Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Gamma Pi Takes Local Youth to College for a Day -- Bowie State University Serves As Host

By Bro. Mabili Baraka Akinyele

On Saturday, November 5, 2016 the Que Kidz Program of the Gamma Pi Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., sponsored a College Tour at Bowie State University for the adolescent children and their parents who belong to the Kentland Community located in Landover.           

Bowie State President Bro. Dr. Mickey Burnim poses with youth
The tour was held due to the fact many children in our communities are not exposed to schools of higher learning (colleges, universities, etc.).  Many of them come from families where they will be the first generation of college graduates.  Their parents have not been to college in many cases and often times they do not know how to help their children gain admission into a university.  Many times they think that their children have to receive an academic or athletic scholarship to obtain entry into a university.  This is a fallacy and is often perpetrated in our communities and used as propaganda in society to limit the hope of our children and their parents.  There is a wide range of scholarships that are offered by universities other than academic or athletic, especially the latter.  There are also other options to pay for college such as financial aid from the state and government.  These are the resources that our parents need to be informed about and it is our duty to make these provisions.  Often the negative influences of their environment is too massive to overcome and they are subdued, but if we can create an avenue of change by shining the light on the golden treasure which is education then maybe their dreams will not be squandered by their immediate surroundings.

The tour began at Kentland Community Center where the Que Kidz Committee Members, the children of the Kentland Community, and their parents arrived at 8:30 a.m.  At 8:45 a.m. we departed for Bowie State University arriving on campus at 9:30 a.m.  During the first phase of the tour there were presentations made by various professionals and students affiliated with the university.

First Ms. Ayanna Tweedy (Admissions Specialist, Graduate Student Athletic Assistant, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Member, and Member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.) gave the opening welcome and introduction and discussed admission requirements for incoming students.  Next we heard from Mr. Clyde Doughty, Athletic Director of Bowie State University as he discussed the primary focus of university life; academics.  He stressed the fact that students at the university who are athletes are students first and athletes second.

Gamma Pi chapter escorts students around campus
Our next speaker was Ms. Jenelle Willis who is a financial aid specialist.  Ms. Willis spoke on how to apply for financial aid as well as scholarships.  She specifically informed the parents and students how they can get monetary assistance from the state and government.  We also heard from Ms. Danielle Chapman, President of the Campus Activity Board who discussed events that are held at Bowie State University as well as the student code of conduct.  The following three students; Kelisha Perry, Nikki Ochoa, and Morgan Powell  discussed the challenges involved in being a student-athlete.  Two members from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Epsilon Sigma Chapter;  Bro. Kyle Jones, Basileus and Bro. Damien Farrer, Vice-Basileus spoke to our students about the importance of college and the purpose of campus organizations.  They also performed a “chant” and “set out a hop” in honor of our beloved fraternity members who are no longer able to engage in such an aesthetic endeavor.

The presentations concluded at 10:30 a.m. which brought to a close the first phase of our tour.  The second phase began at 10:35 a.m. and included a tour of the campus in which our group made a visit to or saw 17 buildings on campus which included:

1.       The Martin Luther King, Jr. Communication Arts Center (Building #16)
2.      The Center for Business and Graduate Studies (Building #24)
3.      Charlotte Robinson Hall (Marketing and Relations Department, Police
Department; Building #4)
4.       The Fine & Performing Arts Center (Building #25)
5.      The George Crawford Science Building (Building #8)
6.      The Computer Science Building (Building #5)
7.      Thurgood Marshall Library (Building #23)
8.      The Student Center and Dining Hall (Building #26)
9.      The Residential Halls:

*Christa McAuliffe Residential Community (Building #17)
*Alex Haley Hall (Building #1)
*Towers Residence Hall (Building #20)
*Dwight Holmes Hall (Building #6)
*Harriet Tubman Residence Hall (Building #11)
*Lucretia Kennard Residence Hall (Building #13)

10.   Leonidas S. James Physical Education Complex (Building #12)
11.   The Center for Learning and Technology (Building #2)
12.   The William E. Henry Administration Building (Building #21)

We also made a visit to each plot belonging to every Pan-Hellenic Fraternity and Sorority.  Lunch was held in the Student Center/Dining Hall from 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 

After lunch we began our third phase of the college tour which was attending the football game at Bulldog Stadium between the Bowie State University Bulldogs and the Elizabeth City State University Vikings.  Upon entering the stadium the President of the University, Bro. Mickey Burnim addressed our children and parents. 
He gave them many words of encouragement and his speech was well received by our group. Prior to the game, the children were able to meet the players at the Bowie State University Fieldhouse as they walked onto the field.  The Bulldogs of Bowie State were victorious in their 56-7 win over the Vikings of Elizabeth City.

Following the game we returned to Kentland Community Center at 4:45 p.m.  Below is a listing of the committee members of Que Kidz as well as additional Gamma Pi members that participated in the program:
Bro. Mabili Baraka Akinyele, Bro. Chris Edwards, Bro. Kirk Kirby, Bro. Terance Hare, Bro. Bruce Patterson, Bro Orlando McDowell, Bro. Albert Slack, Bro. Robert Taylor and Bro. Markel Waters (Al Que Kidz committee members). Additional Gamma Pi Members in attendance were Bro. Sheku Alieu, Bro. Gordon Sampson, Bro. Tyrone  Smith (Photographer) and Bro. Kerry Wilson

The program was arranged by the Que Kidz Committee and organized and facilitated by Bro. Mabili Baraka Akinyele, as Ms. Ayanna Tweedy served as the tour guide and made arrangements for our guest speakers to address the group.  Bro. Kevin Greenwood mentioned the planned tour to Bro. Gordon Sampson who is a 1969 graduate of Bowie State College and currently serves as the chairperson of the 100K Club and a member of the National Executive Board at Bowie State University.  Bro. Sampson made it possible for us to visit the campus.  Bro. Robert Taylor provided the children and parents with admission packets at the beginning of the tour.

Brother Orlando McDowell has long served as the Chairman of the Que Kidz Committee addressing the needs of our community for several years. 

Photos by Bro. Tyrone Smith