PIQUA — The 16th annual Doug Smith Memorial Banquet sponsored by Promoting Recognition of Diversity (PROD) will take place at 6 p.m. June 1, at 6pm in the Yuri Willcox Commons at Piqua High School.
PROD is especially honored to host the event this year in the Yuri Willcox Commons because Willcox, the well-known Piqua City Schools educator and administrator, was the first speaker chosen by PROD to address the Doug Smith Memorial Banquet during the 2001-02 school year 2001.
Smith was a Piqua native who was celebrated as one of the nation’s best educators while teaching at Columbus East High School. He was killed in an automobile accident while en route to a family reunion in Piqua in 1999 and PROD soon after chose Smith as a local model of excellence in promoting an educational career path. This year’s theme for the banquet will be “Without Community, Visioning Dreams Perish.”
The PROD keynote speaker for this year is the Rev. John Scott II, pastor of True Vine Church in Piqua. A native of Gary, Ind., Scott accepted the call to Christian ministry in 1997 while serving in the U.S. Air Force. The following year, while stationed in Saudi Arabia, he sensed God leading him to leave 13 years of military service, move to Ohio and start a church. In May 1999 Scott, wife Stacey, and their four children took a leap of faith and moved to Ohio, trusting God for provision.
In October 2008, the Scotts began True Vine Church in a living room in Piqua, with 12 people in attendance. The vision at True Vine Church became to model and manifest “Heaven’s Culture on Earth” by preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and making disciples for Jesus Christ. Scott believes that the church should be diverse and reflect the Kingdom of God and he has a deep desire to see racial healing in the Body of Christ as well as the city of Piqua.
In addition to their four children, the Scotts, who have been married for over 23 years, have two grandchildren. They live in Troy.
PROD creates a program booklet for the banquet that is used as a recruiting tool to attract minority teacher candidates to apply at educational institutions serving the community of Piqua and the West Central Ohio region.
PROD, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization has also sought to assist the recruitment of minority teacher candidates through encouraging local students of color to consider teaching as a career path and offering scholar assistance to those who will major in education and apply locally to teach and live in the area. PROD currently is assisting Greg Johnson of Troy attending Walsh College, Darien Wilkerson at Wright State and Tyeal Booker at The Ohio State University. Wilkerson and Booker are Piqua graduates. Each of these students is receiving a $1,000scholarship annually.
PROD welcomes scholarship support in awarding $1,000 to eligible scholars and challenges local individuals, churches, civic organizations and businesses to pledge their donations in the support of future PROD Scholars seeking scholarship assistance. Businesses are currently being contacted to support the PROD program booklet. Individuals are also encouraged to patronize the organization and show their support of PROD goals.
Tickets for the Doug Smith Memorial Banquet will be available at the Lincoln Community Center, 110 Ash St., Troy, and Joe Thoma’s Jewelers, 312 N. Main St., Piqua.
Any person, business, church or civic organization can send contributions or make inquiries about to PROD, 1104 Maplewood Dr., Piqua, OH 45356 or call 778-1035.