The Black Community Organizations Network, commonly known as BCON, is composed of African-American community volunteers. These volunteers plan the presentation of the annual baccalaureate ceremony to honor African-American high school graduates. The ceremony is usually held in conjunction with the Clark County School District commencement ceremonies.
In Las Vegas, the first baccalaureate Ceremony was conceived by the first African American Superintendent for the Clark County School District, Dr. Claude G. Perkins. This event was planned and executed by Eva McGough, Rev. I. W. Wilson, and Eva G. Simmons at the True Love Missionary Baptist Church in 1979. The featured speaker was Dr. Henry Ponder, President of Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. In fact, Dr. Ponder awarded the first scholarship to a participating student in his name.
After a hiatus of approximately four years, Dr. Bernard Hamilton sought to reestablish the baccalaureate ceremony. Working with a small group of the founding members of the Las Vegas Alliance of Black School Educators, the end result was a collaborative group of organizational representatives that decided to pool resources to underwrite the event.
The mission of BCON is to bridge and unify community support in celebrating the successes and accomplishments of high school African- American students. Each year, a baccalaureate celebration, such as this, is conducted in tribute to the vast accomplishments that our students have achieved during their educational pursuit; in spite of the many challenges and obstacles they may have faced along the way. Through the efforts of BCON, our students are afforded the opportunity to foster a significant bond with the African-American community in understanding the true meaning of this educational celebration.
The colors of BCON; RED, BLACK, and GREEN, were not arbitrarily selected. These colors were selected to represent the pride of our African-American heritage, culture, and community spirit. The color red…represents the blood that flows through our veins that unite us as a people; the color black…represents the nobility of our forefathers and our heritage; and the color green…represents the rich and bountiful land of our origin, the continent of Africa.
Although our primary purpose for us being here today is to celebrate and acknowledge the many accomplishments of our graduating seniors; which we salute today, we must also be mindful and share the knowledge and understanding of the struggles of our ancestry and the history behind our coming together.