Fraternity honors Bowser

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

PIQUA — Sidney High School junior Isaiah Bowser, of Sidney, was named one of four students of the year by the Xi Iota Iota chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity during its 25th Achievement Week Celebration at the Piqua Country Club, Saturday.

Bowser, son of Melissa Bowser, was awarded $1,000 and a plaque by the chapter.

The event, which also celebrated the 105th anniversary of the fraternity, was attended by mayors, several school superintendents and other local dignitaries, as well as area fraternity members.

Scholarships were awarded to students from Lima, Troy and Piqua, as well as to Bowser.

Bowser attends Sidney High School, where he has maintained a 4.0 grade average, while taking Advanced Placement and College Credit Plus classes. He plans to receive an associate’s degree and his high school diploma at the same time, before studying sports medicine in college.

For SHS, he plays varsity football and basketball. He was all-conference second team in football during his sophomore year and broke seson football records this year. Bowser won the Archie Griffin sportsmanship award and coaches youth football and basketball as a volunteer. He hopes to continue his football career in college.

“It’s an honor,” Bowser said of the award. “I’m excited to receive it. It’s a blessing that they contacted me.” Notification that he had been selected by the fraternity came as a surprise. It was not an award he had had to apply for. Bowser was pleased that his coach and principal attended the event.

Kenneth R. Barnes, of Atlanta, Georgia, was the guest speaker during the dinner. The international executive director of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. He earned an Associate of Arts in health and physical education from Atlanta Metropolitan College and a Bachelor of Arts in heath and physical education from Morehouse College.

He began his professional career as the aquatics director of the YMCA in Atlanta and spent 33 years with the YMCA. He served as program and physical director, branch executive, district vice president, chief operations officer, natioanl staff development trainer and national field consultant for the YMCA of the USA. He was the first African-American to be promoted to the corporate staff of the Dallas, Texas, YMCA. He was the youngest staff member to join the national staff of the YMCA of the USA. He retired as CEO in 2011.

Barnes was initiated into the Eta Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi in Atlanta in 1979. On the local level, he served as basileus of three chapters, was named Citizen of the Year by two chapters and Omega man of the Year by three chapters. He received the Founder’s Award from his current chapter, Omicron Omicron, in 2011, the Superior Service Award in 2013 and the Self-Abnegation Award for the 39th Grand Basileus in 2014.

He serves as a deacon in the New Life Church Ministries in Dayton Beach, Florida.

Bowser spoke about “the legacy that our founders have charged us to carry on to help with the uplifting of our society,” he said.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.