Back in 1972, Judge Robert H. Campbell was threatening the leaders of the Washington Teachers Union with jail and fined the union $50,000 for contempt of court in continuing a strike against the city's school system. The strike closed the schools for almost two weeks.
On April 29, Campbell will be sitting at the head table surrounded by those same union officials, the honored guest at a fund-raising dinner. The cause - a scholarship fund created with the money the teachers union paid in fines.
"After the strike had been settled and the fines had been levied, the union attorney and I met with Judge Campbell and suggested to him a possibility of putting the strike fine to positive use to benefit the school system or students," said WTU president William Simons. They settled on investing the money to create a scholarship fund.
The fund, administered by trustees appointed by the judge, the union and the board of education, awards two scholarships of $1,500 a year to D.C. school students selected on the basis of both need and scholarship. The scholarships have been awarded since 1974.
The first year's winners (who were awarded $1,000 each before the stipend was raised) were Ryan Buckson of Eastern High School and Lori P. Watlington of Western. In 1975, the winners were Fee W. Lee of Dunbar and Michele Corine Saunders of Cardozo.
Last year's winners were Starlette Rawls of Cardozo and Marvin Young of Ballou.
The fund-raiser will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the union's victory in winning the right to represent the District's public school teachers.