ESSA hosting college scholarship event

Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 3:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 3:10 p.m.

You can help raise funds to provide college scholarships to deserving students living in public housing and enjoy an evening of fashion and performances by Gainesville youth at the “Reaching for the Stars” 3rd annual Scholarship Event hosted by the East Side Student Assistance Inc.



What: “Reach for the Stars,” the 3rd annual East Side Student Assistance Inc. Scholarship Event.
When: 7 p.m. May 24.
Where: Gainesville Woman’s Club, 2809 W. University Ave.
Tickets: $20.
Information: Call 352-219-6151 or 352-466-0883 or email or

Founded by the Rev. Dr. T.A. Wright, pastor emeritus of Mount Carmel Baptist Church, East Side Student Assistance was incorporated as a non-profit in May 2010 to establish a $100,000 endowment to provide college scholarships to students living in public housing in east Gainesville. Homeless students can also qualify.

The event, which will include hors d’oeuvres catered by the Gainesville Job Corps Center culinary arts program, will be held at 7 p.m. May 24 at the Gainesville Woman’s Club, 2809 W. University Ave. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 352-219-6151 or 352-466-0883.

Debra Jackson, vice chair of the ESSA Board of Directors, said this year, the traditional banquet has been replaced with a teen talent show and fashion show coordinated by Poinsettia Greene, a member of ESSA, coordinator of special events modeling and performing arts, and owner of Dodgenna’s Fine Fashions. Jackson said the intention of hosting a talent show and fashion show is to draw more young people to the event.

Last year, 150 people attended the event.

Jackson said proceeds from ticket sales and also from the sale of books authored by Wright will go to ESSA scholarships.

She said three scholarships to deserving students will be awarded this year, with the amount to be announced at the event. She said ESSA has awarded a total of seven scholarships, including four $500 scholarships in 2011 and three $1,000 scholarships in 2012. The scholarships are intended to help students get started in college and can be used for housing, testing, applications, transportation, and other items.

Jackson said eligible students must have a 2.7 GPA or higher and have been accepted to a post-secondary institution. Applications are available by calling Jackson at 352-466-0883.

“It (scholarship) goes to whatever they need to get them into college,” Jackson said.

“These are kids who need a little more help and we want to help them just a little more so they will have a chance.”

In keeping with the theme, “Reaching for the Stars,” Greene said the event will focus on Alachua County children who will share their talents in the performing arts and serve as models wearing the latest fashions in day and evening wear, prom fashions, church attire, school attire, including uniforms, sports attire and other fashions.

“I want to focus on teens and children who are performing stars in our community across Alachua County,” said Greene. “We want to let the kids know we’re here for them and to bring awareness to parents and students that we’re giving scholarships.”

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