Eight Mid-Missouri high school seniors received $800 scholarships from area fraternity chapters Sunday.
Lincoln University and the University of Missouri-Columbia chapters of the Omega Psi Phi incorporated fraternity presented the eight scholarships during their Achievement Week program at Lincoln's Scruggs University Center.
The two regional chapters, in conjunction with the regional graduate chapter, award local high school seniors scholarships annually. The one-time awards are given out based on academic achievement.
"What we're really doing is investing in the community and we're investing in the future of the community," said Keino Marbury, graduate chapter president. "These are high school seniors that have aspirations to go on and do some great things so we just want to help them."
Omega Psi Phi is a historically Black fraternity with more than 750 undergraduate and graduate chapters around the nation. Founded in 1911 at Howard University, it's the first international fraternal organization founded at a historically Black college.
There are three chapters that operate in Mid-Missouri: an undergraduate chapter at Lincoln, an undergraduate chapter at the University of Missouri and a graduate chapter, chartered in 1934, encompassing both the Jefferson City and Columbia areas.
The chapters conduct fundraisers during the course of a year to generate income for the scholarships.
"Uplifting the community -- locally, nationally, internationally, worldwide -- it's what Omega is built on," said Ivy Williams, a fraternity alum and Sunday's keynote speaker.
He urged attendees to walk so others want to follow in their footsteps, and then reach out to lend a hand down the path. Investing time and experience in younger generations is important, he added, because it could shape their trajectory in life.
Although a historically Black fraternity, Omega Psi Phi didn't limit scholarship applications to only minority men. Scholarship applicants are considered based on grade point average and essays.
About a dozen students applied this year and eight received an award.
Capital City and Jefferson City high schools were represented among scholarship winners. Marbury said a bulk of scholarship winners came from Jefferson City.
Emmarie Graham, a senior at Jefferson City High School, was among the scholarship winners. She said she's still deciding between Mizzou and Oklahoma State University for her college career.
In addition to presenting scholarships, the fraternity chapters presented select members with service awards and honored a Columbia man as Citizen of the Year.