ERNIE BROWN JR. | Wellness Walk, East High reunion picnic on tap this month

Two events are set this month – one today, the other a week from today – that you may want to attend.

If you are an East High School graduate – I am a proud Class of 1970 EHS grad – get out your blue and gold attire to wear at a reunion picnic from noon to 6 p.m. today at the high school, 474 Bennington Ave. The theme: “Return of the Golden Bears.”

John Jemison, president of the East High Alumni Association, said through the last several years, a disconnect had developed between the school and the community.

One contributor to that separation, he said, was the school’s changing the longtime Golden Bear mascot.

After hearing about that disconnect, Krish Mohip, chief executive officer of the Youngstown City School District, decided in August 2017 to bring the Golden Bear back.

It was a move applauded by many in the community including the alumni association.

“Now, a beacon of hope has been elevated in the school and community,” said Jemison, a 1967 EHS graduate in a news release from the district.

“Our efforts are to draw the community together to support our children. We must always put our children first.”

The free picnic will be on the field in front of East. The event is open to the community and will include music, food vendors, activities for children, a demonstration by the East High cheerleaders and a program honoring student accomplishments as well as the achievements of alums from Chaney and the now-closed North, South and Wilson high schools and The Rayen School.

Attendees should bring their own lawn chairs.

“We have a lot to celebrate,” Jemison said, who expects a big turnout.

The alumni association’s last reunion picnic in 2012 at Roosevelt Park in Campbell drew nearly 1,000 people, including some alumni from graduating classes in the 1920s and ’30s.

“I’m thrilled the East Alumni Association is marking the return of the Golden Bears with a community celebration,” Mohip said. “It’s great to see renewed energy from the community for East and especially for our students.”

The alumni association formed in 2006.

The East High mascot name was the Sunrisers from 1925 to 1949. The Golden Bear mascot was adopted in 1950. The colors were blue and gold.

When the new East High School reopened in 2007, the students voted to change the mascot name to the Panthers and change the school colors to light blue and silver.


On Aug. 11, the sixth annual African American Male Wellness 5K Walk/Run begins at 7 a.m. at Covelli Centre, 229 E. Front St., with various health screenings before the free walk/run begins about 8 or 8:30 a.m.

Serving again as walk chairman is the Rev. Dr. Lewis Macklin II, pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church on the city’s South Side.

The overall physical wellness of the black community is dependent on its male leadership, according to

Black men are dying from preventable diseases at 10 times the rate of other men, which is what drives the mission of the wellness-walk initiative.

The mission of the walk initiative is to encourage men to take charge of their health by bringing their family together in unity for the cause of good health, well-being, awareness and prevention; increase visits to their family doctor; increase health and wellness awareness within the urban community; and encourage increased physical exercise in the community.

The event also provides several other activities, including voter registration and education awareness, the Rev. Mr. Macklin said.

The children’s area returns with a rock-climbing tower and demonstrations of healthy choices.

The veterans pavilion offers active and retired military and their families access to an array of federal, state and local resources.

There will be activities, which include nearly 100 vendors in the health pavilion, including free cardiopulmonary resuscitation kits available with special instruction for children.

Representatives from Steward Health will provide free rectal-cancer screening kits.

This year’s honorary chairman is Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, and the Healthy Hero award recipients are Richard “Dickie” Atkinson, former Youngstown councilman and school board member; Pastor Robert Faulkner of Warren; Dr. Ben McGee, former Youngstown schools superintendent; David “Sonny” Morgan; and Lock P. Beachum Sr., former Youngstown schools principal and school board member.

Ted Brown, retired Youngstown firefighter and associate minister at New Bethel Baptist Church, learned he had prostate cancer after being tested at a walk health screening. His story was featured in a AAMWW national publication for the lifesaving efforts of the annual event.


Local youth authors will present and provide autographed copies of their published works. Reagan Nevels, 12, daughter of Emmitt and Kacie Nevels of Austintown, has written a motivational book titled “Vision Collision.” Reagan attends Austintown Middle School.

Ayana Symone Beulah, who graduated from Struthers High School this year, published a novel titled “How I Fell in Love with Myself.” She is the daughter of Pastor Jere B. and Lori Beulah.

Statewide sponsor for the walk is CareSource, which is joined by other community sponsors including Ronald McDonald Charities, Mercy Health, Akron Children’s Hospital, the city of Youngstown, Chemical Bank and the Academy of Urban Scholars.

For additional information or to register, go to, call 330-788-1696 or email Mr. Macklin at

Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly minority-affairs column. Contact him at