Donald Promnitz/The Madera Tribune
Scholarship recipients Sabrina Tate and Jayvion Warren visit with Sabrina’s mother, Sylvia Tate, during the dinner.
The Southeast Garden Club of Madera held its 8th annual scholarship banquet, raising thousands of dollars for students preparing for college.
The dinner, held at the Madera Municipal Golf Course at 23200 Avenue 17, Saturday evening, managed to bring in $4,000 for five students, according to Garden Club member Wilhelmenia Fryer.
“It was originally formed to give students scholarships to go to college,” said Fryer. “To get a better life.”
The Garden Club, since its founding in 1952, has raised scholarships for more than 100 students.
The money made from this event included donations by Madera Mayor Robert Poythress, and by city councilmen Donald E. Holley, and Derek Robinson. Holley and Robinson both attended the banquet as well.
“We also want to thank the people who donated to our raffle,” Fryer said. “We have sponsors that help us with the raffle, and we have sponsors from the City of Madera.”
The scholarship banquet was also an effort, in part, to remember the Garden Club member, and prominent Maderan, Virginia Lee Rose.
“And we’re also honoring our Virginia Rose tonight,” Fryer said. “I’m talking about tonight, a shining star.”
Fryer and Rose, whose birthdays were three days apart, would meet for dinner every year to exchange presents. In Rose’s memory, the centerpieces on the table consisted of a star, with a single rose in the middle.
The dinner also included a speech by Baptist preacher and former deputy warden at Valley State Prison, Velda Dobson-Davis, who spoke to two of the recipients of the scholarships on life offering no shortcuts to success.
“I stopped by to encourage them not to get weary,” Davis said. “I’ve been around a while, and I want them to know that when God starts something, that only God should stop it.”
Davis also expressed her appreciation and admiration for the Garden Club’s work.
“There’s not a lot of civic organizations that really reach out to the youth, and that’s actually, I believe, why we’re in the predicament we’re in today. And I would love for Sacramento as a whole to be able to see what they’re doing out here, so I think it’s wonderful.”
“I’d like to say, ‘thank you,’ and how much I appreciate it,” said scholarship recipient Jayvion Warren, who was accepted into Fresno Pacific University. “Because my mom is a single parent, so it helped me out a lot with my college tuition fees. Fresno Pacific isn’t cheap, so I really appreciate everything a lot.”
“It really helps me out a lot, with my family helping me out,” said student Sabrina Tate, who will be attending De Anza College in Cupertino.
In addition to raising money for college, the Garden Club also donates to the Madera Rescue Mission, the local battered women’s shelter, and the Alzheimer’s Association walk at Fresno State.
“And we donate to her for that cause,” said Garden Club president Maxine Barnett of Rona Ledermann, who does the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“I really appreciate the Garden Club, and this young lady walks with me every year,” Ledermann said, pointing to Barnett.