By Kathianne Boniello
It was a day of smiles, laughter and teary gratitude Saturday in Queens Village as girl after girl took the podium at Antun’s to give thanks for the achievements of their young lives.
Some were volunteers, others were athletes, while still others were simply excellent students. But to the Queens chapter of the National Council of Negro Women Inc., all 10 honorees at the group’s 15th annual Young Achievers luncheon were about the future.
Vice President Willean Halton-Hunter said the goal of the event, which is traditionally held at Antun’s, was to recognize the achievements of the youth in the community. The majority of the honorees, she said, live in southeast Queens.
“We select 10 youths who have excelled in academics, sports or community service,” Halton-Hunter said.
The winners were selected after a lengthy application process, and Halton-Hunter said the honorees were encouraged to get to know each other and to invite their families to the award luncheon.
Each of the poised young women, ranging in age from 12 to 19, gave a short acceptance speech upon receiving their awards during which they asked their families to stand for special thank yous. Tiny American flags and certificates accompanied the plaques.
Chantal Hathorne, 15, a Hillcrest HS student, studies dance in Queens Village and does volunteer work.
“I’m very humbled to be sharing this with the other honorees,” she said. “I hope to be able to continue to live as a positive” example.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), who made a brief but spirited appearance at the luncheon, congratulated the award winners and reminded parents in attendance to be good role models for their children.
“Please remember that actions speak louder than words,” he said. “You’ve got to set the example if you want to be an example.”
Honorees included Hathorne, Alesha Barton, Kelly Brewington, Neffertiti Lee, Shaneece Murray, Nefertiti Peterson, Pascale Saint-Louis, Jalissa Taylor, Tempestt Watson and Orisha Wise.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.