By Eva D. Coleman
Lifestyle & Culture Editor
One hundred tables. Over 1.2 million dollars raised. Destiny met its match during the St. Philip’s School & Community Center’s annual luncheon that supports their continuous efforts in South Dallas.
A conversation with renowned actor Sterling K. Brown was the headliner for the 23rd Annual Destiny Award Luncheon, polishing the jewel of the south many have come to grow with and love.
St. Philips is a staple. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Dallas, Texas, it’s been an educational beacon for youth, currently serving students in pre-kinder-garten through 7th grade. The community center has served as a pivotal resource for many.
Perot Family Headmaster Dr. Terry Flowers is in his 40th year with the institution that has yielded numerous stories and esteemed individuals in a variety of career fields. He contributes the longevity of their success to their fearless commitment to faith in academics and service.
“The fact that we say it’s okay to pray and make an ‘A’ and celebrate God every step that we take, and make sure that we’re giving Him the glory in all that we do,” Dr. Flowers said. “Those would be the key elements of our success.”
The lobby of the Anatole Hotel was buzzing with students showing off their thinking, creativity and mastered skills nurtured by St. Philips. Brown visited with them, marveling at their glow. During the conversation part of the program, he shared his thoughts regarding his brief tour of the school.
He was enamored by their creed.
“For two minutes, I was watching these little brown faces say the most profound things about themselves and the impact that they will have on the world,” Brown said. “The value of Black boy joy and Black girl magic makes my heart burst wide open, because it’s not all the time that people who don’t always look like us see it too.”
The event also featured student performances, student-led speeches, and awards presentations. Former Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett, along with his wife Brill, presented Ellen and John McStay with the 2023 Mona & David Munson Humanitarian Award.
A special salute was given to the St. Philips class of 2017 who are now in their senior year at various high schools. At the request of Dr. Flowers, they proudly stood and waved to the audience.
Theater and acting icon Bruce DuBose led the moderated discussion with Brown, who made his entrance to the stage to the song and by doing the “Wobble.” The crowd laughed and were delighted by this cheerful beginning. By the end, they seemed emotionally touched and inspired.
Dr. Flowers shared his reason for bringing Brown in as this year’s luncheon speaker.
“Sterling K. Brown represents excellence,” Dr. Flowers said. “St. Philip’s School and Community Center has students who aspire to pursue the arts, and we thought it would be fitting for him to be our speaker. But more importantly, our Destiny Award luncheon focuses in on the oneness of humankind, and if you look at his body of work, and the excellence that he has achieved, it encompasses all realms of life and helps us to tell those stories that our students aspire to.”
The middle initial “K” stands for “Kelby;” the name Brown preferred to go by in his early childhood years. When Texas Metro News asked Brown what he would tell young Kelby after looking over his life, he smiled as he shared his response.
“Get ready,” he laughed. “I would tell him the same thing that my mom actually told me, which is that people would be watching, and not everybody is necessarily watching you to see you succeed; but that’s why it’s more important that you succeed because of that. That your actions are not just representative of you, of an individual, but of your family, of your community and of the people that you come from, so give them something to watch.”
While Brown has been watched a countless number of times by so many, with multiple acting accolades earned for his roles, the students of St. Philips are indeed worthy of watching as well.
Eva D. Coleman is the Lifestyle and Culture Editor at Texas Metro News.