Society features

Oak Ridge 85 receives an award from the American Nuclear Society

The recognition comes 66 years after the Oak Ridge 85s became the first black students to enter Southeast public schools on September 6, 1955.

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – The Oak Ridge 85 and the U.S. Secretary of Energy received the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Social Responsibility in the Nuclear Community Award on Wednesday, December 1.

It was the first time the American Nuclear Society has presented the award, which “recognizes an individual, group or organization for outstanding efforts in social responsibility promoting diversity, equity and inclusion or building of an inclusive community in the nuclear community”.

The recognition comes 66 years after the Oak Ridge 85s became the first black students to enter public schools in the Southeast when they entered Robertsville Junior High and Oak Ridge High School on September 6, 1955.

THEIR STORY: Scarboro’s Secret: The Oak Ridge 85

“It made us reflect and reflect on what it was like and appreciate what we have today for ourselves and our children and grandchildren,” said Dorothy Kirk Lewis, one of Oak Ridge 85 .

Five of the original 85 students (Alma McKinney Stevens, Ernestine Avery, Shirley James, Leroy Justice and Dorothy Kirk Lewis) and their families were able to travel to Washington, D.C. to accept the award with Katy Huff from the Department of Energy during the YEAR. Meeting and winter exhibition.

“Thank the Lord for them. Thank you for the day. And when I get back to Michigan, I can tell them what a great event it was, and I can go back with my chest bulging,” Shirley James mentioned.

Four generations of Ernestine Avery’s family accompanied her to the event.

“I’m really proud of my grandmother. She did something really awesome, and I think it’s amazing,” said Cali Foster, Avery’s 8-year-old great-granddaughter. .

In addition to the award, the company said it will provide $1,000 to the TN-85 student endowment fund.