Western Sussex MLK Day of Celebration will conduct its annual Rise & Shine Prayer Breakfast honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 8 a.m., Monday, Jan. 21, at the Heritage Shores Country Club in Bridgeville. This year’s Community Recognition Award recipient is John Hollis.
Hollis is the Sussex manager of Community & Government Affairs and also a lobbyist for Nemours Health and Prevention Services. He formerly served as senior vice president for the Delaware Community Foundation and senior vice president for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware. Hollis has also served as director of personnel for Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus. Prior to that, he served as a personnel director, counselor, teacher and coach with the Seaford School District for 30 years.
Hollis has a master’s degree with a concentration in counseling from Salisbury State University. He is a frequent speaker at commencements, banquets, workshops and conventions on topics of motivation and self-esteem and conducts seminars on leadership and fundraising. He has developed and used much of his knowledge in coaching and teaching and was selected Track Coach of the Year three times. He has coached championship teams in swimming, football, and track and field over a 30-year period. The Seaford Community Swim Center swim team has named its award for outstanding effort the John Hollis Award.
In addition to coaching, Hollis has earned many honors in the teaching field. He was nominated as Teacher of the Year in the Seaford School District for three years. He organized and implemented the model pilot program project in Delaware for Developmental Elementary Guidance Counseling and was also a finalist for the Phoebe Hearst Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, a national PTA Award. The Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club has honored Hollis by naming the Youth of the Year scholarship after him. In honor of his work and dedication as president of the board of the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club, the site of the club was named Hollis Park.
Hollis has been a part-time adjunct instructor teaching counseling at Salisbury State University and Wilmington College. He has been awarded the State Advocacy Award from the Delaware School Counselors Association and was also a finalist for the National Counseling Advocacy Award. Hollis received the DuPont Excellence Award for his leadership of the Minority Engineering Regional Incentive Training Program, a DuPont-sponsored program for college-bound minority students. He has served as the director since 1976. MERIT has a 97 percent college matriculation rate. MERIT over the past 37 years has been a factor in more than 250 college and advanced degrees. Hollis is also past president of the Delaware Association of School Personnel Administrators.
He was named Citizen of the Year by the Delaware Association for Retarded Citizens and the National Association of Social Workers, and was presented the Medal of Merit by the Delaware Lions Club. Hollis has chaired the Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game, which benefits Delaware’s retarded children, and has served as first vice president of the trustees for the Delaware Foundation for Retarded Children.
Appointed by the governor, he served two terms as chairman of the Advisory Board of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. Hollis was honored with the Seaford Leader’s Personality of the Year Award and was twice presented the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s Superstar in Education Award for his creation and coordination of the Seaford School District-DuPont Partnership and the Seaford Festival for Youth.
Former Gov. Thomas Carper appointed Hollis the Governor’s Task Force for Mentoring in Delaware and presented him with the Family Focus Award, an award which recognized his commitment to children and families. Carper also honored Hollis with the Volunteer of the Year Award and nominated him for the President’s Point of Light Award and the Lewis Hine Volunteer Award. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner appointed Hollis to the State Economic Development Task Force.
In 2012, Hollis joined the Southern Delaware Board of the Delaware Community Foundation. Hollis resides in Seaford with his wife Linda.
Entertainment for the event will be provided by gospel jazz saxophonist Tony Smith. This talented artist hosts his own gospel jazz radio show on WFDU 89.1 FM in Teaneck, N.J., where he focuses on the instrumentalist side of gospel music.
More information regarding the Western Sussex MLK Day of Celebration Prayer Breakfast and its honoree may be found on the official website, www.easternshoreafram.org.
Tickets for the buffet breakfast are $20 each. To purchase tickets, call 302-628-1908.
Western Sussex MLK Day of Celebration is headed by Seaford City Councilwoman and Western Sussex MLK Day of Celebration Executive Director Pat A. Jones. Western Sussex MLK Day of Celebration is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation.