Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another Great Achievement Week Program for Gamma Pi

In recent years, Gamma Pi's Achievement Week programs have been inspirational celebrations of the Four Cardinal Principles of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Name speakers. Young community talent on display. And a salute to academic achievement and community service within the chapter and in the Greater Prince George's area. Yesterday was all that and more as Brothers, their families and community leaders joined together at Charles Flowers High School for Achievement Week 2012. The school in Springdale, Maryland is actually named for an Omega man who was a Tuskegee Airman.

View of the Dais at Saturday's Gamma Pi Achievement Week
Only a General could lead the way and U.S. Army General (Ret.) William "Kip" Ward, a member of the Fraternity, served as keynote speaker. It was one of the best Achievement Week speeches in recent memory as he quoted from the poem "Invictus" and talked about the historical context of achievement by Omega men in all walks of life since the Fraternity's November 17,1911 founding at Howard University. "The Founders gave Omega life. Now it is our job, the current membership, to keep it going."

Gamma Pi's Brother William Reese, a Fraternity member for more than 40 years, has known Brother General Ward for many years and invited him to speak several months ago. Last year's speaker was Brother Rushern Baker, Prince George's County Executive. Other noteworthy speakers from previous years were Brother Ernest Green of The Little Rock Nine (who was interviewed on XM Satellite Radio about Gamma Pi Achievement Week), Brother Dr. Joe Leonard of the Obama Administration and Brother Dr. Mickey Burnim, president of Bowie State University. Brother William Smith was chief organizer of all Achievement Week activities for the chapter.

Brothers Reese (left), Basileus Gordon Everett (right) with General Ward
While General Ward keynoted the occasion, another highlight as always during Achievement Week is the awards. Brother Brian Keith Long, current chapter Keeper of Records and Seal, was voted Omega Man of the Year by the chapter and officially received the award  at Saturday's program. He was also given the Superior Service Award for this year, a rarity. Immediate Past Second District Representative Brother Kenneth Rodgers, a legend in Gamma Pi history who blazed trails to District and International Fraternity level involvement by the chapter,  was also given the Founders' Award. Community winners were Brother Rev. Tony Lee (Religious Leader of the Year),  State's Attorney for Prince George's County Angela Alsobrooks (Citizen of the Year), Denise Swann (Educator of the Year) and wife of Gamma Pi member Ronald Swann, and Taivon Jacobs (Student Athlete of the Year).

Two highly talented musical aggregations, both directed by Gamma Pi men, performed at the program. They were the Flowers High School Jazz Band (Brother Don DeMarco Myles) and the Surrattsville High School Choir (Brother Marcus Davis).

Brothers gathered for the annual Achievement Week dinner at Andrews Air Force Base on Friday, November 16. Brother Teddy Taylor, a past Basileus of the chapter who just completed three years as an U.S. Ambassador in the South Pacific, brought a special message to members. Several other Gamma Pi Brothers were singled out for awards and certificates at the dinner.

Video highlights from Achievement Week, including General Ward's speech and Brother Long's acceptance speech, are available at Gamma Pi TV, the chapter's YouTube channel: Click here for Gamma Pi TV.

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