The 12th annual Walter A. and Earnestine Myles Scholarship Fund Banquet was held recently at the First African Missionary Baptist Church in Baxley. The program is held every year to honor the Myles’. The Myles’ were dedicated educators in Pierce, Ware, Long, Coffee, Appling, Bacon, Atkinson, and Wayne Counties. Each year the event rotates to the communities where they taught. The theme this year was “The Thrill of Educational Rewards.’
The event began with the Myles’ daughter, Missionary Ardrelle Myles Sutton, president and mistress of ceremonies, singing the opening song “I’m Going to Hide Behind the Mountain”. The Myles’ daughter, Elder Jacqueline Wallace of Blackshear, read the scripture reading from Psalms 150. Afterwards, the Myles’ daughter, Elder Joyce Moore of Blackshear, led in prayer. A selection, “He’s An On Time God, Yes He Is” was rendered. The song was led by the Myles’ grandson, Elder Kelton Smith Sr. of Jacksonville, FL.
Welcome and greetings were given by Sutton. Scarlett Copeland, Appling County Superintendent of Schools, presented a plaque to the Myles family. Esco Hall, Mayor Pro-tem of the City of Baxley, presented to Sutton a proclamation plaque in honor of the Myles’ accomplishments and devoted service to the county. The occasion was given by the Myles’ grandson, Caleb Myles of Jacksonville, FL, and Elder Wallace performed the lighting of the torch.
The booklet each year is dedicated to retired teachers or retired employees which included Mary Alderman, Carol Surrency, Margaret Wilcox, Raymond Gadsden, Willene Gadsden, Alfreida Burkett, Addie Hunter, Ruthie Nesmith, Luella Ferguson, Claretha Lewis, Sheryl Burkett and Geraldine Hayes. All were given a certificate and trophy.
The dedication prayer and presentation of the booklet was by Elder Wallace, accompanied by granddaughter, Christina Moore of Jacksonville, FL. The offering was taken by the Myles’ grandson, Deacon Aveary Daniels of Douglas assisted by the Myles’ great-granddaughters Endia Smith and Felicia Burse, both of Blackshear.
Great cheers welcomed the W.A. and Earnestine Myles 2016 Scholarship Queen Rubye Fletcher of Douglas as she walked to accompanying music by Monte McRae. The floor was opened for encouraging words by former students and former co-workers. Two former employees spoke including Mary Alderman of Baxley and Betty Mincey Wilkerson of Claxton.
One of the former scholarship recipients, Myeisha Sellers of Appling County, was the keynote speaker. She gave words of encouragement to the students. Her words were to the point, informative, and inspiring.
The 2016 recipients of The W.A. & Earnestine Myles Scholarship were Teirra Lewis, Amber Banton, Temeisha Thompson, Renodia Eady, Darius Foreman, Celest Collins, Joshua McDay, Lucious Hicks Jr., Maleek Jones, Destyn McNeal, Isaiah Staten and Chardonnay Clements. All received $300 and a certificate. A trophy was presented to the oldest educator that was in attendance, 91 year old Dorothy Thompson of Surrency. Certificates were awarded to retired and presently employed workers in the Appling County School System. The appreciation address was given by Missionary Sutton and addressed to everyone who played a part in the event.
Afterward, the entire family sang the closing tribute song “Praise The Lord.” Roberta Eady gave the blessing and afterwards the benediction was given by the Rev. Johnny Blair, pastor of the church.
Plans are already underway for next year’s banquet, which will be held in Coffee Co. The banquet was held in the social hall of First African Missionary Baptist Church.
Adorning the tables were beautifully decorated with burgundy and gray table cloths accented with glass centerpieces and bouquets of roses and candles compliments of Unique Designs of Blackshear.
The meal included ham, barbeque, fried and baked chicken, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, field peas, green baby lima beans, collard greens, rice, corn bread, various cakes and Kool-aid.
Videoing was by Herman Sutton Sr. and Elder Kelton Smith Sr. The ushers were little miss Endia Smith and little miss Felicia Burse, both great-granddaughter of the Myles’.
The kitchen committee consisted of Yolanda Daniels, Herman Sutton Sr., Kevin J. Davis, Melisha Hicks, Kenyette Hicks, Endia Smith, Nkosi Alexander-Williams and Aveary Daniels.
The Myles family extends a special thank you to everyone who purchased an ad and who supported the effort in the eight counties the Myles’ taught in.