By Calvin-Allen Miller
Scholars of Minnesota-COPE Project is holding its Sixth Annual Scholarship Program/Gala and Fundraiser on Sunday, July 31, from 4:30 to 8:30 pm at the Airport Hilton Hotel in Bloomington. The guest speaker for the evening will be Kevin Arkadie, an award-winning TV screenwriter and producer of numerous series including the cop show New York Undercover (created with Dick Wolf).
The gala is COPE’s annual scholarship celebration where the proceeds will fund scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. This event features a dinner and a silent and live auction. Students are recognized in several categories including Scholars’ ACT/SAT Perfect Attendance Awards, Outstanding Volunteer Community Service, Highest GPA, Participation Awards and other great accomplishments during their attendance at high school and post-secondary institutions.
Kevin Arkadie was born in Washington, D.C., and spent his teen years in Dallas, Texas. According to his biographical statement, as a youth of the 1960s, his earliest impressions of life shaped ideas that would later lead to a successful career as a writer, director and producer.
After graduating from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Arkadie moved and stayed in New York City for about eight years. It was there where he started his career playwriting. His plays include Statues, A Life Like the Rest, UFOs Over Oregon, and Invited Guests.
Arkadie moved his creativity to Hollywood, and he began his television career on the critically acclaimed series I’ll Fly Away, where his first script, “Coming Home,” was nominated for a WGA Writer’s Award and the Humanitas Prize.
Kevin Arkadie’s TV credits include New York Undercover, The Vernon Johns Story, starring James Earl Jones, and he worked on Chicago Hope as a writer and producer. His most notable script on that show, “The Stand,” garnered Chicago Hope two Emmy nominations for Richard Pryor and Carol Kane.
Also, Arkadie has written and produced for Steven Spielberg’s High Incident police drama on ABC; co-authored the Emmy-winning mini-series The Temptations; executive produced Rescue 77 for Aaron Spelling; and Soul Food: The Series for Showtime and Paramount TV. Kevin was co-executive producer for the first season of The Shield for FX TV and developed the children’s show Miracle’s Boys, a limited series for Noggin/The N network, and won the 2005 Writers Guild Award for Outstanding Children’s Episode for the episode “New Charlie.”
Scholars of Minnesota-COPE Project (Creating Opportunities for Post-Secondary Education) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist students in the community to obtain educational opportunities, financial support and other resources they need to reach their highest academic, professional and personal goals. It is a community outreach post-secondary educational program, designed to promote “student success” for a vast majority of inner-city, disadvantaged youth.
COPE Project arranges and provides the necessary tutoring and/or mentoring programs to assure that students achieve success. These preparations include a 10-week ACT/SAT college prep mentoring class held at the University of Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Ernest Davenport and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Additionally, COPE students and other community students are involved in a 12-week seminar/workshop where they are completing applications for enrollment, financial aid applications, college essay writing, interview skills and portfolio development for the spring college tour sponsored by the Minneapolis Urban League with John Ross.
Since the organization started in 2006, COPE has assisted 159 scholars. For the 2010-2011 academic year, 25 scholars received awards ranging from $200 to $1,000. With the support of the community this year (2011-2012), COPE plans are to award that many if not more.
For more information about the fundraiser, including tickets prices, see the Spot listings on page 7. To contribute to the scholarship fund, send a check or money order payable to Scholars of MN-COPE Project, Post Office Box 65392, Saint Paul, MN 55165-0392. PayPal donations are accepted through www.scholarsofminnesota.com.
Originally from the St. Paul suburban area, Calvin-Allen Mickel is a 1999 graduate of Saint Thomas Military Academy (Mendota Heights, MN). In May 2004, he completed his Bachelor of Arts’ degree in English/journalism with a minor in broadcasting from Jackson State University in Mississippi. Currently he is territory manager for Ecolab/Kay Chemical in Louisiana, and he is an independent marketing director for Team National.