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Press release

March 23, 2001

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March, 2001 | Supporting Education | Northern California

Vallejo Mentor Receives "Hero in Education" Award, Actor Bo Svenson Celebrity Presenter


SACRAMENTO - Accomplished actor, writer, producer and director Bo Svenson presented Vallejo resident Philmore Gram with California Lottery's "Hero In Education" award on the "Big Spin® 2000" show that airs March 24, 2001.

Philmore Graham, a retired nuclear engineer, founded "The Continentals of Omega Boys and Girls Club" thirty-four years ago. Through group activities, members of the club are taught leadership, decision making, life skills, and how to increase self-esteem and academic performance.

Philmore's journey began when he was watching a group of six boys playing football with an inflated ball. Philmore promised the boys he would give them a new football if they could spell the word "football". No one could spell it so he offered the boys a day to come-up with the answer. The next day the boys returned with the answer, so he gave them a football. "When I saw 12-year-old boys playing football who couldn't spell the word, I knew something had to be done," said Philmore. With those six boys, Philmore started The Continentals of Omega Boys and Girls Club. The club now encompasses over 1200 children.

Club members have succeeded in their community, attended medical and law school and, to their knowledge, 12 members have achieved doctorate degrees.

"Although the Club's main emphasis is placed on academic achievement, the Continental Creed is not only measured by a high school diploma or college degree, but to a great extent on where he or she stands as a productive citizen. Good moral character, civic responsibility and commitment to family are the true measures of success," states Philmore.

Accomplished actor, writer, producer and director Bo Svenson presented Graham with California Lottery's "Hero in Education" award. Svenson, who is best known for his portrayal of Sheriff Buford Pusser in two "Walking Tall" films, said he felt it was his civic duty to help recognize those who have gone above and beyond for education. "Many successful actors and actresses have their doctorate degrees; education is very important," said Svenson.

California Lottery's "Heroes in Education" Program recognizes outstanding volunteers in the community. Through their dedication and efforts, California's students receive enrichment opportunities that may not have been available without these volunteers. The "Heroes in Education" Program exemplifies that support for California's schools comes in many different and innovative ways. Since 1985, the Lottery has raised more than $12 billion for public schools.

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