BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer

Outside, in front of the Seagate Center, in downtown Toledo, Dajuan Battle handed his daughter, Taylor, a dozen red roses. “This is my baby’s first dance, and she’s growing up so fast,” he told The Toledo Journal. “I just want her to have a good time tonight,” he said.

Dajuan Battle gives his daughter, Taylor, roses, and a kiss, as she enters the Ball.
Dajuan Battle gives his daughter, Taylor, roses, and a kiss, as she enters the Ball.

And a good time Taylor, and over 950 other junior high students, had on Saturday, May 20, during the 34th Annual Junior High Afro Ball, themed, “The future belongs to those who prepare,” as quoted from human rights leader, Malcom X.

Stylish and ready to party are, from left, Tyson Phenix, Groove Patterson Academy, Dorson Pettaway, Washington Junior High, Dayden Kiver, Jalen Barnhill, and Jamiya Neal, all from Groove Patterson Academy.
Stylish and ready to party are, from left, Tyson Phenix, Groove Patterson Academy, Dorson Pettaway, Washington Junior High, Dayden Kiver, Jalen Barnhill, and Jamiya Neal, all from Groove Patterson Academy.

Elaine Page, executive director of Grace Community Center, the organization that sponsored the event, said over 950 students, representing 85 schools, throughout Toledo Metropolitan area, were present.

Ms. Page told The Toledo Journal that for the 2017 Junior High Afro Ball, they asked Principals to select two students who are, potential future leaders, and best exemplify the theme of the ball. Fifty-two students were selected as the representatives, and had a special, VIP section at the ball.

Although in formal wear, students still had a good time dancing throughout the night.
Although in formal wear, students still had a good time dancing throughout the night.

In addition, prior to the day of the ball, those 52 students, their parents, and event organizers, had a formal, catered dinner, at Scott High School’s cafeteria.

Ms. Page said that each of those 52 students would be paired with a mentor who would be with them until they graduate from high school. The mentor will make sure the student is college, and career ready by the time they graduate.

Dajuan Battle gives his daughter, Taylor, roses, and a kiss, as she enters the Ball.
Dajuan Battle gives his daughter, Taylor, roses, and a kiss, as she enters the Ball.

“We’re embracing the entire family in order to help make sure young people are successful,” she said.

After the ball, each student was given a T-Shirt with the theme printed on it, and a decorative drinking glass.

“This is really awesome,” said Drion Jordan, a student at Horizon Science Academy, Springfield, and a VIP student. “It’s good to know I’m appreciated for what I’ve done,” he said.

Mikaya Gregory, also from Horizon Science Academy, Springfield, and a VIP student, said, regarding the Ball, “It’s lit. I’m really proud to represent my school,” she said.

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