January 18, 2011
Cowley College holds a Celebration of Unity
Sharing and celebrating diversity within the community, Cowley College held the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Unity Sunday in the Robert Brown Theatre.
The theme was "Honoring the Past... Inspiring the Future."
Keynote speaker Rodney Worsham, a minister and former Cowley College speech instructor, provided an inspirational message to the crowd as he told them to "get on the bus" and pursue their dreams and convictions.
His speech referenced Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her bus seat to make room for a white passenger. The incident became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement.
After the speech, pastor Charles Jennings presented the Joe B. Avery Community Spirit Award to James Watson Jr., pastor of St. James Church of God in Christ, in Arkansas City.
Watson was appointed pastor in 1962 and was honored for his community outreach and mentoring. He began a tradition of inviting all Cowley College athletes to attend the church and started an educational committee in the 1970’s to help students who needed guidance.
The Joe B. Avery Community Spirit Award, is presented to a community member who has contributed to promoting positive relations and goodwill among the citizens of Arkansas City.
Cowley College vice president of student affairs, Sue Saia, who is a member of the Human Relation Board of Arkansas City, was pleased to be involved with the event.
“It was rewarding to witness the presentation of the Joe B. Avery Community Spirit Award because it recognizes people who have given so much to our community,” Saia said.
Cowley College student, Caleb Sherron, provided a rousing rendition of the national anthem, while the audience was entertained by the Magic Voices Show Choir singing "Heal the World."
Led by Cowley College dance instructor Jennifer Blatchford, students in the college’s dance classes, tap danced to "Joy to the World". Delphia Jennings performed "Lift Every Voice”, and Jerome Bailey of Winfield also sang at the celebration.
Following the event, the Soroptimist Club held a reception in the Earle N. Wright Community Room.
Each member of the Cowley College men’s basketball team attended the event.
Saia said it took a number of people to make the event turn out successful. She especially praised the work done by Human Relation Board of Arkansas City Chairman, Robert Munoz, and Cowley College’s technical director of theatre, Jamison Rhoads.
“Jamison and his crew are phenomenal, they do a great job of making the event come out seamless,” Saia said. “And Robert is so invested in trying to build community relations, I applaud his efforts.”