MERIDEN — The annual Martin Luther King/Albert Owens Scholarship Breakfast has been rescheduled to April.
Rhudean Raye, who started the scholarship breakfast over 30 years ago, said she’s excited to be able to bring it back this year and present four students with $1,000 scholarships. The breakfast, usually held on MLK Day, was canceled last year due to the pandemic and moved to April 23 this year with the hopes that the ongoing omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will subside.
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, a Meriden resident, is the planned keynote speaker.
The breakfast typically attracts 200 to 300 people to Maloney High School. It features church choirs, speakers and students reading essays written for the event. Raye said she’s unsure of attendance this year since it’s the first time it’s being held on Saturday and will be starting two hours later than usual, at 10 a.m.
“This is something we’ve never done before … but I really wanted to have it this year,” Raye said.
The scholarship is geared toward helping children with limited means attend college, she said, adding that “It’s for the needy, not the greedy.”
Students from Maloney High School, Platt High School and Wilcox Technical High School are eligible to submit applications, which are reviewed by the scholarship committee. Raye said they look at more than academics.
“I believe in giving a person a chance, you never know what they might be able to do,” she said.
Funding for the breakfast and scholarships is provided by donations and sponsors, who are recognized in the event’s ad book. Bruce Burchsted, president of Prentis Printing Solutions, said those interested in placing an advertisement should reach out prior to April 1. He donates his time to prepare the ad book.
City Councilor Michael Rohde said the breakfast is one of the most well attended MLK Day recognitions in the state. He’s helped organize it for over 30 years, though he said it’s Raye’s determination that’s made it an event that the city takes such pride in.
“Rhudean has been a big proponent of education; she was a teacher herself, so she understands the importance especially for kids that maybe don’t have a lot of money and they’re maybe first time students from their family to go to college,” he said.
Along with providing scholarships to children, he said the breakfast gives an opportunity to reflect and educate attendees on the values King preached.
“It’s more important than ever, especially in the times were going through, to keep the message of Dr. King alive and growing,” he said.