Aug. 4, 2003 – The winners of Sunday's 7th annual Beacon Schools celebrity golf tournament were former National Football League standout kicker Mark Moseley with local teammates William Anderson, Dwight McInturff and David Sharp.
But the big winner overall was the Beacon Schools of the Virgin Islands program, which provides afterschool and evening classes and activities at a total of five schools on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John.
The annual celebrity weekend kicked off on Friday with a press conference hosted at the Renaissance Grand Beach Resort by Barry Florence, who got the Beacon Schools program going in 1997. He was joined by panel of sports, music, and film celebrities in talking about the program and their interest in supporting it.
Florence noted that many of this year's celebrity participants were not first-timers. It was the second Beacons tournament for Greg Pryor, former Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees player, but his eighth visit to the Virgin Islands. Prior has been involved as well in raising money for the Queen Louise Home for Children on St. Croix.
The celebrity panelists each told how and why they became involved with the Beacon Schools project, most of them citing a personal affinity for programs aimed at providing opportunities for youth.
"I have a great appreciation for after-school programs, " Kenya Moore, a former Miss USA, said, "because my grandmother used to take me to them after school when I was growing up in Detroit. It feels good to do something today the way that people did for me."
Edwin Hodge, an actor whose film credits include "The Long Kiss Goodnight" and "Die Hard with a Vengeance," shared similar sentiments."My mother has always done her best to keep me on the other side of youth violence," he said. "She said that I should want something better out of life, so I got involved with programs such as Big Brother and Big Sister."
Hodge also has family on St. Thomas; so, he added, the "Beacon Schools project is that much more personal."
Dorien Wilson of the television show "The Parkers" said that "as a father, I feel strongly about laying a good foundation for my kids; so, anytime that I get a chance to do that kind of work, I take it."
Phil Chenier, a member of the 1978 NBA champion Washington Bullets team, said the annual event has a practical appeal, too. "Each one of us has plenty of good charities right in our own back yards," he said. "I think what seals it is that we're coming down to some good scenery, good people and good golf."
The weekend fund-raiser included a banquet and silent auction on Saturday night, the golf tournament at Mahogany Run on Sunday and a comedy show at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center on Sunday night.
While there were more than a few empty seats at the sports center, the four comedians who performed got plenty of laughs from those in attendance as they shared their experiences with life, love and St. Thomas.
"I see they fit all 12 of you in this huge gym," joked comic Stacy Carver, whose appearances include spots on HBO's "Def Comedy Jam" and "The Apollo Comedy Hour."
"I see the place is definitely packed tonight," echoed colleague Jay Phillips. "I hope you'll be able to hear me all the way in the back."
Hosted by actress Dawn Lewis of the "Cosby Show" spin-off "A Different World," the evening's program opened with a routine by J'Vonne Pearson, who entertained the crowd with quips on current events including the legal troubles of basketball star Kobe Bryant as well as his thoughts on the joys of raising children.
Children turned out to be a recurring theme of the evening, with three of the performers using experiences with their own youngsters as material for the show.
"If you don't have kids already," Carver warned, tongue in cheek, "stay away from them!"
Corey Holcombe, who just landed a recurring spot on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," covered differences between men and women, as well as the "joy" of relationships:
"I'll be honest with you women," he joked. "Every man has at least five women in his life … And I'll break it down for you, because you know that if you're arguing a lot lately with your man, it's because you've been stepping in somebody else's place."
Efforts were unsuccessful on Monday to learn how much money was raised for the Beacon Schools program by the weekend's events.
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