Campus program presents annual awards luncheon

To help improve the academic performance of students, faculty and counselors have been around to run a program and back up students during their time at El Camino.

The Project Success program is designed to aid students in meeting the admissions criteria through counseling, tutoring, scholarships and cultural field trips.

The program has helped many students over the years, as well as helping parents see their kids succeed in academics. Laurney Andrews, mother of a former Project Success student, felt the program was a real blessing for her daughter.

“She graduated from Mary Star, and she hated high school,” Andrews said. “I asked her to do two years here . . . we found out about the program when she got here and I said, ‘You’re joining that.’ She just fell in love with it in her first semester, it really got her interested in school again.”

Andrews’ daughter is now a student at Norfolk State with one year left, earning straight A’s, Andrews said.

The program organized an awards luncheon on Thursday to recognize and reward the students in the program who are graduating and transferring this year, as well as first-year students whose work earned them awards and scholarships.

The luncheon started off with a brief introduction about the program and a prayer, before those in attendance were able to get food. While everyone ate, a slideshow was projected at the front of the room that showed the program’s year, at a glance.

Once everyone was settled, the guest speaker, Joice C. Bailey Lewis, gave a speech on students achieving and reaching for their dreams. She ended her speech with a short poem she wrote herself about the various troubles in life, entitled “Life.”

The event then transitioned into giving out the awards to the students.

After the first-year students received their awards, those transferring and graduating were brought up to the front and given a copy of “Ancestral Voices” by Dr. Lewis, who then autographed them for the students and also gave them a sash to represent the program.

The program then awarded transferring student Aaron Batiste, 21, history, a scholarship from E. Elaine Moore. He was so happy that he “was speechless.”

“It’s going to definitely help out,” Batiste said. “I’ll definitely need it to be part of my tuition. I feel great about winning it.”

E. Elaine Moore is a co-founder of the program and was a counselor in the program for the first 20 years. She is very proud of the program, and the help it has given out over the years.

“It’s been a blessing to be a part of it for so long,” Moore said. “(The event) is a real celebration of their hard work. It’s a beautiful, inspirational-type event.”

Counselor and co-coordinator Brian Mims is very proud of being part of the event, and the program itself.

“(The event) honors, celebrates, and recognizes El Camino students achieving their goals,” Mims said. “(The event) also really brings the campus together, all of the faculty members, staff, teachers and parents.”

There was also an opportunity drawing, and the funds raised through the drawing will go toward the program. The first place prize for a trip to Vegas went to Anne Cummings and the second place prize for a trip to Catalina Island went to Margaret Ramey.

The program has raised over $3,000 in scholarship money so far. More information can be found in the counseling office, or by reaching out to counselor Brian Mims.

Update: May 15, 8:16 p.m. A student’s quote has been added to the story after some information was confirmed.