New group aims to uplift students

A young group of leaders have taken it upon themselves to take FAMU back to the top. The event was titled “No. 1: After Gainous, How Soon Can We Get Back?”.

Young Rattler Nation had its first official forum Monday night for Rattlers to learn more about the organization.

The evening started out with the playing of the black national anthem by a live band and selections from FAMU’s gospel choir. After a standing ovation was given for both, a panel discussion began.

Founder of the Young Rattler Nation, King Duncan, discussed issues with seven members that consisted of students, campus leaders and faculty.

A few of the topics covered during the discussion were the frustrations of dealing with FAMU, instilling pride in the students at FAMU and the importance of the black archives building.

During the discussion, panelists focused on problems of the University and how to solve them.

Panelists advised the students to seek and get close with an adviser about their problems, be persistent and understand that other universities also have problems.

The panelists detailed a brief history about some of the president’s who made a major impact, and tied it into how they affect the University today.

After the panel discussion, there was a question and answer period in which panelists gave students some insight on how to restore the University to top condition.

Henry Lewis IV said it is up to the students to make FAMU better and Young Rattler Nation is a good start and mentioned the people behind the scenes that support FAMU.

Lewis, who is a 1972 alumnus, has served as the former interim president, former dean of the college of Pharmacy and former County Commissioner.

Duncan said FAMU’s mission in the 21st century is the same as it was in the past – to educate those who otherwise would not be educated.

Following the question and answer period, Duncan delivered a speech that highlighted how the University must change its mentality and what it must do to advance.

At the end of the night, Young Rattler Nation awarded three $1,000 scholarships to show its dedication and passion to support FAMU.

Serena Jones received the Bernice King Scholarship for her essay on how to preserve the legacy of FAMU and the nursing school.

The scholarship was named after and given by Duncan’s mother, an alumna who attended the nursing school.

A $1,000 scholarship was given to the pharmacy department for diabetes research and was accepted by Lewis.

Rodrique Rodney received the Joshua Hillman Scholarship for his essay on what the college of pharmacy can do to help with the problem of Diabetes.

The scholarship was named after a FAMU student who died over the winter break.

“I really appreciate this scholarship. The name was a brother of mine,” said the 22-year-old 4th year pharmacy student from St. Petersburg.

“I am really going to work to help Diabetes and do whatever I can do to give a back after I graduate.”

There were three founders to this group who worked to put the event together who explained th inspiration behind Young Rattler Nation.

“We all started it, we were moved by something greater than ourselves,” King said.

Derek Holmes, another founder of Young Rattler Nation, agreed.

“We saw a need for it. There was a gap between old alumni and students and young alumni.”

Contact Royce Wynn at