Georgiana hosts fourth annual unity banquet

Published 6:01 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Georgiana community leaders, law enforcement and citizens joined hands at the close of the fourth annual Georgiana School and Community potluck unity banquet.

Georgiana community leaders, law enforcement and citizens joined hands at the close of the fourth annual Georgiana School and Community potluck unity banquet.

An ever-growing crowd of Georgiana residents gathered Saturday evening despite the brewing storms on the horizon in the name of unity among its citizens.

The fourth annual Georgiana Potluck Unity Dinner celebrated the accomplishments of both school and community this weekend, as well as the unification of the two.

Event organizer Candice Powell said that she was pleased with the event’s turnout, given the circumstances.

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“Our attendance has gotten better each year, but yes, the weather did affect attendance, though not drastically,” Powell said. “I was happy to see the large number that came out despite the weather conditions.”

Following poetry and a number of songs from students and community leaders alike, guest speaker Carlton Cook, Georgiana’s newest police chief, took the stage with a simple message based on the opening scriptures of Ephesians Chapter 4–“live up to your calling.”

Cook made an analogy linking the responsibilities of a community to that of a football team, which features individuals all contributing toward a common goal.

“If each individual contributes to the goal of success… if each person in their respective position maintains their role and stands up to their personal responsibilities, and if each person is performing their job in a unifying manner–wanting nothing but to succeed through faith and perseverance–then you are living up to your calling,” Cook said.

Cook followed by stating the three main ingredients of success:  it occurs when people care about their team goals, when people care about their teammates and when they know who’s on their team.

Cook outlined how he, the mayor, elected officials, ministers and teachers fit into the mold of responsibility in the community, but also its two most pivotal roles—parents and students.

“Parents provide encouragement and support.  You all are team members.

But I must say, how many of you have a child that attends sports and take the time out to just drop them off instead of taking the time to support your child through their activities?  How many sit at home watching General Hospital, Days of Our Lives or the Young and the Restless?  Parents, you are a part of this team. 

“Students, you are a person who students something in order to enter a particular profession.  Not people who just sit around and wait for the next Christmas Jordans to come out.  Whether you realize it a not, Michael Jordan has already made his millions.  When are you going to make yours legitimately?”

Powell said that she considered the recently named Georgiana police chief as an effort to unify the city’s citizens with those who serve them.

“Serving as speaker for the dinner gave him the opportunity to share his vision for the police department and what he plans to implement in the months to come to improve different areas,” Powell said.

“Unity has been the purpose of the dinner since its inception in 2013. With the newly-appointed chief, we have pretty much joined forces to accomplish that goal.  As a native of Georgiana, I want to see us thriving and excelling together.”

Powell added that the growing success of the unity dinner means it will continue in 2018. And just like this year’s event, it will be scheduled for the Saturday following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday on Jan. 20, 2018.

“I am hopeful that in the very near future, we can evolve to a ticketed and catered event and have the gymnasium packed full of school personnel, students and community members,” Powell added.

“At this point, I am only optimistic that we will continue to have more and more people participate in and attend the program.  Also, I’d love to be a part of successfully and truly unifying the whole community and school for the benefit of Georgiana, its citizens and certainly our students.”