Fraternity recognizes leaders in the making

Published 4:55 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Leaders, accomplishers and visionaries.

The members of the Nu Alpha Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity recently gathered to celebrate those in making and the outstanding work of these eastern North Carolina youth.

As part of Achievement Week, fraternity members gathered on Nov. 20 at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Washington for their “Spotlight on Youth” awards, recognizing 14 middle- and high-school students who exemplify the Omega Psi Phi standards, according to Jeffrey Gatling, basileus of Nu Alpha.

Local honorees were Washington High School students Quanyea Gatling and Brittany Irving, and Beaufort County Early College High School senior A’Precious Norfleet. Other honorees included Autumn Felton, Joshua Simmons, Taveon Taylor and Clarence Sconyers (New Bern High School); Jaylen Franks and Darious Abrams (West Craven High School); Jeffery Harris (Havelock High School); Amaya Moore and Ali Hargett (Riverside Middle School); Zaria T. Brown-Williams (Riverside High School); and Malcolm A. Pharr (Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School). Each has excelled both personally and academically.

The presentation of awards was preceded by guest speaker Robert Morgan, a Nu Alpha member and conflict resolution mediator.

Morgan spoke about goals: leading and not following; achieving goals through confidence, commitment and action; to give, through both word and action; to live, doing no harm to others; to strive for perfection; being unafraid to ask for help; and living by the creed, “Can, Will, Do.”

“Never say I can’t, or it’s too hard,” Morgan said. “Don’t say it’s too hard, say it’s challenging.”

Morgan also made the point that it can often be those who should lend the most support that can become detractors to accomplishment — friends, neighbors or family members — and he had advice for the young scholars in the audience who may experience this.

“Turn deaf ears and blind eyes to anyone who doesn’t support you,” Morgan said.

Morgan also encouraged the honorees to tell express appreciation to those they love and who have and will support them along their paths to success — a lesson he learned after his father passed away.

“Do it now while they can hear you and not in a eulogy,” he said.

Though spotlight was on youth, several others were honored at the event: Beaufort County NAACP Vice President James Smallwood for outstanding community service; Plymouth High School Principal Sharon Cherry for her work as an educator; and Elder Derrick Wilkins, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs at Elizabeth City State University and pastor, for his work in education, evangelism and outreach. Nu Alpha also recognized Washington resident Emma Howard as “Citizen of the Year,” for her ongoing work with many organizations, including the Human Relations board, Mid-East Commission, Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children; Key Women of America and NAACP.

Achievement week is a requirement of the national Omega Psi Phi fraternity, as part of the call for responsibility, scholarship, perseverance and uplifting others. Founded in 1911 by Howard University students, the fraternity now has more than 750 chapters nationwide, members of which include such notables as poet Langston Hughes, South Carolina U.S. Representative James Clyburn and basketball legend Michael Jordan. The Nu Alpha Chapter was organized in Wilson in 1936, then grew to six separate chapters in addition to Nu Alpha, which now consists of Greenville, New Bern and Washington and the surrounding areas.