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Fraternity remembers founders

Vincent Banks Jr. senior Wirt-EmersVisual Performing Arts Academy reads his scholarship-winning essay OmegPsi Phi Fraternity Founders’ Day celebration. | Phoprovided

Vincent Banks Jr., a senior at the Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy, reads his scholarship-winning essay at the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Founders’ Day celebration. | Photo provided

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Updated: December 5, 2012 4:22PM



The Alpha Chi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity celebrated Founders’ Day Nov. 17 with a banquet at Lake Etta Banquet Hall.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity was founded Nov. 17, 1911, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., becoming the first international fraternal organization to be founded on the campus of a historically black college.

At the banquet, tables were set with framed photos of the fraternity’s founders, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, along with their faculty adviser Ernest Everett Just. Omega Psi Phi goes by four cardinal principles: Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift.

The banquet also closed out Achievement Week, recognizing members for their services and presenting scholarships.

Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy senior Vincent Banks Jr. received a $200 scholarship for his winning essay, titled “With the rising cost for a college education, what values do you place on earning a college degree?”

“I am honored to be a recipient of the scholarship from Omega Psi Phi. I want to continue to be a part of my community and to help restore the city back to its title, ‘City of the Century,’ ” Banks said.

Another Wirt-Emerson senior, Brytnie Jones, received a $100 scholarship.

Awards were also presented to chapter members. Vice Basileus Daryl James received the Edgar A. Harrison Superior Service Award, Jeffrey Roche received the Founders Award and Foster Stephens received the Omega Man of the Year Award.

Omega Psi Phi member and keynote speaker the Rev. Curtis Whittaker of Progressive Community Church in Gary received the Citizen of the Year Award after his speech.

Whittaker spoke on the relevance of Omega Psi Phi’s 101 years and how the four cardinal principles are more significant in these times.

“Manhood means to accept responsibility. Yet in today’s society, too many youth, especially young men, believe manhood is a passage that leads to imprisonment or sacrificing your life on the streets. I strongly encourage a mandate to increase mentoring to young men from our adult males. More African-American homes are led by women. While women are capable of doing many things, they cannot fully raise a boy to be a man. Just as men cannot fully raise a girl to be a woman,” Whittaker said.

He added that he encourages education.

“I could not have made it without pushing myself to get an education and we as Omega men have a role to play in lifting our young people up from despair and the doldrums and into the promised land,” Whittaker said.



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