This year Beta Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. held a Lamplighter Scholarship Banquet on June 7th at the Hadji Shriners Temple at 800 W. Nine Mile Road, where they provided scholarships to nine graduating high school seniors who are attending a college or university of their choice. The local chapter of Omega Psi Phi has been supporting students in Escambia and Santa Rosa County for years in their educational pursuits. This year they provided college scholarships to the following high school graduates: Mr. Michael Johnson (West Florida Tech), Ms. Hailee Hawkins (Pensacola Christian), Xavier Mays (B.T. Washington), Mr. Avion Wright (B.T. Washington), Ms. Lawrenn Mathis-Young (B.T. Washington), Ms. Krista Tolbert (Pine Forest), Ms. Jayla Bradley (Pine Forest), Ms. Miosha Watts (Camelot Academy), and Ms. Kayla Hardaway (Pensacola High). The chapter’s goal is to have a $10,000 budget for scholarship awards each year within the next three to five years.
The Beta Omicron Chapter was chartered by Samuel Maxwell Watson, Henry T. McMillian, Sr., Sylvester Perryman, Stephen A. Henderson, Sr., Dr. Edward F. Aaron, MD., and Dr. Simon W. Boyd, DDS. The national fraternity has been serving communities around the world for one hundred and three years, while Beta Omicron has been serving Pensacola and vicinity for sixty-eight years. In addition to college scholarships, the fraternity assists and coordinates blood drives, and works with Habitat for Humanity. The fraternity also works with the following organizations: Assault on Illiteracy, NAACP, College Education Fund (CEF), Voter’s Registration, Relay for Life, Sickle Cell, Breast Cancer Walk, and the American Diabetes Foundation to name a few.
Vin Durant, the current Basileus of the chapter, took over the reins in January. Durant commented on his vision for his fraternity in Pensacola and said, “I feel that the men of Omega should be the guiding light when it comes to serving our community. Our goal is to make our communities great wherever you find men of Omega. We should always have lofty goals, which is why our chapter has taken on the challenge of starting a Pensacola Chapter of Omega Lamplighters”! This is the first year for the Omega’s Pensacola Lamplighter’s program. Omega brothers Bryan Freeman and Royal King helped to bring a Lamplighter program to fruition at Chi Omega Chapter in Tallahassee, Florida and thought that it would be a great idea to start a Lamplighter chapter here in Pensacola. Freeman enthusiastically offered to serve as the first Executive Director of the youth development initiative. The Pensacola Chapter of the Omega Lamplighters was started on February 7, 2015 with the first induction of Lamplighters for the Pensacola Chapter.
Additionally, during the banquet there was also recognition for the fraternity’s leadership, for brothers in the Beta Omicron Chapter, who made significant impact on the organization by honoring them publically with our Omega Man of the Year and our Superior Service Awards. The award recipients were Omega Brother Michael Young for the Superior Service Award and Brother Vin Durant with the Omega Man of the Year Award.