SHENANGO VALLEY —
A dozen members of the former Shenango Valley Urban League Guild were recognized during a luncheon marking the 40th anniversary of the annual African-American History & Heroes Essay Contest.
The Guild established the contest in 1974, two years after receiving its charter. The contest, open to local school districts, asks students to describe someone famous or close to home who inspires them, loves, challenges and supports or teaches them important life lessons. This year’s contest attracted 700 essays.
The contest was one way the Guild, chartered in November 1972, fulfilled its mission to support the League through sponsorship, demonstration and service in promoting harmony and understanding among ethnicities and in breaking down socio-economic barriers.
Along with the students who read their winning essays, Guild members who were instrumental in starting the contest were in the spotlight at this year’s luncheon. They were: Deanna Yarboro, Donna Mort, Etha Price, Dorothy Bieber, Patty Fisher, Patty Mort, Mariam Sanders, Donna Holter, Deborah Brown, Charlotte Stewart, Emmogene Williams, Sally Pinson, Olive McKeithan and Elizabeth Lampkins.
The Guild, which at one time counted more than 60 members, remained active until 1996.
Not wanting to see the contest wither with the Guild, Mrs. Lampkins continued as its program chairman as part of her duties at the Urban League, where she is the current director of the WIC program.
Among the 40th anniversary surprises at the luncheon were accolades for her efforts with the contest.
Mrs. McKeithan, who currently serves as the mayor of Farrell, presented her with a proclamation from city council; state Rep. Mark Longietti, Hermitage, D-7th District, presented a citation from the House of Representatives; and Michael Wright, Urban League president and CEO, presented her with an award on behalf of the League.