The City of Aurora's African-American Heritage Advisory Board (AAHAB) will host its 14th Annual Heritage Dinner on Friday, February 23 at Gaslite Manor, 2485 Church Road. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. and dinner begins at 7 p.m.
The crowning event of Black History Month, this annual celebration will present scholarships to achieving high school seniors, recognize community members for their contributions to Aurora and fete AAHAB's2018 African-American Leader of the Year, Dr. Darrell Echols.
A longtime educator in Indian Prairie School District 204, Dr. Echols served as a teacher at Hill Middle School, dean at Waubonsie Valley High School and principal of Hill Middle School. In 2014, Dr. Echols took on the helm of leadership as principal of Metea Valley High School. During his tenure, Metea Valley has received several awards, including US News and World Report Best High Schools in America, Chicago Magazine's Best High Schools in DuPage County and a Grammy Award for its music program.
“Dr. Echols has helped to create an environment of excellence at Metea Valley High School,” said Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “Through his students, staff and community initiatives, that culture has permeated throughout Aurora. We are a better community because of his leadership.”
Mayor Irvin will also present the 2018 Mayor’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Avis Patterson Millerfor her decades of work as a community organizer and educator in East Aurora Schools.
AAHAB’s 2018 Nia Awards will be presented to Angie Richardson, Director of the Information Resource Center at IMSA, and Charmaine Peterson, Founder of the Dream Dance Academy.
During the ceremony, Aurora high school students will receive the Henry Cowherd Scholarship named in honor of longtime community leader and 2008 African-American Leader of the Year, the late Mr. Henry Cowherd.
“Seeing these kids really gives me hope for the future,” said Cowherd during last year’s heritage dinner.
He passed away last summer. A special commemoration will be presented in Mr. Cowherd's honor at the event.
Tickets are $60, with a portion going to the Henry Cowherd Scholarship Fund.
Individual tickets can be purchased at www.aurora-il.org/heritagedinner
Tables of 10, special discounted student tickets and tickets by check can be reserved by contacting Dee Hakala at [email protected] or 630.256.3408.