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Pi Iota Basileus speaks with ABC news about the importance of saving public schools.

Excerpt from article by By Rochelle Alleyne at

Tucked in the heart of West Tampa, you'll find two schools named after men well-versed in fighting for progress.

"[Dr.] Ernest Everett Just was Phi Beta Kappa at Dartmouth. He was class valedictorian that wasn't the grace to walk the stage as class valedictorian," said Al Sheriff, "G.V. Stewart, which is the middle school right next door to Ernest Everett Just, was the first African American assistant superintendent in Hillsborough County, and he was the one who fought to get this new school named after Ernest Everett Just."

Sheriff is the leader of the Pi Iota chapter of Omega Psi Phi, Inc. —a historic Black fraternity.

He told ABC Action News that Dr. Just is credited as a founder of the overall fraternity and Garland Stewart is credited as a founder of the Tampa chapter.

Considering that rich history, it only stands to reason that when plans were made to close Just Elementary School in 2023—the community took up the fight for progress by working to preserve these beacons of Black history.


"We fought over a year, and we got great news," said Sheriff.

In late February after meeting with the community and a local task force, Hillsborough County Public Schools announced that it would be rebuilding Just Elementary School and Stewart Middle Magnet School.

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