Four graduating Clarke County seniors were honored on Sunday at the Clarke County African American Museum and Cultural Center. The three young men and one young lady were each awarded $1,000 from the Josephine School Community Museum Scholarship Fund.
Scholarship recipients included William Fox, Jasmine Holmes, Hilton Morgan, and Thomas Trapnell.
Easton McDonald, President of the Winchester Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people reminded the four young graduates that each of their parents had been looking forward to graduation day since the day that each of them had been born. “As you go off to college you’ll meet all types of people from places that you never knew existed. Remember to share your culture from Clarke County with all of the people that you meet.”
After his remarks McDonald presented the Museum with a copy of NAACP – Celebrating 100 Years in Pictures.
Each of the four students have had distinguished academic and athletic careers at Clarke County High School.
Jasmine Holmes is a four-year member of both the varsity cheerleading team and varsity track team. Holmes will attend Virginia Commonwealth University to study nursing.
William “Jay” Fox played football, track and was a member of the CCHS DECA Marketing Club. He is active in the mentoring program at Johnson Williams Middle School as well as the Layla Rose program that provides support for adoptive children. Fox will attend Bridgewater College and study civil engineering.
Hilton Morgan will attend Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia where he will study civil engineering. Morgan has had an outstanding athletic career at CCHS. Last year he won the Feltner Award for Outstanding Athleticism. Earlier this week Morgan won the VHSL shot put competition with a record-breaking throw of 52” 11.5”.
Thomas Trapnell will be off to Charlottesville to attend the University of Virginia where he will study civil engineering. Trapnell is a member of the National Honor Society, a Presidential Scholar Award winner, and a CCHS soccer player. Trapnell will graduate from CCHS with an International Baccalaureate diploma.
“We are so proud of all of you!” Josephine Museum Board Member Dorothy Davis told the four young scholars. “We expect amazing things from each of you.”
The Josephine School Community Museum Scholarship Fund is a private fund awarded to African American students accepted to accredited four year college. Davis says that the money helps the students financially and is a statement of support from the community.
NAACP President Easton said that the vision of the NAACP lives on through the people in local communities, especially the young people who will be tomorrow’s leaders. “It’s important to recognize these young men and this young lady for many of reasons” Easton said. “Their success demonstrates that they are excellent students and that if you work hard, you can achieve any goal.”
The scholarship award ceremony was conducted in a Clarke County structure long dedicated to the tradition of advancement through educational excellence. In 1882, the former slaves and free colored people of this community built the Josephine City School to provide their children with a grade school education. Under the leadership of Rev. Edward Johnson, a new building was completed in 1930 to provide high school education for Negro students. The school came to be known as Johnson-Williams High School until it closed in 1987. The original Josephine City School was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2003 it became the first museum devoted to the history of Clarke County’s African-American community.
Easton said that Barack Obama’s presidency provides an important role model for African American students. “African American role models, especially mentors and minority teachers make a big difference in helping young people see that they can overcome class differences. President Obama’s election shows the world that we live in the magical place of Oz where it is possible for anyone to achieve anything that they set their mind to accomplish.”