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2024 Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award Winners

Leadership Award - Alumni

Loverly Sheridan

Loverly Sheridan

Loverly Sheridan is a 2002 graduate of Palm Beach State College. She is an award-winning author and educator, specializing in various areas of education, including teaching, training, creating, consulting and directing for both adults and children.

Sheridan is the founder of Buddy Ambassadors, an organization that promotes empathy, kindness, compassion and inclusivity in children through empowerment programs and the use of Buddy Benches. She has partnered with various for profit and nonprofit organizations in Palm Beach County to help promote mental health awareness, combat bullying, and create safe spaces in schools.

A proven community leader and graduate of Leadership West Palm Beach, class of 2014, Sheridan received the Community Service Award from the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Women Educators, of which she’s a member, a Leadership Award from Palm Beach County Schools, and the International Athena Young Professional Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. She was also the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Educator of the Year Award from Palm Beach Illustrated magazine.

Ms. Sheridan, a former board member of Mental Health America of Palm Beach County, is passionate about mental health and education: “I believe education is the key to unlocking our true power and reaching our full potential. As an educator, I enjoy creating programs and campaigns which uplift and empower others.”

Leadership Award - Faculty/Staff

Sherry Fletcher

Sherry Fletcher

Sherry Fletcher is a student development advisor who has worked for Palm Beach State College for over 20 years. She has a long history of distinguished service with the National Council on Black American Affairs (NCBAA), PBSC Chapter. In 2012, Ms. Fletcher worked with the NCBAA Southern Region to revive the organization’s regional conference, which was held at the Lake Worth campus. In 2019-21, she organized NCBAA’s Black History program, “HBCUs: The Untold Stories,” and the organization’s annual Juneteenth Celebration. This included a discussion on “The Burning of Black Wall Street: The Tulsa Riots and Critical Race Theory.” Ms. Fletcher was the driving force in securing a $4,200 grant from BeWellPBC. The grant supported the Dr. Barbara Carey-Shuler Equity Institute at PBSC and involved collaboration with the Sister-to-Sister Project to provide mentors to young women at PBSC. Sherry was also instrumental in opening the Panther’s Pantry at the Boca Raton campus to help students experiencing food insecurity.

Leadership Award - Individual

Barbara Cheives

Barbara Cheives

Barbara Cheives is the president and CEO of Converge & Associates Consulting. Converge specializes in race and ethnic relations consulting, employee relations and community engagement. Among her varied professional achievements, she has planned and executed countywide community engagement and community dialogue projects with difficult-to-reach communities for the Children’s Home Society, Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, among others.  She has also designed and delivered workshops on youth violence prevention, disproportionate minority contact, and the portrayal of minorities in the media. Cheives’ robust record of community service includes the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission, where she is a past chair and the current co-chair of the Community Engagement Task Force. She served on West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio’s transition team, chairing neighborhood improvement and community outreach. Cheives served on the National Board of the Institute of Community Peace in Washington, D.C., and is currently on the board of The Lord’s Place in Palm Beach County and the governing board of St. Mary’s Medical Center. She is the past president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., West Palm Beach Chapter, and the chair of the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church Social Justice Ministry. Cheives is an alumna of Leadership Palm Beach County, class of 2002. She was awarded the 2021 Dorothy Height Racial Justice Award by the YWCA of Palm Beach County and the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches 2023 Women in Leadership Private Sector Award. 

Leadership Award - Organization

Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County

Logo for Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County began as one clubhouse in 1971 and has now grown to 20 sites, becoming the county's largest, most comprehensive provider of youth services and the fifth-largest Boys & Girls Club out of 5,100 nationwide. Through programming that focuses on academic achievement, STEM, resiliency and life skills, the arts, sports and fitness, career and workforce readiness, and leadership and service, the organization nurtures generation after generation of children and teens from the most under-resourced communities in our county to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is dedicated to reaching those youth in desperate need of our services and helping them overcome the challenges brought on by poverty. Due to the increasing expense of afterschool and summer programs, the vast majority of youth we serve would, without us, be left in unsupervised situations either after school or during the summer months. We strongly believe a fee should not be an obstacle that prevents children from participating, and thanks to our donors, we charge a minimal annual membership fee of $30, which is waived if needed and provides for a child to attend throughout the school year.

Leadership Award - Student

Charles McConnell 

Charles McConnell 

Charles McConnell is the president of the Student Government Association at Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth campus. He also serves as a pastor in a movement helping people with addictions seek recovery. What makes McConnell stand out is his hands-on approach. He takes the time to personally visit hospitals and institutions to guide and support individuals in the early stages of recovery, showing empathy and unwavering commitment during their most challenging moments. Throughout his educational journey with Palm Beach State, McConnell has achieved a cumulative 4.0 GPA. He is currently a Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society member of the Alpha Delta Iota chapter. While pursuing his degree in political science and communications, McConnell has become a driving force in reconstructing the student government presence on the Lake Worth campus. He seeks to inspire success in all students and to champion inclusivity in all aspects of his academic tenure at Palm Beach State College.

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