By Jay Shorter
On June 25, the author traveled to the Hampton Roads Area of Virginia with two other mentors and fourteen students from Jefferson Academy thanks to the funds provided by the Friends of Southwest DC. The purpose of this three-day trip was to expose these young men to the area’s universities, local culture, and the historical value of Hampton Roads.
Mentors Ronald Hines and Vaugh Meyers were great in assisting in every way possible to make this a positive experience for the DC STORM, Inc. members.
STORM members spent time visiting the campuses and educational centers of Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, and Hampton University. One of those stops was The Emancipation Oak Tree. The tree is a historical landmark that sits on the campus of Hampton University and is listed as one of the ten “Great Trees of the World” by the National Geographic Society. The Emancipation Oak is named so because the local Black community of that time gathered under the tree to hear the first Southern reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The youngsters also got an opportunity to visit Fort Monroe, which was a military installation at the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula. The Casemate Museum, located at Fort Monroe, was a prison during the Civil War. The prison was converted into a museum soon after the Civil War. Fort Monroe’s view of the Atlantic Ocean is breathtaking. There were even fishermen on piers at Fort Monroe, and the fish catch of the day was a twenty-five-pound Marlin! The fisherman was proud of his catch and was willing to show it off to the Jefferson Academy students.
The goal of DC STORM, Inc. is to introduce the young men in the program to activities not ordinarily provided to them. This trip to the Hampton Roads area was an incredibly positive adventure for our local youth. The College/Educational Tour met the STORM objectives and was made possible through the generous funding of the Friends of Southwest DC.