A Savory Success
More than 350 guests funneled into Columbia's Hunan Manor Restaurant on March 9 — and it wasn't just to enjoy the delicious Chinese food. The crowd — comprised of community members, elected officials, and Howard Community College faculty and staff — were there to support the college's Silas Craft Collegians program, which aims to help students who may have struggled in high school reach their potential in college. Hunan Manor, which has hosted the program's annual fundraiser for the last 15 years, generously donates 100% of proceeds from the evening to support scholarships for the Collegians.
Among those in attendance was Dorothye Craft, the 92 year-old widow of Silas Craft, an educational pioneer in Howard County who opened the first senior high school for African American students. Mrs. Craft is the Collegians' biggest cheerleader, meeting with students and sending letters of encouragement throughout the year. Addressing the Collegians at one point during the evening, Mrs. Craft reminded the students that her husband "wanted you to always get the very best, and your duty in return is to do the very best." Joining Mrs. Craft were County Executive Allan Kittleman and Congressman Elijah Cummings, who urged the Collegians to "be the best you can be and always remember to support each other."
Preliminary estimates show that the event raised over $20,000 to support students like Louiza Addy, a third-year Collegian currently pursuing an associate degree in nursing. In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Louiza credits the program's small class sizes and tutoring with helping her find success at HCC. "If I need help [on schoolwork] and I'm not sure how to do it, I can always ask a friend," she said. Fellow Collegian Freddy Ramirez agrees: "Everyone really goes above and beyond to put the students in touch with helpful resources," he said. "Whenever I need assistance or someone to talk to, I can always go to one of the advisers that work within Silas."
View photos from this year's fundraiser below, or visit the Silas Craft Collegians webpage to learn more about the program.