|President Bill Law receives the “Citizen of the Year” award from Watson Haynes, Vice Chairman of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Achievement Week Program.
Bill Law, President of St. Petersburg College, has been selected by Eta Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. to receive its highest honor “Citizen of the Year” award for his outstanding efforts in the community and in education. He will be the first non-African American to receive this honor in the 49-year history of the chapter.
Gibbs High School, a predominately African-American high school in St. Petersburg, tried to shake its status as an “F” school and improve its FCAT score. To make matters worse, the Department of Education changed the school’s status from ”F” to “intervene,” giving authority to the state to step in to improve the school.
That didn’t sit well with Law. He read about the school’s plight and wanted to help. He worked with the county school superintendent and the principal and staff of Gibbs High School to find a solution. Although there was no budget to assist Gibbs High School, Law offered full use of SPC’s resources. That meant access to higher education and academic support for Gibbs students. Through SPC, Gibbs students were able to take SPC’s college placement test, as well as take college classes at their high school.
Students weren’t the only ones to benefit from the Gibbs-SPC partnership. Gibbs faculty received support through a co-teaching model, classroom teaching theories and workshops on teaching strategies. In addition, SPC delivered a high-quality reading program to Gibbs.
Law took leadership in guiding the college board of trustees to stop the closing of the Midtown Campus. He worked with Mayor Bill Foster and City Council to identify a site on 22nd street where a full service 30,000-square-foot building will be constructed. He also hired Gibbs High School Principal, Kevin Gordon, to be the Provost of the college’s downtown and midtown campuses.
Also honored will be 30 African-American male scholars from three schools. This project of the fraternity, in addition to its volunteer efforts with the Pathfinder’s Program, underscores the fact that black males are interested in academic achievement.
The Achievement Week public program is at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13 at Greater Mt. Zion AME Church, 1045 16th St. S, St. Petersburg.
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