New Journal and Guide Report
Several hundred graduating high school young men showed up by invitation only to the 200+ Scholars Breakfast on May 16 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton. The youth were being honored for their academic excellence by the Hampton Roads Committee of 200+ Men which has been holding the ceremony for 18 years.
This year’s scholars came from school districts throughout Hampton Roads and numbered over 600 male students who had achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better. School districts represented were Chesapeake, Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Newport News, Northampton County, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg/James City, and York County. Private schools represented were Atlantic Shores, Hampton Christian, Hampton Roads Academy, Norfolk Academy, Norfolk Christian, and Norfolk Collegiate.
The 200+ Scholars Breakfast is the signature event for the 200+ Men, and since 1998, the breakfast has recognized more than 6,500 African American young men graduating from high school.
This year’s keynote address was delivered by Gary T. McCollum of Virginia Beach. McCollum, well-known in the business world and the civic community, is also a candidate for the upcoming State Senatorial race for the 7th District which represents Virginia Beach and a section of Norfolk.
Speaking to the youth being honored, McCollum encouraged them with a message that was motivationally and spiritually charged. “It’s not where you start, but how you finish,” he said, noting that he has not always finished everything in his own life.
He continued, “Life is like a race, a distance medley. You must hand the baton to someone else. Later in life, did you move the baton; did you leave a deposit on the earth?”
On several occasions, McCollum encouraged the youth to “be engaged and make a difference”.
Finally, he spelled out three tips which summed up his message: (1) T: togetherness (Nothing great is done by yourself; we need each other.); (2) I: integrity (Living in truth, honesty, and righteousness are essential to becoming an asset to human betterment); and (3) P: Perseverance (Don’t quit, even if the going gets rough).
Accepting the challenge from McCollum on behalf of his peers was Jonathan Holloway, senior, Achievable Dream, Newport News.
The scholars then proceeded to the stage where each was introduced by name to the audience and presented with a medallion.
The 200+ Committee presented five Crawley Scholarships valued at $1,000 each. Some scholarships were announced for students attending the following colleges and universities as they were greeted on stage by a representative from Hampton University, Old Dominion University, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, and Norfolk State University.
The breakfast attracted over 1,200 attendees. The group is led by James Gray, who delivered the welcome and opening remarks. Dr. Antipas Harris of Regent University was the M.C.George C. Crawley is the founding president of the 200+ Committee, for whom the group’s scholarship is named.