CENTREVILLE — The Kennard Alumni Association held its 12th annual gala Saturday evening, Nov. 9, at the former Kennard High School building, which has been renovated and renamed the Kennard African American Cultural Heritage Center and Museum in Centreville.

The renovated Kennard building was formally renamed and rededicated in 2018, following years of planning and major fundraising efforts by the Kennard Alumni Association. Kennard Alumni President Clayton Washington, who was raised in Grasonville and who graduated from Kennard, saw the renovation to its completion.

On Saturday, Washington welcomed some 60 attendees to this year’s gala and encouraged them to bid on the silent auction items throughout the evening. This year there were a number of unique items offered, including autographed sports memorabilia, such as a picture of the late boxing champion Mohammed Ali with a smiling Sammy Davis Jr., with the entertainer also dressed as a boxer; a picture of former Major League Baseball great Hank Aaron; and another of Brooklyn Dodgers baseball player Jackie Robinson with Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey, showing Robinson signing his contract in the late 1940s to play for the Dodgers. Robinson broke the “color barrier” then imposed by MLB owners, becoming the first African American to play in the major leagues. That picture sold in the silent auction for $160.

Longtime Queen Anne’s County educator and Kennard alumni Janet Pauls was recognized for her leadership in the community with a plaque presentation. Pauls was not able to be present as she was traveling out of the country, touring South Africa. Her parents, also Kennard alumni, James and Dorothy Pauls, accepted the plaque on her behalf.

Immediately following dinner, magician and comedian John Carrington of Pikesville provided lots of surprises and lots of laughs for the audience. He even produced a live dove in several of his tricks and ended the entertainment, yes, by pulling out a live bunny rabbit.

The food for the gala was catered by Helen Todd Catering of Centreville. Music for the evening was provided by local DJ Maurice Wright.

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