Inspired young minds

WARREN – Area youths were honored for their accomplishments during the seventh annual Inspiring Minds gala, “Inspired Tastes International Street Fair.”

The sold-out event was attended by nearly 400 people Saturday at St. Demetrios Community Center and featured food from New Orleans, India, Germany, Egypt and Japan.

Scholarships were presented to five high-school seniors: Javier Smith, Danyo McGhee, Sa’Tima Smith, Darian Rucker and Denzel Stevens.

Stevens said, “I’m really touched right now,” after hugging Warren City Schools Superintendent Michael Notar, who announced the recipients.

“This is a surprise. I really wasn’t expecting this,” McGhee said.

Notar recognized Inspiring Minds for donating more than $40,000 in college scholarships with help from fundraisers, donors and corporate sponsors, adding that founder and executive director Deryck Toles is helping to create a culture of education to guarantee success for every child.

“We have to invest in education. We have to invest in our youth,” Notar said. “The children are truly blessed to have him.”

Checks from General Motors and BP America were presented to Toles, including a $5,000 grant from General Motors and $25,000 donation from BP.

Also recognized during the event was Warren G. Harding High School Principal Dante Capers, who was presented with a Community Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who have provided much-needed inspiration and support for students.

“I’m overjoyed at this award. I’m proud of our city, I’m proud of the opportunity that is here, I’m proud of our district,” he said. “This is a great program. It’s a necessity.”

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin was on hand to kick off the award presentation, reaffirming the city’s support for the program, including funding to help continue the Inspiring Minds Summer Enrichment Program.

Inspiring Minds is a nonprofit outreach organization that works with traditionally underrepresented youths in the community.