Monday, April 20, 2015

Gamma Pi Brother Paves the Way for 3 Chapter Offspring to Get Full Rides to His Alma Mater

Bro. Dr. Foy checks out his surprise gift
The spring can be a stressful time of year for families with high school seniors who are about to graduate. Not only are they burdened with tasks related to graduation, but many are anxious about the upcoming cost of college. Even those who get scholarship funds and financial aid still find themselves short to cover the escalating costs of higher education. For three families in Gamma Pi, the expense of college was significantly lessened recently thanks to the coveted “full ride” scholarships their daughters were awarded to attend Tennessee State University (TSU).

TSU President Dr. Glover
There is a definite Omega Psi Phi connection. The students are all from families of Gamma Pi chapter Brothers. Shayla Danielle Simmons of Grace Brethren Christian School (Bro. Tommie Boone and wife Gayle); Kirsten Beverly of Gwynn Park High (Bro. Rodney Beverly and wife Josette); and Victoria Gourdin of Saint Stephens and Saint Agnes (Bro. Vaughn Gourdin and wife Kelly), will all be attending TSU in the Fall to become members of the Class of 2019. To attend Tennessee State, tuition alone (without room and board) is approximately $11,000 per semester for out-of-state students.  And here is another Omega link: The husband of TSU president Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover is a member of Omega Psi Phi, having pledged the Fraternity at Tennessee State soon after Gamma Pi's Bro. Dr. Harrison Foy, DVM.

The Omega connection came through Bro. Dr. Foy, a Tennessee State alumnus (Rho Psi ’67), who personally pitched the students’ academic and personal qualities and is a friend and fellow TSU alumnus of school president Dr. Glover. As a result they were offered four-year “full ride” scholarships. A fourth student, Brandon Jones, who participates in Gamma Pi’s Project ENRICH college preparatory program, was offered in-state tuition rates. All students will begin classes at the school in the Fall.

The families held a celebratory dinner on Sunday, April 12 at the Fort Washington home of Bro. Gourdin. It was an opportunity to meet each other and also to share their aspirations of leaving home together to attend college far away. The young women revealed their career interests: Victoria is interested in law and computer forensics, Shayla in journalism and Kirsten is interested in pediatric dentistry. Brandon Jones and his family were unable to attend due to a prior scheduling conflict.

Dr. Foy was also joined for the occasion by his wife Dr. SanYvette Foy, DVM (Alabama A&M undergrad) and Bro. Willie Hines, who directs Gamma Pi’s Project ENRICH program. Bro. Dr. Foy and Bro. Hines have been investigating ways to create more scholarship opportunities like TSU through Project ENRICH. The families presented Bro. Dr. Foy with a watch – to be inscribed -- as a token of their appreciation for his tireless work on behalf of their students.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Essays Help Project ENRICH Students Gain Confidence on the Road to College

It is a time to get nervous. Sometimes it is a time to be self conscious. Or even flustered. but one thing for sure, for students participating in Gamma Pi chapter's Project ENRICH essay program, it was a time to get valuable experience addressing an audience. The most recent essay program was held Saturday morning, April 18, at Bowie State University’s Thurgood Marshall Library.

The annual essay program is part of the yearlong curriculum that the chapter executes during monthly Saturday sessions for high school students at Bowie State. Each grade group is given a topic to address. This year, the topics were as follows:

Freshmen: Describe or refute the statement: "Technology is good for modern culture.

Sophomores: What is your life goal and how will you accomplish it

Juniors: Describe your greatest achievement

Seniors: Describe a moment in your life that significantly altered
how you felt about your pursuit of a college education.

It was not just about the speeches. It was also about each student's story. One young man wanted to become a veterinarian. Another one waned to enter the Information Technology field. Another student expressed interest in pursuing anesthesiology and one particularly eloquent young man gave a powerful personal testimony of how he recently converted his interest from international relations (after hearing Bro. Teddy Taylor’s presentation to Project ENRICH over a year ago) to a career as a religious foreign missionary.

More than a dozen students representing all four classes (freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors) gave their presentations Saturday to parents, fellow students and Brothers of Gamma Pi who were gathered in the auditorium. Each student received constructive feedback from a panel of Gamma Pi judges including Director Bro. Willie Hines, and Brothers Lucian Cox, Marc Ellington and Reginald Thomas.

The essay program has long been one of the biggest priorities of Project ENRICH director Bro. Hines, who views public speaking as a major ingredient in students’ confidence and overall communications ability.

Project ENRICH will hold its closing program on May 30.

Alisha Jennings, Class of 2016, makes her presentation: