Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association Endows Scholarship at ECC
Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association Scholarship Endowment
Donors of $100 and Above
Gwendolyn W. Barnes
Vivian M. Batts
Minnie R. Bell
Maurieta E. Cozart
Mary E. Davis
Jacqueline O. Dickens
Freida P. Diggs
DeLois G. Hamilton
Frances P. Hart
Joyce V. Howard
Constance M. Hymes
Doris L. Jones
Doris L. Jones
William M. Parker
Angela P. Sherrod
Jimmie L. Slade
Ann Batts Sye
Alma S. Williams
Current as of October 14, 2020
The Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association has endowed a scholarship at Edgecombe Community College that will support local students.
The alumni association contributed $6,100 to ECC to endow the scholarship, which is available to part-time or full-time students who are residents of Edgecombe County. Eligible students must be a graduate of an Edgecombe County high school or have been a resident of North Carolina for three years. Recipients also must maintain a 2.0 GPA.
Brenda Asbury, a member of the Phillips High School Class of 1969 and historian of the Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association, says the organization “has been working extremely hard to establish the scholarship and will continue to work hard to make it grow as large as we can in the years to come.”
Asbury presented the idea of endowing a scholarship at ECC to the alumni association officers several years ago to honor their former high school, Phillips High School, which was one of four high schools for African American students in Edgecombe County.
Prior to the construction of Phillips, many African American high school students in Edgecombe, Halifax, and Nash counties attended Brick School in the Bricks community in Edgecombe County. The Brick School’s building that housed the high school students was destroyed by fire, and students were routed to various churches until a new building was constructed, according to the Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association website.
Phillips High School opened in 1949 and served African American students in grades 7-12. In the early 1970s, Edgecombe County schools were desegregated, and Phillips students in grades 9-12 were transferred to North Edgecombe High School. Phillips High School is now Phillips Middle School.
The first Phillips High School graduating class was in 1950, and the last class finished in 1972.
Katherine Bellamy, endowment chairman and parliamentarian of the Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association, was a member of the Class of 1972. She observes, “After college, I came back to the Edgecombe area to live, and all of the pictures and trophies from the days of Phillips High School had been taken down at the school because it was now a middle school. That was when I began to worry that our history and heritage would be lost to future generations. With our scholarship endowment now in place, students will have an opportunity to learn about Phillips High School and the positive impact it had on this community.”
Bellamy’s parents were inspiring role models for her, but they were not high school graduates. She recalls the encouragement she received from her principal at Phillips, James Batts. “I can still hear him say, ‘Bellamy, you’re walking like you’re going somewhere.’ He had an enormous influence on all of us, and we hope this new endowment at ECC will provide the support students need to help them ‘walk like they’re going somewhere.’”
The Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association has had as many as 175 dues-paying members, and the group sponsors a popular reunion that is attended annually by at least 350 individuals.
“Every year, for 43 years, we’ve been awarding scholarships to Edgecombe high school students. Over the years, we’ve donated roughly $150,000 to benefit local students,” Asbury says.
“Since the last class graduated in 1972, we’re getting older,” she continues. “We want to keep the legacy of Phillips High School alive in the community. Establishing a permanent endowment at ECC is a way to keep our history and memory of the school alive. Hopefully our descendants will continue to support and grow the endowment after we’re gone.”
The Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association also hopes that its funding of an endowed scholarship at ECC will encourage other local alumni groups to do likewise. “We hope our scholarship will be the start of something good for the community college as well as the community,” Asbury says.
“Phillips High School and Brick School share a rich history and legacy, and Phillips alumni have a deep sense of pride in their school and loyalty to their alma mater,” says ECC President Dr. Greg McLeod. “We are honored that they chose to establish a scholarship at Edgecombe Community College, which will keep their legacy alive for future generations.”