Lake council pays tribute to local poet, Olympic gymnast
By Rich Bird Post-Tribune correspondent August 14, 2012 4:34PM
U.S. gymnast Gabrielle Douglas displays her gold medal during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Updated: September 16, 2012 6:18AM
CROWN POINT — Amid its usual financial business, the Lake County Council took time out Tuesday to celebrate two young people who recently shined on the world stage.
Corrion Davis, 12, of the Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy recently won the Junior National Forensic League’s National Championship in poetry.
The international speech competition, held June 15 in Indianapolis, drew participants from as far as Taiwan.
Categories of competition included poetry, prose, dramatic interpretation and debate.
Davis won with a presentation titled “A Montage of Life” in which he read several poems on the theme of manhood and young boys becoming men. His presentation featured the poems of Langston Hughes, Rudyard Kipling and Haki Madhubuti.
The council also bestowed signed copies of a resolution to the grandparents of Olympic gymnast Gabrielle Douglas, who recently won gold medals in the all-around and team competitions at the London games.
Council president Jerome Prince and councilwoman Elsie Franklin presented the resolutions to Theodore and Nadine Hawkins of Merrillville.
They accepted them on behalf of Douglas, who is on a whirlwind media tour since becoming the first African-American to win all-around gold in gymnastics.
Although Douglas is from Virginia Beach, Va., she regularly visits her grandparents in Merrillville at Thanksgiving.
“I just wanted to thank the council and thank Northwest Indiana,” Theodore Hawkins, Douglas’ grandfather, said. “I had the privilege of speaking on TV to share my grandbaby with the world.
“… I talked with her last night, and she said, ‘Granddaddy, it sure is getting rough. I’m all over the place.’ Last night she was in California and today she is in New York.”
Hawkins said Douglas was in New York for a taping of the “The Late Show with David Letterman,” which was scheduled to air Tuesday night. He also said that Douglas is slated for an interview with Oprah Winfrey later this month.
Councilman Dan Dernulc said he and his wife enjoyed watching the Olympic games and expressed his appreciation for the role her grandparents have played in Douglas’ journey.
“We are very, very proud of you and the nurturing you’ve done,” he said. “She is a true American hero. We look up to her as a future leader in our midst.”