Rosa Scott’s first principal honored with birthday bash
MADISON — Henry Thornton “H.T.” Drake, Rosa Scott School's first principal, was celebrated on Sunday (Nov. 6) on the occasion of his 100th birthday.
The celebration was “high energy” and filled with many different people from various phases of her father’s life, said Denise D. Drake, his daughter.
“He came in to celebrate and everyone was up and waving colorful flags and cheering him on,” Denise Drake said. “He had a big ‘100’ made of balloons around him. Sen. John Horhn was also the emcee, along with me.”
Drake said the 200 guests included family from all over the nation, co-workers, friends, former students from the Madison County and Hinds County school systems, Tougaloo College alumni and colleagues, church members, fellow citizens, and others.
Tributes to Drake included personal reflections by long-time friends, his fraternity, Tougaloo College alumni, and a special personalized dramatic performance by MADDRAMA. Music was provided by Dr. Jessie Primer.
Proclamations and resolutions were received from various government sectors, including a proclamation by Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler proclaiming Nov. 6, 2022, as “H.T. Drake Day.”
H.T. Drake was born in 1922 in Carroll County, Mississippi, to Aaron Drake, Jr., and Annette Smith Drake. He is a Navy veteran who served during World War II, and has resided in the Tougaloo Community since the late 1940s. He is a 1950 graduate of Tougaloo College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and earned a Master of Science Degree in Education from Indiana University in 1960. Tougaloo College honored him as the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2006.
He has over 60 plaques and awards for his commitment, dedication, and service. Along with a long list of accomplishments that include founding the Magnolia State High School Student Council Association in 1955 and the Magnolia State High School Activities Association in 1966, Drake was instrumental in the 1971 merger of the Magnolia State High School Activities Association with the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA), he was selected as Assistant Director of the merged activities association, served briefly as interim director. He retired from the MHSAA in 1985. He was co-director of the merged Mississippi State Association of Student Councils for 25 years.
His extensive community service also included multiple terms as president of the Tougaloo Community Civic League.
Drake’s community service is further extended through more than 70 years of membership and service to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., of which he is a founding member of the Gamma Upsilon undergraduate chapter at Tougaloo College, the first African-American fraternity chartered in Mississippi. As of today, he is an active member of the fraternity’s Alpha Epsilon Lambda alumni chapter in Jackson.
A former student of Drake, John Rosenthal, said due to his demand for educational excellence, Mr. Drake made Rosa Scott the biggest little school in Mississippi.
“He carried that same desire for excellence when leading the Tougaloo College National Alumni Association to help make Tougaloo the biggest little college in America,” Rosenthal said. "There may never be another like him."
Drake turned 100 years old in November and is the oldest living member of his five generations. He has three children, Regina, Godfrey, and Denise. His late wife, Mrs. Maggie Burkhead Drake, was a teacher in the Madison Public School District and a fellow Carroll County native and Tougaloo College graduate.