MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Around 270 people attended Sunday evening’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Banquet at the Holiday Inn of Martinsburg – their biggest crowd yet.
The Scholarship Committee celebrated their 38th year hosting the banquet, which serves as a fundraiser for them to be able to supply ten $1,000 grants to college students.
President of the MLK Scholarship Committee, Shayla Brown, mentioned that her father was actually one of the committee founders, so it makes her proud to know how far they’ve come.
She said the banquet started as a simple celebration at Martinsburg High School where they would give out $500 scholarships, but now it has become an exciting tradition that the community looks forward to.
The keynote speaker of the event, Reverend Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, reminded us during her speech that we should consider Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day “on” instead of a day “off”, and that there are many ways to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.
Some of these examples include working in food kitchens, helping with the homeless, assisting someone register to vote, and talking with young people about the opportunities that a good education can provide.
“When we look at all the issues of crime in our community, we can come together to talk about how to get these negative things like guns off the streets, and let our children know that education is their real ticket to freedom.” she said during her impassioned speech.
Brown stated that they will be counting the donations in February in order to specifically see how many scholarships they will be able to provide, and applications for those scholarships can be submitted in March.