In conjunction with The People Educating and Reshaping Lives Foundation, its philanthropic arm, the sorority awarded the scholarships during its annual scholarship reception on May 12 at the Home Depot Support Center in Vinings.
The scholarship recipients were: Danielle King of Harrison High School; Cheyenne Cheathem of Kennesaw Mountain High School, Amari El-Amin of Wheeler High School, Chelsea Hunter of Hillgrove High School, Latonya Johnson of Kell High School, Aurielle Lucier of Pebblebrook High School, Tatiya Maddox of Campbell High School, Ezimma Nnyagu of South Cobb High School, Vesta Nwankwo of Harrison High School, Taylor Smith of Campbell, Dorothy Stearns of Kennesaw Mountain, and Natalie Walker of Marietta High School.
The chapter’s $5,000 Founder’s Scholarship went to King, who said she earned a 3.72 GPA and will be majoring in early childhood education next fall. She is the daughter of Gary and Burnie King.
“The fact that they saw me as worthy of the Founder’s Scholarship means a lot to me,” said King, who said she wants to become a teacher to positively influence children’s lives.
As Home Depot’s executive vice president over all U.S. stores, Marvin Ellison offered words of advice to the graduating seniors, on the cusp of starting a new chapter in their lives.
“Make sure you are spending time with the right people, have a really good plan and a religious foundation,” he said to the group of fresh-faced women, seated with their families.
“When I look back at my life, those are three things that I can say to you quickly, that have played an instrumental role in my success. If I could do it, trust me, you really can do it,” he said.
Gloria Nichols, PEARL Foundation president, said the selection process for all of the scholarships involved personal interviews and looked closely at community service, a requirement. The scholarship committee was chaired by Daphne Moore and co-chaired by Merle Point-Johnson.
“Parents, you should be proud,” Nichols said at the reception. “We had a really excellent group of young ladies this year.”
The students plans for next year involved the study of such varied programs as biology, chemistry, journalism, chemical engineering, pharmacy, music, pre-law, and neuroscience and behavioral biology, at colleges and universities across the Eastern Seaboard, including Duke, Berry College, Syracuse, Mercer, Emory, Florida A&M, Auburn and University of Alabama.
Jennifer Turner, sorority chapter president, said the purpose of the reception was to celebrate the accomplishments of “12 truly outstanding women.”
“One of the purposes of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards,” she said.
So far, it looks as if the sorority has begun to do just that in the lives of this year’s scholarship recipients, who each spoke briefly in accepting their awards.
“The day I came for my interview, I was so nervous and didn’t think that you would see anything in me,” recalled Nwankwo, whose goal is to become an anesthesiologist after graduating from Spelman College.
“But I would like to thank the sorority so much for just giving me more power and making me believe more in myself — that I could do things and accomplish anything that I set my mind to.”