YMCA’s Black Achievement Awards

by Kevin Benoit
w/ additional reporting from Shaunetta Gibson

Hundreds of people gathered in the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Manhattan tonight to celebrate the Harlem YMCA’s Black Achievers Gala. The Harlem YMCA celebrated 35 years of achievement while honoring the brightest and top African-American executives.

This years event, themed “35 Years: Making A Difference Together” was an amazing night honoring over 50 adult achievers and over 20 adult achievers. CBS 2 News’ Shon Gables was the Mistress of Ceremonies and The Honorable Marc. H. Morial was the evenings keynote speaker. Morial is the former Mayor of New Orleans and the current President and CEO of the National Urban League.

The night began with a reception where all the guests socialized. That part of the night was followed by the introduction of the Harlem YMCA Board members. A dinner ensued, and lets just say the food was grand, this was the Sheraton Hotel. 

Isaiah Walker was honored with the Carrie Terrell Youth Achiever of the Year Award. Walker, 18 a student at Thurgood Marshall Academy is Captain of the Varsity Basketball team and former Captain of the track team. He is a Sportsmanship and Most Valuable Player Award winner. Academically he has maintained a 96 average in math and is an honor student. 
Walker simply filled out a scholarship application detailing his interest in the scholarship. He supplied his grades along with a list of extracurricular activities and he was selected as the winner. When I asked Walker how he felt about being the one winner out of the hundreds of applicants he said he was “speechless.” Walker is still undecided on the next step in his future although he says that college is definitely the next step. His advice to other teens trying to be great achievers, “My mother always said, determination and dedication was the key. If you reach for the stars, you’ll fall at least to the clouds so keep working hard and you’ll get there.” 

The Carrie Terrell Youth Achiever of the Year Award was established by the Black Achievers in Industry Committee in 1994 as a symbol of representing Carrie Terrell’s dedication and devotion to young people. Carrie served as the Chairperson on the Black Achievers Committee and was the first woman to serve on the Harlem YMCA Board of Managers. 

Gerri Warren-Merrick was also honored with the Dr. Leo B. March award. The Marsh Award is given to the person who best exemplifies Dr. Marsh’s philosophy of spirit and commitment to the Youth of the Harlem community. Dr. Leo B. Marsh was a financial consultant with the YMCA of Greater New York whose primary vision was to foster the development of young people. 
The event was incredibly successful. It was a wonderful way for the YMCA to celebrate 35 years of Black Achievement.

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