NCAA Honors Scholarship Recipients and Community Leaders

A banquet to honor locals for their community service as well as students and graduates for their pursuit of education drew about 80 people to VFW Hall. The annual Curtis Collier Freedom Fund Banquet, hosted by the Madera chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, included a dinner, dancing and silent auction Friday night.

Named after the late Curtis Collier, a World War II veteran who established the first Madera chapter of the NAACP in the 1950s, the banquet serves as a fundraiser for scholarships for local high school seniors. This year, NAACP was able to increase the number of scholarships given out.

Madera High School scholarship recipients were Mikayla Alene Griggs, Candance Vaughn and Tianna Williams. Madera South High School’s recipients were Marcos T. McCoy, Shantavious Hollins and Sade McAlister. All received $200 and certificates. Graduates Carlese Laurent, from California State
University, Fresno and David Martinez, from Milan School of Cosmetology, were also recognized.

The NAACP presented six awards to community members who demonstrated service on behalf of the NAACP or have done “good deeds” in the community, according to Michelle Alexander, the chair of legal redress, criminal justice and fundraisers for the chapter. The 2012 NAACP honorees were Sheriff John Anderson, Public and Community Spirit Award; Elce Murphy, Member of the Year; Monte Pistoresi, Community Business Owner of the Year; Rev. Robert L. Walker, Humanitarian of the Year; and Virginia Lee Rose, Community Volunteer of the Year.

Pistoresi was pleased to receive his recognition. “It’s very special to be honored by the NAACP. I appreciate it very much and especially because I know a lot of people associated with the organization and I just love to be here having a great time,” he said.

Monte Pistoresi shown with his Family and grandchildren

Congressman Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and representatives of state senators also attended the banquet.
“I think it was a huge success. I think it went off without a hitch and I’m very happy about the individuals who showed up and being able to honor our honorees,” said Alexander.

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