Black History month begins today and continues during February, and as a way of celebrating some of Odessa’s brightest African American students, the Black Cultural Council of Odessa will host “An Evening with the Stars” Saturday.

The event will take place at Odessa Regional Medical Center Auditorium, and will honor 11 students from Permian High School and New Way Christian Academy with scholarships, the amounts of which will be announced during the event.

“These are students that have excelled in the classroom, in sports, in the community and in church work too,” BCCO Director Jo Ann Davenport Littleton said.

One of the students who will receive a scholarship is Elijah Smith, a senior at New Way Christian Academy who plays basketball, and said he will decide what college he will attend on National Signing Day, which is Wednesday. Outside of school, Smith said he helps out in his community by volunteering with his school and his church.

“I feel honored to be given the scholarship and the opportunity,” Smith said. “The school I attend is a nonprofit school always helping out, so I try to give back how I can.”

The banquet will also feature guest speaker Damien Thaddeus Jones, a grassroots activist who uses religion, hip-hop and advocacy as tools to engage with millenials on various social justice issues. Littleton said he would speak words of encouragement to the young people in attendance, and about how life will change once they step out of high school and into the real world when they begin their college careers.

“In today’s society, there’s so many challenges that we’re facing, especially as young people,” Littleton said. “You can be a survivor, not only an achiever.”

The event will start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the ORMC Auditorium, and tickets can be purchased for $25 each by calling 432-212-6700 or 432-305-0369.

If You Go
  • What: Evening with the Stars.
  • When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
  • Where: Odessa Regional Medical Center Auditorium, 515 N. Adams St.
  • Tickets: $25 each.
  • More information: For tickets and more information, call 432-212-6700 or 432-305-0369.