Sunday, November 21, 2010

Obama Administration Official, Fraternity Member Propels Gamma Pi Achievement Week

Bro. Dr. Joe Leonard, Jr. speaks
You had to be there to feel the spirit of the place and sense the spirit of the Founders of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. at Gamma Pi's Achievement Week observance held Saturday at the Drew-Freeman Middle School in Suitland. Thanks to some powerful words from Guest Speaker Brother Joe Leonard, Jr., Ph.D., today's Achievement Week program hit on just the right chords for both youth and adults who made up a packed house at the school. In light of the upcoming Centennial Celebration for Omega Psi Phi in 2011, this year's Achievement Week was special. Brother Brian Long served as Emcee.

Bro. Marcus Davis and Surrattsville Choir
Brother Leonard, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, led the way with a formidable challenge to the young people gathered in the audience to chase dreams and goals and not money and position as they begin to build their careers and establish their place in the world. He provided some hints for success, referring to his own background and to profiles of successful people outlined in a book by Malcolm Gladwell:

"You have to spend about 10,000 hours doing something you love if you are going to be successful," he said in his remarks. The upshot of his message for the students was to give their all and become passionate about what they feel they are good at in order to become truly successful. He related the story of his own career and how he knew at age 8 that he wanted to work in civil rights. He did not just fall into it. Brother Dr. Leonard is appointed by President Obama and confirmed to his post by the U.S. Senate. Just this week, he was a point person in the historic settlement of more than $1 billion to black U.S. farmers in a decades-old discrimination case involving government loans and loan payments.

True to the Cardinal Principles of Uplift and Scholarship, Saturday's event showcased just how one chapter of Omega Psi Phi can help uplift a community and make a difference in bringing along the next generation through creating educational opportunity.  After all, that is what the Founders envisioned. Gamma Pi is involved in building and improving local communities and in creating and enhancing educational opportunities for local youth, who were well represented at today's program.

Omega Man of the Year Bro. Felder and Family
 In addition to Brother Dr. Leonard's keynote speech, several Community service awards and Fraternity service awards were also presented during the program. Winners of the Community Service Awards are: Kenya Colbert, Scholar Athlete of the Year (daughter of Brother Derek Colbert); Brenda J. Gilmore, Citizen of the Year; and Gamma Pi Brother Rev. Rodney Barnes as Religious Leader of the Year.

Winners of the Fraternity Awards are: Brother Joe Felder (Keeper of Records and Seal), Omega Man of the Year; Brother Terry Rogers, Founder's Award; Brother Maurice Calhoun (Basileus 2008-10), Superior Service Award; and Brother Rodney Beverly, Citizen of the Year. Bro. Felder was presented for Man of the Year by Brother Tim McIntosh, Gamma Pi's first Basileus.

Basileus Calhoun thanks Bro. Leonard
The chapter also awarded 10 scholarships to Prince George's County seniors, which brings the total scholarship awards for this year to more than $23,000. Those winners were Brandolyn Irene Burks (Flowers High School) Temple University: Carl Franklin Felton III (Suitland High) Towson University; Courtney Camille Ford (St. John's College High) Spelman College; Nicole Lorraine Heard (Gwynn Park High) University of Maryland; Kyle Julien Majors (Flowers) Alabama A&M University; Modinat Mayowa Mustapha (Bladensburg High) University of Maryland; Min Namkoong (Roosevelt High) Maryland- Baltimore County; Renee Elizabeth Plummer (Central High) Howard University; Kiah YeWon Victoria (Bowie High) New York University; and Ciara Janee Williams (Gwynn Park High) Spelman College.

Thanks also to Brothers Patrick Johnson and Brian King, who serve as co-chairs for Achievement Week. Some video from Saturday's event is below and also thanks to Brother David Sierra of the PR Committee for the photos:

No comments:

Post a Comment