500-plus students expected at VUU for Lucille M. Brown Community Youth Bowl

10/6/2017, 11:51 a.m.
Dr. Lucille Brown’s lifetime dedicated to children and education has been the driving force behind bringing hundreds of students each ...

By Ronald E. Carrington

Dr. Lucille Brown’s lifetime dedicated to children and education has been the driving force behind bringing hundreds of students each year to Virginia Union University for a pep talk and activities about the importance of education and attending college.

This year is no different.

The 16th Annual Lucille M. Brown Community Youth Bowl is slated for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center on the campus at 1500 N. Lombardy St.

The event, sponsored by VUU’s Office of Student Engagement and Community Services and the Athletic Department, is designed is to get students from elementary school age to high school thinking about college by exposing them to a day of academic, athletic and cultural experiences on the campus in conjunction with the Fall Football Classic.

Students can enter art and essay contests and win prizes, which will be awarded during halftime at VUU’s game against Chowan University at Hovey Field.

“In 2000, personnel from Virginia Union University felt that they wanted to do something that would impact the lives of elementary, middle and high school students,” Dr. Brown told the Free Press during an interview this week.

“The university didn’t want to wait until college to make a contribution to the Richmond Metro area,” said Dr. Brown, a VUU alumna of the Class of 1950 and a member of the university’s Board of Trustees.

The idea for a youth bowl was generated by the Athletic Department, which said it should be named in honor of Dr. Brown and her 41 years in education. Dr. Brown began her teaching career in Fairfax, before joining the faculty at Armstrong High School. She become Armstrong’s principal in 1974 before moving into Richmond Public Schools administration. She became Richmond’s schools superintendent in 1991. She retired in mid-1995.

“Naming the bowl after me was indeed an honor and a very humbling experience,” she said. “I am just delighted to be a part of that.”

Between 500 to 700 students from area school systems and as far away as Fredericksburg are expected to attend the free event, which includes lunch catered by Thompson Hospitality, special T-shirts for participants and tickets to the afternoon football game.

The program starts with morning sessions where VUU faculty, representatives from student organizations and athletes talk with students about staying in school, keeping their grades up and how a bright future is waiting for them if they do their best.

“The critical thing is to let students know that, right now, their only job is their education. And by doing their best from pre-K through 12, the future is really unlimited for them,” Dr. Brown said.

During the morning sessions, elementary students compete in an art contest designing and making posters, while middle and high school students compete in an essay contest. The topic is announced at the event, with the students completing the essays onsite. The contest measures pre-teens, and teens’ knowledge and ability to focus on the theme and construct an essay, from the introductory paragraph to the conclusion.

Dr. Joy Davis, chair of the Department of Teacher Education, and a cadre of faculty and honor students will judge the art and essay contests. Trophies and prizes that include gift cards will be awarded during the game’s halftime.

Dr. Brown said her steps are guided by a higher power “in serving the community, students and parents. The Youth Bowl is His best work.”

For additional information and registration for the Youth Bowl, go to www.vuu.edu, and click on Upcoming Events, or contact Felicia Jackson, fvjackson@vuu.edu or (804) 342-1484, or Claudia Wall, cewall@vuu.edu or (804) 257-5789.