Mary Allen College Sixth Annual Founders Day

By Dr. Thelma J. Douglass

Special to The Messenger

HOUSTON COUNTY –  A day that opens with a cold brisk breeze on February 17th captures the great commitment of Crockett turning out to celebrate the rich educational history of Mary Allen College/Seminary Founder’s Day. Founded in 1886, Mary Allen College/Seminary emerged as a beacon of hope and opportunity for Negro women at a time when educational opportunities for people of color were severely limited. Mary Elizabeth Allen had the fortitude to have her dream and vision come to fruition by recognizing the urgent need for accessible and quality education for people of color.

The Sixth Annual Founder’s Day program began with the mistress of ceremony Vice President Jean Shepherd introducing the head table and the program format. Mrs. Earlene Clebourn, the treasurer and manager of the Mary Allen Museum Heritage House, chaired the event. We enjoyed Diane Snider, a teacher in Huntsville ISD, melodious voice that rendered the songs throughout the program accompanied by pianist Fred Butler.

Rev. Timothy Jones the inspirational pastor of LifePointe Church prayed and welcomed all to the Church to honor the legacy of Mary Allen in unity and gratitude, to walk in faith, and purpose on this momentous occasion. Rev. Dr. Thelma J. Douglass, President, recognized past officer Roberta Mason; city officials Zac Benge, Randy Hargrove, Gary Lovell, Laronica Smith, and Will Yates, who shared a succinct summary of their campaign platform; Mary Allen College Seminary students Mrs. Nancy L. Givens and Mrs. Geneva Patton Gardner; Crockett ISD Superintendents John Emerich and Brian Aikens; and the Crockett High School History class of Mr. William Clark, in which two of his students participated on the program: Christopher Hernandez, read the Emancipation Proclamation and Jayah Cobbs, led us in the pledge of Allegiance to the US Flag. It was apropos to the theme of our guest speaker Ms. Charlotte Wooten Poole, “Passing the Torch” for the history class to learn information concerning an educational institution established in their hometown.

The program proceeded with Mayor of Crockett, Rev. Dr. Ianthia Fisher reading the proclamation from the city. Rev. Jim Tom Ainsworth, a man steeped in the history of the Mary Allen College, shared his intellectual knowledge and chronicled the importance of the institution’s existence. We were privileged to have John Angerstein, City Manager, introduce Crockett High School 1970 valedictorian graduate Ms. Charlotte Wooten Poole, as the guest speaker. She graced us with a magnificent slide presentation capturing the legacy of her father Mr. Otis Wooten. Her theme was “Passing the Torch” highlighting his contribution to Mary Allen College and the Mary Allen Museum Board. Mayor Fisher elucidated and captured in her City of Recognition Certificate the contributions and achievements of Mrs. Geneva Patton Gardner, a 1965 graduate of Mary Allen College/Seminary. Toya McPherson gave recognition to members of Crockett who contributed to the success of the Sixth Annual Mary Allen College Founder’s Day.

Sharing the Past and Shaping the Future is our theme. As we continue to highlight Mary Allen College, let us in Mary Allen’s spirit and unwavering success strive for excellence and provide educational opportunities for our future generations. Our sponsor was Janie’s Flower Korner. 

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