On June 1, 2019, the men of Psi Alpha Alpha (PsiAA) Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. held the fifth annual Scholarship and Community Recognition Breakfast; the event was underwritten by the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc.—a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.
Brother Eric Kelly, President of the Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter, and Brother Richard Morris, President of Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc, long other chapter and foundation members greeted nearly 120 attendees.
The Foundation/Psi Alpha Alpha awarded $22,950 to 21 scholars for the 2019 Scholarship and Community Recognition Programs. The awards were presented in three groups of honorees and community recognitions: Students who apply to the Bernie L. Bates Foundation’s Scholarship Program are selected based on the scholarship committee’s selection criteria; the community recognitions are selected by the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
In 2019, the selections were Scholarship Honorees ($18,000), University Recognitions ($2250), High School Recognitions ($200), and a Special Perseverance Award ($2,500). Of special note, the five highest awards were given in the names of prominent Omega men whom devoted their lives to the service of their communities and set the example of a selfless servant. Each had family members present to witness the honoring of their selflessness through scholarship
In addition to the mellow sounds of DJ Kool K, the Chapter’s first-place Talent Hunt contestant performed a rhythmic dance to the sounds of “Rise Up” by performing artist, Andra Day. The second-place contestant, Mr. Nicholas McCatty provided his wonderful vocals to the soulful classic “Everything Must Change” by Quincy Jones. Both artist received standing ovations for their brilliant performances. In true Psi Alpha Alpha fashion, the chapter utilizes every opportunity to highlight the skills of our Talent Hunt winners and participants.
The event was highlighted with strong words of wisdom from the dynamic speaking of Brother Barrye Price, a retired Major General of the United States Army. His charge reminded the students that while in college, they must always remember what they came there for, not to lose sight of their own stuff, seek help before finding yourself underwater, and that there are no shortcuts, so do the work!
Mr. Shamaal Sheppard, a 2019 graduate of Columbia University with a Masters in Health Policy and Management; provided an excellent charge to the honorees. His final and most powerful point was to challenge the scholars to find the “why” in what they are doing. He described it as the passion that gets them up each morning. This is what keeps the fire burning and brings purpose to your being.
Over the past thirteen years, the Foundation and Psi Alpha Alpha have provided over $400,000 in support of the Fairfax County community; our programs include, but are not limited to- the Youth Aviation Program, Reading for Success Program, Gum Springs Community Center, New Hope Housing, Northern Virginia Urban League, Capital Area Food Bank, Boys & Girls Club and a myriad of other community support activities.
Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter and the Bernie L. Bates Foundation will continue to support the community through the cardinal principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift.