First Lady Hugine to honor 9 Upstate women at annual scholarship luncheon

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

First Lady Abbiegail HugineORANGEBURG – South Carolina State University First Lady Abbiegail H. Hugine will honor nine distinguished Upstate women at a June 10 tea and luncheon.

The Fourth Annual First Lady Scholarship Luncheon, which will raise scholarship funds for students attending SC State, will be held on Sunday, June 10, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ryan Nicholas Inn in Simpsonville, S.C. The subscription for the event is $60.

For tickets and additional information, contact Lillian M. Adderson at (803) 536-4962, Mary L. Smalls at (803) 536-7045 or Dr. Mary L. Grimes at (864) 250-8915.

This year’s honorees include women who have distinguished themselves in the areas of business, civic involvement, education, government and health care in Greenville, Greenwood, Simpsonville and Spartanburg, S.C.

Cathy Verndell Haynes McCray (Business) is certified as a housing counselor, financial counselor and a foreclosure prevention counselor. Her business, Victory Realty Corporation, has made the dream of home ownership a reality for many would-be homeowners. In 2004, McCray and partner Sandra Bullock began Victory Plus Inc., a not-for-profit organization that focuses on housing, financial literacy, biblical finance management and transitional housing for single women coming out of crisis centers.

Anita Frye Jackson (Civic) is first lady of New birth Greenville Kingdom Life Center where she assists her husband through a shared ministry. The 700-member New Birth congregation worships in a 20,000 square foot edifice, including gymnasium, fitness center, bookstore, classrooms, nursery and administrative offices. A 20,000 square foot addition to the facility will be completed in 2008. A seamstress for 25 years, Jackson is also a certified cardio and step aerobics instructor through the YMCA, a healthy life style principles instructor and a MasterLife certified religious trainer.

Shirley J. McPherson (Civic) is first lady of Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greenville, S.C., and owner of Charleston Church Supplies in Charleston, S.C. She is a member of the Daughters of Sara, Female Rites of Passage Ministry and serves as adviser to the L.J. Coppin Missionary Society. McPherson was awarded the Mout Pleasant Hall of Fame Award for Outstanding Service to the Community in 2006 and, presently, serves on the advisory board of Reid House of Christian Service in Charleston, S.C.

Brenda G. Humbert, ‘72, ‘74, (Education) serves as principal of Fuller Normal Charter School in Greenville. During her nine years spent as principal at Lakeview Middle School, students; math scores increased by 12.8% and language arts by 1.9%. She has served on the Governor’s Task Force on Middle Grades and the Governor’s Task Force to review middle school principals’ training. Humbert’s most notable achievement was being asked by the S.C. Department of Education’s Office of School Quality to work with two failing schools in Hampton County School District 2 – Estill Elementary and Estill High. As a result of her efforts as a member of the technical team, Estill High received the S.C. SILVER Improvement Award for 2004-05 and 2005-06, and had the highest SAT score increase in the state during the 2005-06 school year.

Roberta C. Weathers, ‘72, (Government) is a 34-year employee of the Social Security Administration, serving as a technical expert who mentors and assists claims representative trainees and has received numerous awards from the federal government for her exemplary performance.

Brenda B. Byrd (Health Care) is a public health nursing professional who has spent more than 30 years in the nursing profession. Over the years in Greenwood County, Byrd initiated the Save Our Children Organization (SOCO) and organized the SOCO banquet; organized several Back to School marches and rallies; conducted numerous health sessions on high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and STDs at churches and other events; and organized several HIV testing sites in the community.

Dawn Eyvette Thompson (Civic) is first lady of Bride of Christ Church in Simpsonville, S.C., where she supports the ministry of her husband. Prior to becoming a homemaker, Thompson worked in banking and education.

Esther A. Leslie Avery (Civic) is the assistant chief financial officer of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind in Spartanburg, S.C. Avery is a member of the Finance Advisory Committee of the Girls Scouts of the Piedmont, Spartanburg Historical Association, a recent graduate of Leadership Spartanburg and has chaired the United Way of the Piedmont – Panel 5 – Health and Wellness.

Mary Ann Washington Deku, ‘67, ‘73, (Education) served as school counselor for Mary H. Wright Elementary School for 20 years, and, in 1999, initiated the Mary H. Wright Achievers’ Project, researching former students of the previously all-black school who have become doctors, lawyers, teachers, judges, business owners and other outstanding professionals. In 2007, Deku became the first recipient of the Mary L. Thomas Civic Leadership and Community Change Award, and has also received the Spartanburg NAACP Humanitarian Award (2006) and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s Citizen of the Year Award (2007).