By Dr. James O. Hill, Sr.
Our family has been residents of South Florida since 1968. I’ve always thought that Daytona Beach, Florida, was the most exciting city during the world-famous Daytona Beach 500 Nascar Race. However, on July 31, 2020, I discovered that I was very, very wrong.
My wife and I were invited to attend the Maranatha Christian College and University Graduation Commencement hosted by the beautiful Daytona Beach Hilton Resort and Hotel. Our daughter, Eva, and our son-in-law, Moses Taylor, insisted that we attend despite the COVID -10 pandemic, so we drove up to Daytona Beach with them. We entered the resort wearing our masks, walked to the ballroom, and everyone was seated to honor social distancing suggestions.
Once we were seated, the two most beautiful events occurred that evening that we will never forget. Our daughter, Mrs. Eva Taylor, received her Ph.D. degree in Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, making her the third member of our immediate family to receive such a high honor. Mrs. Taylor has been employed with Broward County Schools since 1990 and currently serves as the GED Coordinator, assisting students in the Department of Juvenile Justice system, as they earn a High School Diploma through GED testing. She has a big heart, is a great listener, and strives to help everyone reach their goals, so we were not surprised to see “counseling” in her degree title.
However, the second event of the evening was the most shockingly pleasant surprise of all. Our granddaughter, Bianca Rose Taylor, naturally went on the trip to support her mother and see her receive her Ph. D. However, unbeknown to her, Bianca’s mother decided for Bianca to walk across the stage and be presented with her High School diploma at St. Thomas Aquinas High school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Like so many High schools across the county, St. Thomas had to hold virtual graduations, but Eva wanted to see her daughter “walk.” Eva asked the Dean of Students, Dr. Kevin Norton, if her daughter could walk with her across the stage, but Dr. Norton said, “We can do better than that, she can walk alone, and I can present her with her diploma!” So the secret plan was put into motion and came to fruition on July 31, 2020, at 7 p.m. Bianca was shocked, thrilled, and so happy to see her name printed in the program while she gracefully glided across the stage to receive her high school diploma.
Bianca was honored as the Zeta Phi Beta 2020 Community Service Scholarship Award recipient, the Miami Herald’s Silver Knight Journalism Scholarship Award recipient and will attend Howard University this fall to major in Pharmacy. Like many other students, Bianca will take Howard University online courses at home instead of physically attending school. Bianca hails from a long lineage of HBCU graduates including but not-limited to: *Great-grandfather, James E. Mosby, Tuskegee University; *Great-grandmother, Eva Melanscon Mosby, Houston Tillotson University; *Grandfather, James O. Hill Sr., Howard University; *Grandmother, Eva Mosby Hill, Prairie View University; *Sister, Kayla Williams, Hampton University; *Mother, Southern University crowned Miss Southern University in 1987. HOW COOL IS THIS?
While all higher learning institutions have something to offer most students, we believe Historical Black Colleges and Universities are unparalleled at nurturing our students while giving them a greater sense of belonging and community. HBCUs also set the stage for academic excellence by celebrating black culture in