Master of ceremonies Ed Jerome led a string of Vineyarders who paid tribute to veteran journalist Walter Cronkite and his love of the Island on Sunday, July 17, when the Stone Soup Leadership Institute held the second annual Walter Cronkite Awards at the Old Whaling Church.

Ray Ellis shared stories about their collaboration of fine art books, including Martha’s Vineyard: An Affectionate Memoir. Ted Morgan spoke of sailing with him and sharing stories about World War II. Rose Styron said, “Walter would have been so proud of these award-winners who are addressing issues that mattered to him – children’s rights, and especially the Institute’s mission of training young people to build a better world.”

Presenting the awards was Kathy Cronkite, who said, “One thing Dad was passionate about was the need to educate young people to be global citizens. He was a passionate patriot and believer in our constitutional democracy. He knew that a democracy can not work without an educated people. He loved this Island and knew that the problems here were a microcosm of problems facing the world community.”

Len Morris of Galen Films, based in Vineyard Haven, won for his “integrity, courage, commitment, leadership and vision, using the power of the media to awaken the world to the causes and best practice solutions to child labor, children on the streets and chronic poverty.”

Mr. Morris encouraged people to support Media Voices for Children, a global community for children’s rights, saying, “Today, more than any time in my memory, we need to revisit the spirit and values of Walter Cronkite’s brand of journalism.”

Youth Award winner Meagan McDonough, a Martha’s Vineyard Charter School senior, hopes to become an educational media director. “Walter Cronkite was part of a generation of journalists who strived for the truth,” she said. “Young people want to be someone and do something. We just need a little help. Being a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative gave me an opportunity to capture young people’s dreams and to have adults listen.”

Josue Cruz, 23, shared how winning the 2010 award helped him reach his goals of being accepted to the most prestigious law school in Puerto Rico and creating school gardens for more than 100 Puerto Rican public schools. This year Josue also served as the institute’s youth summit director.

Speeches from the event can be seen on YouTube: stonesoupleaderinst.

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