Restoring Grace Community Church launches first Annual Dr. Jerome Symonette Scholarship Fund breakfast
Rev. Dr. Jerome Symonette, senior pastor at Restoring Grace Community Church in Fort Lauderdale, announced that the church will begin awarding an academic scholarship to a de-serving high school senior or current college student annually.
By Charles Moseley
Restoring Grace Community Church (RGCC) held its first Annual Dr. Jerome Symonette Scholarship Fund during a benefit breakfast entitled, “Celebrating Academic Excellence,” on May 31, 2015 at the Holiday Park Social Center in Fort Lauderdale. High school seniors or students already enrolled in college, who display high academic achievement will be eligible to receive a scholarship annually.
Dr. Symonette has long been a proponent of quality education throughout his illustrious career in the dual capacity as a theologian and educator in his native Nassau, Bahamas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and, most recently South Florida.
The scholarship was spear-headed by RGCC member Katrice Bell, who chaired its scholarship committee. Bell also introduced Dr. Symonette during the scholarship breakfast pro-gram.
“I felt that it was important for students at our church to be able to further their education. My mom was an educator. I have another scholarship in her name, The Katrina McCollum-Bell so I’m not new at giving scholarships. I actually also do this in Washington, D.C. on behalf of one of my cousins, Dr. Cassandra I. Mclaurin. I targeted this here because there was a need for this,” said Bell.
Pastor Jerome Symonette has preached, lectured, performed, and spoken in churches, conferences, conventions, and for colleges and universities. These opportunities have brought invitations across the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, and the Netherlands. Dr. Symonette has also served as Director of a Family Life Center an Assistant Administrator and Dean at a Christian Academy taught at a Catholic School and served as Supervisor of Counseling for Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS social service agency.
Additionally, he served as a Music Coordinator and Accompanist for the University of Louisville’s Dance Academy. He has served as the Chairman of the Board for Friends of Children, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and on the Board of Excel Academy Charter School, Miami, Fla. He also has served as the New Mount Olive Baptist Church as Minister of Music, is a professor at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Fla., as well as on staff at Village Elementary School, in Sunrise, Fla.
“Today was a very powerful event because we’re trying to raise awareness concerning academic excellence, but beyond the goal of just academic excellence, we had the fellow-ship with people whereas God’s presence filled this place has just reminded us, that not only did we have God but we had an education about God, with what we were doing here today.”
Pastor Symonette went on to explain the importance of interweaving God within the educational process.
“Number one – we realize there can be no positive change without God. Number two – when children are given to us by God as a stewardship we’re charged by God as good stewards to help them to become productive citizens of the kingdom of God and of this world. And so, hence we have to stay committed to shaping our children through the process of education,” Pastor Symontte added.
Several church members and other invited guests appeared on the program. Minister Joyce Hoskins, director of Christian Education provided the Call to Worship as well as the Introduction of the Meditation Speaker. Sister Martina Parker-Sobers did the Welcome and Occasion. Youth President Alexa Wilcox did the Scripture Reading, Norma Perkins, from the Atlantic Coast Missionary Baptist Association provided the Meditation Address. Deacon Ricardo Au Guste blessed the food. Dr. Philip Hall, Lighthouse Worship Center (COGIC), gave a sterling rendition of the hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy. Sister Katrice Bell introduced the guest speaker.
Dr. Dorothy Orr, retired deputy superintendent, Broward County Schools, provided the keynote address entitled, “A Charge for Academic Excellence,” and Pastor Symonette closed out the ceremony along with doing the Benediction.