pictured:Miss Bryant-Wagstaff &Miss Croxie
The Bennett-Wells American Legion Post A.L. Auxiliary #1780 recently announced their 2020 Lillian E. Hundley scholarship recipients. For the second consecutive year, high achieving high school seniors are awarded $500 grants to support college expenses. Each student was selected for demonstrating academic excellence, extra-curricular activities, and community service. This year’s awardees are Madison Bryant-Wagstaff and Janiya M. Croxie.
A City Honors graduate, Madison is heading to Canisius College to major in business and creative writing. “Giving back is one of my prominent qualities,” said Madison who helps plan Buffalo Prep’s annual Aspiring Young Entrepreneur Fair and volunteers on other community projects. An ambitious jewelry designer and owner of Madison’s Fabulous Creations, future plans include launching a start-up fashion boutique for petite women.
As a member of Bethel AME Church, Janiya donates the gift of time to the church’s Young People’s Division serving Thanksgiving meals to residents at Viva La Casa, a refugee shelter. They also prepare meals in Cook for Kids at Ronald McDonald House. The Performing Arts School graduate will attend North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro and major in journalism and mass communications. “My future goal is to work in sports media and own a media production company,” said Janiya.” This will help me give back to my community with employment and as many other opportunities as I can for minorities.”
After World War II, more than 100 African Americans retuning to Buffalo were not welcome to join existing American Legion posts. They formed the Bennett-Wells American Legion Post, established in 1946. In 1955, community-builder Lillian E. Hundley and friends founded the Bennett-Wells A.L. Auxiliary established to help veterans in need of assistance. She was active in many community projects—William-Emslie YMCA, Diocesan Educational Center, Fire Survival Program and her neighborhood block club. “As an active member of our auxiliary, her dream was to establish a scholarship fund to help with college expenses, she would periodically remind us of that,” said Delores Ross-Williams, president, Bennett-Wells A.L. Auxiliary #1780. “At age 93 she transitioned in 2018, the first scholarship was established in 2019 in her honor.