Fort Wayne Community Schools Study Connection will host the 28th annual Kick-off Breakfast Thursday, Aug. 25, at Cerutis Summit Park, 6601 Innovation Blvd., with featured speaker Cheryl Wills, an award-winning television personality for Time Warner Cables New York 1 News, author and actress.
The breakfast is by invitation only and honors volunteers who serve throughout the year tutoring and mentoring FWCS students. At the breakfast, three elite awards will be presented: the Connie Dickey Outstanding FWCS Colleague award, the Mike McClelland Outstanding Volunteer award and the Don Wolf Outstanding Student award.
Following the breakfast, Wills will visit Levan Scott Academy, 950 E. Fairfax Ave., where she will discuss her book “The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills,” a childrens book about Wills’ ancestor who fought for his freedom as a soldier in the Civil War. She will also visit Miami Middle School, 8100 Amherst Drive, to discuss her book “Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale,” which traces her great-great-great grandfather Sandy Wills courageous service in the Civil War as a member of the United States Colored Troops.
Wills is also a blogger for “The Huffington Post,” and she contributes to Essence.com. As a nationally recognized public speaker, Wills has been tapped to host and speak at events, including The Essence Music Festival, McDonalds Gospel Fest, The Congressional Black Caucus and The World Summit of Mayors in Senegal West Africa.
As a television journalist, Wills has covered everything from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to moderating televised discussions about the presidency of Barack Obama. She has received numerous awards for her work including New York Press Club and AP Awards and the YMCA National Black Achievers in Industry Award. In 2010, McDonalds honored Wills as a broadcasting legend during a regional ad campaign. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from New York College of Health Professions in May of 2005.
Her acting work has included playing herself in television shows like NBCs Law & Order SVU and major motion pictures such as “Freedomland,” starring Samuel Jackson, and “The Brave One,” with Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard. Wills is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and is the vice president of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, an active member of The Womens Forum of New York, The Links, Incorporated, The Inner Circle of City Hall Journalists, The New York Press Club and The Screen Actors Guild. She is also a member of The Founding Commander of the New York Chapter of the “Sons & Daughters of the United States Colored Troops.
FWCS Study Connection is an after-school tutoring program that matches students with employees and volunteers at area businesses and organizations through the community. Students and tutors meet one hour once a week to provide consistent academic assistance and mentoring to students who may not otherwise receive it. For more information about Study Connection, call 260-467-8810.
With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.