When Vice Adm. David L. Brewer III joined the Navy in 1970, he looked at the diversity in the top brass.
"When I joined in 1970, there were no African-American admirals," he said.
As an African-American, reaching admiral was his goal, and he shared his formula for success with the Minority Students of Robinson at the 2003 Recognition Program, Tuesday, May 13. The formula, he said, was good habits plus goals minus drugs equaled success. Good habits included reading and exercise.
"If you read at least one book per week for the rest of your life, you will be successful," he said.
A goal "is a dream plus a deadline. the deadline is the key," he said.
Brewer is the commander of the Military Sealift Command for the U.S. Navy. To emphasize what his position in the Navy meant, he used the recent war in Iraq.
"Ninety-five percent of everything you see on the ground in Iraq was delivered by the Military Sealift Command," he said at the ceremony.
The students were joined by a complementary group, the Minority Parents of Robinson, for their second annual recognition program. Although the two groups are separate, they share one goal: to achieve greater involvement in academic excellence among minority students, to encourage participation of minority parents, and to promote cultural diversity. Velma French was one of the sponsors.
"Our goal is academic achievement," she said. "Each month they do something to support the idea."
Col. James Johnson recognized the example his daughter Zenita's participation had on future minority student participants.
"It sets an example for those in the younger grades," he said.
At the ceremony, the past year’s monthly activities geared toward that goal were listed on a display. Although the parents and students worked toward these goals separately, "They do work a lot together," said French.
Robinson assistant principal Peggy Kelly was another sponsor.
"They're wonderful kids," Kelly said. "One of the things that has contributed to their success was the parental involvement."
After the 44 students were recognized for their contributions, this year's officers passed the torch to the officers for next year. Zenita Johnson is the new president, followed by Danielle Blunt as vice president, Veronique Taylor as treasurer, and Martina Witcher as secretary. A scholarship was awarded to Armelle Franklin from the parents. Franklin will be attending Temple University in the fall.
Gloria Adams is the president of the Minority Parents. She looked at the achievements over the past year.
"Their goal is to promote diversity and bond with the community," she said. "I think we've accomplished those things."
Graduating senior Catalina Garcia said that the Minority Students has helped expose the stereotype about minorities being underachievers.
"Our club has proved that we really can do a lot for the community," she said.
Garcia is joining the U.S. Marine Corps reserves and was accepted at Radford University in the fall. She goes to boot camp right after Robinson's graduation.
"I leave June 23," she said.
Rodney Alexander Sr. delivered the closing remarks, reminding the students of the formula for success.
"We had an outstanding year, and we'll have a good year next year also. Remember those things, and take those things with you," he said.