Children's smiles, fidgets and careful steps greeted me last Sunday (May 26) at the Orange Mound Community Center (OMCC) Athletic Appreciation Banquet.
A number of children and their families walked into the ballroom at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis full of anticipation. They came to celebrate the theme, "Hard Work Pays Off".
The children (ages five to 16) had worked hard, on and off the court. Extended family and surrogate mothers and fathers were all in the mix ready for the celebration. The pride was evident.
Each student got a trophy saluting his/her hardwood accomplishments. The academic accomplishment of each child also was celebrated. Coach Raymond Stone is a firm believer of effort on the court and in the classroom.
Orange Mound has long been a pivotal component of the African-American community. And while some may say that the community's pride has faded over the years, it seemed well rooted on this day in this setting.
The banquet exposed the children to a formal banquet setting. The tables were professionally set and the wait staff assisted with any needs of the guests. A prominent part of the banquet was the keynote speech and presentation of gifts by Tawanda and Cordell Pirtle of Jack Pirtle's restaurants.
Kudos to Coach Stone and his staff and volunteers.