By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Founder Ruthie M. Wilburn and staff have been working hard spreading the purpose of H.Y.P.E. since 2016. The Fourth Annual H.Y.P.E. Gala & Awards Ceremony was held Saturday afternoon in the Baker Community Center located at 7942 Church Street.
Wilburn and the H.Y.P.E. Foundation had a chance to recognized 20 area students in front of packed house with special guests from Historic Archives of Rosemark and Environs, Millington Area Chamber of Commerce represented by Terry Roland and City of Millington leaders.
“It’s for the kids,” Wilburn said. “That’s what it’s all about. The purpose of H.Y.P.E. is to help all the young students to excel once they graduate. We want to elevate them and to make them aware that we care about them.”
The 20 students honored with laptops and a version of Microsoft Word were Reagan Walker, Bralyn Horton, Ja’Shawn Adell, Vanessa Sciluffo, Taylor Allen, Tamerra Cook, Myles Thomas, Jordan Johnson, Alexis Durham, Tatiana Anderson, Dustie Flowers, Jonathan Gonzalez, Eamon Boykin, Bethany Bork, Ambaria Chalmers, Paige Russell, LaKendra Penn, Vanessa Thomas, DeJu Greene and Ayonna Lemons.
“We do this every year for area school students to provide them with a laptop for that first semester,” Wilburn said.
Over the years organizations and local businesses have helped raised the money for the laptops given to students.
When Roland was a part of the Shelby County Commission, he allocated $5,000 for the program.
In 2019, master of ceremony Minster Cary Vaughn was directing the action. He introduced prayer/scripter handled by Minster Frank Alexander. A song was performed by Cedric King.
After the welcome by Sherri Eubanks and official introduction of Vaughn by William Trip Jones, guest speaker Kelvin Edwards address the children. Edwards reflected on his journey to becoming a Hall of Famer at Liberty University and reaching the NFL.
He encouraged the children to allow God to direct their paths.
Margarette Pirtle and Niyla Echols presented the laptops and gift cards to the students. And then Wilburn and Lee Eva Hickerson recognized the community leaders, teachers, faculty who have invested in the children.
H.Y.P.E. is a 501© (3) non-profit organization established for the purpose of providing deserving Arlington, Millington, Rosemark and Tipton County area high school children graduating entering their first year of college with a new laptop.
The 2019 officers are Ruthie Wilburn, Christal Thomas, Margarette Pirtle and Edna Lumpkins. The advisors are Addie Holloway, Kinn Perkins, Patricia Warner and Deyonne Leaks.