Tag Archives: Ely
After winning First Place last year for Queen of the State of Florida for the Grand Lodge Convention for the International Free and Accepted Modern Mason and Order of the Eastern Stars, this year Melony Waller won Queen of the Southeast District. Melony was raised in Pompano Beach and graduated from Blanche Ely High School.
She loves doing community service work and representing the O.E.S. Her mantra is “I can do all things through Christ.” Melony says that she hopes that other young ladies will see her victory and believe that they too can do big things.Both of these photos were taken at this year’s convention.
By Dawne Richards
Humble. That’s the one word that we’d use to describe Jude Charles, the soft-spoken, 22-year-old Kendall Green native who runs Halo Media Entertainment.
Jude’s work in media dates back to middle school. Like so many things in life, his first opportunity could be considered an accident. One day, right before morning announcements, it was discovered that one of the participating students was absent. “They grabbed the first kid by the door,” recalls Jude, “which was me.”
In his junior and senior years of high school, Jude participated in Blanche Ely High School’s Media Production program, a program which, sadly, has been shut down. Jude’s frustration is evident. “Mrs. Donnelly [the teacher] helped us figure out exactly what we wanted to do,” says Jude. “Also, it’s so frustrating because the year before I left, I helped secure $80,000 in equipment for the program. Kids LOVED that program. Of the eight or nine graduates in its last year, five went to college for video production. Mrs. Donnelly’s passion is giving inner city kids an outlet.” [Note: Mrs. Donnelly is now in the Communications program at Hallandale High. Pompano’s loss].
A product of Palmview Elementary, Crystal Lake Middle, and Blanche Ely High schools, Jude is from a family of ten children, six of whom grew up in Pompano. In the late 1970s, Jude’s parents immigrated to the United States from Haiti. Jude was born one year after they moved into their current home, where they still live. His father is a retired construction worker; his mother, a retired chair factory worker.
Jude’s first business was a production company he started at the age of 17, called “Video Precision by Charles,” providing video services for weddings and other events. Then, an opportunity to work with Mobile Mike paved the way for Jude’s entrance into the entertainment industry. He has since done work for BET, CBS, HBO, and NBC, to name a few. He has done commercials, documentaries, special events, news, short films, and more. And yes, he’s just 22. While he’s completed one year at Lynn, “I had a choice of work or school, and work won out.” Jude’s desire to finish college is evident. “Of my eight living siblings,” he tells PT, “I am the only one who has yet to get my degree.”
We caught up with Jude in the midst of the American Black Film Festival, held in Miami. He was doing some behind the scenes shooting for a PR firm, and his eyes lit up when he mentioned getting to interview Don King. He tells PT how interesting it is to meet celebrities, not because he’s star-struck, but because it reminds him that our view of such folks is often incomplete at best. For example, he discovered that Don King is very involved in politics. “Look up ‘Black Gold’ when you get a chance,” Jude urges PT. “Video is always a learning experience.” Jude continues, “It’s important to learn about things going on outside of this country. . . just to learn in general. If I didn’t do this for a living, I wouldn’t have discovered the things about Pompano or Miami that I have.”
PT asked Jude his favorite thing about Pompano. “When I started my first company, the City was very supportive.” [Note: Jude made a video documentary about the City’s centennial which is not available online. PT will let you know if that changes]. He continues, “Ed Phillips, he was in the PTA when I was in elementary school. . . the City advocates your growth. I don’t think I could ever leave. Pompano is home to me. I realized it was home when I did the [Centennial] documentary. How can I leave a place with so much history? The learning experiences, meeting the mayor. . .the one thing I regret is not being able to do a documentary on E. Pat Larkins before his passing.”
What does Jude do in his spare time? He pauses. “I don’t have spare time.” When pressed, he admits, “I go to the movies. But really, my passion is volunteering. I worked with Changing Directions 4 Youth and Families for four years.”
PT asked Jude what advice he’d give to today’s 15-year-old. He thinks for a moment. “Don’t get caught up into peer pressure. Have a hobby, find a passion. Know where you stand. Get involved – that’s the most important thing. If you stay busy, you’ll stay out of trouble. . . . When I have children, I want to keep them as busy as possible. It’s important to have downtime, but also to volunteer, do beach cleanups, anything. I didn’t consider myself to have been at at-risk youth, but I think I was. As a young black male, you have to realize that even if other people see you as ‘at-risk,’ you don’t have to see yourself that way.”
“Giving back gives you a sense of purpose. You have to do something meaningful. Just success without giving back . . that’s not the same.”
As we said, humble. Thanks, Jude Charles, for being in Pompano, and for staying.