Northern VA Urban League Honors Governors, Groundbreaking Community Leaders, Freedom House and Awards $32,500 in Scholarships at Annual Gala

from left to right (scholarship winners): Tylan L. Reeves – Tuscarora High School, Leesburg, VA; Adriana H. Jones – Heritage High School, Leesburg, VA; Zoe Price – T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, VA; Naomi M. Nero – Oakton High School, Vienna, VA and Justin H. Moore – Forest Park High School, Woodbridge, VA. (Photo by Kel B Pics Photography)

Alexandria, VA – The Northern Virginia Urban League (NVUL) honored Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin E. Fairfax, former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder and Fairfax, Virginia native Cadet Simone Askew, first African-American female commander at West Point, all of whom represent groundbreaking firsts for the state and the nation.

Over $32,500 in scholarships were awarded to local minority Northern Virginia students, including a first-time youth award to 11-year old Naomi Wadler, the Alexandria fifth grader who spoke eloquently at the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC. The honors were all presented at the 28th Annual Community Service and Scholarship Awards event on Friday, April 27th at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner. Each honoree achieved impactful career milestones which made the evening moving and inspired new volunteerism and service commitments from the audience.

Tracey Walker (NVUL Board Chair) accepts Proclamation from The Honorable Allison Silberberg (Mayor, Alexandria, VA). (Photo by Kel B Pics Photography)

Additionally, the gala program, emceed by radio personality Angela Stribling of WHUR 96.3, paid homage to the historic landmark, Freedom House Museum (Alexandria, VA) and kicked off a Capital Campaign to preserve the site, which was once headquarters for the largest domestic slave-trading firm in America and now serves as headquarters for the NVUL.  The Honorable Alison Silberberg (Mayor, City of Alexandria, VA) presented a proclamation to NVUL Board Chair Tracey Walker and paid tribute to NVUL’s work in the areas of Education, Jobs, and Justice in her remarks.

Naomi Wadler (Youth Activist) and recipient of the YOUNG EMERGING LEADER AWARD is being introduced by Diane McLaughlin (NVUL Gala Chair and Board Vice Chair) to give remarks. (Photo by Kel B Pics Photography)

Distinguished honorees recognized as Community Champions included:

The Honorable Justin E. Fairfax (Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia) – MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

The Honorable L. Douglas Wilder (Former Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia) – LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Cadet Simone Askew (First African-American female to hold the position of First Captain of the U.S. Military Academy’s Corps of Cadets – commanding a brigade of 4,400 (West Point) – EMERGING LEADER AWARD

Naomi Wadler (Youth Activist) – YOUNG EMERGING LEADER AWARD

SunTrust Bank Greater Washington – Outstanding Corporate Sponsor Award

Board Chair Tracey Walker expressed, “Preserving Our History and Empowering the Future” is a fitting theme for the evening. The dark memories of the antebellum past are now inspiring achievements of these amazing leaders and scholars. Their accomplishments represent hope, pride, reconciliation and effective pathways forward to an empowered tomorrow. The League is proud to serve the community with programming to make a difference for the future.”

Seniors receiving a college scholarship in the amount of $5,000 each were: Clarence T. Brown III – Charles J. Colgan, Sr. High School, Manassas, VA; Adriana H. Jones – Heritage High School, Leesburg, VA, Justin H. Moore – Forest Park High School, Woodbridge, VA; Naomi M. Nero – Oakton High School, Vienna, VA; Zoe Price – T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, VA; Tylan L. Reeves – Tuscarora High School, Leesburg, VA.

The Honorable Justin E. Fairfax (Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia) accepts the MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD from The Honorable John T. Chapman (City Council Member, Alexandria, VA). (Photo by Kel B Pics Photography)

Monies raised from the gala will support Preservation of the Freedom House Museum and its new Capital Campaign, STEM Education Programs, STEM Summer Camps, STEM Technology Expositions, Mentoring Programs, Leadership Development Programs for Young Professionals, and $32,500 in Scholarship Awards to Minority Youth.

For additional information about the Northern Virginia Urban League, visit www.nvul.org or call 703-836-2858.