On Saturday, April 21, 2012, for the second consecutive year, City of Opa-locka Commissioner Gail E. Miller hosted the Annual Scholarship and Humanitarian Award Banquet at Don Shula’s Golf Club Ballroom, 6842 Main Street, Miami Lakes, Florida 33014 at 7:30 p.m., where three local high school students were each awarded $1500.00 in scholarships for academic achievements and overall excellence.
The students receiving scholarships were Bria Brown of Monsignor Pace High School with a 4.8 GPA, earned the Helen Miller Living The Dream Scholarship; Avery Jacobs from William H. Turner Technical Arts School, with a 3.8 GPA, received The Senator Oscar Braynon Scholarship of Excellence; and Kandace Newry, from Michael Krop High School, with a 4.6 GPA, was awarded the Commissioner Barbara Jordan scholarship.
Playing a supporting role in the ceremony, Commissioner Miller was accompanied by family members and friends. Her sister, Regina Miller introduced their brother, former Opa-locka Mayor, Alvin Miller, who served as the keynote speaker for the night. During his deliverance, he noted, “Winners have to have a winning attitude,” and then proceeded to explain, utilizing the “Alphabet of Life” formula, characteristics from A-Z, that one must possess to be successful.
Event Coordinator Debra Sheffield-Irby stated, “The Scholarship was a vision that began with Helen L. Miller, the first Black female Mayor in Florida, and continued through her daughter, Commissioner Gail Miller.”
Among the additional honors, bestowed among community members, business owners and political leaders, Commissioner Miller presented the Award of Inspiration to Annie Ruth West; the Lifetime Achievement Award to Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson, who was in Washington, D.C. during the ceremony to support the Trayvon Martin family; and the Corporate Humanitarian Award was presented to Alex Gonzalez of Waste Management. Other noted sponsors and participating companies included Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Pipe Fitters local 2725, All Japanese Engines, American Consolidation & Logistics, Carib Sales, Choice Environmental, Citrin Financial Group, Harvey, Covington & Thomas, K & L Appliances, Miami Gardens City Commissioner Oliver Gilbert III, Michelle Family LLLP, Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market, Ryta Food Corporation and Town Center Properties. Also in attendance was State NAACP secretary Obi Nwesia and Rev. Rogery Adams of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Richard Strachan and the Psi Phi Band were in charge of entertainment.
Commissioner Miller commented that unlike last year when she was able to award five scholarships, due to the economy, she could only present three this year. However, she hopes to increase the size and the amount again next year. Miller said she was proud to continue her mother’s legacy by giving Opalocka youth an opportunity to help fund their college experience.