AHOSKIE – It was a night of remembrance, tribute and dreams for the future.
Students of Hertford County Public Schools (HCPS) and their parents packed the auditorium at Bearfield Elementary Thursday night to acknowledge those recipients of the “Continuing the Dream” Award and to honor the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The students of HCPS provided entertainment for the crowd through music, dance and even drama.
Children from various schools across the county sang inspirational songs from “Wade in the Water” to “The Road to Freedom.”
Students from Hertford County High School provided “A Glance Back,” in which pivotal events from the Civil Rights era were depicted through acting and dance, as songs and footage from the time were played.
“I’m excited to be here tonight,” said HCPS Superintendent Michael Basham. “Not only to honor Dr. King, but three of our own citizens.”
The three citizens that Basham was referring to were Nellie Chamblee, Hertford County Commissioner Dupont Davis and Timothy Lassiter.
The “Continuing the Dream” program, which is in its ninth year, was created by HCPS to recognize individual citizens or organizations who work to enhance racial harmony with in the community. The nominees are narrowed down to three recipients, who are chosen by a panel of judges.
All three of the recipients received a plaque with Dr. King’s photo emblazoned on it.
Each of the honorees was chosen for their various work in the community from Boy Scouts to simply serving the citizens of the community.
“Come up here Mr. Lassiter,” said Andre Lassiter, motioning to his older brother Timothy to come receive his award. “This is the best part of the speech. It’s taken me 37 years to tell him what to do.”
Andre Lassiter went on to list his brother’s achievements within the community.
“You are and have made a difference in the lives of young people,” said Andre before presenting the award to Timothy.
“Once again, as your older brother, I get to tell you to take your seat,” said Timothy.
Ernie Carter spoke of Chamblee and her work with boy scouts.
“One thing that I noticed in Nellie’s work is she sees no color,” said Carter before presenting Chamblee her award. “Everybody is the same in her eyes.”
Chamblee began her speech by calling the award an “honor.”
“When I think of my work, I think of a song by Whitney Houston,” said Chamblee before quoting “The Greatest Love of All”. “Don’t worry I won’t sing it.”
Ronald Gatling presented Davis his plaque.
Gatling said Davis “has diligently served all Hertford County citizens” and that he was truly deserving of the award.
“Nineteen years ago the first motion I ever made on the Board of the Hertford County Commissioners was to make Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. an unpaid holiday,” said Davis.
Davis also complemented Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan, who was the keynote speaker for the evening.
The 2001 recipient of the award, Vaughan offered a few life lessons to parents and students alike.
He stressed that the children of Hertford County are the future of the community.
“Education begins at home,” he said to the audience. “We must not rely on teachers to rear our children.”
Vaughan referred to the every day issues he sees and deals with first hand as sheriff.
He said that children needed to be taught responsibility, not to value material possessions so much and to be taught morals and values.
“We must continue the dream,” he said. “If we don’t do this in this day and time, we will lose our children.”