The Williamson Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Youth Council recently sponsored a special program and reception on Saturday, Oct. 12, in recognition of the outstanding achievements, both academically and athletically, of Aaron Banks, now a junior at the University of Charleston, according to a news release.
Aaron, the son of Virdell and Hazel “Gina” Banks of Williamson, is a 2017 graduate of Mingo Central High School where he was a standout in men’s track and field and basketball. At the University of Charleston, he continues to excel on the track, setting school records in his first year.
He holds the school record in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, and earned All-Atlantic Region honors at 2019 seasons end.
Elder Thomas Moore, Vice President of the organization gave opening remarks of congratulations and presided over the ceremony. Rev. Gerald Dotson, past president of the local Branch, extended the welcome, gave the statement of purpose and the invocation.
Others speaking on Aaron’s behalf were:
- Mrs. Juanita Hooks, the local NAACP Education Committee Chairman and President of the Tug River District Women’s Missionary and Educational Convention;
- Ms. Jada Hunter, retired administrator with Mingo County Schools;
- Mr. Brandon Ball, head coach for track and field of Mingo Central Comprehensive High School.
Special guest attending and speaking was Mr. Nick Bias, Head Coach of Track and Field of the University of Charleston. Mr. Jonathan McCants, Assistant Coach, was unable to attend.
Richard Wright Sr., soloist, offered special music, and patriotic songs were sung by the audience.
Rev. Frank Jones, president of the organizations and pastor of the Second Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Williamson, Aaron’s home church, presented a plaque on behalf of the NAACP in acknowledgement of his most recent prestigious award, that of being named a 2018-2019 Academic All–American Athlete by the United States Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Aaron was also recently named a team captain for the Golden Eagles just as a junior.
Following the presentation, heartfelt remarks were made by Aaron, the honoree, by his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Banks, and by his older brother, Austin. Other family members attending were Aaron’s older sister, Olivia with husband, Josh Nelson, and their two daughters, Leia Rayne and Harper Grey, and Aaron’s younger sister, Leah.
The reception was held in the lower auditorium of Logan Street First Baptist Church of 620 Logan St., Williamson, the location of the recognition service.
Rev. Gerald Dotson is pastor of the church.