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AALH – Essay Awards Press Release

April 12, 2012

For Immediate Release

Contact:         Melvin Slater


Omega Psi Phi Fraternity To Recognize Essay Contest Winners

at Gary’s Dr. Bernard C. Watson Academy for Boys

On Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 12:30 p.m., members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity will join faculty, students and parents at Bernard C. Watson Academy for Boys, 2065 Mississippi Street, Gary, IN, for an awards program recognizing student participants and winners in an essay contest honoring Dr. Watson, a member of Omega Psi Phi, and the importance of academic achievement in the lives of Black youth. Winners will receive awards certificates and prizes including college savings bonds and/or gift cards paid for by the Fraternity.  

Organized by the African American Life and History Committee of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s 10th District serving the states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the essay contest and awards program are part of the Fraternity’s Annual 10th District Convention which takes place April 19-22, 2012 at the Star Plaza Radisson Hotel in Merrillville, IN.

“It’s important that we use our hurt and outrage about incidents like the killing of Treyvon Martin to fuel something positive for our youth,” said Johnny Lynch, Omega Psi Phi’s 10th District Representative and the ranking officer of the Fraternity in the five-state District.  “Omega Psi Phi has been working to uplift the Black community by promoting academic achievement for more than 100 years.  This important program is just one of the many efforts led by our members throughout the Midwest and the world to shine the spotlight on academic excellence.”

Members of the committee organizing the essay contest reviewed entries from 5th and 6th grade students at Watson Academy and selected the top seven essays and their authors to be announced and read during the awards program.  Professionally clad members of the fraternity attending the program will also be recognized and asked to share their own academic and professional experiences with the students as part of an effort to provide inspiration and mentoring for the students at Watson Academy. 

“We’ve been conducting this particular program as part of our 10th District Convention for the past several years because of our deep commitment to ensuring that we use African American Life and History as a building block for our collective future,” said Melvin M. Slater, Sr., Chairman of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s 10th District African American Life and History Committee. “If we can’t use our past as a bridge to our future, then all the blood, sweat and sacrifice of our forefathers are simply wasted. Omega Psi Phi is an organization of extraordinary and talented men who have answered the call of service to our Black communities throughout the world.  That calling has never been more important to any segment of our communities than it is to our young black students today, particularly our black boys.”

Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ) is an international fraternity with over 700 undergraduate and graduate chapters. The fraternity was founded on November 17, 1911 by three Howard University juniors, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Omega Psi Phi is the first predominantly African-American fraternity to be founded at a historically black university. [1]

Since its founding, the Fraternity has worked to attract and build a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift. Throughout the world, many notable members are recognized as leaders in the arts, academics, athletics, entertainment, business, civil rights, education, government, and science fields. A few notable members include Roy Wilkins, Benjamin Hooks, Vernon Jordan, Dr. Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson, William H. Hastie (U.S. Virgin Islands) and L. Douglas Wilder, Representative James Clyburn, Earl Graves, Bill Cosby, Tom Joyner, Charles Bolden, General William “Kip” Ward, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Harvey, Rickey Smiley, and numerous presidents of colleges and universities. Over 250,000 men have been initiated into Omega Psi Phi throughout the United States, Bermuda, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, South Korea, Japan, Liberia, Germany, and Kuwait.


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