MIDDLETOWN - SUNY Orange celebrated the outstanding achievements of 512 local students attending Orange County schools at the 23rd Sojourner Truth Awards Program last Friday.
The Sojourner Truth Awards Program hails students from grades 6 through 12 who have excelled in areas such as athletics, citizenship, creative arts, diversity, English language arts, foreign languages, perseverance/effort, and sciences and technology. The program aims to promote education in a positive manner and motivate students who are from groups that are traditionally under-represented in the college population to consider college as a viable and attainable goal. All of the honored students were acknowledged during the awards ceremony.
The evening’s keynote speaker was Dr. Sampson Davis, a board certified emergency medicine physician at St. Michael’s Medical Center (NJ), Raritan Bay Medical Center (NJ) and Easton Hospital (PA). He is also assistant medical director of the emergency department at Raritan Bay Medical Center and serves as vice president of physician recruitment for Physician Practice Enhancement. He works directly with the Violence Prevention Institute of New Jersey, focusing on gang violence and preventative medicine.
As the fifth of six children raised by his parents in one of New Jersey’s poorest cities, Davis grew up in cramped living quarters surrounded by fragmented families, crime and drugs. Yet, he was a good student able to strike the fragile balance between being smart, yet remaining socially acceptable on the streets. It was that skill, Davis says, that was most critical to his survival.
While attending University High School in Newark, NJ, Davis met Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins, and the three students drastically altered the course of one another’s lives. They bonded immediately, sharing the same dedication to making more of their lives than Newark usually provided and becoming each other’s primary support system as they began studying and socializing almost exclusively together. All three have since become doctors.
The compelling story of Davis and his colleagues, Doctors Jenkins and Hunt, contains a message that appeals to both young and old. Oprah Winfrey has called The Three Doctors "The Premiere Role Models of the World." Davis considers his 3 D’s - dedication, determination and discipline - as the necessary ingredients to success.
Sojourner Truth lived in the mid-Hudson Valley after escaping from slavery. She is hailed as one of the most distinguished and highly regarded women of the 19th century. Born Isabella Bomefree (later spelled Baumfree) about 1797 in Hurley, NY, Isabella was sold four times, until she and her daughter were given their freedom in 1828.
In 1843 she changed her name to Sojourner Truth to better reflect her chosen missions of traveling to show people their sins and telling them what is true. Sojourner Truth is often referred to as one of the most effective and powerful speech-makers of her time.