CJ Killingham can certainly be proud of his Nana not because she happens to be the Superintendent of the Grand Rapids Public Schools but because Teresa Weatherall Neal was named the 2016 recipient of the Giant Among Giants Award at this year’s annual Giants Awards & Banquet.
For more than three decades, 13 African-American individuals and/or organizations have annually been honored for their exceptional contributions that shape the history and quality of life of Greater Grand Rapids. Originating from a proposal from Dr. Patricia Pullman and Cedric Ward, the first awards banquet was in 1983 in the “G” Building of the then Grand Rapids Junior College.
This year’s Giants Awards & Banquet were at DeVos Place’s Steelcase Ballroom Feb. 6. WKTV will be rebroadcasting the presentation which was recorded by Grand Rapids Community College, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. and Feb. 27 at 10 p.m.
Neal received the award for not only her commitment for increasing the quality of the public school system but also for improving the community by fostering partnerships that promote engagement, collaboration and teamwork.
According to Neal’s bio on the GRPS website, she has been with the district for 40 years, starting as a student worker as a teenager. She has worked in the district in various capacities with her last position before being named superintendent in 2013 as assistant superintendent of community and student affairs.
The other recipients, who represent a staggering commitment to the betterment of the Greater Grand Rapids community, range from Grand Rapids Bar Association Executive Director Kimberly A. Coleman, who received the Floyd Skinner Justice Award to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Theta Chi Omega Chapter’s Ivylette/Rosette Program, which received the Phyllis Scott Activist Award.
Proceeds from the event are contributed to the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation’s Milo M. Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The Milo M. Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1987 by Michael Johnson and Mylece Brown Wilson through Grand Rapids Junior College Foundation. The scholarships are presented to African-American students as perpetual memorials to Brown, who was a businessman involved in various civic and social activities. This year’s recipients are Micah Rupert, Shawn Cummings and David Msema, who each received a $1,000 scholarship.
Click here for complete details on the Giants Awards, including the entire list of those honored.