May 19-25, 2000
Back Issues
Sullivan Award winners show deep commitment to caring
Here's the youngest 'Hoo
Wagner exemplifies value of mentoring

Rector unearths love for human evolution

Dyslexia forced graduate to create own path for success
Boiler passes a special test
Already a pioneering online journalist, graduate plans to take on TV reporting
Student's mentoring program takes root
Medical student with passion for public health earns second master's degree
Groundskeeper has watched U.Va. and its landscape grow
Help wanted: not just for high-tech fields, but for teaching jobs, too
BUCKS' vision to give back to community will continue
Watson discovers teaching and takes history to the Web
Seeing double
Heard's degree painted with broad strokes
May graduate's dream shows how education transforms lives
Stephanie Gross

United they stand

The members of Brothers United Celebrating Knowledge and Success, who founded the mentoring group in 1998, are serious about encouraging U.Va. students to help African-American youths in Charlottesville. They graduate this weekend, but their organization will go on. From left: Ryan J. Wallace, Leslie H. Williams Jr., Ryan F. Coleman-Ferebee, Aaron A. Lockhart, Cameron D. Wadley, Marc K. Carroll and John T. Green III.

BUCKS' vision to give back to community will continue

By Katherine Jackson

Out of his pocket, fourth-year student Les Williams whipped out a bright orange and blue Dr. Seuss hat. "I wore this on the Lawn to encourage students to come to [the] 'Reflection on Complexion' forum," said Williams, one of seven African-American students who founded the group Brothers United Celebrating Knowledge and Success, which hosted the meeting several weeks ago.

Motivated by personal experiences and committed to volunteerism, he and his friends launched BUCKS in 1998. They've given a priceless opportunity to U.Va. students and younger African Americans -- a chance to make a difference.

Before graduating this weekend, the seven met with younger members of the organization, whose number has reached about 100 and includes women, to make sure their vision won't die after they leave town. Young African-Americans in Charlottesville will continue to benefit from their programs. Past projects have included tutoring, leading racial discussions and helping high-school students prepare for college. With financial support from the city, members tutored youths in computer labs at three low-income housing complexes in Charlottesville.

Williams said he is pleased that so many have embraced volunteerism as a learning opportunity. Educating oneself also involves helping to educate those less fortunate, he said. "I feel it's my responsibility to excel and to give back to other black males."

Fellow founding member Ryan Coleman-Ferebee said it is important to participate in solving social issues. "By participating, you find out what you want to do in life."

At the "Reflection on Complexion" forums, annual gatherings to discuss racial issues, the BUCKS incorporated humor to ease tension during frank discussions. Their creativity helped draw more than 400 students of varying backgrounds to the forums. Because they encouraged openness in a non-threatening environment, the talks were a popular attraction, according to advisers who have helped the group.

"This huge student gathering is one of the rare occasions where many come together to discuss issues affecting us all," said Sylvia Terry, associate dean in the Office of African-American Affairs. The forums have been a significant contribution to the University, added Timothy C. Scott, associate professor of engineering.

The group's legacy could continue to grow in significant ways. With support from the Alumni Association, the BUCKS are establishing an endowment fund to help local African-American males attend the University, Coleman-Ferebee said.

In addition to Williams and Coleman-Ferebee, the founding members of BUCKS are: Marc K. Carroll, John T. Green III, Aaron A. Lockhart, Cameron D. Wadley and Ryan J. Wallace.

See press release on Seven Students Who Launched a Program to Help Black Youths Will Graduate in May: Vision to Continue


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