Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Amy Scherzer's Diary: NAACP Freedom Fund dinner; Tampa Bay History Center gala

Hillsborough NAACP Freedom Fund dinner

Civic engagement set the agenda for the Oct. 18 NAACP Freedom Fund dinner, emceed by Aminta Voyce and Geovonnie Justice. Keynote speakers Daryl Parks and Dr. Frederick Haynes III, introduced by attorney Cory Pearson and the Rev. Reginald Franklin, urged 400 guests, especially educators, to use every resource to help struggling students soar and not let others define their capabilities.

Community service awards highlighted the evening at DoubleTree by Hilton, presented by Pat Spencer to five "Living Bridges": Ross Anderson, Candy Lowe, Robert "Pete" Edwards, Sonia Franklin and Dr. Dexter Frederick, and honoring Rev. Dr. Earl B. Mason, Bible-Based Fellowship Church, and Rev. W.D. Sims, St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church.

Rousing entertainment featured Vision of Harmony, Bobby G. Summers and Pastor Antonio Miranda, closing with Maurice Jackson's Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Tampa Bay History Center's Cigar City Gala

Chairing the Cigar City gala was a multigenerational Howell family affair. Mary Lib and George led the effort, assisted by twins Mallory and Courtney. (Courtney is due to deliver the next generation in March.) Granddad Blaine Howell, son Cain Diehl, and son-in-law C. Vance Smith did their part by wearing formal guayabera to the Tampa Bay History Center benefit Saturday. Just a few guys, including Dick Beard, Tom Luzier, Calvin Carter and Gregory Haney, opted out of black-tie.

Columbia Cafe's cocktail party buffet of Spanish specialties starred calamari, ceviche and tasty tapas, paella and pork tenderloin, flan and more. Guests at the $250 per ticket gala grooved to the Heather Hayes Band (daughter of Shaft singer Isaac Hayes) and puffed J.C. Newman cigars on the tented terrace, a tropical retreat lush with bananas and coconuts.

Tampa's pioneer families figured prominently, from matriarch Louise Lykes Ferguson to Suzie and Carlton Ward Jr., with Generation Y and Zers welcomed after 9 on a reduced, $75 ticket. The event is expected to net $55,000.

Getting his kids involved, said George Howell, "is why we built this place. So future generations will understand our rich and remarkable heritage."

MOSI's National Hispanic Scientist of the Year Gala

Mexico-born and educated research psychiatrist Nora Volkow, who happens to be the great-granddaughter of Leon Trotsky, visited with 350 gala guests Saturday and 1,300 at-risk students the day prior, as the Museum of Science and Industry's 2012 National Hispanic Scientist.

Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and one of Time magazine's Top 100 people who shape our world, is changing public perception of drug addicts. Brain imaging, she found, shows drug use alters cognitive control, making cravings unpreventable.

MOSI's YES! (Youth Enriched by Science) Team is also changing perceptions, by introducing Hispanic youth to STEM careers at "Meet the Scientist" day and ongoing vocational training programs, said Maruchi Azurin Blanco, who developed the award and fundraiser in 2000 when statistics showed more Hispanic students likely to drop out of high school than any other ethnic group in the United States.

Mario Garcia Jr. chaired the gala, raising $288,000 for YES! Jose Diaz-Balart, a Telemundo anchor, emceed during dinner catered by chef Felix Piedra of Vizcaya restaurant and entertainment by Puly Sequiera.

Head Start Community Foundation luncheon

Guest speaker Ted Hull shared pride in his star student, Stevie Wonder, at the annual Hillsborough Head Start Community Foundation luncheon at the University Club. Hull, who is legally blind, wrote a book about tutoring the Motown legend, from age 13 in 1963 until he turned 19. Fond memories and snippets of hit songs enlivened the Oct. 26 fundraiser.

Donna Glausser honored Ann Dawson with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, calling the early-childhood educator "instrumental in setting up the foundation in 1995." The first Ann Dawson Leadership Scholarship was one of 17 grants Norene Miller presented to parents of Head Start children.

     
 
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