Three Honored for Service

Three Honored for Service

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

With Coretta Scott King looking on, Boston College presented its annual community service award named for her late husband to Susan Wedda, a Boston resident who has spearheaded volunteer efforts for the Rosie's Place shelter.

The ceremony in Gasson 100 on Monday also featured presentation of the Amanda V. Houston Community Service awards to Michelle Brooks, an organizer of various activities in support of Jeremiah Burke High School, and Roxbury District Juvenile Court Judge Milton Wright, who has worked on anti-discrimination initiatives.

"As an institution steeped in the Jesuit tradition, Boston College values the idea of giving one's self in the service of others," said Office of Community Affairs Director Jean S. McKeigue. "These three people exemplify that, as did Martin Luther King and Amanda Houston, BC's first Black Studies Program director."

Wedda has been a volunteer at Rosie's Place for three years, and served as "an inspirational leader and friend" to both the residents and other volunteers there, McKeigue said. She also has encouraged her co-workers at Summit Technologies of Waltham and members of her softball team to be active at the shelter.

"Sue is the quintessential volunteer," said McKeigue, noting that Wedda has declined numerous recommendations to join the Rosie's Place Board of Directors. "Her dedication serves as an example to all who struggle to improve their community and promote tolerance."

An alumnus of Jeremiah Burke, Brooks began volunteering at the Boston high school in 1989 while her daughter was a student. She left her full-time job to work as a consultant so she could devote more time to the school, and in 1993 she launched the school's Family Center. The center's success prompted other schools to seek Brooks' assistance in similar projects.
(L-R) Amanda Houston Community Service award winners Michelle Brooks and Milton Wright with Susan Wedda, who received the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

Brooks was among a group of parents who worked with Jeremiah Burke and Boston Public School officials to help the school regain its accreditation in 1998. Their efforts helped the school improve not only its physical facilities and instructional focus, McKeigue said, "but also its spirit and sense of community."

Brooks is a founding coordinator for the Boston Parent Organizing Network, which brings together local groups to support and improve public education in Boston.

In the early 1970s, Wright was a member of legal teams that worked to end discriminatory practices in labor unions and the Boston police and fire departments. His service as a public defender earned him an honorary doctorate of laws degree from the New England School of Law.

Wright also is active in a number of Boston arts-related organizations. He has been artistic director of the Spirit of the Rainbow organization, and performs with the New England Spiritual Ensemble and the First Parish Universal Unitarian Church choir. He recently became a member of the board of directors at the National Center of Afro-American Arts.


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