SMC Students Receive Education Awards From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition

(From left) The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition’s Director Michele Prince congratulates the recipients of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition 2017 Education Awards: Georgina Tingle (Culver City High School), Mia Love (Santa Monica College), Isaiah Njoku (Santa Monica College), and (not pictured) Alessandro Chimienti.

January 17, 2017

​Three Santa Monica College students and a senior from Culver City High School were presented the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition 2017 Education Awards at a ceremony held January 16 to commemorate Dr. King’s birthday.

This year’s awards recipients are:

  • SMC student Alessandro Chimienti received the 2017 Clyde Smith Award for ‘artistic effort and service to making our world a better place.’ Mr. Chimienti has a passion for music and language, and a goal to transfer to a university as a Music major. He shares his love for music by raising awareness in the community to support youth in countries where natural disasters have struck, and by visiting the children and helping inspire them with music to create harmony, courage, and love. The award is given to celebrate the life of MLK Westside Coalition co-founder, director of the former Neighborhood Development Corporation (NRDC), and revered community leader Clyde Smith.

  • SMC student Mia Love received the 2016 Lillie Bell Blakley Award for a dance she choreographed to signify her belief that through dance a powerful message like Dr. King’s Six Principles can stay alive to bring change to the world through nonviolence. Struggling to work and study as a full-time student, Ms. Love strives wholeheartedly to save her finances to pursue her studies with the goal of transferring from SMC to the university level while majoring in Psychology and Mental Illness. The award for a work that ‘demonstrates an awareness of tradition, legacy, and history’ is given in honor of Lillie Bell Blakley, whose passion to “keep moving forward” is apparent in her family’s multigenerational commitment to education and service, which includes son and former Mayor of Santa Monica Nathaniel Trives, as well as granddaughter Dr. Toni Trives, chair of the SMC Modern Languages and Cultures Department.

  • SMC Nursing student Isaiah Njoku received the 2016 Saul Morrison Award for his essay. He has a passion for helping others and is involved in SMC’s Scholars Program and director of activities for the Black Collegians. Mr. Njoku, who graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA, was part of the student government for three years, as well as captain of his high school varsity basketball team for his junior and senior year. The award for an essay that ‘demonstrates a passion for bridge-building, community, and leadership’ is presented to honor the memory and efforts of social activist Saul Morrison to secure equal opportunities for everyone.

Also, Culver City High School student Georgina Tingle received a 2017 Honorable Mention Award from the MLK Westside Coalition for her poem titled “Begin Again,” touching on King’s “Six Principles of Nonviolence.”

Each year, schools, churches, and youth groups invite college and high school students to submit an essay, poem, or other creative work that exemplifies the “Six Principles of Nonviolence” in Dr. King’s Stride Toward Freedom. The awards are supported by endowments established in memory of local community activists and managed by the Santa Monica College Foundation.

To find out more about the Education Awards or to help support the awards, please call the SMC Foundation at (310) 434-4215.