2010 Pillars of Character to be honored at NEF Gala

August 27, 2010

Six outstanding graduates will be recognized as Pillars of Character at the Northside Education Foundation's annual gala, to be held Aug. 31 at the Westin La Cantera Resort.

The roster of 2010 Pillars include a fairly recent graduate who started his own successful business at the age of 17, a Special Olympian, a recent Olympic Gold Medalist, a police commander, a federal prosecutor, and a lifestyle trainer/radio-TV show host.

Almost 700 business partners, community members, and educators are expected to attend the event, which is expected to raise more than $150,000 for the Foundation. The theme for the Northside Education Foundation this year is NEF: On Safari 2010.

Each year, Pillars are selected from the nearly 100,000 Northside alumni who have graduated from NISD high schools since 1951. The Pillars represent the six character traits taught to NISD students that are part of the Josephson Institute's Character Counts program. The Pillars of Character are: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

Tickets are still available. The event begins with a reception and silent auction at 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact the NISD Partnerships Office at 397-8599.

The 2010 Pillars of Character are:

  • Pillar of Fairness Captain Janae C. Florance, Class of '83

    SA Police Academy/Commander
    Fairness: equitable, open, reasonable

    When 2010 Pillar of Fairness Capt. Janae C. Florance was nine, she enrolled in Meadow Village Elementary arriving from overseas with her Air Force family. She went to Jones Middle School where Basketball Coach Marcella Denice became a life-long mentor, then enrolled at Jay High School and joined Air Force JROTC following her Dad's example. However, her career plans changed when in 1987, she qualified for the San Antonio Police Academy, becoming the first African-American woman in SAPD history to be promoted to Lieutenant, then Captain. She received the SAPD Distinguished Service Award and is one of two from San Antonio to have attended FBI National Academy in 2004. Today, celebrating 22 years in law enforcement, she is the first female Commander of the SAPD Training Academy. According to Florance, "NISD and SAPD afforded me the opportunity to raise my son, get a degree from Southwest Texas, and meet my husband. I am glad our citizens' care for education, and are very supportive of the SAPD...Fairness is shown everywhere."

  • Pillar of Citizenship Diana Cruz-Zapata, Class of ‘77

    Chief of Asset Forfeiture Section U.S. Attorney's Office Western District of Texas
    Federal Prosecutor/Camp Volunteer
    Citizenship: law-abiding, judicious, responsive

    A federal crimes prosecutor, Pillar of Citizenship Diana Cruz-Zapata is principled, courageous, and tough. Yet she is most passionate about her role as a volunteer at Camp Discovery which serves cancer-stricken children ages 7 to 16. A '77 graduate of Holmes High School, she attended Sunset Hills Elementary (now Colby Glass) and Neff Middle School, and earned a degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Besides Dance Team, National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta (math) at Holmes, she volunteered as a Candy Striper for Methodist Hospital. Hired by Bexar County District Attorney's Office upon earning her law degree in 1986 from UT, she specialized in prosecuting child abuse cases prior to becoming Chief of the Assets and Forfeiture Division for the U.S. Attorney's Office. The section she oversees is charged with taking the profit out of crime by seizing property linked to criminal activity in an office handling a multitude of crimes ranging from anti-terrorism to drug violations, from Waco to El Paso to 660 miles of Mexican Border. She encourages students to always be honest and ethical ...keys to good citizenship.

  • Pillar of Respect Heidi Bush, Class of ‘87

    Special Olympian/Wheaties Champion
    Respect: courteous, intuitive, unbiased

    Returning in July, 2010 to the National Special Olympics in Nebraska as a fan was easy for celebrity athlete Heidi Bush. The event is the one-nation version of International Special Olympics where kids and adults with intellectual disabilities compete. A graduate of Mackey School, now The Reddix Center, Bush also attended Glenn Elementary and Rayburn Middle School where she epitomized respect and lived The Golden Rule (treat others as you would have them treat you). She appeared on the 1998 Wheaties cereal box for its "Breakfast of Champions" promotion. In 2005, she was cast as herself in the 20th Century Fox movie, "The Ringer," a touching film about developmental disability and Down Syndrome. Today, she is employed at the Embassy 14 Movie Theatre, and continues to compete as an adult in Special Olympics in bowling, equestrian, tennis, table tennis, bocce, and other sports, inspiring students at The Reddix Center and around the world. She was recently nominated as an ARC of Texas Achiever by the Texas Special Olympics for "35 years of participation and leadership."

  • Pillar of Responsibility Linda Goldfarb, Class of ‘74

    Lifestyle Trainer/Radio-TV Host
    Responsible: diligent, conscientious, stalwart

    When Pillar of Responsibility Linda Goldfarb talks, she can be heard around the globe...literally. Moving from one state to the next and abroad her entire life as the only daughter in an Air Force family, she arrived in San Antonio and enrolled at Jay High School in 9th grade. She joined choir, drama, pep squad, volleyball and track, and by her senior year had been named Most Athletic and The Optimist Club's 1974 Outstanding Student. A wife and mother and grandmother of eight, Goldfarb is the founder of Live Powerfully Now Ministries - a community empowerment organization. She is also a national speaker, Web-TV show and radio talk show host, certified fitness specialist, certified personality educator, freelance writer, and a professional actress with Story Book Theatre of Texas. Her radio shows can now be heard at www.NotJustTalkinTheTalk.com and her latest eBook, The Art of Self-Marketing, is slated for 2010 Kindle release. Says Goldfarb, "Each of us has the responsibility - and ability - to move beyond barriers of the traditional to become exceptional."

  • Pillar of Caring Marcedes M. Fuller, Class of ‘04

    Motivational Speaker/Life Coach
    Caring: compassionate, empathetic, unselfish

    "If it weren't for Business Careers High School," says Pillar of Caring Marcedes Fuller, "I wouldn't have had the courage to start my own business at age 17. Everybody cared about teaching us to do things - better." Now 24, Fuller provides training, consulting, and speaking services to organizations and businesses including Monster.com, University of North Texas, and The Open Student TV Network. Founder and CEO of Imagepreneurs Public Image Relations, and pursuing his education at University of Houston, Fuller is also an ordained Baptist Minister whose goal is to earn a doctorate degree by age 29. Growing up and attending elementary and middle school in Judson ISD, the Pillar of Caring was attracted to Business Careers. He rode the bus two hours daily to the magnet school located at Holmes High School, where he starred in the recruitment video and was elected president of his Senior Class. He was recently inducted into 100 Black Men of America, Inc., a civic organization that is dedicated to the economic empowerment of the African American community through spirituality, justice, and caring.

  • Pillar of Trustworthiness Darold Williamson, Class of ‘01

    Olympic Gold Medalist/Baylor University
    Trustworthiness: honest, loyal, credible

    The 2010 Pillar of Trustworthiness Darold Williamson attended Cable Elementary and Jones Middle School. He distinguished himself in 1999 as the sophomore anchor of the Holmes Huskies' 4x400 Relay Team, winning the Texas State Championship and ultimately setting five school relay and dash records. Among these track records is a personal best of 44.27 seconds in the 400 meters. Entering Baylor in 2002, he helped win four NCAA track titles and won 13 All-American honors and 13 Big 12 Conference championships with his team and individually. Devoted and consistent in his achievements (25 championships in 5 years), Williamson was the first from San Antonio to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field as anchor of the U.S. Men's 1600-meter Relay Team at the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens, Greece. He continued running as a professional endorsed by Nike in 2005 and volunteered as a Baylor track coach. Currently finishing his bachelor's degree in speech communications at Baylor University, trust that the Pillar of Trustworthiness can do it.