Scholarship fundraiser to feature Mardi Gras flair

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A Mardi Gras Ball with Cajun food and zydeco music is planned to raise funds for scholarship awards and an endowment for the Denton African American Scholarship Foundation.

The Feb. 15 event, hosted by the foundation, is set for 7 p.m. at the Center for the Visual Arts, 400 E. Hickory St., and will include dinner, dancing and music from Jay-B and the Zydeco Posse.

Tickets cost $50.

Since 1984, the foundation has given out more than $340,000 to 300 students attending high school in Denton. The students must be of African-American descent and going on to pursue post-secondary studies, according to Harry Eaddy, foundation president. The foundation’s board is also working to establish an endowment by the fall, he said.

Eaddy said ball participants can expect to “get a broader appreciation of Mardi Gras ... celebrated in 55 different countries.”

Ball guests will experience zydeco music and a number of ways people celebrate Mardi Gras around the world, he said. Seating capacity for the event is 240, and Eaddy said foundation officials are expecting “a sold-out event.”

“What we try to do is really give you a great environment to be in,” he said. “It’s just a really good time. For people that want to do something different for Valentine’s, I think this is something they will really enjoy.”

Annually, between 15 and 20 students are recipients of Denton African American Scholarship Foundation awards, which are presented in April, Eaddy said. The largest award given is generally $5,000. Several scholarship recipients have gone on to careers in law, medicine and education, he said.

“It makes me in particular feel really good because I’m a first-generation college graduate in my family, and I know how difficult it is to get into college,” Eaddy said. “My family was not able to afford to send me to college. By helping other young men and young women that aren’t able to get a lot of funds, it makes me feel real good.”

Val Morgan, the foundation’s secretary, said the scholarships distributed are “significantly important” to the people receiving them. The more revenue that’s brought in by the foundation, the more scholarships the foundation can award, she said.

“Sometimes the funds that we provide will be large enough to eliminate the need for a student to apply for a loan,” Morgan said. “Depending on where a student goes to college, that can make a significant dent in their ... obligations.”

Attire for next month’s Mardi Gras Ball is semi-formal to formal wear, and masks are encouraged. For more information on purchasing tickets, contact Eaddy at 940-380-0761 or Morgan at 940-391-4148.

To learn more about the foundation, visit www.dentonaasf.org.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.


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