On June 27, 2020 the Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. in cooperation with the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc.—a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization held the sixth annual Scholarship and Community Recognition Awards Ceremony. Presented over the last five years as a Scholarship and Recognition Breakfast, the current COVID-19 circumstances dictated a virtual setting hosted by Brother Eric Kelly, President of the Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter, and Brother Richard Morris, President of the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc.
After welcoming nearly 120 chapter and foundation members and friends the foundation/chapter combined to distribute $17,450 in 2020 Scholarship and Community Recognition awards to 18 exceptional scholars. With much fanfare and recognition scholarships were presented to students who applied through the Bernie L. Bates Foundation Scholarship Program and community recognition awards as determined by the foundation’s Board of Directors. Of special note, the fiver highest scholarships were given in the names of prominent Omega men who devoted their lives to the service of their communities and set the example as selfless servants.
Event highlights included a video compilation of the chapter’s 2020 Talent Hunt competition winners; the recognition of one jointly sponsored student, James Stewart III, an aspiring pilot at the Aviation Adventures Flight School; and efforts by the chapter and foundation to support Rx Catering, a minority owned enterprise instrumental in providing meals to local, front-line responders during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Brother, Dr. Marco Clark, founder and CEO of the Richard Wright Public Charter Schools for Journalism and Media Arts reminded students that while in college they must lead by example, recognizing who they are and ever proud of their accomplishments. Ms. Elaine Ransom, a 2019 graduate of West Potomac High School in Alexandria VA and sophomore at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA provided a powerful speech that left the attending scholars with three tactics to use in order to persevere through these unknown times; tactics such as planning, dedication of time for yourself, and flexibility. Ms. Ransom reminded attendees that their faith in God can always be counted on to keep them grounded.
Over the past fifteen years, the Bernie L. Bates Foundation and Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter have provided over $450,000 in support of the Fairfax County community; such support has included but not been limited to a Youth Aviation Program, an elementary Reading for Success Program, the local Gum Springs Community Center, New Hope Housing, the Northern Virginia Urban League, the 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 are honored to have such opportunities to demonstrate support for its local community and look forward to continuing that practice though those principles consistent with Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift.