Sen. Lee, Keeper of the Dream awards highlight MLK Day celebration

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics students and faculty will come together on Monday, January 18, for an annual assembly honoring the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield, representing North Carolina’s 1st District and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, will provide opening remarks. Keynote speaker for the afternoon will be Senator Howard Lee. In 1969, when Lee was sworn in as mayor of Chapel Hill, he became the first African American mayor of a southern city. He served three terms as mayor, then went on to serve two terms as a North Carolina state senator. He later filled appointments as adviser to several North Carolina governors, chair of the state’s Board of Education, and executive director of the NC Education Cabinet.

The assembly will also feature the awarding of this year’s Keeper of the Dream awards to two women in recognition of their efforts on behalf of underrepresented minorities:

Dr. Lavonia Allison. Dr. Allison served for two terms as a member of NCSSM’s Board of Trustees.  She was a pioneer for educational opportunities for underrepresented students in the University of North Carolina system. A retired educator and CEO of her family-owned realty and insurance business, she has worked for decades as a civil rights and social justice advocate for African Americans, the disenfranchised, and the economically disadvantaged. She has been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian award possible, twice, in 1985 and 1995.

Dr. Lisa Guion Jones. Dr. Jones is a professor and assistant dean for diversity, outreach, and engagement in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. She was instrumental in developing the Summer Research and Leadership program at NCSSM, facilitating research opportunities at North Carolina State University. Many of our underrepresented students began their NCSSM experience under the guidance of Dr. Guion Jones. In 2012 she was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame, and during this 2015-2016 school year she is serving an American Council of Education Fellowship, a recognition of her emerging leadership in higher education.

Previous Keeper of the Dream award winners have included:

The assembly begins at 3 p.m. in the ETC Auditorium. Earlier in the day, students will participate in various off-campus service opportunities in the community. Among the projects this year: a dozen students will work with Habitat for Humanity, 20 students will help the Eno River Association, 44 students will help with United Way Orange County Community Reads, and 24 students will help with the United Way’s MLK Celebration at Northgate Mall.

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