By Dr. George F. Reed
Special to the Guide
The New Chesapeake Education Foundation’s signature Black Tie Scholarship held at the Delta Hotel by Marriott in Chesapeake sold out for the second consecutive year. The event is considered one of Chesapeake’s premier social events. This year’s program honored Adam N. Harrell, Sr., with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dr. Stephanie D.B. Johnson and Jean A. Carideo with its Community Service Award.
Adam Harrell, Sr., a retired Army Reserve Colonel, taught and was a guidance counselor at the segregated Crestwood High School. In 1968, he signed on with the Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project (STOP) Inc. where he helped organize and execute a program for unemployed and underemployed adults.
From 1974 to 1982, Harrell Sr. served on the Chesapeake School Board, replacing the first Black to serve on the governing body. In 1983, he returned to the Chesapeake school system as a guidance counselor at Deep Creek High until his retirement in 1995.
He has been involved in various community-based organizations and is a member of the historic First Baptist Church Bute Street. He was a founding member of the New Chesapeake Men for Progress Education Foundation which awards academic scholarships annually. In observance of the STOP Inc.’s 51st Anniversary, Adam Harrell, Sr. was awarded STOP’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership in improving the lives of Hampton Roads’ citizens.
Dr. Stephanie D.B. Johnson is Chair of the Board of Trustees at Elizabeth City State University, N.C., from which she graduated in 1974. She was presented the Community Service Award for education, leadership and philanthropy. Her philanthropy includes the NCMP Dr. Darnell Johnson Middle School Award, which recognizes high achieving Black Males and for contributing over $150,000 to The Johnson and Johnson Endowed Scholarship at ECSU for Education and Mathematics majors.
As a noted principal in the Chesapeake Public Schools, she was given the title the “Singing Principal” who sang to the students each morning while encouraging them to read more than 100,000 books each year during a 10-year span.
Her educational impact continued even after retiring from CPS in 2011. She is now a certified trainer for The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), working with new principals in Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Dr. Johnson has co-written four educational books in a series called “The Missing Alphabet.” She has several publications including “Tearing Down Invisible Teaching Walls” and “Success Program in Algebra for Military Students.” She also is co-owner of the company “Monitoring and Motivating.”
Jean A. Carideo served as a Library Manager with Chesapeake Public Library for 37 years before retiring. Presently she serves on the boards of the Chesapeake Public Library Foundation and the Cornland School Foundation, and she serves as the President of the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways History Foundation.
Mrs. Carideo has an unabating interest in history and wrote the first grant for the designation of the Great Bridge Lock Park. She has obtained grants from the American Battlefield Trust, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, National Park Service, and the city of Chesapeake to build the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterway History Museum. As a current Ex Officio Member, Chesapeake Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Advisory Board, she provides an external perspective, in-kind resources, and coordination of programming across the community.
The program moderator, Micah C. Hall, owner, Health Insurance for Senior Integrated Professional Solutions, skillfully moved the program, and the Western Branch Quintet provided music for guests during dinner. The Reverend Dr. Harry A. Hall, pastor, Patristic Real Life church provided the invocation and benediction. Al Alexander, Chairman, Board of Directors, warmly welcomed guests, and David K. Hamilton, Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, explained the occasion.
After dinner, Colonel Mark Solesky, Chief of Police, City of Chesapeake, and Colonel Tracy D. Branch, Deputy Chief of Police, presented a special recognition award to Policeman Albert White, first responder who rendered first aid to victims of the November 22, 2022 mass shooting at Walmart. In addition to the Special Recognition Award from the Foundation, VA House of Delegates Resolution NO. 602 was read citing White’s selfless dedication to duty and his heroic actions.
The event was attended by many of Hampton Roads citizens including Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott, 3rd Congressional District; the Hon. L. Louise Lucas, who made history in being the first Black to be elected President Pro Tempore of the VA Senate and chairman of the powerful Finance and Appropriation Committees. She was also the first Signature Sponsor for the Foundation’s Sixth Annual Black Tie Scholarship Gala.
Also attending was Del. C. E. Cliff Hayes, District 91, and he presented VA House of Delegates Resolution NO. 601, to Adam N. Harrell, Sr. for his work in public service.
Others attending included Hon. Dr. Ella P. Ward, Chesapeake Councilwoman; Brenda H. Andrews, Owner and Publisher, New Journal and Guide; Col. David Rosado, Chesapeake Undersheriff; Hon. David L. Jones, judge; Hon. Raymond A. Jackson, Retired senior judge; Hon. Gwendolyn Jackson, retired judge; A. Keith Chapman, president, NAC Save Our Youth Foundation; William E. Harrell, president & CEO, Hampton Roads Transit; Adam N. Harrell, Jr., corporate attorney; Fred Helm, Fred Helm & Associates; John Kownack, CRHA; Kenneth L. Gray, president ILA Local 1248; Andre Dawkins, Lincoln Financial Group; Dr. Rose Marie Ward; Thomas Hasty, III, Towne Bank, and Platinum sponsor of the BTSG; Julius McCullough, president, TAM; Dr. Danelle Wallace Alexander, Norfolk State University and a Silver Sponsor of the BTSG; Edmund Elliott, Chesapeake Fire Chief; Troy Lindsay, Dominion Energy and Gold Sponsor of the BTSG; Lisa Hicks-Thomas, Dominion Energy; and Geraldine Boone, president, Chesapeake Civic Chorus. Dragas Companies of Virginia Beach was a Gold Sponsor and First Baptist Church, Berkley was a Silver Sponsor of the Event.
In addition to being an excellent social event, guests won a 75 inch Samsung Smart TV, a $250.00 visa Gift Card, and a $500.00 voucher to Kings Mills Resort in Williamsburg. The BTSG raises fund to support the Foundation’s 26 scholarships, three Title I schools with school supplies and three local mentoring programs. The Foundation has awarded $178,000 in scholarships to African-American males graduating from Chesapeake’s seven high schools; $7,000 to the Chesapeake unit of the Boys and Girl Club; $5,500 in school supplies to three Title I Schools, and $6,840 in mini-grant to support mentoring programs and initiatives in Chesapeake.