Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Compton Courts Scholarship Fund Honors Area Students
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Compton Courts Scholarship Fund has celebrated its 20th anniversary by awarding more than $22,000 in aid to students from Compton and surrounding communities, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas Townsend said yesterday.
Townsend, who said he started the fund while practicing law in the community, said the fund has given out more than $200,000 to more than 270 students over the years.
This year’s recipients of $1,100 each are Malarie Conner of Banning High School; Armi Avellino, Asia Avellino, Jacob Canales, Nicole Evangelista, Tamika Greer, Teryn McElroy, and Vanessa Novoa of Carson High, Angela Rios of Compton High; Stephen Reed of Dominguez High, Abigail Deras and Jennifer Jones of Lynwood High; and Saradin Chhim, Mary Grace Gardner, Wendy Leung, and Olga Ruano of Paramount High.
In addition, 12 past winners received $400 each towards their continuing expenses.
The fund figured in a 1994 election controversy when Townsend, then a Compton Municipal Court commissioner, was running for judge of that court against fellow Commissioner Kelvin Filer. Townsend promised in his campaign literature that “if elected,” he “would donate $12,500/year in scholarships to our students.”
This meant, he noted, that he would “personally donate $150,000 for scholarships if I am elected, and serve, two full terms.”
It was suggested at the time that the promise might violate a statute prohibiting a candidate from giving “any money or other valuable consideration” in exchange for votes. But while the contest was often bitter, Filer did not contest the election on that basis.
Townsend declined to discuss the controversy yesterday, saying he did not want to detract from the good work of the fund. He noted that he and his wife, Anorene Townsend, donated $21,000 to kick off this year’s drive and that several other judicial officers support the fund by making donations, interviewing applicants, and/or presenting awards to the recipients at the fund’s annual dinner.
The fund is overseen, the judge said, by a nonprofit corporation whose directors include Townsend, his wife, and fellow Superior Court Judges Ronald Skyers and Jerry Johnson.
In addition to honoring deserving students, the judge commented, the fund memorializes six people who contributed greatly to the community—Geraldine Townsend, a longtime Lynwood school volunteer and the judge’s mother; Paul Kennedy, a dance choreographer and teacher; Compton Municipal Court Commissioner Darryl Majied, who died in 1992 at the age of 41; attorney Ed Wilson; and Compton Police Officers Kevin Burrell and James MacDonald, killed in the line of duty in 1994.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company