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Middlesex Hall of Fame inducts new members


The third county-wide Middlesex County Hall of Fame induction was held November 9 at Friendship Baptist Church in Hartfield.

The mistress of ceremony was Ashland Stein Burch. Music was provided by the Hampton Roads Gospel Music Alliance.  Delegate Harvey Morgan was the guest speaker. Over 150 people attended.

A surprise tribute was given to Miss Terri Burse, who was a bronze award winner in 2007. She was presented with the silver award.

Some of the inductees included:

  • Holly Stainback is a 2006 Middlesex High Summa Cum Laude graduate. During high school, Stainback attended Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, where she received the community service award for completing 80-plus hours of community service.  She is currently a senior at the College of William and Mary where she majors in biology. Stainback’s community service and academic achievements have been outstanding. She has volunteered her services for Earth Day at Belle Isle State Park (two years), Middlesex Elementary’s science fair, Dragon Run Day (two years), Girl Scout summer camp (four years), after-school Spanish tutor (three years), and teacher at the Middle Peninsula Summer Regional Governor’s School.

  • Sheilah Benjamin is a Certified Prevention Professional (CPP) and serves as the Family Education/Suicide Prevention Project Director for the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Community Services Board. She has an extensive professional background in developing, managing and implementing outcome-based prevention programs. Benjamin worked in the human services field for over 20 years. She also has facilitated the Nurturing Parenting Program, which is designed to increase family communication, cooperation, closeness, and respect. She has often served as a chaperone for youth in the community, at the Annual R.V.U.C. Resilient Adults Leading Local Youth (RALLY) events.

  • William Beverley relocated back to Virginia and accepted a position as assistant principal and assistant football coach at Middlesex High School in 2002. Some of Beverley’s highlights while serving the students of MHS were assisting in the renovation of the school, creating a freshman seminar program to usher freshmen through their first year at MHS, and helping MHS become fully accredited. Additionally, he helped guide the MHS 2005-06 football team to the playoffs, and assisted a host of students in the process of gaining academic/athletic scholarships. In 2009, Beverley was appointed principal at Lindsay Middle School in Hampton.

  • Daphne Guill is the band director at St. Clare Walker Middle School, and is in her 20th year as band director for the Middlesex County Public School System. During her tenure, the bands at St. Clare Walker Middle School and Middlesex High School have earned superior and excellent ratings in music festivals in Virginia, as well as in East Coast festivals. The bands have also volunteered their services to the American Cancer Society at the Piankatank Relay for Life for three consecutive years.

  • Wayne Jessie Sr. has a busy community life, serving as a member of the Middlesex Board of Supervisors, Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department and American Legion Post 241. He has served on the Middlesex Airport Committee, six years on the Middlesex Museum Board and eight years on the Middlesex Social Services Board. He serves on the Urbanna Oyster Festival Board and is a member of the Middlesex Sports Complex Committee. He is also a DJ and has provided his services for many school-related events. He has also provided his services for the American Cancer Society at the Piankatank Relay for Life. Wayne Jessie is  a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church where he serves as a treasurer, trustee and assistant superintendent of Sunday school.

  • Melvina Robinson began her tenure with Middlesex High School 11 years ago teaching marketing education and as faculty advisor/sponsor for Distributing Education Clubs of America (DECA). She often encouraged and instilled in her students the “step up to the challenge” attitude, earning them various awards on the local, state and national levels through competitive events.  She is the Career and Technical Education Department chairperson, founder of Building Black Achievers Mentoring Program and coordinator of “The Freshmen House.”

  • Betty Chowning taught 5th grade at Middlesex Elementary School. In 1969  she became the choral director for the school division.  During her 33-year teaching career, she has taught music at the  elementary, middle and high school levels. When she retired, many of  her former students showed their appreciation by dedicating a reunion choir concert in her honor, which she directed. Although Mrs. Chowning has biological children of her own, she  fondly remembers her students as “all her children.”  

  • Henry Edward Easton Sr. taught science at Middlesex High School for over 37 years. During his tenure at MHS, he was involved in sponsoring many extra-curricular activities with the students and staff. Easton is a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church where he has served as a Sunday school teacher and deacon. He is also a member of the Middlesex Board of Zoning Appeals, currently serving as chairman. He is also a board member of the Middlesex YMCA.

  • William Murray has  taught at Middlesex High School for  37 years. In addition to teaching he coached soccer for 30 years, cross-country for the past 10 years, has been faculty advisor for the Key Club for 20 years, served a two-year term on the Virginia Education Association Board of Directors, and served as Middlesex Education Association president. Additionally, he founded and served as first commissioner of the Tidewater Summer Soccer League, served as head lector at Church of the Visitation, volunteered as coach with youth bowling leagues for five years, served as a member of the MHS Band Boosters Club and served for three years as MHS athletic director.

  • Earlene Scott  has crossed many barriers in her lifetime. She was the first black woman to be the PTA president, and her children were the first to integrate the Middlesex County Public School System. At 91, she is also the eldest pastor in the county. Pastor Scott has always had compassion and zeal to meet the needs of the youth in the community and was involved with the Girl Power! after-school program. She has also hosted fundraisers to raise scholarship money for youth aspiring to attend college. The Beverley F. Scott Scholarship has helped youth financially, and is designated for youth who have faced adversity in graduating from high school. She has personally driven youth with a desire to come to church, but had no means of transportation.

Other inductees who will be pictured and profiled in next week’s Sentinel include Cornelia Ruth Burnett Chapman, Donald Chapman, Raymond Billups, Ashley Carpenter, Cydney Fisher, Dylan Norwood, and members of the “Joyful Noise” musical group.

The Middlesex County Prevention Alliance thanked everyone who helped make the 2009 Middlesex County Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony a success. 

“A special thank-you is extended to The Honorable Harvey Morgan, the speaker for the day. Thank you for a job well done. Your words at this years Hall of Fame event were motivational, as well as insightful,” said a program spokesperson.

“Thank you to our illustrious mistress of ceremony, Mrs. Ashland Stein Burch, for a job well done. A well deserved thank-you to our host facility, Friendship Baptist, Pastor Walt McKibbon and the sexton, Mr. Chet.

“Thank you to the Southside Sentinel for providing superb coverage for this event. Your support during this Hall of Fame  is greatly appreciated.

“We also appreciate such a great showing from the community, with over 150 people who attended this event.

“Thanks to Bridget Carter, Linda Ward, Victor T. Russell, Helen Robinson, Lisa Mason, John L. Carter, Jarius Monroe, Anthony Hardy, Wyatt Mason and M.E. Russell William,” said the spokesperson.

There are still seven Hall of Fame souvenir journals left for sale. Call (804) 854-3100 to purchase one.

posted 11.18.2009

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