Just because his 14-year-old daughter, Linda, was given the National Young American Medal for Service award by President Reagan last week doesn't automatically make her unique, Irv Warsaw said. Lots of young people give service to their communities.
But when he reflected on the fact that Linda is "the only juvenile who is an officer of the court, she was one of a few kids featured in a Newsweek story last year about 100 American heroes of our time, and she's the winner of a national award for community service--well, I'm beginning to think she is unique," the senior Warsaw said.
His daughter, a 10th-grader at Cajon High School in San Bernardino, received the award from the President ("I thought my heart was going to burst," Linda said.) for her efforts in organizing Kids Against Crime, a group dedicated to preventing crimes against children and improving awareness of children's rights.
In its two-year existence, Kids Against Crime has successfully organized a fingerprinting program for children, and a program that uses professional artists to show children how to describe suspects. And perhaps most importantly, Kids Against Crime has been teaching youngsters that they have a right to say "no" to sexual abuse.
"In my guts, ever since I was little, I always knew I wanted to do something to help people," Linda said. After the honor student graduates from high school, she plans to attend USC. She wants to be lawyer, so she can represent children who are victims of crime.
Two Model Black Families Lauded for Strength and Pride
The families of America must stick together--that was the message from the second annual Coca-Cola Salute to the Black Family on Monday at the Sheraton Grande hotel, where about 350 people turned out to see two local families honored for their strength and spirit.
"Their struggle was hard," said Lucille Boswell, manager of consumer relations for Coca-Cola in Los Angeles and founder of the salute. "But it's wonderful to see them beat the struggle, to go to church as a unit, to serve as a role model for those who believe the family is crumbling."
Lonnie and Calvina Sims and their 13 children--Jon, 27; Secrette, 26; Calvin, 23; Karene, 22; Peter, 21; Lisa, 19; Clifford, 18; Jacquelyn, 17; Sandra, 16; Jami, 14; Marc, 12; James, 11; Darrel, 9--were honored in the dual-parent category. "I think we can be an inspiration to other people, because we've shown family love toward one another," said Lonnie Sims, 53. "We've instilled a sense of pride in educational achievements."
Said Calvina, 46: "I think a strong belief in God has helped tremendously. Without that we wouldn't have been able to accomplish a lot of things."
Jacqueline Boddie-Washington, a 42-year-old divorced mother of three from Culver City, represented the single-parent category. A clerk typist at Los Angeles Southwest College, she described herself as "an involved person," and added that her children take after her. "I am a doer," she said. "And when I attended school I used to drag the kids with me. They are achievers and doers on their own now. And I instilled in them the work ethic, and that they take an active part in some organization at church."
She also wanted her 18-year-old twin sons to attend black colleges out of state, which they do. Kerry Washington is a sophomore at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Ala., and Korey Washington studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Neither could attend the event Monday, but daughter Keira Boddie, 13, did.
Both families received $500 gift certificates from Boys Market (a co-sponsor) and $1,200 from Coca-Cola, in addition to commemorative plaques.
15-Year-Old Is Making the Grade at Cal State Dominguez Hills
When Nick Mikulicich was an intellectually precocious 5-year-old, there was discussion in the public schools of promoting him into the ninth grade but his mother, Joan, demurred, deciding, "He needed to learn to be a kid, to be silly."
But when Mikulicich, whose IQ has been tested at 180, had completed seven grades at parochial school, he skipped eighth grade and went on to South High in Torrance, where he zipped through, taking college math courses along the way.
Today, at 15, he is a sophomore at California State University, Dominguez Hills, the youngest student on campus (still too young to drive) and on the road to a degree in three years. He hopes then to earn doctorates in molecular biology, medicine and law.
"I plan to work either in research or to teach molecular biology at the college level," Mikulicich said. He doesn't want to practice law, but simply thinks a law degree might be interesting and useful.
"More college students should be like him," said John Pohlmann, a lecturer in history. "With him in the class, I teach better. . . . He's not only knowledgeable, but hungry for ideas.
"He's fun," he added.
"He's just well-versed," his mother said, noting that he first toured Europe at the age of 8. Once, touring a local museum with his fifth-grade classmates, he promptly and correctly answered each question posed by the docent. Finally she said, "You should be conducting the tour. You know more about it than I do."
To which Mikulicich's classmates replied, in unison, "He knows more about everything than you do."