED that ranged from $1000 to $5000 each.
There were private and corporate scholarships as well as matching scholarships. The Wyndham ballroom was filled with about 600 people, everyone from friends and families of scholars to supporters and NEED staff. Attendees celebrated each scholar as they took their walk, one by one, through the ballroom to the stage.
Many speakers, from the dinner chairs to the president and CEO of NEED, gave remarks of thanks for the supporters, and praise and encouragement of the scholars. The theme was “Celebrating Pittsburgh Genius.”
“The first thing you have to do to be a genius is to believe that you are and I would encourage every parent to tell your child that ‘you are so smart, you are brilliant you are a genius,’” Marcia Sturdivant, president of NEED, reminded everyone during her remarks.
This year’s scholars have been accepted to many different colleges all over the country, such as Morgan State, University of Kentucky, Alabama State, Pitt, Penn State and many others. Some have even been accepted to more then one school before making their decision on where they are going to attend.
Maia Rhodes from McKeesport, who has a 4.3 GPA and has been accepted to multiple colleges, said, “I am enjoying communications; I want to be a teacher and go into education because I feel that it’s needed in the Black community. We need better teachers.”
Many of the event’s attendees were proud parents of the scholars, like that of Sequoya Simpson, Camille Simpson-Pryce’s mother.