It was time for fellowship and sharing stories during the 2019 Scholars’ Banquet hosted by Housing Ministries of Wisconsin and the Carmen & May Porco Community Learning Centers at Northport & Packer. .

Rev. Carmen Porco, the longtime executive director of Housing Ministries of American Baptists in Wisconsin, recognized a group of nearly 30 scholarship winners on Nov. 8 at the Monona Terrace. One of the major obstacles to these students, who are preparing for their calling at a college or university, is a lack of financial resources. These awards are designed to help them to thrive and find their place in the world. 

“We are asking each one of you to become ambassadors to promote the integrity of the people (we honor) here tonight,” Porco said. “To be ambassadors and reach out to people who you may not know, but you now know, have demonstrated worth, dignity, accomplishments and contributions back to our society. At the rate we’re going in this country, it will be the poor people who salvage it. … We seem to forget that succeeding at other people’s expense, really is not succeeding.” 

Rev. Carmen Porco and Dr. Chuck Taylor

Dr. Charles Taylor, a professor, advocate, author, playwright, and documentarian, served as the evening’s keynote speaker. He urged the honorees to utilize mentors, find ways to give back to society and to fight hard to obtain a college degree. 

“You never know in life who you touch or who touches you,” said Taylor, referring to his adolescent mentor Bobby Williams while growing up in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. “We must remember that we are standing on the shoulders of our ancestors who cleared a path for us. And we must too, clear a path for those who come after us. We must honor our parents and grandparents who taught us that when we combine faith with action, great things are still possible.”  

Taylor was later surprised with the Carmen Porco Justice Award. Applauded for achieving justice for those left out and for his tireless effort to teach students about the history of civil rights and injustices of Jim Crow.  

“May he continue his journey of peacemaker, justice seeker and inspirer for the truth and dignity of humanity,” said Porco, reading from a proclamation referring to Taylor as a champion of justice. 

The Northport Neighborhood Networks Community Learning Center & Packer Neighborhood Networks Community Learning Center provide resources, programs, and support in areas of education and employment. There is a strong emphasis on technology training and access. Housing management and residents work cooperatively to provide programs which meet needs of all ages. Five Head Start classrooms operate in the two centers. A full-day day-care is also available. Programs and activities that support the education and positive interaction of youth in grades K-12 are available. Family literacy and parenting programs are also provided. 

Here are the inductees of the 2018-2019 Reverend Andrew C. Davison Scholarship:

Northport Community Learning Center Scholars:

  • Abdullah Ameen
  • Sheriffo Bojang
  • Dominic Ebube
  • Pang Hang
  • Hujat Islam
  • Daniel Obi
  • Goodwill C. Obieze
  • Ikechukwu Okpara
  • Mai Vue Thao
  • Mohammed Walzida
  • Bryanna Wilson
  • Pat Wongkit

Packer Community Learning Center Scholars:

  • Symone Booker
  • Janai Cain
  • Alieu Ceesay
  • Ramatoulie Ceesay
  • Adjoa “Virginia” Djondo
  • DeJesus Herrera
  • Enrique Herrera
  • Sarah Kdosi
  • Melanie Lucas
  • Diana Moon
  • Akouvi Nofodji
  • Elpidio Placca
  • Fatou Sonko
  • Jack Vang