CCC Founders Day Pays Tribute to Pioneers
CLARKSDALE – “Vision, courage, and faith are reminders of our founders,” said Orlando Paden in opening remarks of Coahoma Community College’s annual tribute to the pioneers who established “the college would never be” in north Mississippi 64 years ago.
“We continue to build on their legacy, and what we do everyday affects the lives of our students,” continued Dr. Vivian Presley, college president.
Addressing a large Founders Day audience in the Pinnacle Wednesday morning, she said, “We are a committed community, and hope you find inspiration as our founders did years ago.”
Praising the spirit of bridge builders, Dr. Presley said,” How we live today affects all our tomorrows; remember if you keep love close to your heart, home will never be far away.”
“Thank you for 38 wonderful years,” added the president who is retiring June 30.
A vivid theatrical presentation by celebrity actress, poet, and playwright Flo Roach, portrayed strong historical women with qualities of “She’Roes” smilar to the vision, courage, and faith of CCC’s own founders.
Resplendent in glittering robes of gold brocade, Roach opened as a powerful African queen who traveled later in a slave ship to America where she was taught “how to be a good slave.”
Interacting with costumed members of CCC’s choir drifting through menial tasks, Roach says, “One day freedom gonna come.”
Following passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, scenes morph into civil rights marches with “I am a man” placards. Roach emerges in black as a grieving Memphis widow following the death of Dr. King and her own husband killed in the sanitation strike.
“They killed the dreamer, but they did not kill the dream; we will overcome someday,” laments Roach.
In the finale vision of the future, a former ragged slave takes the stage blasting domestic violence and kids who drop out of school.
“Freedom ain’t free,” he says. Roach pays tribute to the charcters she has portrayed and also to her own mother, Katie Fletcher Roach, who valued education, pursued it for years and graduated from Coahoma Community College.
Following the theatrical presentation, Dr. Presley presented awards to retirees and faculty and staff for service.
Retiring are Dorothy Moses after 3 years; Annie McCool, 5 years; Lacy Owten, 18 years; Catha Youngblood, 30 years; Leroy Sonley, 9 years.
Presented awards for 15 years of service were Anne Shelton-Clark; Deborah Carter; Yolanda Miller, Letha Richards; Deborah McNeal, and Michael Houston.
Recognized for 16 years of service: Jimmy Bell, Kimberly Hollins, Carol Brooks, and Leandrew Presley.
Others receiving service awards were Wanda Holmes and Stacie Neal, 20 years each; Cheryl Barnes, 23 years; Glynda Duncan, 25 years; Larry Barrett, 30 years.
Participating in the program were Elder Ezra Howard who gave the invocation; Myra Turner who sang “The Lord’s Prayer; Anne Shelton-Cark with greetings; Kelvin Towers, directing the CCC choir in “America” and accompanying Roach; Venesia Griffin Brown who introduced Dr. Presley; Donnell Maxie who sang; and Yvonne Stanford, who recognized visitors and made announcements.