»» View list of 2010 Sojourner Truth Award winners

SUNY Orange Program Celebrates Diversity and Achievement; Awards Banquet Set for March 5

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – SUNY Orange will formally recognize nearly 700 local students attending Orange County schools for their achievements in a variety of educational areas when the College hosts the awards banquet for its 21st annual Sojourner Truth Awards Program at 7 p.m., March 5 in the Physical Education Building. Snow date for the program is 1 p.m. March 6.

The Sojourner Truth Awards Program hails students from grades 6 through 12 who have demonstrated skills in areas such as athletics, citizenship, creative arts, diversity, English language arts, foreign languages, perseverance/effort, and sciences and technology. The program aims to promote education in a positive manner and motivate students who are from groups that are traditionally under-represented in the college population to consider college as a viable and attainable goal. The honored students will be acknowledged during the awards ceremony.

PHOTO: Keynote speaker Andrew CrespoThe evening’s keynote speaker is Andrew Manuel Crespo, a former Sojourner Truth Award winner (1998) who currently serves as law clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court. An alumnus of Monroe-Woodbury High School, Crespo graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 2005 with a degree in social studies. He is also a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was elected as the first Hispanic president of the “Harvard Law Review,” a post previously held by President Barack Obama.

As an undergraduate at Harvard, Crespo was awarded the inaugural Susan C. Eaton Community Organizing Fellowship for his work studying and practicing community organizing in the diverse immigrant neighborhoods of East Boston.

In 2007, at the age of 24, Crespo was named one of the nation’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics by “Hispanic Business Magazine.” He has received similar recognition from “Latino Leaders Magazine,” the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Hispanic National Bar Foundation.

Crespo has also served as a law clerk to Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In addition to speeches and the awards ceremony, the evening’s program will feature entertainment by the musical group AJ, a selected Sojourner Truth poetry reading by Middletown High School student Laura Griffin and a presentation of the colors by the Middletown High School Junior ROTC.

Sojourner Truth, for whom the program is named, lived in the mid-Hudson Valley after escaping from slavery. She is hailed as one of the most distinguished and highly regarded women of the 19th century. Born Isabella Bomefree (later spelled Baumfree) about 1797 in Hurley, N.Y., Isabella was sold four times, until she and her daughter were given their freedom in 1828. Isabella spoke low Dutch until she was about 10 years old and never learned to read or write.

In 1843 she changed her name to Sojourner Truth to better reflect her chosen missions of traveling to show people their sins and telling them what is true. Sojourner Truth is often referred to as one of the most effective and powerful
speech-makers of her time.

Corporate funding for the program and awards banquet comes from presenting sponsor Orange & Rockland Utilities. Supporting sponsors are Provident Bank, Affinity Health Plan and the SUNY Orange Foundation. To learn more about this program, visit SUNY Orange’s Sojourner Truth web site, call the Office for Student Services at 341-4000 or e-mail event coordinator Belen Medina.

»» View list of 2010 Sojourner Truth Award winners

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940