BUY-Cobb Inc.’s 18th Annual Scholarship Prayer Breakfast will honor one of the organization’s founders.
Winston “Strick” Strickland, one of three men to start Blacks United for Youth-Cobb Inc. 20 years ago, died in December. BUY-COBB board member and co-founder Don Johnson said the $15,000 in scholarships the group will award at the April 20 breakfast will be given in Strickland’s honor.
“He was a pillar in the community for years,” Johnson said.
The scholarships go to students in BUY-Cobb’s leadership academy. The 100 students, from elementary school to seniors in high school, meet monthly at Southern Polytechnic State University, where they learn from leaders in business and other fields. Johnson said about 90 percent of the students come from schools in the Cobb and Marietta districts, though some come from Cherokee and Paulding counties.
Dr. James Fisher, president of BUY COBB and its other founder, said the monthly meetings educate the students in areas such as public speaking, developing a brand and living a healthy lifestyle when they go off to college.
“We always give them something about life — how to live and be a quality citizen,” he said.
And the kids are in charge of putting on the breakfast, Johnson said, from acting as master of ceremonies to providing entertainment.
“The prayer breakfast is a fundraiser for scholarships and an opportunity for them to show what they have learned,” he said. “People go away very inspired by the students.”
Fisher said he is amazed by the students’ work.
“It is just unbelievable, and when everybody sees it, and how the young people perform, it just blows your mind,” Fisher said.
Guest speaker at this year’s prayer breakfast will be Kennesaw State University President Dan Papp. He joins a list of former speakers including former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, former Attorney General Thurbert Baker, former Cobb Chairman Bill Byrne and Marietta Schools Superintendent Emily Lembeck.
“I am proud to participate in this year’s BUY-Cobb prayer breakfast,” Papp said. “This organization helps develop globally aware young people who will hold leadership roles in the future. It stands for diversity and inclusion, ideals that we at Kennesaw State hold dear. We want to strengthen our young people and help them achieve. This organization’s good work helps high school students build their confidence, and it acts as a springboard to propel their aspirations.”
Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham will also be on hand to present the award named in his honor. Attorney General Sam Olens, Cobb County Manager David Hankerson are among past winners. Johnson said the award honors someone who exemplifies the qualities the judge displays.
Those who attended the 2012 breakfast will be surprised by how the students have grown as speakers, said 18-year-old South Cobb High School senior Brittany Taylor, who will speak for the second time at this year’s breakfast.
“As the youth, we have the responsibility to speak,” she said. “People my age, a lot of people think their opinion doesn’t matter. The truth is, everybody is listening, you just have to learn how to speak to everyone.”