The Daily Southerner
Although Robert “Bob” Whitehead passed away Nov. 2, his dream of helping as many kids possible to achieve a higher education will continue.
The Black Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, Inc. will present “An Evening of Dinner, Jazz & Theater March 8 at Edgecombe Community College. Tickets are $50 per person. Proceeds will go toward scholarships in honor of Whitehead.
The event will be held one day prior to the annual College Round-Up — an event that was founded by Whitehead in 2002.
The College Round-Up assembles recruiters from colleges and universities in one central place where potential students can apply for financial aid as well as admission. Since its inception, well over 1,000 students have attended college because of the Roud-up. Bus loads of students from as far away as Philadelphia have attended.
Whitehead was ill during last year’s College Round-Up, but he attended the event.
“He wanted to be there,” said Fay Smith, Whitehead’s sister and the co-founder of the organization. “While he was there, he was so happy. You couldn’t even tell he was sick.”
After her cousin’s death, Smith said she thought about shutting down the organiation. But testimonies from students who attended the events made her think twice. Also the memory of her brother urged her on as well.
“I really thought about giving up,” she said. “But every time I think about it, I get a call or an email from a student who lets me know this program is needed.
“I also thought about Bob. Bob would not want this to stop. He was so passionate about the College Round-Up. He was a visionary. He was not only a visionary, but he believed in making things happen. And that’s why he started the College-Round-Up.”
And that’s why Smith embarked on raising funds for a scholarship in Whitehead’s name. True to Bob’s demeanor and his belief, Smith chose the event to be “elegant.” A short play about the consequences of substance abuse is on the program. Patrons will also be treated to a dinner while a jazz band provides entertainment. Although the program appears to be for adults, Smith has hopes that students will also attend.
“We’re going to solicit businesses and ask them to sponsor tables for our youth,” she said. “Bob wouldn’t want to leave them out.
“Your financial support through your donation will be a great opportunity for you, your organization or business to associate with a program that has proven itself to be successful, year after year by helping to send students to college,” she said. “Together, through our program and your generosity, we can empower these young men and women to pursue and achieve a successful education which will lead them to a bright economic future.”
For more information, contact Smith at 883-2667.