By Farrah Turenne
State Sen. Jacqueline Collins and Rep. Mary Flowers recently proudly to introduce to the Illinois General Assembly the 2012 state champions in boys’ basketball – the Simeon Career Academy Wolverines.
In March, the South Side Chicago high school claimed its third consecutive state title and its sixth overall, the most of any school in Illinois.
The Assembly applauded team members, including nationally top-ranked junior Jabari Parker, for their athletic and academic achievements.
“These hard-working and talented young men are an inspiration,” Collins said. “I am honored to congratulate them on their record-setting achievements.”
Collins singled out forward Jabari Parker for recognition, noting his 3.8 grade point average and commitment to community service in addition to his extraordinary skill on the court.
“Jabari stands as a shining example of a true student athlete who uses his mind, body and soul to the best of his ability,” she said. “He is also a team player who credits his teammates for his success.”
Parker, considered the top-ranked high school junior player in the nation, was recently honored as Illinois’ Mr. Basketball 2012 and presented with the “Rising Star” award from the DuSable Museum in Chicago.
He is weighing his many college options. Simeon Career Academy is also the alma mater of Derrick Rose, who now stars for the Chicago Bulls.
Sen. Collins also recognized Coach Robert Smith, who has served as Simeon’s head basketball coach for the past eight years. “Coach Smith has taught the Wolverines respect and leadership skills both on and off the court,” she said.
The Wolverines were hosted in Springfield today by Sen. Collins and Rep. Mary Flowers. Transportation for the team was provided through the generosity of civic leaders Larry Huggins and Timothy and Everett Rand.
In May 1987, a group of Chicago African-American women became members of the newly chartered Windy City Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Their first fundraiser was a Tea Dance, which provided money to programming and scholarship.
On Sunday, May 6, 2012, the Windy City Chapter marks 25 years in the community by hosting a Tea Dance at the Union League Club.
Over the last 25 years, the Windy City Chapter has been recognized as one of the premier service organizations in Chicago and South Africa.
The chapter has received awards and monetary support for its umbrella program Windy City H.E.A.L.S. (Health Education Awareness Learning Series.) The program was developed to address the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women and children of African descent.
“For 25 years, The Windy City Chapter of The Links Incorporated has provided unparalleled programming to our community, primarily on the South Side of Chicago and in South Africa,” says Link Kai Minor-Bunch, Windy Links Chapter President and charter member.
“Our current focus is on heart health awareness in the African-American community, and for several years, we focused on our youth by providing scholarships to high school seniors and supporting them through their college tenure.”
The Links, Incorporated National President Margot James Copeland will be the special guest at the Tea Dance, where there will be lunch, a luxury raffle, and the musical stylings of the Gentlemen of Leisure Band.
The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation established in 1946. The membership consists of 12,000 professional women of color in 274 chapters located in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Their motto is “Linked in Friendship – Connected in Service.”