“An Evening with the Stars” to honor young men, women Saturday

Local attorney Gaven Norris still remembers the night he was recognized as a “star” in Odessa during an awards ceremony 15 years ago. He was an 18-year-old high school senior at the time.
Now Norris helps with the event, “An Evening with the Stars,” recognizing a new generation of accomplished young men and women in Odessa.
Kebreanna Bledsoe, LaDaijah Ellis, Hunter Hawkins, Herbert Ray Anderson, Gregory Nelson II, Kobe Robinson and Diego Mata are the stars of this year’s event, organized by the Black Cultural Council of Odessa.
“An Evening with the Stars” is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Odessa Regional Medical Center auditorium, 515 N. Adams St. The guest speaker this year is Elder Venshard Dobbins with Potter’s House of Dallas.
“I feel we have a great group of kids this year,” BCCO President Jo Ann Davenport Littleton said. “Ninety percent of them have volunteered at the food bank and volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club, they participate in Texas Scholars and they are leaders in their church youth groups.”
While juggling extracurricular activities, Littleton said the students still managed to maintain an A- or B-average and are honor roll students.
Some of the students chosen this year may be well-known due to their athleticism, but they have more to them than great hand-eye coordination, fast feet or brawn. Norris said they look for well-rounded kids that are not just great athletes, but are also taking advanced classes or excelling in other areas.
“There are a lot of untold stories, unsung heroes that people will say, ‘Wow, I had no idea,’ and we have them. Their story just needs to be told,” Littleton said.
The event brings these students together and shows them they are not alone. It shows them there are other kids just like them who are pushing forward, doing positive things and excelling academically, Norris said.
“I think sometimes we see kids who do well and are active and we congratulate them from the stands, we congratulate them at their concerts, but to really take a moment and to honor these kids and say, ‘we see you,’ you know, and we appreciate what you’re doing and we want to thank you and honor you because every kid isn’t doing what you’re doing,” Norris said.
Looking back, Norris said when he was selected as a star, it was a proud moment. He felt he was not only being recognized for his accomplishments, but being encouraged to continue pushing forward, continue doing positive things and achieving higher goals.
Part of further encouraging the students to continue down a successful path is finding a speaker who will impart wisdom and encouragement on the students.
"If they just take one or two things with them that helps out in life to be better people or to help others, I think at the end of the day we’ve accomplished a goal," he said.
Tickets for the event are $25 and may be purchased through any BCCO member. For more information call (432) 305-0369 or visit www.odessabcc.org.