MLK parade set for Saturday

Published 8:36 am Friday, January 15, 2016

The Concerned Citizens of Varnado and Angie will once again honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a parade and program.

The 11th annual Black History Celebration will be Saturday starting at noon. The parade will begin promptly at the former Angie Jr. High School and will end at Wesley Ray Elementary School with a culminating program, refreshments and activities for all ages to enjoy.

Parade participants are asked to be at the school by 11 a.m., and ready to start the parade immediately at noon.

The Concerned Citizens have also announced their royalties for the 2016 parade. The king is Lesley McKinley and the queen is Alva Martin.

King Lesley McKinley

Lesley Darnell McKinley is the son of Louvenia McKinley and the Late Sylvester Lesley Harry Sr. He is the father of two children, Jovon Darnell McKinley Sr. and LaZhay S. McKinley (a senior education major at Southern University). He is the grandfather of Jovon Darnell McKinley Jr. and Xavier Martin McKinley.

He is a 1982 graduate of Varnado High School and received a bachelor of science degree in business management at Jackson State University. He also received a special education certification from Southeastern Louisiana University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi.

He a 25-year veteran of public education and is currently the principal of Bogalusa High School. He is also serving a term as a member of the Washington Parish School Board, representing District 9.

He is a very active member of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Varnado. He serves as youth counselor, financial secretary, and Sunday school teacher.

“The true measure of a man is determined by not where he stands in a moment of comfort and convenience but where he stands in the moment of challenge and controversy,” McKinley said. “There are many challenges facing our world today. If we are to make a difference, we must take a stand and be a part of the change we are looking for.”

Queen Alva Martin

Alva Martin is a native of Bogalusa, the oldest child born to the late Otis Charles Johnson and the late Allie Mae Moses Johnson Oliver. She was married to the late William L. Martin and the mother of Dr. Carmen Martin Abston, wife to attorney Willie T. Abston of Jackson, Miss. She is the grandmother of Niles Abston and Niel Abston.

She is a 1964 graduate of Central Memorial High School. She received her bachelor of science degree in art education and social sciences at Southern University. She received her master’s degree in special education and reading specialist certification from the University of Detroit, and continued her education with a +30 at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Alva Martin retired from the Detroit Public School System and the Bogalusa City School System with 35 years of service after teaching social sciences and talented art. She also served as principal at Bogalusa Junior High School for 15 years and moved into supervision of education before retiring in 2008.

Also, she continues to be an active member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Varnado, serving as senior choir president, youth Sunday school teacher, church beautification chairperson and serving on the Deaconess Board.

Alva Martin is professionally affiliated with the National Association of Professional Women, the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association serving as second vice president of District 3, the Bogalusa Retired Teachers Association serving as president, Louisiana Association of School Executives and the Varnado Concerned Citizens.

Martin continues to volunteer and work among her fellow retirees in new areas, and yet counts it as pure joy and a blessing to have served this community and other communities in the capacity as teacher and administrator. She has educated and influenced hundreds of students who travel all around the world.

Martin said that she knows they too are responsible for the lives and welfare of others — we are all our brother’s keeper.