The life and vision of Dr. King celebrated in Varnado

Published 7:23 am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Concerned Citizens group in Varnado held a parade and a program in the Varnado High School gym Saturday in celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the dream that he announced in his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., during the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.

Program Coordinator Levi Lewis Sr. was the host for this ninth annual presentation, which included the introduction and processional of the 2013 King and Queen, Donald and Sylvia Gholar, the first husband and wife duo selected to reign. The couple has been married for 35 years and are the parents of three children.

Lewis began the program saying, “You have to have a dream.” He continued saying that in order to stay focused on a goal “you have to get educated.”

In attendance were past royalty, including Maevella Moore and Wilton Moses, who were chosen as the first king and queen in 2005; Annie Pernell and Ozell Nichols, 2011; Vivian Peters, 2010 queen; and Freddie H. Jefferson I, 2007 king.

Varnado High School Principal Randy Branch welcomed everyone to the school and a short welcome by Guy Brumfield, assistant principal, followed his remarks.

Youth representatives from several area churches were brought up to the podium to speak, including Greater Center Baptist Church, Mary’s Chapel United Methodist Church, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church and Wesley Ray United Methodist Church. Wesley Ray Elementary Principal Ginger Champagne spoke about the youth in the community and their involvement in civic events.

Directed by James Griffen Jr., the Varnado High School Wildcat Marching Band provided musical accompaniment for the entertainment by the VHS Blue Angels dance group, directed by Laquisha Mark.

In the audience was Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal, who was persuaded by Lewis to say a few words.

“I am honored to be here today, the first sheriff in Washington Parish to be from the Varnado/Angie area,” he said, to the delight of most of the citizens attending the event. Continuing his remarks, he talked about Dr. King, education and young people, before handing the mic back to Lewis.

The last speaker, Ozell Nichols, former king and president of Concerned Citizens, closed the well-attended event, followed by a benediction and a reminder to attendees that food would be available for everyone. The hot dogs, chips and cold drinks were well received.