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Foundation Hosts Most Inspiring Students

An evening of uplifting stories about exemplary students who have beaten the odds is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 25 at the Long Beach Hilton. The annual Most Inspiring Student Awards Dinner, sponsored by the Long Beach Education Foundation, recognizes one student selected from each school in the Long Beach Unified School District. Reservations are available by calling the foundation at 997-8023. The donation is $100. The keynote speaker is Sam "Bam" Cunningham, the former star football player for USC who was among the first African-Americans to play football in Alabama, helping to integrate the sport. Frank Mottek, news broadcaster for KNX Radio and KTLA, Channel 5 will co-emcee the event with Mike Murray, immediate past-president of the Long Beach Education Foundation. The event theme this year is "A Tribute to Rhythm & Blues." During the dinner, the Superintendent's Distinguished Community Service Award will be given to The Junior League of Long Beach for decades of dedication, inspiration, leadership, volunteering and fundraising benefiting children in local schools. Keynote speaker Cunningham played in the historically significant 1970 game in which USC defeated Alabama 42-21 at Birmingham Legion Field. Alabama coach Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide was, as they had always been, made up of all white players, as the university wasn't ready to integrate. When Trojan running back Cunningham and teammate, African American quarterback Jimmy Jones, both had a good game, the University of Alabama finally realized that to compete, they would have to integrate their teams. Students to be recognized at the awards dinner represent one or more of the following qualities. Each winner: • is an inspiring example, • is unusually persistent, • makes a tremendous effort, • is an exemplary "good citizen" who is dedicated to serving the school or community, • could be described as a hero for overcoming adversity or circumstances that might have prevented a less determined student from succeeding, or • has made a dramatic improvement or turnaround. Proceeds of the event support the Long Beach Education Foundation charities with grants, school uniforms for students whose families cannot afford them, camperships to Hi-Hill Outdoor School, scholarships and other assistance.