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Economy touches student scholarship group
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Ferrell Frazier on Friday leads the Wesleyan Gospel Choir from Savannah State University in a song during the Gospel Extravaganza at the First Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The event was part of the annual Grady Young Foundation memorial weekend. - photo by Tom Reed

The Grady Young Foundation ended its seventh annual memorial weekend with a rousing Sunday worship service, but the group of education benefactors this year felt the impact of a slow economy.

“A number of (participants), especially parents, that we were expecting, especially in the debutante cotillion, just could not (get involved) because they were laid off, not having the funds they normally would have,” said Charles G. Young, chairman of the organization’s board of directors.

“And that made a cutback in what we were expecting initially,” he added. “And so, the kind of funding that we were expecting we thought we would have, that we normally would have, was just not there.”

The annual event serves as a key fundraiser for the group, which aims to provide spiritual and financial support in the area through scholarships, training and research programs, collaborative work, leadership training and community service, according to its Web site.

The organization is named after Charles Young’s father, Grady Young, a lifetime Hall County resident who, among many roles, served as layman president emeritus of the Northwestern Baptist Association of Georgia and 26 years as treasurer of the Congress of Christian Education.

This year’s events kicked off Friday with a golf tournament and, later, a gospel singing.

The tourney took place at Reunion Golf Club in South Hall. The Savannah State University Wesleyan Gospel Choir performed at the Gospel Music Extravaganza at First Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

The event also featured the Father-Son Fellowship Brunch at First Baptist Saturday morning.

The association held its first Debutante Scholarship Cotillion & Recognition Banquet Saturday night at New Holland Core Knowledge Academy.

There, debutantes recognized influential people in the community, including Gainesville Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer, Gainesville Mayor Ruth Bruner, Janice Young of the Gainesville school system and Elizabeth Westbrooks, who leads Sunshine Seniors, a group promoting healthy living.

Charles Young said he was also recognized for leadership.

Aria Brown, a Gainesville High School senior, was crowned Miss Debutante 2010.

Wearing her tiara at Sunday’s worship service, she said she plans to go to Savannah State after graduation and major in mass communications.

The weekend wrapped up its annual worship service at Grady Young’s home church, Cross Plains Baptist, off Candler Highway and Tanners Mill Road in South Hall.

“It’s always good to come home,” Charles Young said at the end of the service. “And it adds special meaning when you’re able to reach out to the community.”

He added that the organization has been able to financially help at least 65 students.

Overall, Young said he believed the weekend was successful.

“It is some additional outreach to the community,” he said, adding that 16 to 17 more students will receive scholarships.

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