Crooms AoIT Alumni Association awards scholarships to two graduating seniors

The Crooms AoIT Alumni Association is proud to announce the winners of the Crooms AoIT Alumni Community Scholarship for the Class of 2021.

The Crooms AoIT Alumni Association Community Scholarship valued at $1,000 is being awarded to Jaleel R. Following in last year's tradition, the evaluation committee has also decided to award a $350 runner-up scholarship to Thomas K. These decisions follow receipt of the largest number of scholarship applications - 38 in total - in the Community Scholarship’s 15 year history. Each applicant demonstrated how volunteerism and community service is important to them and how Crooms AoIT has positioned the graduating seniors to support their communities - even through the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, we are proud to also be able to share a video highlighting both scholarship recipients as part of this year's virtual Crooms AoIT Awards Night.

The Crooms AoIT Alumni Association would like to thank this year’s applicants for their hard work and efforts, and we wish all of you – and, all of the graduates from the Class of 2020 - the best of luck in your future endeavors!

The Alumni Association Remembers Edward Blacksheare

Left - Mr. Blacksheare at SCPS School Board in 2019 after the naming of the SHS 9th Grade Campus as the Edward L. Blacksheare Campus. Right - young Mr. Blacksheare

The Crooms AoIT Alumni Association joins our broader Crooms AoIT community in remembering Mr. Edward Blacksheare who passed away this week at the age of 94.

Mr. Blacksheare was a legend in the Sanford community and served as the principal of Crooms High School from 1964 to 1984 - including during the years of desegregation. He was born in Sanford, Florida and graduated from Crooms Academy himself in 1943 and then graduated from Morehouse College in 1947. He began his career at Oviedo High School and received his master degree from Atlanta University in 1959. He became the assistant principal of Crooms in 1960 prior to becoming a principal in 1964. Mr. Blacksheare would serve as a principal in SCPS for 21 years and would later work at the District Office prior to retiring after 43 years in education.

Mr. Blacksheare also helped start an adjunct campus for Bethune-Cookman University in Sanford and participated in the Seminole County chapter of the NAACP. He is also well known in Sanford for his work at Seminole High School (SHS) where he help found the Young Men of Excellence program. The Young Men of Excellence helps foster success among African American students through mentorship. Mr. Blacksheare began mentoring SHS students in the 1970s and 1980s prior to the Young Men of Excellence program being formally established.

Through his life Mr. Blacksheare was a mentor to dozens, if not hundreds, of young men and women. In fact, the Honorable US House Representative Alcee L. Hastings recognized Mr. Blacksheare's contributions in the U.S. Congressional Record in 2010.

Mr. Backsheare's was a true community leader and he has a long list of accomplishments, including:

  • Being an alumni of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
  • Serving as Chairman of the Seminole County Port Authority
  • Serving as Chairman of the Sanford Housing Authority
  • Serving as a member of the City of Sanford Planning and Zoning Board
  • Being a Trustee for Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church
  • Founding numerous scholarship and grant programs for high school and college students
  • Routinely sponsoring trips and travels for the Crooms AoIT Alumni Association's Business Professionals of America chapter

In 2010 the Crooms Academy Alumni Association recognized Mr. Blacksheare with the "Legacy of Hope and Love Banquet". He was also named the "Man of the Decade" by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity's Orlando Chapter in 2010. In 2018, SCPS recognized him by naming the Ninth Grade Center at Seminole High School in his honor, the Edward L. Blacksheare Campus. In January of this year, the Goldsboro Front Porch Council honored Mr. Blacksheare with their Legacy Award.

We are all indebted to the legacy of Mr. Blacksheare and we offer our greatest condolences to his friends, family, and the Crooms and Sanford communities.

"Grab a Piece of History" and support Crooms Athletics

2020 has certainly been a year for the record books. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives, but no place has this been as acutely felt as in education. From distance learning to virtual graduations and socially distanced classes, today's students are encountering a schooling environment like never before.

One area lesser spoken about is the impact on extracurricular funding. Crooms AoIT was unable to host the 9th Annual Sanford Riverwalk 5K due to the current pandemic. The Riverwalk is a vital source of funding for athletics at Crooms. The school now needs our help in supporting the Panthers atheletics program so that students can still partake in sports. Please consider supporting through two programs:

  • Athletic Banner Program: Alumni and community businesses can support by ordering a banner to hang in the new gym. The Alumni will be doing so; if you would like to support this, please consider giving at
  • Grab a Piece of History: A new Roy A. Allen Gymnasium is coming to Crooms AoIT, but you can still get a keepsake from the old gym. For as little as $15 you can take home a brick or piece of gym flooring. If you're unable to give by cash or check to the school, simply donate through our Crooms AoIT Alumni PayPal.Me profile with "Grab a Piece of History" as the note and we'll coordinate the logistics between you and the school.

More information and order forms for both programs is attached, along with contact information for any questions you may have.

FY20 Year End Financials

Dear Crooms AoIT Alumni Association members and supporters,

We are pleased to present our FY20 consolidated income and balance sheet to provide full transparency into how your financial support is used. The Association's fiscal year runs from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. The Association uses cash accounting but a line has been entered to recognize scholarship commitments made in FY20 that were not paid out during the fiscal year. A summary of our activities can be found below:

  • The Association started the year with a fund balance of $3,657.44
  • Revenues of $2,563.98 were collected through memberships, donations, and other means - representing a 33% from FY19.
  • Expenses of $1,599.42 were recognized - representing a decline of 52% largely due to timing related to scholarship pay-outs. $1,550.00 of these expenses for were scholarships and grants. Overhead (largely from PayPal transaction fees and annual business registration fees) accounted for approximately 3.1% of all expenses for the year.
  • An additional $2,250.00 remains to be disbursed for scholarships awarded during FY20.
  • Fund balance ended at $2,372.00, representing an 18.4% decline from the end of the previous year (after accounting for scholarship commitments).

If you would like more details, we invite you review the attached spreadsheet which includes transaction level detail for the year. Donor information has been removed to protect the privacy of our donors. Do not hesitate to contact us if you should have any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your continued support.


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