Denver Kappa Scholarship Lunch 13

45th Annual Denver Kappa Alpha Psi Scholarship Luncheon at the Denver Marriott City Center May 27, 2017. Photos by Khaleel Herbert

The Denver Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity praised 23 college-bound young men at the 45th Annual Scholarship Luncheon at the Denver Marriott City Center May 27, 2017.

The Denver Chapter of the fraternity was established in 1954 and always focused on helping those less fortunate in the community. The fraternity sponsors the Guide Right and Kappa League chapters, programs that provide mentorship for middle and high school boys on achieving excellence in academics, career development and interpersonal skills. The fraternity also fills and distributes food baskets to needy families in Denver every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The fraternity has provided over 800 young African-American men with scholarships through the Denver Kappa Alpha Psi Scholarship Foundation. For over five years, the fraternity has also provided laptop computers to these men for college.

Matthew Perry was one of the scholarship honorees and was grateful to receive it.

“It’s a great feeling. A feeling of accomplishment,” Perry says. “It reminds me of the magnitude I’ve achieved by completing high school and going on to further my education.”

Chidera Agwu walked away with a scholarship from the Kappa’s and the Kappa Achievement Scholar Award for being well-rounded.

“It felt amazing. I felt that I was continuing the Agwu legacy that my family has laid out with Kappa,” Agwu says. “I feel that I am truly blessed to be recognized by this organization and I am truly thankful.”

The fraternity runs through Agwu’s family because his older brothers also joined the fraternity. “My mom wanted me to follow the same path they did.”

While active in the Kappa Fraternity, Agwu managed to stay on the Honor Roll list at Regis Jesuit High School. He participated as Secretary General for the Model United Nations Club, a Secretary Treasurer for the National Honors Society, a runner for the Varsity Track Team, and a volunteer at the Aurora Children’s Hospital.

“I force myself to be dedicated to whatever I have to do. So I had to really focus on being in control of what I could do in a certain amount of time,” Agwu says. “It forced me to be efficient and I’m glad I put myself through all these activities. Plus my brothers and parents really motivated me to be at my best.”

Perry has been a member of the Kappa League for two years. “I saw the community and leadership skills that came from being in the program. So I decided to join my Kappa League Brother, Josiah Peters.”

While attending East High School, Perry joined the theater and dance companies, three choirs, the AV tech club and East’s Sports Broadcasting Club.

“Although I was busy this past school year, I never felt overwhelmed as I did when I played football,” Perry says. “It was nice to have a multitude of extracurricular opportunities in my final year while still having the time to focus on my studies.”

Perry is also a rapper who, in the last three years, has released three EPs, a mixtape and an album.Denver Kappa Scholarship Lunch 16

“I grew up around the hip hop culture and always admired the art form that came from it. I began to just write lyrics for fun since a lot of people around me were doing music and I ended up actually making a hobby out of rapping,” Perry says. “Releasing so many projects in just the past two to three years was an experience to say the least. It was a bit taxing at times, but it pushed me as an artist and made me realize why I love my craft.”

Perry also explains the meaning behind his rap name, Matt the Ripper.

“I was actually watching an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ around 2 a.m. one night after finally finishing one of my beats sophomore year,” Perry says. “The episode happened to be about Jack the Ripper and I decided to take my own twist on the name while giving it new purpose.

“Instead of having a murderous tone, I wanted it to be one of great change. I wanted people to know that I’m coming to ‘kill’ the recent hysteria and attitude of the music scene,” Perry continues. “Instead of making music about the money and fame, I’d rather be about the connection, passion and message.”

You can listen and download Perry’s music for free on SoundCloud and Audiomack under “Matt the Ripper.”

Agwu plans to study neuroscience at St. Louis University. He has always been interested in the work of Psychologist Angela Duckworth and her work on Grit, the passion and perseverance of people reaching their long-term goals.

“I’ve been really interested in what motivates people and how the brain works,” Agwu says. “I’m glad that I get to go to St. Louis University. I like how their program focuses on the psychological and biological aspects of the brain.”

Perry will attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee studying Music Business with an emphasis on Audio Engineering.

“When I looked up schools to apply to, Belmont came in high on my list just because of the programs it offered and the opportunities,” Perry says. “When we finally visited the campus, I knew it was a place that I could thrive and continue my road to a bright future in the music industry.”

“I was originally going to major in Audio Engineering Technology,” Perry adds. “But after visiting and speaking with a chair of the college, I decided to take my studies to music business where I could learn the ins and outs of the industry as well as expand on my audio engineering talents.”

For Perry, his biggest motivation comes from his mom.

“She’s battled these past 18 years to make sure that I had the resources necessary to thrive and grow as a person, even when that meant moving from our hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana,” Perry says. “She fights for me when needed and against me when I’m not in the right. I couldn’t ask for a better mother and role model.”

Agwu’s motivation comes from his drive to thrive.

“My biggest motivation is that I want to succeed in whatever I do to the best of my ability. I know I have ambition and drive and I want to use it in order to make me the best at what I can do,” Agwu says. “Most of the inspiration and those values come from my brothers who have given me so much.”

Perry describes his relationship with his Kappa brothers as strong and respectful.

“We have a pretty good relationship, especially the seniors,” Perry says. “Although we don’t talk much outside of the Kappa League, every meeting or whenever we saw each other in public, it was always an exchange of sheer respect and brotherhood.”

Agwu is thankful for his Kappa brothers and always looked forward to meetings.

“Every time we came together on Sundays, I was always excited. The seniors would get together and we would have so much fun,” Agwu says. “I was so glad to be welcomed at my sophomore year because I didn’t really know anybody and I’m thankful for that.”

Daniel Brown, president of the Kappa Scholarship Foundation, and Polemarch Michael Dennis gave remarks, and introduced speakers during the luncheon. Denver Kappa Alumni Gregory J. Crichlow and Reuben A. Shelton III also gave words of encouragement. Councilman Albus Brooks was awarded the 2017 Citizen of the Year Award.

A video of all 23 honorees was shown on the projection screens. Each honoree described their passions, where they were attending college and the major they chose. These men are going their separate ways, but rest assured, their sense of brotherhood will never fade.

Congratulations to Hammed Sule, Matthew Yohanes, Matthew Perry, Josiah Peters, Emmanuel Sogunle, Kwaku Mensa, Emile Nkwagoh, Onyi Ozoma, Michael Lisanu, D’Aris James, Medhane Kiflom, Nathan Henderson, Sirak Hailemichael, Morgan Fuller, Joshua Coleman, Ernest Daniels, Marcus Dozier, Geordan Baker, Frederick Coleman II, Richard Boateng, Chidera Agwu, Armando Alvarez, & Ermias AraiaDenver Kappa Scholarship Lunch 19

For more information about the Denver Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, visit their website: http://www.denveralumnikappas.com/index.php  or like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/denveralumnichapterKAPSI#

This article first appeared in the July 2017 issue of the Denver Urban Spectrum