PIQUA — Dr. R. Charles Byer stressed four things integral to success when he visited Piqua to deliver the keynote address for the 30th annual Achievement Week Celebration for the Xi Iota Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
“I want you to always take into consideration those four things: knowledge is power, individual differences, readiness, and know thyself. Those of you, the scholars that we are recognizing, if you take those four things into serious consideration, you will find that you will go far, and you will find that people will recognize you,” Byer said.
Byer, who is emeritus provost and vice president for academic affairs at West Virginia State University, addressed four area students — David Anderson of Piqua, Isaiah Russell of Lima, Donavin Johnson of Sidney and Kristefer Williams of Troy — who were honored at the Achievement Week Scholarship Banquet at Edison State Community College on Friday, Nov. 19, in Piqua.
For the 30th year, the Xi Iota Iota Chapter of the fraternity presented the four students with $1,000 scholarships.
“It feels good that we have continued this for 30 years, right here in Sidney, Piqua, Troy and Lima. I love it,” Vice Basileus and District Representative Jarrett Thomas said.
For the first year, each student was offered a full scholarship worth $10,000 each to Edison State Community College, awarded by Edison State President Dr. Doreen Larson.
“Right now, Edison State is doing very well, and we’re able to use some resources — I can’t think of a better way to use these resources than to offer these students full scholarships,” Larson said. “Whatever their aspirations are, UCLA, Purdue, whatever — they’ll get a great start here.”
Anderson is a senior at Piqua High School, has a 3.775 GPA and has maintained A’s and B’s throughout his high school career. He has taken advanced math courses for four years, advanced English for two years, three years of Spanish and has been a member of the Interact Club for three years, Key Club for two years and the yearbook class for a year. Anderson aspires to study real estate and business at The Ohio State University.
Johnson maintains a 4.24 GPA at Sidney High School while taking college credit plus and advanced placement courses at Edison State Community College. He is varsity quarterback for the Yellow Jackets and plays catcher on the varsity baseball team. Johnson plans to major in pharmaceutical sciences and has his eye on UCLA or the University of Cincinnati.
Williams has maintained a 3.7 GPA all four years at Troy High School, and has been a linebacker on the Trojans football team since his freshman year. He has maintained principal’s list and honor roll placements and has received several honors and awards for academic excellence, including the Presidential Scholars Award from President Barack Obama. He is a member of Spanish Club and Interact Club, is a four-year Spanish student, and plans to major in architectural engineering when he attends college next year.
Russell ranks 13th out of 248 students at Lima Senior High School. In addition to maintaining a 3.771 GPA, Russell is a starting varsity tight end for the Spartans. He is currently enrolled in DECA which prepares emerging leaders for careers in marketing, finance and management. He is active in the program and has been elected vice president to DECA for two consecutive years. He is a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters and plans to go to college, but is currently undecided on his major. He has interest in owning his own business and giving back to his community.
Byer said that he considered it an honor when he was asked to speak at the banquet because he would be talking to students. With a career in education spanning over five decades, Byer has always enjoyed talking to students and used his keynote address to speak directly to the four students being honored at the banquet.
“They are the lifeblood of our nation of the world, because they are the individuals that are going to bring a better life for all of us,” Byer said.
The key thing that Byer imparted in his address was the Sir Francis Bacon quote, “Knowledge is power.” For Byer, he emphasized that no one ever stops learning, be it formal or informal learning, positive or negative.
“The more you know, the better off you will be. It’s extremely important that you are abling yourself to learn as much as you possibly can about things, about concepts, principles, people, whatever — you never stop learning. Knowledge will give you power,” Byer said.
Byer also emphasized that it is important to recognize individual differences and to stay true to oneself, to treat others fairly even when they can’t be treated equally, to show readiness when thinking about future choices, and to know who oneself is and what their purpose is.
“It’s extremely important you take into consideration what you want to do, how you want to do it, where you want to do it, and why you want to do it. Going through that process will make you a better person,” Byer said. “Don’t become so full of yourself that you think that you’re better than someone else. All of us are here to serve and help one another — know that, and continue that.”
Reach the writer at [email protected]