|Luke Worthington & Mrs. Sammie Brookman|
On May 22, Boys Home of Virginia hosted its annual Spring Awards Banquet. Serving as Masters of Ceremonies for the evening were Greg Lemmer, Associate Director and Support Services; Sarah Hundley, Program Director; Jodie Weidman, Boys Home School Director and Janet Lemmer, Development Director. This is a special night for the residents because they are recognized for their accomplishments for the year. Educators from Boys Home School and Callaghan Elementary, Clifton Middle and Alleghany High Schools were recognized as special guests for the evening. All of these schools serve the young men of Boys Home. A special treat for the event was the performance of “Amazing Grace” by the newly formed four-part vocal group, “The Four Hill-Toppers”. The group is under the direction of houseparent Dennis Fitzgerald. The members of the group are Keondre Carter, Sequoia Nightfeather, Austin Clay & Justin Lee.
Stephen Hodges, Tae Kwon Do instructor, handed out the first awards of the night, with certificates of participation for Clifton Woolfrey, Jabaurie Clagon, Johnny Flint, Hunter Wright, Luke Worthington, Keondre Carter, Travis Estes, Justin Lee, Raekwon Kinnard, Logan Flint, Tracy Hall, Shama Baggott, C.J. Calhoun and Liam Hundley. Other athletic awards were given by Dennis Fitzgerald who serves as the head coach of the Boys Home Hilltoppers basketball team. He handed out certificates of participation to Adam Bragg, Blake Groah, Malijah Taylor, Chris Sebina, Amara Kromah and assistant coach Luke Worthington. Fitzgerald also handed out superlative awards. Kromah received a trophy for the best effort. Groah received a trophy as the best offensive player. Taylor received a trophy as the best defensive player. Bragg received honors as the most improved player. Sebina received a trophy for his hustle. Worthington received a special trophy as the Boys Home basketball coach of the year.
Mrs. Anita Proffitt handed out awards for the public and Boys Home School students. Starting with the public school students, graduating senior Milliyon Fesseha received certificates for second semester good school citizen and second semester honor roll. B. Pressley, Keith Kakande, Chris Sebina, Amara Kromah and Jabaurie Clagon received a certificate and other prizes for being a good school citizen for the entire school year. Clagon with a GPA of 3.0, Pressley with a GPA of 3.86 and Kromah with a GPA of 3.5 took top honors of having the highest GPA for elementary, middle and high school students respectively. Clagon also took home the prize for first semester honor roll. Sebina and Kakande joined Fesseha for the second semester honor roll award. To conclude the public school awards, Pressley and Kromah received awards for making the honor roll for the entire school year.
|Donnie Wheatley with Milliyon Fesseha and Memory Remine|
The Boys Home School awards showcased the great improvements these students made from the beginning of the school year. Tracy Hall was recognized for making the highest gains in reading level with a 2.42 year gain. Travis Estes was awarded for his 3.81 year gain in math. Along with Estes, Luke Worthington and Ivan Jones were recognized for completing the reading portion of the computer courses. Worthington was recognized for the most points in the accelerated reader program with 195.4 total points, one of the highest in the history of the program at the Boys Home School. Along with prior award winners Hall, Estes and Worthington, these young men were rewarded for making the A/B Honor Roll for the entire year, Johnny Flint, Logan Flint, Austin Hoy, Justin Lee and Malijah Taylor. Estes was recognized as the school’s most improved student. Johnny Flint was the award winner of good school citizen for Boys Home School. The highest GPA’s for the elementary, middle and high school levels went to the following students, Johnny Flint with a 3.68, Estes with a 3.28 and Taylor with a 3.45. Justin Lee and Keondre Carter received awards for their contributions to the school newspaper, The Home Boys Gazette. Lee also won the top journalist award. Worthington was recognized for winning first place for his Batik in the Covington Women’s Club district art competition.
The Development awards were handed out by Sandra Scruggs and Jerome Johnson. The first awards went to those residents who contributed to Boys Home’s newsletter, “The Boys Appeal”. Receiving the editor’s choice award was Logan Flint, Luke Worthington, Chris Sebina, B. Pressley, Keith Kakande, Austin Hoy, Shama Baggott, Justin Lee and Jabaurie Clagon. Worthington and Hoy each won the publisher’s sweepstakes award for turning in the best cottage reports for the newsletter. The golden voice award went to the four young men who performed earlier in the evening, Keondre Carter, Sequoia Nightfeather, Austin Clay and Justin Lee.
Requirements for the senior writer award were to write an essay on the time spent at Boys Home and his future plans. Winning a second place certificate for his essay was Memory Remine. Milliyon Fesseha won first place for his essay. The following residents won the helping hands award for their willingness to help during special events and photo shoots, Justin Lee, Sequoia Nightfeather, Raekwon Kinnard, Keondre Carter, Malijah Taylor, Austin Groah and the entire BSA Troop 66.
Prior to Residential Education Day, Boys Home residents took part in a reading and mileage challenge. The top three winners for total books read were Logan Flint with 36, Tracy Hall with 32 and Luke Worthington with 21 Books. The top three winners for mileage were Ivan Jones with 153 miles logged, Shama Baggott with 125.5 miles logged and Luke Worthington with 118 miles logged. The final development award was the best foot forward award. The two young men who won this award are always ready to help whenever needed with enthusiasm and purpose. They were Adam Bragg and Johnny Flint.
The support services awards were given out by Mrs. Alisa Hayslett. Justin Lee won the award for Tree Farm worker of the year. Abe Ashebir was named the Farm Crew worker of the year. The Grounds Crew worker of the year was broken up into two groups, elementary/middle school and high school. The elementary/middle school winner was Hunter Wright and high school winner was Malijah Taylor. The vo-tech student of the year honor went to Blake Groah.
The named awards were given out by Boys Home Executive Director Dr. Donnie E. Wheatley. Mrs. Sammie Brookman presented the David C. Hall Memorial Award in memory of her brother. The winner of this award personified his never give up attitude. The award went to Luke Worthington.
The Steven Rogers Memorial Award is given to a resident who struggles with difficulties common in young men. Mr. Rogers turned his life around once entering the military and that success continued once he started a career. Mr. Scott Massey, houseparent and Mr. Rogers’ brother, presented this award to Justin Lee for the progress in his life.
The Barry D. Mays Award was presented to a senior who lived in the Experiential Living Apartment. That individual needed to show the desire and ability to learn and perform skills of self-sufficiency. The winner was Memory Remine.
The 1st Lt. Joshua Charles Hurley Memorial Award was presented by his mother, Christine Hurley. On November 1, 2003, Hurley lost his life while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hurley loved his family, life, friends and serving his country. The winner of this award, Memory Remine wrote an essay on what “service” means to him.
The Sam Cunningham Award is an award given to a Boys Home student participating in athletics with a high level of dedication, a positive attitude. The Donald “Pete” Dimick Memorial Scholarship is the highest sports honor for a Boys Home resident. Mr. Dimick was an outstanding athlete for Boys Home and Covington High School during his time as a resident. The recipient of Mr. Dimick’s scholarship has an all-expenses paid week to a sports camp of their choice. Keith Kakande was the winner of both of these awards.
The Jhakee V. Avant Honorary Scholarship was presented by Jhakee, a recent alumnus, and his mother Mrs. Wanda Avant. This scholarship was established to reward a senior who continually grew as a person, in character and in self-motivation, just as Jhakee did during his time at Boys Home. The Bill & Lang Wilson Scholarship Award was established in recognizing the value of an education and the importance of a “helping hand” in critical junctions of one’s life. It was also established to help promote further education for a graduating senior while supporting Dabney S. Lancaster Community College’s mission. The winner of these two scholarships was Memory Remine.
The Joseph D. & Hilda C. Dent Memorial Award, the Matthew Foster Honorary Scholarship and the Berlin & Frances Lineberry Scholarship were the final three scholarships handed out in the evening. The Dent Memorial Award, presented by Mr. I.B. Dent, is given in memory of long time Boys Home supporters who had a keen interest in education. The Foster Scholarship, presented by his father Terry Emerson, is given in honor of alumnus Matt Foster. He overcame many obstacles during his time as a resident and grew from a rebellious teen to a self-confident young man who turned two years of high school into one to graduate on time. The Lineberry Scholarship, presented by Berlin and Frances Lineberry, provides for a graduating senior who is pursuing higher education at a vocational or community college. The senior who received these three scholarships was Milliyon Fesseha.
The Think About Contest is intended to stimulate original thought. All participants pick an original quote and write about what it meant to them. Winning third place for his essay on, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” was Malijah Taylor. The second place winner for his essay on, “Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself” was Sequoia Nightfeather. Winning first place for his essay on, “We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, to learn it is God who is shaking them” was Keondre Carter.
The Tice Environmental Award is one that is presented in recognition of efforts to curb wastefulness, encourage creativity in recycling and to sow seeds of conservation and respect for the things that really matter- God’s creatures, resources and the beauty of the world. The participants completed a required project and wrote an essay about their work explaining what it meant to them. The third place winner for a honey bee environment project was the residents of Watkins Cottage. Taking second place for his recycling project was Austin Groah. The residents of Jack Gordon Cottage were the first place winners for cleaning up the new boat ramp area of the Jackson River.
The Tice Volunteer Contest is intended to help young men develop a sense of selflessness and to encourage them to become a contributor in society. Participants of this contest are required to perform volunteer work and write an essay about what it meant to them to serve others. Chris Sebina won third place for his work and essay on helping a missionary group, mentoring younger Boys Home residents, helping with the Heritage and Chocolate Festivals. Justin Lee won second place for his essay on his work at the Christmas Mother Shop and his work towards his Eagle Scout Badge. Malijah Taylor took home first place for his essay on working with the Christmas Mother Program, the Cultural Festival and the Pancake Supper at Covington High School.
The final two awards of the night are among the highest of honors for a Boys Home resident. Those awards are the Michael Folland Award and the George Floyd Rogers Award. The Folland award is given to a senior who was voted on by their fellow residents. This award winner shows his fellow residents that he took advantage of his time at Boys Home by working to reach his potential. The George Floyd Rogers Award is named in honor of the Boys Home founder. This honor voted on by staff and presented to the resident who by their spirit, example and overall outstanding citizenship exemplified the ideals of Boys Home and its founder. Graduating seniors Milliyon Fesseha and Memory Remine were co-winners of both awards.
Boys Home of Virginia, founded in 1906, continues to help young men ages 6-18 who have great promise, but limited opportunities.
“A successful man has to start somewhere…
All successful men were once boys. But not all boys become successful men. Sometimes, they’re missing positive role models or a supportive quality of life.
So we provide both…and successful men are the result. Men who will take care of their families. Men who will contribute their gifts. Men who will be role models for the next generation of men.
At Boys Home of Virginia, we show our boys that each day is a step toward that success.”