Clinton native Marcus Bass has seen a lot of success during his life — starting with his graduation from Clinton High School to now working as a statewide campaign director for Democracy North Carolina. Along the way, Bass has worked to empower others to capture their own successes by creating change.
In its 17th year, the Sampson County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) invited Bass, who not only served as the master of ceremony for last year’s banquet, but was awarded the Leadership Award, to speak about this year’s theme, “Parents and Teachers — Valuing Education for a More Just Society.”
“I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a community where each and everyone of you have had an integral part in my life,” Bass said. “There is a very proud history in Sampson County, where a lot of talent is found, and I am proud to be part of that.”
Bass graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro before returning to Sampson County to teach business and career classes at his alma mater, Clinton High. As a student at NC A&T, Bass was instrumental in helping organize student marches that involved students from across other campuses.
Throughout his life, Bass has always believed in leading by example, working in his community to not only make a difference, but encourage others to make a difference, as well. Asking the audience to look at a photo of dead fish in water, he asked, “When you walk up to a creek and see this, do you think there is something wrong with the water or the fish?”
While Bass admitted that there are a lot of factors people are responsible for in life, there are many situations that create a toxic environment, but not a toxic person.
“Every single day we see people laying on the side of the creek,” Bass shared.
While Sampson County offers a lot for its residents and youth, Bass pointed out that there are problems with being underprivileged, a part of a low economic level, low educational level, at an economic disadvantage and being at risk.
“There will be things you will face that your parents faced, but that does not mean you won’t succeed in life,” Bass attested.
The Sampson County Branch of the NAACP gave six scholarships out to students from across Sampson County. Saturday night, those students were recognized.
Receiving a $500 scholarship were Nina Devone, Jalesa Murphy, Thalia Plata, Destiny Hayes, Destiny Horne and Devontae Smith.
Devone is a graduate of Hobbton High School and currently a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Murphy is a graduate of Hobbton High School and currently a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Plata is a graduate of Clinton High School and is currently attending Brandeis University.
Hayes is a graduate of Union High School and is currently attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Horne is a graduate of Hobbton High School and is currently attending N.C. State University.
Smith is a graduate of Union High School and is currently attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
This year’s recipient of the Community Service Award was Larry Sutton, who not only writes a bi-weekly column for The Sampson Independent, but mentors local youth through a male-mentoring association. He also advocates for proper care for adult facility residents.
The Presidential Leadership Award was presented to Johnny Pridgen in recognition of his outstanding and dedicated service to the organization.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.