Craft on Saturday became only the second African-American leader of a DAR chapter in Connecticut. The first was Gloria Williams, who was leader of the DAR’s Cheshire chapter and who attended Craft’s induction.
Craft, a 20-year Norwalk resident, works for the Norwalk Housing Authority as an early childhood program manager and tutors at the George Washington Carver Community Center. She is married to Jerry Craft, a syndicated artist who writes the cartoon “Mama’s Boyz,” and her two children, ages 15 and 13, are members of a regional chapter of the Children of the American Revolution.
Norwalk Chamber of Commerce will name the Carver Foundation of Norwalk the 2013 Nonprofit of the Year
on the occasion of the Chamber’s 2013 Small Business Awards Luncheon
Sponsored by TD Bank and James P. Murphy & Associates
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Norwalk Inn & Conference Center, 99 East Avenue
WITH GUEST SPEAKER
Stew Leonard, Jr., President and CEO, Stew Leonard’s
Hosted by the Small Business Council, this special occasion serves to honor and recognize distinguished local small businesses and organizations for their entrepreneurial spirit, growth, and commitment to the community.
By Tamara Williams – Junior at Norwalk High School
The cloudy overcast sky could not dampen the spirits at Shaw University. Shaw was the first school on the schedule for the Carver Foundation of Norwalk’s 43rd annual college tour. We were greeted by Marcus McElveen, son of Mark McElveen who coaches our rival Brien McMahon varsity girl’s basketball team. I also learned that his uncle is the Recreation Coordinator for the Carver Foundation of Norwalk. Marcus who is more than six feet tall ran into our chartered coach bus to greet us and welcome us to Shaw. Sports must run deep in the McElveen family because Marcus is an Assistant Coach of the Shaw University Football team. Marcus credits Miss Novelette Peterkin for introducing him to Shaw University eight years ago when he was one of the students on the college tour.
The history behind this college is remarkable! Shaw University was founded in 1865 by Henry Martin Topper. Shaw was the first Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the South and is among the oldest in our Nation. There are many firsts associated with this HBCU. It was the first college in the nation to offer a four-year medical program for African-Americans, the first four-year medical school in North Carolina, the first HBCU in the nation to open its doors to women, the first HBCU in North Carolina to be granted an “A” rating by the State Department of Public Instruction. Tyler Hall was the first hospital in the south for African Americans. Leonard Hall was the first Pharmacy, and it now holds the ethics and divinity classes. Ella Baker was a founder of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee.
Shaw is a Baptist school and chapel is mandatory once per week. The Shaw attire is also a must for students. For gentlemen it’s a Blue Blazer, a tie and a grey pants. Ladies must wear a Garnett scarf and grey skirts. Greek life is rich among the 2,200 students. The average class size is thirty-three students and the tuition for all students is $22,000 per year. Admission requires an 1100 on the SAT exam. The mass communication and medical programs are well respected. The student to teacher ratio is 16:1.
I was surprised to learn that there are three Norwalk students at Shaw University. All three, Robert Stringfellow, Kwazee Rice and Brandon Rembert, who are all football players, greeted us and candidly shared their experience at Shaw. Robert Stringfellow proudly shared that he earned a 4.0 while balancing academic and sports! Carver staff was so proud! Shaw University is a division 2 school and from the trophies and banners they are very successful competitors. We all noticed the huge NCAA Division 2 girls and boys basketball championship brackets which were prominently featured in the foyer of their recreation facility. This is a proud accomplishment for the school, since both teams clichéd the championship.
Shaw is a private school and so it offers a more personal and close relationship with others. These are especially important criteria in my school selection. I don’t want to be just another face in the crowd to my professors. I want a strong relationship with my professors and the comfort of knowing that they are committed to my success. I value diversity and people with open minds. That is exactly what Shaw University offers plus much more. Shaw is top on my list!
Please consider joining in the celebration on May 16 at Woodway Country Club in Darien. Here is the save-the-date for this wonderful event.
In the words of the YMCA:
Who is a Woman of Distinction? Consider the many women in Darien and Norwalk who have inspired others with their work to improve our local, national or global community. They think outside of the box and break down barriers. They are our mothers, wives, friends and neighbors. They set an example for our daughters, granddaughters and ourselves.
A Woman of Distinction has made a significant and unique contribution in her community by showing vision, creativity, determination and initiative. She is a leader, role model, agent for change, mentor and/or inspiration to others. She has demonstrated exceptional skills in breaking new ground or old barriers and made a difference in her workplace, school or nonprofit.