Wilmington and state officials continue a tradition to help students further their education.
It was a unique scene at the Chase Center in Wilmington on Wednesday night. That’s where Wilmington councilwoman Stephanie T. Bolden hosted the 23rd annual William “Dutch Burton & Hallie M. Phelan Memorial Scholarship Fashion Show. Burton and Phelan, were both city council members who fought for civil rights, making history. Phelan became the first African American woman to serve on Wilmington’s City council for two terms.
“Because of the two people that were very important in my life and made it possible for us to be council members, I wanted to name it after them,” said Bolden who created the fund in 1993 to provide financial assistance to matriculating college students within the 3rd District. The fund recently has been extended to students in the 2nd District as well.
Every year, two students are awarded at least a $1000 each in the name of Burton and Phelan. This year’s recipients are students Terron Booker and Aja Labrador.
“As a teacher, I dedicated my life to teaching because of the people that taught me and their commitment and their passion. My reward is seeing these kids succeed,” Bolden said.
At least $5000 is raised annually to help college students during their last three years of school. More than a dozen elected officials participated in the event to raise awareness. Wilmington council members Hanifa Shabazz and Maria Cabrera modeled local designs. Also on stage were state Representatives Valeria Longhurst, Earl Jaques Jr., Harvey Kenton, Paul Baumbach, Edward S. Osienski, David Bentz, Ruth Briggs King, David Wilson as well as Senator Nicole Poore.
“It’s a lot of fun, you come together and you meet so many wonderful people from diverse backgrounds that are here for the same cause,” said guest model Joyce Proctor.