Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Community News

By Brendan O’Hallarn

As someone who studies positive racial interactions, Eric Brown believes few institutions are better suited to his research than Old Dominion University.

It also helps that the Department of Counseling & Human Services of Old Dominion University’s Darden College of Education, where Brown completed his doctorate this semester, is one of the top-ranked programs in the country.

“I could not have asked for a better experience, from my cohort of students to the supportive faculty at Old Dominion,” said Brown, 40.

Originally from Wichita Falls, Texas, Brown found the Old Dominion campus community an ideal fit to study an integrated learning community. And that goes beyond race. Before beginning his doctorate, Brown spent 11 years as a pastor in Florida, and has wrestled with how to incorporate faith-based counseling into his research and practice.

“I felt supported by faculty members and other students, who might not share my faith,” Brown said.

Brown defended his dissertation, “Cross-racial trust factors: Exploring the experiences of Blacks who have had white mentors they trust in the counseling profession,” in April. The research project mirrored Brown’s experience at Old Dominion–forming deep working partnerships with University counseling faculty, many of whom had completely different life experiences.

Ed Neukrug, a professor of counseling, is Jewish. But Brown said Neukrug was the one who encouraged him to bring pastoral sensibilities into his practical counseling work.

Tim Grothaus, associate professor and chair of the Department of Counseling & Human Services, was Brown’s dissertation chair, and made a big impact on him.

“Dr. Grothaus is a person that I just think embodies social justice,” he said. “He is my role model for how I want to relate to students. I want his voice in my head.”

Grothaus said Brown is a highly respected member of ODU’s counseling and human services community.

“In addition to his prowess as an instructor, his seminal investigation into cross-racial trust in mentoring relationships is an impressive contribution to the counseling field. His care, conscientiousness and collaborative spirit have made him a cherished colleague,” Grothaus said.

Brown said he didn’t realize how much he appreciated his experience at Old Dominion until he began to interview for academic jobs at other institutions. “When I would meet with faculty and students at the other institutions, it was clear they didn’t have this level of diversity and this culture of respect,” Brown said.

Ultimately, he chose a position as assistant professor and program director of the master’s in clinical mental health counseling program at Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts school in Illinois.

He would love to work at an institution as diverse as ODU one day.

“I didn’t know anything about Old Dominion before I applied here. But this is a very special university, and it makes a huge difference in this community,” he said.

CHESAPEAKE
Juneteenth International, Inc. presented a series of cultural events on June 17, 2017 from Noon. – 4 p.m. at The Hope Center, 1425 Gust Lane, Chesapeake, VA 23320. This year’s theme was “Who Are You?” and included performances, speakers, and musicians. Lunch was served as part of the free cultural event.

This event has been presented annually and sponsored by Ernest Lowery, Lowery’s Custom Video & Photography for 10 years. The 2017 observance was supported by New Chesapeake Men for Progress Education Foundation, Inc, the New Journal & Guide and Dr. Earle Williams.

NORFOLK
The Norfolk Chapter of Links, Inc. sponsored a luncheon in honor of its Annual Kathryn Brown Bibbins Scholarship and Textbook Stipend recipients on May 31, 2017, at the Town Point Club, from 12-2 p.m.

The 2017 scholarship recipient was Shandon Amos, a graduating senior from Granby High School. She completed the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma with a 4.78 grade point average. Shandon has committed to attend the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and plans to  major in Bioengineering. She is the daughter of Darren and Ebony Amos.

In addition, two graduating seniors were awarded $250 textbook stipends: Jejanie Williams, Granby High, and Rose Anne Conde, B.T. Washington High.

Ms. Junelle Banks is the outgoing President of the Norfolk Links Inc. and Dr. Gloria P. Hagans is Chair of the Scholarship Committee.

Special to the Guide

VIRGINIA BEACH
The Green Run High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (GRHS NJROTC) has the distinction of being the nation’s top Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.

This unit from Virginia Beach won First Place in the annual Drill, Academics, and Athletics competition. Out of the 583 NJROTC units across the country, the top 24 units converged in Pensacola, Florida on April 7-8, 2017 to compete for the most prestigious honor to be crowned the Best of the Best in the Nation.

In addition to winning the top overall honor that weekend, the 35-person team won eight other trophies, taking First Place nationally in Armed Exhibition Drill, Second Place in Armed Platoon Basic Drill, Third Place in Unarmed Exhibition Drill, and First Place in Drill Overall.

In addition, they came in Second Place in Sit-ups, Fourth Place in Push-ups, and Second Place in Athletics Overall.

Finally, they finished Fourth Place nationally in Academics. Several of Green Run’s students had top 10 finishes in the national competition to take home individual medals.

This was no small feat for a unit that was one of the smallest competing in the national competition and its district. While most units competing have over 200-400 members, GRHS’s unit has just over 100 cadets, barely over the minimum enrollment required by national ROTC regulations.

This means that practically all of the team members competed in more than one event for the competition; one student actually competed in an unprecedented 10 of the 11 events. The team relies on the generous contributions of parents, faculty, and community supporters to supplement funds received from ROTC to get to the national competition held in Florida each year.

Academically, the corps scored fifth in the National Academic Exam Competition this year out of over 1700 NJROTC academic teams throughout the country.

In the six years that Retired Navy Commander Curtis Brown, Sr. has been the Senior Naval Science Instructor (SNSI) at GRHS, he along with 1st Sergeant Felix Robles (Naval Science Instructor) and a handful of dedicated parents (and faculty) who believe in this small unit and the value of the program have helped these students to become First Place Area 5 Champions for the past five consecutive years. The Area 5 District consists of approximately 57 NJROTC units across Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

Moreover, the Green Run unit placed first in the Area 5 Academic Brain Brawl which is akin to a jeopardy competition where cadets are challenged in their knowledge of ROTC curriculum; naval science knowledge, skills, and history; leadership, and current events. A few of the students returned to Jacksonville, Florida a month later to compete in its National Academic Brain Brawl Competition.

During that competition, the Green Run High School’s NJROTC 5-member team had a top-1 0 national finish, placing ninth in the nation.

CHESAPEAKE
The Chesapeake-Virginia Beach Delta Foundation (CVBDF) has awarded its annual scholarships to three Hampton Roads students:

Jelanie Williams, a senior at Granby High School (Norfolk), is the recipient of a $750 HBCU Scholarship, given to a deserving student who plans to attend a historically Black college or university.  Williams, who has a 4.64 grade point average, plans to attend Howard University.

Jellanie Williams

Simone Herron, a senior at Grassfield High School (Chesapeake), is the recipient of a $750 Non-HBCU Scholarship, given to a deserving student who plans to attend a non-HBCU.  Heron, who has a 4.68 grade point average, plans to attend the University of Virginia.

Simone Herron

Katelyn Kirk, a senior at Oscar Smith High School (Chesapeake), is the recipient of a $750 Community Service Scholarship, given to a deserving student for outstanding community service.  Kirk, who has a 4.52 grade point average, plans to attend the University of Virginia.

Katelyn Kirk

“We are proud and delighted to be able to offer scholarships to these deserving students,” said Rhonda Corprew, chair of the CVBDF Board.  “Awarding scholarships is one way we fulfill our mission to educate our community.”

For additional information about the CVBDF, email cvbdf2013@gmail.com or visit cvbdf.org.

Portsmouth
G Fest Productions held its Heaven International Gospel Fest in Portsmouth on Saturday (June 3) at 2603 Chestnut St. The event was hosted by local gospel radio personality Brother Donald L. Eason. The spiritual-praise concert was co-headlined by the Hurdle Brothers of Portsmouth and the Singing Pastors of New Jersey. Other regional and local gospel artists included Elder Ronnie Harper and the Harmonizing Echoes, the Word Singers, the Wings of Faith, Evangelist Picket & the Picket Singers, and the Spiritual Crowns. The event’s organizers, Apostle Robert & Patricia Hurdle, thanked the New Journal and Guide for covering this event. Apostle Robert Hurdle announced an upcoming concert for August 13 featuring the Hurdle Brothers, SW Washington & Favor, God’s Boyz, the Bland Boys, and the Word Singers. Food will be sold.

For more information, please contact Apostle Robert L. Hurdle at 757-543-1013.

By Randy Singleton
Community Affairs Correspondent

NORFOLK
It was a homecoming of sorts when Chef Danielle Saunders returned to Norfolk State University for a cooking demonstration at “Taste of NSU,” on May 18. Chef Danielle began her college education at NSU before returning to her home in New Jersey and pursuing a career in culinary arts. She became the first black woman to win the Food Network competition show “Chopped”.

Taste of NSU made its debut appearance in the Student Center and was presented by the Norfolk State University Foundation. Its subtitle was “An Evening of Culture and Cuisine” and offered food sampling from area restaurants, culinary arts students, along with entertainment provided by NSU performing arts students.

All proceeds will benefit the NSUF Scholarships Fund for deserving NSU students. 2017 Honorary Community Co-Chairs were Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander and WHRO Executive Barbara Hamm-Lee. Both were on hand, with Hamm Lee also serving as the evening’s emcee. The Event Chair was Brenda H. Andrews, NSUF Board Secretary and Publisher of New Journal and Guide.

“It is a humbling experience for me to even come back,” said Saunders, who majored in chemistry at Norfolk State. During her visit to Hampton Roads, she also met with and assisted the NSU students who participated in the “Taste”.

Accompanying Chef Danielle was her fiance Chef Tod Wilson, a celebrity baker of his own sweet potato pie brand and a Portsmouth native.

Participating restaurants were Rajput Indian Cuisine, Ashley’s American Bistro, and Supper Southern Morsels. Special guest judges were .Judy Cowling; Tammy Jaxtheimer, and Chef Glen Mason.

PORTSMOUTH
The City of Portsmouth held its 133rd Annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday (May 29) along High Street and hundreds of area residents who lined up along the parade route to view the 86 entrants march in the nation’s oldest, continuous parade.

The parade, which first started in 1884, featured local politicians such as State Senators Louise Lucas and Mamie Locke, Delegates Matthew James and Steven Heretick, and Congressman Bobby Scott-3rd District, marching bands, floats, military units, and antique cars.

Following the parade, a service honoring Vietnam veterans killed in the line of duty was held in the courtyard of the Portsmouth Arts & Cultural Center.

By Randy Singleton

NORFOLK
Seattle Seahawk safety Kam Chancellor held his annual Memorial Day Cookout at Town Point Park in Norfolk on Saturday (May 27). The event, sponsored by Chancellor’s Kam Care’s Foundation, was free and open to the public.

Children were served free hotdogs and hamburgers and Chancellor and a host of his fellow professional athletes from the Hampton Roads area, including Hall of Fame defensive lineman Bruce Smith, former Hampton High star and current Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and former Norfolk State basketball player and current New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn among others, were on hand to greet fans and sign autographs.

Chancellor thanked the fans for supporting him. Chancellor said he was honored to be able to bring the community together and to give back to the city of Norfolk which nurtured him as a youngster.

Chancellor is a graduate of Maury High, a four-time Pro-Bowl selectee, and Super Bowl champion. Chancellor thanked the New Journal and Guide for covering this event.

By Randy Singleton

PORTSMOUTH

The City of Portsmouth celebrated its 27th annual Umoja Festival during Memorial Day weekend at the Portsmouth Pavilion and Festival Park. The festival drew thousands of area residents to downtown Portsmouth in celebration of African culture and to promote cultural diversity and unity of family, community, and the nation.

The festival was opened by remarks from city manager Dr. L. Pittis Pattorn, a traditional African drum call, a welcome & recognition of special guests by Portsmouth mayor John L. Rowe, and permission from the elders of the Portsmouth community, Esther White & Phillip Finch.

Mayor Rowe then introduced Congressman Bobby Scott-D 3rd District, who gave brief remarks. Friday’s artists included saxophonist Stan Howard, the Tidewater Drive Band, and Plunky and Oneness.

Local residents enjoyed free admission to all festivities, including live music by local and regional artists, a heritage tour, kids’ activities, vendors, and food court. The festival’s highlight was a ticketed concert Saturday night featuring the Stylistics, the Delfonics, and the Manhattans.

The festival closed out Sunday with national gospel recording artists Titus Jackson and the Rance Allen Group.

For more information, please visit: www.umojafestportsmouth.com

By Randy Singleton