BMP Scholarship Honorees
Harold "Cocoa" Clawson
Outstanding Educator Scholarship
Black Men With A Purpose, Inc. seeks to recognize outstanding educational and community leadership in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Mr. Harold Clawson exemplified such dedication, leadership and service for over 30 years as a teacher, coach, and administrator.
Mr. Harold Clawson was a native of Charlotte, NC, graduating from West Charlotte High School. A 1951 graduate of Winston Salem State University [formerly known as Winston Salem Teacher College], Mr. Clawson dedicated his adult life to the development and advancement of the youth in his community. He served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal. His journey as an educator started at York Road High School (teacher-coach/assistant principal) in the 60’s where his outstanding track teams captured the school’s first state championship.
During the early 70’s, which was a transitional period in Charlotte, Mr. Clawson was instrumental in helping the School System put plans in place to achieve intergration. He served as Assistant Principal at Independence High School from 1970-73. His banner work as an educator was accomplished at Steele Creek Elementary School where he served as Principal for over 30 years. He authored a book on Test Taking skills for children and served as a Consultant for the North Carolina Desegregation Center in the area of Human Relations and also the Massachusetts’ Consultant Firm in the area of Curriculum Development
“Cocoa” was an ambassador and unpaid athletic recruiter for his beloved Alma Mater for over 50 years. He was awarded the WSSU Outstanding Service Award in 1971 for his recruitment of 32 student athletes from the Charlotte area in 1970-71. He was also inducted into the WSSU Hall of Fame as an All-American Track athlete. His legacy will live on for helping countless numbers of young men and women to be accepted and attend colleges throughout the country. Black Men With a Purpose, Inc. also continues to honor this legacy by awarding the Harold “Cocoa" Clawson Scholarship annually to a deserving high school graduate continuing their post-secondary education.
Robert Albert Montgomery
Outstanding Educator Scholarship
Black Men With A Purpose, Inc. seeks to recognizes outstanding educational and community leadership in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Mr. Robert Albert Montgomery exemplified such dedication, leadership and service for over 30 years as a teacher and coach.
Montgomery was a native of Gaston County NC, graduating from Highland High School. While a student at Highland, he excelled in several sports, lettering in baseball, basketball and football. He was awarded a football scholarship to North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University). While at NCC, he was an outstanding quarterback, punter and defensive back, excelling at all positions, nicknamed 'The Triple Threat'. Under his helm, he quarterbacked three CIAA Championship Football teams, earning All-CIAA his senior year. He led the conference in punting in 1954 and 1956. Montgomery was inducted into the NCCU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.
After graduating from NCCU in 1957, he spent two years in the United States Army. In 1960-61, Montgomery served as the Assistant Football Coach at Allen University in Columbia, SC. He later moved to Charlotte, NC where he served as teacher and the Head Football Coach at Second Ward High School from 1961 until 1969 when the school closed. His 1964 squad won the North Carolina State Football Championship. In 1965, he coached the victorious West squad in the NC East-West Shrine Game in Durham, NC. His leadership as a coach during this segregated era inspired a generation of athletes to achieve and soar beyond heights.
Upon the closing of Second Ward, Montgomery taught Driver Education at West Mecklenburg, Garinger, West Charlotte and South Mecklenburg High Schools. In 1975, he received a Master of Science Degree in Safety & Driving Education from North Carolina A&T State University.
Football was always Montgomery's first passion, and through the years he was instrumental in assisting a number of quality athletes to enter various colleges and universities. He retired from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System with 31 years of dedicated service.
Leroy "Pop" Miller
Outstanding Educator Scholarship
Black Men With A Purpose, Inc. seeks to recognizes outstanding educational and community leadership in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Mr. Leroy “Pop” Miller exemplified such dedication, leadership and service for over 30 years as a teacher, coach, and administrator.
After graduating from NC A&T State University in 1942, “Pop” was drafted into the US Army and served in World War II. Returning from war in 1945, he began his educational career as an Industrial Arts Teacher at West Charlotte High School. He was promoted to Assistant Principal in 1963 and named Principal of Carmel Middle School in 1971. A year and a half later “Pop” Miller was appointed Principal of East Mecklenburg High; the first appointment of an African American to a formerly segregated white High School in NC during the desegregation error. He retired from East Mecklenburg in1982 where his successful leadership was critical in breaking down stereotypes and helped to make Charlotte a national model for school desegregation. He placed high value on education and expected excellence from himself, his family and his students. His motto: “Expectations are seeds of Success; If you expect your students to behave well, obey the rules, succeed in academics, social relations and sports, they are likely to deliver”
The state of NC and his community continues to recognize his exemplary leadership. The NC Teach For America Foundation awards an annual “LPM Teaching Fellowship” in his honor for his visionary work in education. The Midtown Kiwanis Club of Charlotte awards an annual college scholarship to a graduating senior in his name. Black Men With a Purpose, Inc. also continues to honor this legacy by awarding the Leroy “Pop” Miller Scholarship annually to a deserving high school graduate continuing their post-secondary education.
2022 Donald Clay Helton
Donald Clay Helton was born in Charlotte, NC graduating with honors from Independence Senior High School. He was the epitome of a “student athlete” excelling in the classroom and on the basketball court. At Independence High, he was inducted into the National Honor Society and was President of his Senior Class. Donald received a full scholarship to attend Winston Salem State University (WSSU) to play basketball for the legendary Clarence “Big House” Gaines.
Donald’s collegiate career was put on hold as he was drafted by the United States Army, serving from 1972-1974 as a Military Police. He returned to WSSU after his stint in the Army and to the game of basketball he loved so much. Helton was the starting guard for WSSU ‘s Rams’ Basketball team in 1977 when they won the CIAA basketball championship. This was the last championship for Coach Gaines. He graduated from WSSU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. After graduation, Donald was employed in the Insurance Industry and held various management and administration positions. He also served as Administrator of his family owned business.
Donald was passionate about giving and recognized the need for prioritizing education in one’s life. He was inspired to become a member of Black Men with a Purpose, Inc. as he embraced the comradery of like-minded men focused on the vision of giving and serving. To honor his commitment, and allow his legacy to continue, his family enthusiastically, with support from the community, decided to help fund the college scholarship fund efforts of Black Men with a Purpose. Black Men With a Purpose, Inc. honors his legacy by awarding the 2022 Donald Clay Helton Memorial Scholarship to a deserving high school graduate continuing their post-secondary education.