Santa Barbara County High School Students Celebrate Maya Angelou in Endowment for Youth Committee Black History Month Competition

Endowment for Youth’s Committee Jazz Gospel Fusion Academy

On February 24, the Endowment for Youth Committee’s Black History Month Celebration presented its Tribute to Maya Angelou with an event at Center Stage Theatre in Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center in Santa Barbara. This event marked the last of three celebrations to commemorate Black History Month. The Tribute to Maya Angelou was a competition among Santa Barbara County high school students to recite poems written by the American poet.

The contestants included: Brianna Garrett, eleventh grader from Lompoc High School, performed “Equality”; Michelle Qin, tenth grader from Dos Pueblos High School, and Candy Winfield, eleventh grader from Santa Barbara High School, performed, “Human Family”; Latia Turner, twelfth grader from Pioneer Valley High School, and Cori Gillen, twelfth grader from Cabrillo High School, performed “Phenomenal Woman”; Ruby Celio, eleventh grader from San Marcos High School, Wesley Walker, ninth grader from San Marcos High, and Milan McGary, eleventh grader from San Marcos High School, performed, “Still I Rise.”

Judges scored the contestants on accuracy, voice and articulation, as well as overall performance. Before announcing the judges picks, Guy Walker, Endowment for Youth Committee President told the contestants, “You are all winners, because you have started now to speak publicly, to show your artistry, and share your voice.” The top three finishers were Michelle Chin in third place winning $200, Cori Gillen in second place winning $300, and first place going to Latia Turner with $500! The judges were Dave Morley, Academic Counselor at Santa Barbara City College; Verna Edwards, Faculty Development Flight Chief at Vandenberg Air Force Base; and Annette Cordero, a faculty member at Santa Barbara City College.

The evening opened with co-master of ceremonies, Pastor David Moore, of New Covenant Worship Center in Santa Barbara, and Jordan Killebrew, Communications Officer of the Santa Barbara Foundation, the gold sponsor of Endowment for Youth’s Committee Black History Month events, joining Walker in leading the theatre in a stanza of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” accompanied on piano by Lito Hernandez.

The Endowment for Youth Committee’s Jazz Gospel Fusion Academy keep the festivities going and brought people to their feet with their three songs, “Rise Up”, “Together We Can Make a Difference,” and “Give Me Your Eyes,” performed by their twelve-person band. The night was full of the soulful spirit of Maya Angelou and an excellent way to close Black History Month.

The Endowment for Youth Committee has a long history of providing services to the youth in the greater Santa Barbara community. Established in 1986, the agency provides social, educational, recreational and culturally relevant programs and activities to enhance learning and accomplishments for Santa Barbara youth and their families. For more information on the Endowment for Youth Committee and their programs please contact Jordan Killebrew at jordankillebrew@gmail.com.

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