Education – Veronica Kelly Barden Gary Story

The seven year milestone of Barden Gary Foundation’s scholarship ceremony proved to be a bittersweet occasion. Foundation President, Chareice White, expressed tears of joy for students receiving scholarships as well as tears of remembrance for Founder, Don H. Barden, who died two years ago. White shared with attendees that Barden would have been so proud to see the accomplishments of the foundation as well as the accomplishments of its scholarship recipients, both past and present.

This year also brought a new tradition to the ceremony’s agenda. Over ten Barden scholarship alumni were asked to attend in order to share their personal experiences, words of wisdom and the impact that Barden has had on their lives. For some students, their advice was about keeping God close while being so far away from home. Others suggested that time management was their best tool as they navigate through college. Although each alumnus that spoke to the current recipients had a different story to tell, they all had a similar underlying message: never stop working towards your goals.

As the ceremony came to a close, over 30 students from Gary high schools received scholarships ranging from $475 to $2000. White and the Chairman of Barden, Abu Young, decided to wait to reveal the amount of money that seven special students would receive until the end of the ceremony. The suspense was thick as each name was called and the students, as well as their parents, held their breath in anticipation. White introduced each student who had fulfilled the charity requirements of Barden’s scholarship application. White explained that one student started a uniform clothing drive for those who could not afford to buy them every year, while another took a group of students and visited a local senior citizen home for the day. These particular participants were being recognized separately because they went “above and beyond” in their charity portion, according to White. To wrap up a successful evening, White announced that these seven students would each be receiving a check for $3000. Once the ceremony came to a close, photos were taken of all the recipients as each one looked forward to the future.