Local African American students honored in Bakersfield

Project BEST hosts annual scholarship banquet

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - There were smiles all around Wednesday evening in Bakersfield as the 26th Annual Project  BEST Scholarship Banquet honored African American male students from the Kern High School District.

Proud parents, advisors and photo-ops won the night at the DoubleTree Hotel, as KHSD students took home scholarships and recognition. 

Project BEST, or Black Excellence in Scholarship and Teaching, has worked since 1992 to increase graduation and college attendance rates of African American male KHSD students.

Project BEST students at 14 participating high schools in Bakersfield are held to a high academic standard, and receive mentorship, tutoring, and networking experience, all focused on college preparation.

"Our job is to try to demystify that whole process so that we see more student success with respect to African American males in the arena of college admittance," explained Chris Dutton, the district administrator of Project BEST.

Chris Dutton emceed the evening honoring near 80 graduating seniors.

"At the end of four years or hard work, seeing that full stage of young men who have completed that A through G, that have been accepted to college, that have received full rides, that's the award that we get," said Dutton.

Chevron Vice President Al Williams gave the keynote address.

"To build a better country, to be catalysts for change, we need to realize our full potential," Williams told the room.

Chevron, a major donor for Project BEST.

Jordan Amey, a senior at Stockdale High School, received 2,400 dollars in scholarships Wednesday and will attend San Diego State this fall. 

"Its pretty overwhelming to see all these people get awarded for their hard work. Just motivation to go out and try to go to college," said Amey.

A night filled with pride.

"It was done for me, it was done for us I should say, and we're glad to give back and just pay it forward, making Bakersfield better one student at a time," said Dutton.

Overall between $20,000 and $30,000 in scholarships were given out to these local young men according to Dutton.

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