On Sunday, August 19th, 2018 at 1:30 pm, the Pelham Fritz Basketball League (“PFBL”) Scholarship Fund, Inc. held their annual awards ceremony.
The event was held at the Lt. Joseph F. Kennedy Community Center located at 34 West 134th Street in between Lenox Terrace and 5th Avenue in conjunction with NYS Assemblywoman Inez Dickens. The league is named after Pelham Fritz (1920-1988), NYC Assistant Commissioner at the Parks Department who was one of the original organizers of the celebrated Holcombe Rucker Community Basketball League. Fritz was a dedicated Harlem community servant that was active in the Harlem YMCA, Abyssinian Church, Dunleavy Milbank Center, Greater Harlem Nursing Home, Harlem Meals on Wheels and the Children’s Aid Society.
The afternoon ceremony provided 16 high school graduates and 2 returning college students with $500 scholarships each to help them buy textbooks and other needed college materials. The fund was established in 2006 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to use sports to motivate low-income youths to pursue their dreams of going to college. To date, the fund has awarded over $140,000 to more than 290 NYC metropolitan high school graduates.
Melvin Pratt, Executive Director/Treasurer opened the program stating how PFBL started out as a basketball organization for men 38 years and older that also provided mentoring to youth in the Harlem community. Welcoming remarks were given by Britany Pratt, 2008 scholarship recipient.
NYS Senator Brian Benjamin was the scheduled guest speaker and he was unable to attend, however, he sent Shana Harmongoff, Director of Community Affairs from his NYC office in Harlem. She urged each of the scholars to keep striving for their goals and continue to do their best.
This year’s keynote speaker was one of last year’s scholarship recipients, Keon Hanley who is attending Purchase College, SUNY. It’s nice to see young people return to encourage the next group of scholarship recipients.
Brittany Pratt and Shana Harmongoff presented the awards to the recipients. The following organizations awarded the 2018 scholarship recipients listed below along with the name of college each will be attending this fall:
Andrew Glass Mortgage Brokers, Inc. to Ifeanyi Michael Ukejianya who will attend Western New England University.
Capital One Bank to Nana Bonsu who will attend The City College of New York and to Joshua Feld who will attend Brandeis University.
The Check Cashing Place (“CFSC”) to Nathali Cepeda who will attend The City College of New York.
Citizen Committee for NYC to Wesley Abreu and Ismaila Cisse who will both attend CUNY NYC College of Technology and to Alexander Lopez who will attend SUNY Morrisville State College.
Grace Luthern Church in Malverne, NY to Brenda Aguilar who will attend CUNY LaGuardia Community College; David Daniels who will attend Morehouse College; to Nia John who will attend SUNY College at Oneonta and to Tyree Peters who will attend SUNY Old Westbury.
The Migdol Family Foundation to Asiatu Jaiteh who will attend SUNY New Paltz and to Amrutha Stephen who will attend Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.
PFBL Scholarship Fund, Inc. to Asia Brown who will attend CUNY Lehman College; to Brian Davis who will attend Canisius College; to Tyrone Davis III who will attend The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a continuing education grant to 2017 scholar Sharai Isler who attends Howard University.
Tony K. Rolston Charity Trust gave a continuing education grant to Marisha Glasgow who attends CUNY The College of Staten Island.
Melvin Pratt gave closing remarks before photos were taken to commemorate the day. Lunch was lovingly prepared and served; guests dined on a choice of chicken cooked three ways, baked macaroni, and cheese, tossed salad and assorted cake slices and beverages.
Read more stories by Lil Nickelson here.