80 years after the creation of the life membership crusade in Alpha Phi Alpha and 23 years after I was initiated into the Theta Rho Chapter... I followed in the foot steps of Brother Oliver Wilson Winters, DDS and I have become Life Member 13577.
"Our Historian, Dr. Charles H. Wesley, notes that "At the 19th Convention (1926) the Fraternity endeavored to create an endowment fund by approving the idea of endowment policies on the lives of the Founders and Brothers. The details were to be worked out by a commission." Brother Winters credits this plan to the "fertile imagination of Brother Joseph Woods." But, a familiar story unfolded and amid the goings-on brother Wesley noted "These details were not put into complete operation." Fortunately for Alpha Phi Alpha O. Wilson Winters was a leader rather than a follower. Dr. Wesley continues, "In spite of this fact, Brother Winters took out a policy, continued payment of the annual premiums, and after ten years the policy was paid by check to the fraternity." Why would one one man continue to pursue a course of action which for ten years seemed to arouse little or no enthusiasm among his peers? Dr. Wesley states, "This action was a distinct indication of the deep affection which Brother Winters maintained for the Fraternity and a tangible expression of his faith and desire to see it placed upon more permanent foundations." And in 1937 at the New Orleans Convention, Brother Winters' faith was recognized and he was declared Life Member No. 1.
Unknown Author (1976, April). FOCUS:Life member Number One. The SPHINX, 62(2), pp. 13-17.
For years I was chasing dollars and staying in my comfort zone. When I leaped off the edge and left DCPS for Charles County, I realized 2 things. One, money is not everything. As a family we made some adjustments and in fact we have come out on top. And two, I can teach and push my students and not just a talented few of them but I can push them all. They want to learn, They want to be creative and They actually have a love and appreciation for the arts and what the arts can do.
And NOT ONCE have I heard anyone tell me, if you don't want to be here, you can be replaced; in fact folks want want me here. And above all I feel valued by my colleagues and administration.
What do I miss, I miss some of the opportunities that were afforded to me as a DC Teacher. Free trips and workshops for me and my students. The living breathing museum, that is called Washington, DC. However, working with NPG (National Portrait Gallery) I know that I can bring the museum to them and vise versa. Not having on going professional development, I will have to rely on my virtual kitchen cabinet for lesson ideas and tid bits to get me through.
As Asa Daniels always says, "this is not my first rodeo and will not be my last ride."
I'm more than my title will ever be.