DC STORM at the USS Wisconsin Battleship.  
Courtesy of Jay Shorter      

By DC STORM Staff

On June 25, DC STORM, Inc. (Student Taught Organization and Respect through Mentoring) traveled with 14 group members to the Hampton Roads Area of Virginia for an educational and college tour and returned on June 27. 

The funds for the tour were provided by the Friends of Southwest DC. Group leaders Jay Shorter and Ronald Hines, mentors for the DC STORM Organization, led the tour group.  

DC STORM visited the Nauticus Museum in Norfolk, Virginia and was allowed to board the USS Wisconsin Battleship, where they got to see how naval personnel lived on the ship. The group also got an opportunity to bravely pet some sharks and stingrays at the museum.  

DC STORM also visited the campuses of Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, and Hampton University. The college campuses were mostly empty due to summer vacation, which gave the group an opportunity to walk around and see the schools’ facilities and get a sense of how large each of the campuses were. On the Hampton University campus, the group had a chance to study and climb on the Emancipation Oak Tree. The Emancipation Oak Tree is historic and designated as one of the 10 Greatest Trees in the World, according to the National Geographic Society. The tree is where Mary Smith Peake taught up to 50 children during the day and 20 adults at night during slavery. In 1863, the Black community gathered under the oak to hear the reading of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which led to the old tree earning its nickname as the Emancipation Oak. An old log cabin also sits near the famous oak. 

Students pose at Hampton.
Courtesy of Jay Shorter

For fun, the group had a chance to play basketball, swim and shoot pool at the hotel. DC STORM, Inc. appreciates the funding the Friends of Southwest DC provided for this historic trip for the young men residing in Ward 6 attending Jefferson Academy Middle School. DC STORM members needed this trip to get out of the house, learn some new facts about history, and to have some fun. Thank you, Friends of Southwest D.C., for the funding! 

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