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August 16, 2016

Omegas of Prince William County Celebrate the Ribbon Cutting and Dedication of George M. Hampton Middle School

PRINCE WILLIAM C_O_U_N_T_Y, _VA_— _August 27, 2016 _— _The Pi Lambda Lambda (PLL) Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. celebrated the ribbon cutting and dedication of the George M. Hampton Middle School on Thursday, August 25, 2016. Hampton Middle School was renamed in honor of Dr. George M. Hampton (Mu Psi 1949), Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired) and the oldest active member of Pi Lambda Lambda Chapter, Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Inc. This event was the culmination of a year plus-long campaign launched by friends of Dr. Hampton to secure a public school as his namesake. Brother Emmitt Fletcher (Pi Lambda Lambda 2006) and his wife, Vera Fletcher, a member of the Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta led the effort to form the George M. Hampton Naming Committee. Brother Fletcher brought the idea to PLL and the members decided to formally move forward with the Chapters full support. The Committee eventually grew to include community leaders, local church congregations, government officials, State Delegates, concerned citizens, the NAACP, the Divine Nine and other organizations. This group sent over 200 letters of support to the School Board in support of Dr. Hampton and presented a petition signed by 2,800 individuals.

Hampton Middle School, formerly known as the Mills E. Godwin Middle School, was the third Prince William County School proposed to honor Dr. Hampton. The previous two schools were named to honor other prominent Virginia citizens (the Charles J. Colgan, Sr. High School and the Kyle R. Wilson Elementary School). The middle school was previously named for Governor Mills E. Godwin, who served as Virginia’s governor for eight years in the 1960s and 70s. Godwin was at one time a part of the “massive resistance” movement, which sought to prevent school desegregation. The Governor and then Senator Harry Byrd refused to obey the Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1955 requiring all public schools to desegregate. Instead, he closed Virginia schools for five long years (1959-1964) impacting Black students and poor White students. Virginia finally ended this era of resistance with full school integration in 1970.

Dr. Hampton is a decorated Army Veteran having served as a Lieutenant Colonel during the Korean War, and later became a doctor and professor at several local universities. As an educator, government appointee and philanthropist, Dr. Hampton served Prince William County for over 47 years.   He held various state-wide governmental appointments including Virginia’s Parole Board, the Virginia Board of Elections, the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Board, the Board of Directors for Northern Virginia Community College, and the Board of Visitors for Virginia State University. Pi Lambda Lambda Chapter named its philanthropic entity, the George M. Hampton Foundation (GMHF) in his honor. The Foundation has sponsored scholarships exceeding $100,000 for local school students.

On June 30, 2016, the name of Mills E. Godwin Middle School came down and George M. Hampton Middle School name went up. At the insistence of the Committee, the PWC School Board and County Administration invested in necessary renovations and school improvements to ensure the school meets all standards of a new school. The students voted to change the mascot and the new school colors to blue and black. The 2016-2017 school year began with a newly renovated Hampton Middle School and the Hampton Huskies.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity brothers including the 3d District Representative, Ezekiel Dennison, Jr., members representing the Divine Nine (Pan-Hellenic Greek letter organizations) and childhood friends of seventy years were among the hundreds of enthusiastic supporters, parents, students, School Board members, and dignitaries who paid tribute to Dr. George M. Hampton at the ribbon cutting ceremony. The evening was hosted by the Hampton Middle School Principal, Mrs. Jehovanni Mitchell and began with an informal reception in the school library with refreshments and a meet & greet with the honoree.

Prominent members of the community including elected and school board officials made remarks during the formal ceremony. The Prince William County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven L. Walts commented, “This is a rededication, or a new beginning of sorts. That does not mean that we’re forgetting all the great things that happened in the school with the other name. In fact, we’re building on all that success, and we’re moving forward…so why a new name? And why a rededication? It is because we are here to honor a man who has been a pillar in this community, and who can be a role model for every single student.”

Dr. Hampton addressed the audience and focused his motivational comments on the Hampton Middle students present. One of his most thoughtful comments was “Don’t let where you came from determine where you are going.” He encouraged the students to value their education and to take pride in their school while promising to always be around to assist them in any way.

One of the highlights of the evening was a gift presentation by the members of Pi Lambda Lambda Chapter. The organization presented 110 school back packs filled with all required middle school supplies to Hampton Middle School. In addition to the back packs, PLL presented a check to Principal Mitchell for $1000.00. Raymond Bell, Basileus (President) of PLL, also announced that the chapter is partnering with Hampton Middle School as a new location for their Fatherhood/Mentorship initiative, Omega U. This is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) based program that includes formal weekly face-to-face mentorship sessions and periodic educational field trips.

National and local media covered the historical naming of the George M. Hampton Middle School story including CNN News, the Steve Harvey Morning Show, the Washington Post, local television news outlets and local print and digital media sources.

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., is an international nonprofit social and civic service organization that has over 700 chapters with 100,000 members in 14 countries worldwide.

Since the Chapter’s founding in Dumfries, Virginia in January 2004, PLL has supported public and community events across the region benefiting scholarship, health promotion, youth mentorship, citizenship and social action. Pi Lambda Lambda (PLL) was recently named the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated International Chapter of the Year Award. This recognition marks the third time since the Chapter’s founding in 2004 that PLL was honored with the most prestigious honor bestowed by the Fraternity.

Pi Lambda Lambda serves Prince William County, the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, and Stafford County.

 

Dignitaries, School Board Staff, students, family and community members assist Dr. Hampton in cutting the ribbon during the Hampton Middle School Rededication Ceremony.

On June 30, 2016, the name of Mills E. Godwin Middle School came down and George M. Hampton Middle School name went up.

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