Fraternity honors MLK, community of Vicksburg

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Omicron Rho Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. serves the community of Vicksburg and Warren County through scholarship contests, service events, and the youth through leadership clubs and mentorship.

On a day to remember the historical importance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a fraternity member, the members of Omicron Rho Lambda held its 27th annual scholarship breakfast in Dr. King’s name. The members presented a community service award, a $100 scholarship to seventh-graders of the Vicksburg Warren School District and a $250 book scholarship to a member of the Project Alpha Leadership Club.

“The Omicron Rho Lambda educational foundation is our scholarship foundation where we give away scholarships to graduating high school students as well as to seventh-grade middle school students who prepare an essay,” Edward Huell, presiding chairman for the foundation said.

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The Omicron Rho Lambda scholarship breakfast began 27 years ago by fraternity member Robert Walker and Huell has been the presiding chairman for the foundation for the past four years. Huell has seen the breakfast retain a steady flow of 375 participants every year.

The theme for the seventh-grade essay contest was “Remember. Celebrate. Act.” and is about what Dr. King means to the students submitting the essay.

Essays were looked at between five to seven evaluators and the five students with the highest composite scores from the evaluations were determined winners.

“The interesting thing about the essays is the creativity of the students that prepared the essays. One of the benefits of awarding the essays to the seventh-grade students is that it gives them opportunity to research who Dr. Martin Luther King is.

In some instances, they’re aware and know about the holiday, but they don’t know about some of the sacrifices and struggles he did for them to have some of the benefits they have today,” Huell said.

Any participant of the Project Alpha Leadership Club has an opportunity to receive a $250 book scholarship after graduating from the program.

Between late February and early March, the fraternity will announce the four recipients of its Omicron Rho Lambda Scholarship. Students applying for this scholarship will also submit an essay and are awarded between $1,500 and $500 based on placing.

“The essay will be evaluated based on its content and its merit. Also the criteria include ACT scores and grade point average,” Huell said.

Scholarships are funded out of the Omicron Rho Lambda Foundation Inc, which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation.

Giving back to the community is one of the foundational principles of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

“That’s the whole point of the fraternity is to give back. The sacrifices that we make on occasions like today benefit the young and the youth of tomorrow,” Huell said. “Our whole point is education, scholarship, mentorship, growing the future leaders of tomorrow.”