Indiana Daily Student

Bloomington honors 'Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow'

North student selected as new award's recipient

Matthew Herndon recently received Bloomington's first "Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow" award. The City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Black Males honored the Bloomington High School North junior with the award.\nThe City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Black Males was created by an ordinance former Mayor John Fernandez signed in February 2001. The Commission develops action committees addressing problems of black males in the areas of education, health, criminal justice and employment, according to the City of Bloomington's Web site.\nCommission on the Status of Black Males Chair David Hummons and Deputy Mayor James McNamara presented the award to Herndon during the Black History Month Gala Feb. 25 at Mayfield's Ballroom.\nHummons said this award was created to recognize positive black male leadership.\n"We are always looking at the ills of society," Hummons said. "We decided to do something positive."\nHummons said the Commission plans to make this a yearly award.\nHerndon, who is 17 years old, plans to be a teacher. He is a member of North's Cougar Leader program and helps freshmen make the transition to the high school during their first year. He also serves on the Cougar Leader Council, is a member of the theater program, mentors children in the Bloomington Playwrights Project Mini-Play Camp and Festival, volunteers at the SRSC's Family Fun Night, is a hurdler for the track team and is in the top fifth of his class. He was also initiated into the National Honor Society last month.\n"We thought that he exercises extraordinary leadership with his academics and extracurricular activities," Hummons said.\nHerndon, who was nominated by his mother, said he was surprised when he received the phone call informing him that he received the award.\n"My parents obviously thought I was well-deserving of the award," Herndon said. "When I got the call, I thought, 'Wow.'"\nSince winning the award, Herndon has gotten to meet IU President Adam Herbert and other University officials. He is considering attending IU and is hoping the award might give his academic career a "boost." \nHerndon also hopes that being the first to win the award will inspire other black males to take leadership roles in their schools and the community.\n"It's kind of a feeling of setting the bar, being the first person," he said. "Looking at what I do, it gives people something to shoot for. It allows other young black males to step up to the challenge, break the stereotype and be a leader in the \ncommunity."\n--City & State Editor Carrie Ritchie contributed to this story.

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