Student Entrepreneurs Honored

The youngsters from Raymond Elementary School in Northwest who designed and marketed their own low-cost sneakers were among those recently honored by the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations for making significant contributions to the quality of life in this city during the last year.

The federation, which turned 60 this year, is an umbrella group made up of representatives of 57 neighborhood organizations across the city, and most of its annual awards go to adult volunteers or professionals whose leadership made a difference.

But this year, the students at Raymond were among those in the spotlight. Working with parents and teachers, the students developed the sneakers, which were adorned with the school colors and mascot. Priced at $25, the sneakers became so popular that Raymond pupils chose to wear them rather than trendy higher-priced varieties.

The project was so successful that other schools in the city and nation followed suit. Profits from the Raymond shoe sales were used to buy materials for the school.

Honored as the year's outstanding supporter of a youth group was Marvin Turner, a Raymond parent who made arrangements for the manufacture of the sneakers by a company in Taiwan.

Other federation awards this year went to: Margaret Carter, a 27-year member of the federation and president of the Civic Betterment Association of 14 civic groups in Ward 7, who was named outstanding local association president; Gregory New, named outstanding male delegate to the federation for the fourth time in 24 years for his service on the executive committee and as federation archivist; Joseph Carter, a retired printer specialist for the Defense Department, who was named outstanding senior citizen delegate to the federation; and Dunbar High School teacher Lawrence Graves, who has worked as coordinator of scholarship programs for the school for more than nine years.

Clara McNearey was named outstanding female delegate to the federation. She represents the Central Northwest Citizens Association, where she has been instrumental in establishing model neighborhood watch and sentry programs. The Brightwood Community Association was named outstanding civic association for its outreach, especially to children and senior citizens.

Ophelia Daniels, of the Queens Chapel Civic Association, was honored for outstanding work on behalf of consumers. She has spent 25 years lobbying for affordable utility rates and has led efforts to improve medical care and services for the elderly.

The federation's award for outstanding community newsletter went to the two-year-old publication of the Palisades Citizens Association. The newsletter was credited with helping to galvanize the community around issues and revitalizing the organization. Its editors are Alvin and Judy Rosenfield.

Washington Post columnist Dorothy Gilliam received the award for outstanding leadership in local civil rights, and D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick Dorsey was honored for his work in consumer advocacy.

Evelyn Gray, of Brightwood, chairwoman of the awards selection committee, praised the work of the recipients and said the awards were intended to give them visibility as well as to encourage others to follow their example and get involved.

DeMatha Coach Wins Disney Award

The Walt Disney Co. has given one of its American Teacher Awards to Morgan Wootten, who has logged 929 victories and only 132 losses as head basketball coach at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville since 1956.

He was one of 12 teachers in 12 disciplines nationwide to win the Disney award for outstanding educators.

Wootten, who has won numerous local and national tributes, has made sure for 20 years that every senior on his team has been offered a scholarship to college.

"In my heart, I've always been a teacher, and being a coach is being a teacher. It is really important for me to have the opportunity to influence the lives of young people," he said.

The honor carries with it a cash award of $2,500 for Wootten and $2,500 for DeMatha.