5000 Role Models scholarship signing ceremony goes virtual this year

U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson, (D-Fla.) with participants in her 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project (WPLG)

MIAMI, Fla. – U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-24th District) has a lot to celebrate, including the signing into law of a proposal she’s been working on since 2019.

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed a bipartisian bill, the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act into law, which establishes the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys within the United States Commission on Civil Rights’ Office.

The victory came only days before her annual 5000 Role Models College Scholarship Awards Signing Ceremony and this is a program that is forever close to her heart and has served, in some ways, as a forerunner to (S.2163).

In previous years, the 5000 Role Models College Scholars Awards Ceremony has been live, but this year, because of COVID-19, the ceremony was presented on Sunday, Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. with a virtual presentation.

(Watch the signing ceremony below)

While serving on the school board of Miami-Dade County, Wilson began a challenge to the men of Miami-Dade County to intervene in the lives of “at-risk” youth. Thus, in March 1993, initiated by the School Board of Miami-Dade County, the 500 African American Male Role Models of Excellence was born.

In 1994, the name was changed to the 500 Role Models of Excellence Project. Given the increased enrollment of mentors and students it is now recognized as the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.

Presently, the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project services 105 schools within Miami-Dade County Public Schools (37 Elementary, 35 Middle/K-8, and 33 Senior High).

It has more than 8,000 participants, over 6,000 volunteers, and continues to grow. More than 30 components constitute the program as it teaches young boys about healthy living, responsibility, respect, and how to attain their future goals. The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Scholarship Breakfast provides thousands of Role Model boys with scholarship funds to further their education.

This year’s ceremony features a celebrated guest speaker, distribution of laptop computers and the Wilson Scholars dressed in their custom-made Sean John suits and signature 5000 Role Models red neckties, receiving scholarships to attend the colleges and universities of their choice, oftentimes in the presence of the presidents from these institutions.

Watch the 5000 Role Models Scholarship ceremony on YouTube.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.