Indianapolis, Indiana – Dozens of talented young Black students, dressed impeccably, gathered with their families in the Crispus Attucks High School auditorium to celebrate a momentous occasion: the Center for Leadership Development’s (CLD) Scholar Signing Day. As each student’s name was announced and they took to the stage, the audience erupted with applause.
CLD’s core mission is to nurture the growth of minority youth in Central Indiana, helping them become future professionals, business leaders, and active community members. This mission was embodied during Scholar Signing Day when students signed their college scholarship papers.
One father, Damon Stovall, could barely contain his joy as his son, Stuart (Zach) Stovall, secured a full-ride scholarship to Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, valued at over $140,000. “This takes a lot of (financial) pressure off of us,” he said.
Damon Stovall also praised the character development that the Center for Leadership Development had imparted to his son. “I have seen his grades and confidence go up since entering the program,” he noted.
Dennis Bland, the president of CLD, emphasized the organization’s role in promoting success. “Some people are big pushers, CLD is a big pusher of success,” Bland said. “CLD is pushing greatness.”
Bland also highlighted the significance of having parents or parental figures in a child’s life. “Without my father, I would have been toasted,” he shared.
Trevon Thomas, a former CLD participant who received a full-ride scholarship to Rose-Hulman University, was also present at the event. Joe Zachary, the director of college prep, discussed the importance of maintaining connections with the young Black scholars after high school graduation. Academic advisory is crucial to graduating (college) on time,” he stated.
Bland concluded the event by offering an inspiring message to the young scholars: “Finish what you started.”