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L.A. Waters Scholarship program growing

Banquet at college raises needed funds

POSTED: March 5, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Donald Maxwell, left, chats with the Rev. Avery Headd prior to Saturday night's L.A. Waters African American Male Recognition banquet at the Gainesville State College Continuing Education/Performing Arts Center. Maxwell was the evening's featured speaker.

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Lee Waters would surely be proud.

A scholarship program named for the late mentor of young black men has grown dramatically in scope since its inception four years ago, and the endowment fund is within sight of its goal, his widow, Theresa Dove-Waters, told a gathering Saturday at Gainesville State College.

The Fourth Annual L.A. Waters African-American Male Recognition Banquet was held as a fundraiser for the scholarship, which is administered through the Gainesville State College Foundation and awarded in the fall to a deserving minority. There were 19 high school and Gainesville State students recognized Saturday for academic achievement, community service, leadership and potential. One could receive the scholarship later this year.

Dove-Waters, an associate professor at the college, said it wasn’t her idea to name a scholarship for her late husband, "but once the idea was conceived, the college community embraced the initiative because they knew what a wonderful man Lee was."

The program expanded by adding Gainesville State students to the honorees, starting a mentoring program in local schools and holding a daylong seminar at the college for more than 100 young black males.

"After we got started, it just began to snowball," Dove-Waters said.

The scholarship fund is now at its halfway mark for an endowment goal of $25,000, she said.

Donald Maxwell, an Atlanta real estate executive, directed his speech at the young attendees, telling a story of a hardscrabble youth from Detroit who went on to success in the business world.

"You have to think about where you are today and how you’re positioning yourself for the future," Maxwell said. "You don’t need to be an example. You can learn from other people’s mistakes."


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