PIQUA — The winners of scholarships awarded this year by the Xi Iota Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. were urged to use their enfranchisement and vote.
“Now is the time to prepare for the next election. This is not a spectator’s sport. It is a hard contact sport,” said Daniel B. Jones Sr., of Washington, D.C., the guest speaker at the chapter’s recent Achievement Week Celebration in the Piqua Country Club. Jones is the grand keeper of finance of Omega Psi Phi.
“We can no longer stand by. We can no longer remain detached or disenfranchised. We must register. We must mobilize. We must understand the facts. We must understand how the proposed laws impact us and the community. And we must vote,” he said.
Jones delivered the address at the 27th Achievement Week Scholarship Banquet of the Xi Iota Iota Chapter of the fraternity. Each year, the chapter makes $1,000 cash grants to four students, one each from Sidney, Piqua, Troy and Lima high schools.
Ratez Roberts, 17, son of Danielle Landrum and nephew of Sanchez and Mindy McCutchins, all of Sidney, was surprised to learn he had been selected.
“The guidance counselor nominates you. (Katherine Bourelle) called me down one day and told me I’d be receiving it. I was surprised and pleased,” Roberts told the Sidney Daily News.
The senior has taken advanced placement classes and participated in the Workforce Career Academy for three years. He carries a 3.58 grade point average.
Roberts has earned varsity letters in football and basketball. In his sophomore and junior years, he was named to the Greater Western Ohio Conference second team in basketball. He was named to the conference second team in football as a junior. Roberts served as captain of Sidney High’s basketball team. He helped his team win the division title in back-to-back years. On the gridiron, he was a leading wide receiver on the team that went to the playoffs for the first time since 1989.
A Key Club member, Roberts was selected for the homecoming court. He is active in digital media production, volunteers at youth camps and regularly visits elementary schools to motivate students.
The event, which also celebrated the 107th anniversary of the fraternity, was attended by mayors, several school superintendents and other local dignitaries, as well as area fraternity members.
“I believe that local businesses and political figures have their eye on this chapter. They want leaders! Both are invested in the community. Your breaking bread with us this evening shows us your level of commitment, and I commend you for it,” Jones said in addressing the guests.
He also commended the local chapter of the fraternity.
“When this itty bitty chapter decides to do something positive in the community, the effects are felt all over the world. You can look to its souvenir book to see how far and wide their reach is,” he said.
Jones discussed Ron Tranmer’s poem, “The Dash Between,” which encourages people to live lives of worthy deeds, truth, honesty and goodness. The dash refers to the dash on tombstones between the years of birth and death. Tranmer says that the dash stands for the life lived between those dates.
“What should your dash consist of?” Jones asked. “Should your dash be because you looked good? Because you are physically fit? Because you effected political, social or ethical change? Because you stood in the gap while other men did not?”
The speaker earned a Bachelor of Science in business and economics from West Virginia State University and a Master of Arts in corporate and organization communications from West Virginia University.
He is a senior auditor in the Inspector General Office of the Department of Justice and chief executive officer of Daniel B. Jones Sr. Consulting. Through his work as a consultant, he streamlines efficiency in corporations and organizations. Prior to his time in Washington, he served in the U.S. Army for 27 years, retiring in 2011 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He is president of the board of directors of the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Center in North Central West Virginia.
As a member of Omega Psi Phi, he has been chief of staff to a district representative, International Civic and Community Affairs chairman, director and vice chairman of the International Talent Hunt Foundation, International Budget chairman, and a member of the board of directors of the Friendship Foundation Inc. and Three Undergraduates Inc.
Other scholarship winners were Tayvian Elder, of Piqua; Rhys Jamison Williams, of Troy; and Dalonte Manley, of Lima.