Hampton University
Deja vu...Again!

Ile Omode Student's Parent and Grandparent are Hampton Alums

What do you think the odds are of a father and child living decades apart in the same dorm room in college…twice? Well, that’s what happened to my mother and her sophomore roommate in college, Karla Booker. My mother was roommates in college with the daughter of her baba’s roommate in the same room their babas were roommates in.

My mother says her baba, William “Grandpa Pat” Patrick brainwashed her by eighth grade into choosing his alma mater Hampton Institute (now University) as a college. He often told my mother stories about how going to Hampton changed the whole direction of his life. He told her that Hampton is where Grandpa Pat made some of the best friends of his life.

One of Grandpa Pat’s lifetime friends from his days at Hampton was his senior roommate Jim “Booker” Booker. Grandpa Pat and Booker lived together in Harkness Hall in the 1956/ 1957 school year. Harkness Hall was just two years old then. So, they must have been pretty happy to be assigned a room in Harkness. Grandpa Pat and Booker were assigned room 209 in Harkness Hall randomly. [READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

2016 College Tour to D.C.

21 students participated in the school's 5th college tour - visiting Howard University, Hampton University, and Norfolk State University as well as historic sites in the area.

A Journey of a 1,000 Miles...Well, Actually Just 6 Miles a Day

In April, the middle school returned to the nation’s capitol for its third college tour in Washington, DC since 2009. The trip marked the fifth college tour since 2009, with the other two trips to the south (Atlanta and Alabama). After raising money and organizing the trip for most of the school year, 21 students and 7 chaperones spent a week in Washington, DC, and one day in Virginia.

Day 0
Departing from SFO

Oh, the excitement is in the air! The students are absolutely anxious and excited, and can't wait to board the plane. Every year we have departed from SFO, and one of the favorite photo ops is a group picture before the group checks in to security.

Day 1
The National Mall

The trip begins as soon as we land, and after securing our luggage and vans, the group made its first stop at Saint's Paradise Cafe on 601 M Street, NW. Referred by one of our parents, it felt like eating back home in Oakland.

Along with touring area colleges, students also had a chance to visit historic sites. Their first day was spent touring the Washington Mall and observing the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. The mall is also home to several memorials to military battles, including WW2, WW1, the Korean and Vietnam wars, and students learned more about these conflicts.

Day 2
Howard University, African-American Civil War Museum, Dr. King Memorial

The students visited Howard University in DC, and two of Virginia’s best known HBCUs, Hampton University and Norfolk State University. The trip to Howard University was especially heart warming since two of the students from the school’s very first college tour are now sophomores at the schools, and another school alum is attending the school.

Bakare Awakoaiye and Isis Fuller were two of the inaugural “DC 9” from the 2009 trip, and Reetah Boyce attended Ile Omode in elementary. The three helped facilitate the tour, providing students with their own college guides. Bakare coordinated a tour with the boys with 3 young men from Howard, and Reetah took the middle school girls on a tour. Reetah however was not alone, since Mama Kara Cotton, the 2nd grade teacher at Ile Omode and one of the chaperones, is a 2014 graduate of Howard University and was happy to be back on her old stomping grounds.

Along with a tour of the campus, the students also visited two classes. One, a course on Black Education, was taught by Mama Kara’s former teacher, and Ile Omode students were invited to share their experience attending an African-Centered school. The second course was arranged by one of the student’s aunts, who resides in the DC area. She is a sorority sister with the university’s Civil Engineering chair, Dr. Kimberly Jones, and Dr. Jones invited over a dozen of her students to share their experience in the college of engineering.

DC has the African-American Civil War Museum. One of its guides was dressed as a Union soldier and his dramatization greatly helped students understand the role of African Americans during the war. He also shared that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was in part a cover to allow the formation of African-American units, which the Union needed to defeat the Confederacy, and a move that Frederick Douglass had championed since the wars start.

Day 3
Frederick Douglass Home, the White House, and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Although not often associated with Washington, DC, Douglass was a DC icon. Douglass owned a mansion overlooking the capitol and was the district’s US marshall. His home is well preserved and students had a chance to understand the body of his work, and his dedication to his family. His home office is in excellent condition, and Douglass apparently worked out every day. He had barbells in his bedroom.

After leaving Douglass' home we sought out the White House, and while unable to visit inside, students enjoyed learning about the history of President Barack Obama's home. The day concluded with a trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (think dinosaurs).

Day 4
Hampton University, Norfolk University, and a trip to the Movies

In previous trips, the students visited Georgetown University and Morgan State, but they had never been south to Howard’s rival, Hampton University. Undaunted by the nearly 400 mile round trip to Hampton, Virginia, the chaperones whisked the students down I-95, and the students were quickly enamored with Hampton’s beautiful campus. The tour was led by a pre-med student who had to dart off to class at the tour’s conclusion, but invited the entire group to her class. Students were treated to a tour of Hampton’s chemistry and biology labs, and seeing the enthusiasm of the science students, surely converted a few Ile Omode students to the sciences.

After Hampton, the group visited Norfolk State University for the first time, and marveled at the school’s new construction. Although a smaller college, it seemed that no building was older than 5 years.

Day 5
Mary McLeod Bethune's Home, the DC National Zoo, and a Semi-Formal Dinner

Bethune founded the Negro Council of Women in DC, and the historic leader had a home in DC. Her home is located in a beautiful section of the city, and students learned about her impact as an educator and her role in the "Black Cabinet" (officially known as the Federal Council of Negro Affairs), a group of African-American leaders who counseled the President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On the final night, the students had the traditional semi-formal dinner, and were treated like VIPs at the Carolina Kitchen.