Afua Brown, an honors student from Anacostia, recently was named to the National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students. Brown, a student at Washington International School in Northwest, was awarded a $2,000-a-year scholarship to New York University.
The 18-year-old's good grades and high scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test helped her win the scholarship, as did her extracurricular activities. Brown is a reporter at her school newspaper and a member of the varsity track team, and she served as a witness in the Mock Trial Club.
At NYU, she plans to study film and video production, an interest that was sparked three years ago when she was a summer volunteer at the Broadcast Factory, a program for students between 14 and 20 that provides hands-on training in film production. She has returned to the program for the past two summers as a paid assistant.
Rapping His Way to the Top
Performing in front of audiences of more than 500 is no sweat for 9-year-old Samuel Cheney III.
Samuel, performing under the stage name "Lil' Tray," has become a local dancing sensation since his first performance last year at Waldon Woods Elementary School in Prince George's County, where he won first place for his choreographed rap and break dance routine.
Samuel's parents noticed his talent at age 3, when he started break dancing in front of the television during music videos. His uncle, James Cheney, who is his manager, had been manager of a local rap group called Kool Kazz. He asked Samuel to join the group in an audition on "Dance Connection," a spotlight for local talent broadcast on WDCA-TV (Channel 20). The producers liked the young rapper so much that they booked him on the show -- as a solo.
Since then, Lil' Tray has appeared twice at the Apollo Theater in New York, where he has won several competitions.
Closer to home, he performed recently at "Harlem Amateur Night" in Howard University's Cramton Auditorium, where he won top honors for his up-tempo imitation of his favorite rapper, M.C. Hammer. He also has performed at the Washington Monument and Freedom Plaza.
More than two dozen elementary and junior high school students this summer attended the second annual chess camp at the Capital Children's Museum called "Chess for Drug-Free Schools and Crime-Free Streets."
Local lawyer David Mehler organized the two-week program. Mehler gathered 10 volunteers from the D.C. Chess League to teach the students. Among them was D.C. native Ralph Mikell, a 37-year-old computer programmer and president of the league, who has been playing chess since he was 11.