Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis Remembers Althea Williams
Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis has experienced a great deal at the helm of the program he began 26 years ago. On any given day, he can share a moment that brings a smile or reason to feel good about the future. He is thankful for that.
But today, Savramis can only think back with incredible sadness and loss on the passing of the one person he credits as being the driving force behind his work and his inspiration for creating Rising Stars.
That person was Althea Williams.
Savramis finds it difficult to articulate any memories of Althea. The emotions take over and the words fall short.“I learned so much from Althea that it's impossible for me to know where to begin!”
Said Savramis, "Althea was so much more than a friend to me. She was a teacher, a guide, a counselor… a fountain of optimism and a tower of strength. I have known many great people in a business that's all about meeting people…but there have never been any others like her. Althea was truly one of a kind.”
Paul Savramis would sit in an audience where she held court and would shake his head in disbelief. It was mind-blowing and hard to describe; Savramis continues, “Every time she spoke, it was dynamite. Althea would get the crowd to laugh, then they would cry, then they would all laugh again until all they could do is take a deep breath and applaud. But they listened. They always listened.” That was her gift.
“Althea was an educator: a principal by title but a teacher in real life. It was Althea that rewrote everything we thought we had done correctly,” added Paul Savramis, and it was Althea that combined the core of ‘PLAY, LEARN, GROW’ as the pillars the Rising Stars foundation was built upon.” Paul Savramis credits the Rising Stars mission to Althea. It states very simply, "To Promote Education!"
"I cannot ever thank her for all she has done for me personally, " concluded Paul Savramis.
“I just needed to write about her and try to talk about her, but I know the best thing I can do is never forget her. I will honor what she meant to me and to every child that goes through this foundation she helped to build with everything we do.”