Pomona, CA — It was a virtual 50-year celebration of Epsilon Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. held Sunday, December 13, 2020. Guests and members from across the United States attended including New York, Virginia, New Bern, North Carolina, Kansas, Atlanta, Georgia, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and more. This Golden event commenced with a slideshow of soft music, continuous loop of 50th coming out of black and gold glitter highlighting the Silent Auction gifts and pictures over the years. Promptly at 4:00 pm, the Chapter President, Andrena G. Dancer, Esq. gave a warm welcome and outlined the evening. Following the invocation by Christine Strayhorn, a quite humorous history dialogue was given by the two longevity members without a break in service, Carlese Waddy and Endy Farrow. Carlese kept remaining Endy, “you expect me to remember 50 years ago”. The slight humor prepared the audience for the keynote speaker, Dr. Judy White, Superintendent of Riverside County Schools.
Highlights and poem by Dr. White:
It is so important for us to always be able to look in the mirror at the end of the day and be able to say, “I did my best”. The Epsilon Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. This is significant because 50 represents golden, special, and enduring. They are still standing in spite of so many challenges. They never compromised their goals. If their organizational legs became weak, they still stood. When they faced strong political winds or unimaginable earthquakes, they still stood.
Time for all of us to learn from their example. We must still stand. The strength comes from focus and faith. We will always stand taller and stronger with each other. I have learned to love in order to stand. Love- Listening, Optimism, Valuing, Engaging. All the legendary people being honored have loved on the journey.
When we think about the challenges we face; Over time just being part of the human race; There are those we look up to and groups so true; We celebrate “A Legacy of Service” for those who made it through.
The Epsilon Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Are still standing after 50 years of miraculous victory; Serving the community in so many ways and giving scholarships galore; Helping others to survive and opening so many doors.
We commend you for your service, we salute you for everything; We follow your steps of faith as you believed in God as King; We know you looked to the community to find influencers of us all; And you have taken the time to honor them even without a Ball.
What makes this moment so precious, what makes our hearts so glad; Is the fact that you help to unite us and knew giving was not a fad; How wonderful your journey because you are still standing whole; You completed all of your goals until you said, “It is well with my soul”.
Between the gold and black glitter blast with 50th coming out, the honorees were presented. Two awards were given in three different categories -Outstanding Community Service Awards were given to Linda Wright-Lee and Cynthia Brown; Outstanding Educator Awards were given to Dr. Soraya M. Coley and Richard Martinez; and Outstanding Entrepreneur Awards were given to Tammy Martin-Ryles and Rene Webb, Reginald Webb, and The Webb Family Enterprises. Only one Publisher’s Choice Award was given. The recipients were Rene Barbee and Jeff Schenkel.
Following the excitement of the honoree’s presentation, ten of the 17 Charter Members were presented, and their present residence location yelled out. The presidents’ names and their positions in the 50-year period were also called out. Fourteen of the nineteen presidents were present to witness the celebration.
Members initiated through the Undergraduate Chapter, Sigma Rho – Cal State University Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona, and the University of LaVerne, were presented by Cecelia Huggins. Cecelia stated that Sigma Rho was chartered in 2004 by E Levonne Lewis, Formal Regional Director, with the installation of 14 members. The present members are Karah Griffiths and Micah Parker from Cal Poly Pomona.
The nine 2021 Debutantes were presented by Dr. Regina Hamilton. They are Jaylen Barrios, Taelen Cobb, Kimberly Humphrey, Chloe Jones, Daysia Kee, Lynnae Manghane, A’mya Randolph, Meisha Sharp, and Morgan Watson. Look forward to their debut late Spring – 2021 Cotillion and Scholarship Awards Event.
This AKA-Epsilon Eta Omega 50th Celebration was supported by the established nonprofit, 501(c)(3) – PEARLS of Service, Inc. Mattie T. Johnson, Executive Director, announced the two purposes – Community Charities and Education/Scholarships. She also gave the acronym for PEARLS: “Promoting Education and Reassuring Loyal Services”. PEARLS first Renewable Scholarship information was given by Endy Farrow, Director. She stated that Jada Hanson will receive $1000.00 for 4 years. She graduated from Etiwanda High School with a 4.1 GPA ranking 86 out of 858 – top 10% of her class. Lori Johnson Rucker presented the “On the Spot” Scholarships to Chole Jones, senior at San Dimas High School; Amiyat Smith, senior at Pomona High School; A’mya Randolph, senior at Upland High School; and Lynnae Manghane, junior at Academic for Excellence, Apple Valley. Lori stated that High School students are invited to write a personal statement essay or essay relating to volunteering and/or COVID-19 experience. The opportunity is provided three times during the year.
Akorede Oshunluyi gave information on the community charities. She stated that for the last two years the charities give-aways included distribution of COVID-19 face masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, personal hygiene packages for the under resourced families / individuals, food to homeless & jobless families and workshops on household finance, health, and COVID-19 Education and Prevention. PEARLS presentation ended with the presentation of three Silent Auction items by Cleopatre Thelus. Vikkie Rasshan and Mattie Johnson submitting the highest bid on the two prints and Linda Wright-Lee winning the Stater’s Bros Gift Card. The Raffle gift from Target was won by Cheryl Demus of Pomona.
After the formal event ended, many guests stayed for the Gala. They danced, chatted, and enjoyed the moment. The members of Epsilon Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Directors of PEARLS of Service, Inc. want to thank all that helped make this milestone 50th Celebration a success. A very special thanks to Platinum Level Sponsor – The Webb Family Enterprises & CEEM; the Diamond Level Sponsors -Dr. Soraya M. Coley, Dr. William Pitts, and the Hale Foundation; PEARLS Sponsors – Richard Martinez – Superintendent of PUSD, Inter Valley Health Plan, The City of Pomona, and Hilda Solis – LA County Supervisor; Gold Sponsors – Endy Farrow, Maxine Marshall and the Cheer Leaders from Philadelphia Church of Christ – Chesapeake, VA.; Silver Sponsors – Kelvin & Veronica Marshall, Mattie Johnson, Lori Johnson Rucker, Dr. Delores Mack, and Carlese Waddy. We also thank the Ivy and Bronze supporters. Thanks again. You helped make it all possible. The Regional Director for the Far Western Region is Shelly Boagni, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. International President is Dr. Glenda Glover.
Rich Fountain, VIOLETCR8.com, please know that we greatly appreciate all of your creativity in designing, editing and hooking up the videos.
To All – Thank You.