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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, February 29, 2024


Oct. 30, 2003 – In observance of October as Vocational Services Month, Rotary Club of St. Croix has honored one individual and one group with Vocational Service Awards.
At a lunchtime meeting, the Rotarians presented the awards to Maria V. Thomas-Lewis, a teacher at Arthur A. Richards Junior High School, and to the local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
"The club sought to recognize individuals or groups whose work or activities exemplified outstanding professional achievement while maintaining very high ethical standards," David Beck, club president, said.
Thomas-Lewis has spent her entire 26-year teaching career at Arthur A. Richards. She founded the school's Future Business Leaders of American chapter in 1988, and under her advisement the chapter has received numerous territorial awards and national recognitions. In keeping with her belief that children must be prepared to meet the challenges of the global community, she has worked with her pupils during her lunch hour, after school and even on weekends.
A Frederiksted native, she was educated at St. Patrick's Elementary School and St. Joseph High School, then attended Berkeley-Claremont Business School and, later, the University of the Virgin Islands. She has received continuing education certificates in vocational and business education from Central Connecticut State University, Cortez Peters Championship Typewriting Training at Florida A&M University, and Pace University.
The Alpha Phi Alpha chapter was honored for its work in the St. Croix community. The fraternity's Project Alpha Male, geared toward boys ages 12-15, provides educational outreach on sexuality, fatherhood and the role of males in relationships. Mentors and other appropriate male role models motivate young men to make decisions about their goals and values, and to act in ways that support their decisions.
The national fraternity was founded in 1906 at Cornell University by seven college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of brotherhood among African descendants in the United States. While stressing academic excellence among its members, Alpha Phi Alpha also has recognized the need to help correct educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African-Americans.
O'Neil Canton, president of the local chapter, accepted the award.
Beck said Rotary Club of St. Croix was pleased to be able to shine the light on Thomas-Lewis and Alpha Phi Alpha and to expand community awareness about their contributions.

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