LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Alltel and world-renowned poet Dr. Maya Angelou announced today the 10 winners of the company's Words of Wisdom Scholarship Program during a reception at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center. The winners had a special lunch with Dr. Angelou and received $4,000 scholarships to participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).
The 10 winners were selected by educators, business leaders and Alltel officials based on their responses to the essay question, "What words of wisdom will you pass on to those who come after you?"
Scholarship winners are: Karah Bailey, Florida A&M; Dionne Gilchrist, Norfolk State University; Tiffany Henry, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Antoine Marshall, Claflin University; Ashley Jackson, Tougaloo College; Deirdra Beatty, Fayetteville State University; Lawrence Henry, Xavier University of Louisiana; Shondolyn Galloway, North Carolina Central University; Britani Childs, Hampton University; and Candace Moore, Virginia Union University.
"The Words of Wisdom Scholarship Program underscores Alltel's commitment to the African-American community and our company is delighted to work with Dr. Angelou on a project that rewards college students for putting an emphasis on their education," said Regina Woziwodzki, director of multicultural marketing for Alltel.
"These young people are sharing what they know will prove useful to future generations," said Dr. Angelou. "I am proud to be a part of this program and to have come in contact with such an inspired group of young people."
During their visit to Little Rock, the winners also toured several local landmarks, including the Clinton Library, Arkansas Arts Center's African Masterpieces from the New Orleans Museum of Art and Little Rock Central High School and Museum. Reception attendees dined on a menu from Dr. Angelou's book, "Hallelujah! the welcome table" and enjoyed a performance by the Philander Smith Collegiate Choir.
Alltel supports a number of annual multicultural and sporting events in the African-American community, including the HBCU Football Classics and several athletic departments at HBCU institutions; a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Cleveland and a MLK parade in Jackson, Miss., the largest in the United States; the Lynch Street Festival in Jackson, and the Jazz Series and Pride Awards in Charlotte, N.C. This marks the second year for Alltel to sponsor an essay contest and scholarship program in celebration of Black History Month.
Dr. Maya Angelou is hailed as one of the greatest voices of contemporary literature. An internationally respected poet, writer, civil rights activist and educator, Dr. Angelou has authored twelve best-selling books, has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and was one of the first black women directors in Hollywood. She has written, produced, directed and starred in productions for stage, film and television.
Alltel is owner and operator of the nation's largest wireless network and has more than 10 million wireless customers.