A Busy Two Days in Chicago
It was a typical rainy Chicago day, but that did not dampen the spirits of those that gathered for the 2nd Annual Chicago Carson Scholar Awards Ceremony. The event honored 25 new scholars and 7 repeat scholars (3 of which were in attendance). Richard Steele, award-winning host and correspondent for WBEZ Chicago Public Media, was the emcee for the evening.
The program began as 2013 Carson Scholar, Adrian Trevino, a 7th grader from Durkin Park School, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Mrs. Candy Carson followed with greetings from Maryland. She shared how thankful she and Dr. Carson were to witness so many future leaders rising to the occasion academically and expressed thanks for the help of their parents, educators, board of education dignitaries, and mentors. The support from volunteers and donors did not go unnoticed. Advocate Christ Medical Center was highly applauded for their vision and generous support! Mrs.Carson then introduced the president of Advocate Christ Medical, Mr. Ken Lukhard.
Mr. Lukhard shared that although he considers it a great privilege to have a part in saving hundreds of lives as president of Advocate Christ Hospital – he is also proud to have the opportunity to make a difference in the community and affect even more people in a positive way. He used Nelson Mandela’s thought “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” as one that the Carson Scholars Fund embraces. Mr. Lukhard then encouraged students to use education to change the world, and challenged students to follow your heart, because in your heart lies dreams that can change the world.
Of all of the 1,800 students at Oaklawn Community High, 11th grader and 2013 Carson Scholar, Kennedy Moore volunteered the most service-learning hours! Before beginning dinner, Kennedy delivered a beautiful grace of gratitude….for peace in the midst of the violence in the community…for parents’ guidance… for future opportunities that God would present to us…for gifts that God has bestowed upon all to help and benefit our fellow man, and of course for the food provided.
After a dinner, the alumni scholar presentation was given. Two-time Carson Scholar and freshman at the University of Chicago, Vivian Tu, shared her experience as a Carson Scholar and how it has challenged her to achieve academic success and has drawn her to tangibly help the less fortunate. Being a Carson Scholar has not only helped her realize her dream of attending college, but also reminds her every day to reach for a higher standard of success. She ended poignantly with, “We Carson Scholars, are determined, witty, and curious with just a hint of anti-authority. We are intellectuals, who refuse to stand for the mediocre and yearn for greater success. We have dreams, goals and aspirations for which we are willing to give up good in pursuit of better. And while we are not fully aware of what is to come, we are smart, talented, and have the endless potential to do great things! A wise man once said, ‘The easiest way to predict the future is to create it.’ I cannot begin to fathom what some of the people in this room will accomplish in their lifetimes! I am honored to be one of you. I am honored to be a Carson Scholar!”
Introducing Dr. Carson was 2013 Scholar, Michala Meyerhofer, an 11th grade student attending Ft. Atkinson High School, in Ft. Atkinson, WI. She shared how Dr. Carson is a person who “believes in each and every one of us… knows we can live up to our potential, and …helps us along the way.”
Dr. Carson’s words of wisdom involved summarizing his life story: his rise from the pits of academia to its heights, ending with the keys to success. He fondly mentioned educators and other mentors who had helped him in his quest to escape poverty, and how we should always remember them and show appreciation for their support. His question “are you going to be an encourager or a discourager” evolved from a personal experience, when he was told he wasn’t cut out to be a doctor by his medical school counselor. Dr. Carson shared some keys to success including education, and thinking outside the box, but his primary take home point was, “It doesn’t matter who gets the credit of the success, as long as the goal is met for the organization….be it family, business, or country. And it’s OK to share the glory!”
To conclude the event, new and previous scholars were recognized. During the award process, as Mr. Steele called out each scholar’s name and the student mounted the platform, Dr. Carson crowned their achievement by placing the medal on their shoulders, Mr. Lukhard handed them their certificate, and Candy Carson couldn’t help but give each one a hug!
The next day, Dr. and Mrs. Carson traveled to Durkin Park Elementary School to open its Ben Carson Reading Room. Durkin Park is only the second school in the Chicagoland area to open a reading room for students, thanks to a partnership with Advocate Christ Medical Center.
Learn more about the Durkin Park Reading Room, here.
View photos from the Reading Room Opening on our Facebook page, here.
Special thanks to Advocate Christ Medical Center for sponsoring the Chicago Chapter of the Carson Scholars Fund!
To read more updates from the Chicago chapter, click here.