The Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority recently honored the 2014 Dr. Jeanne L. Noble Delta GEMS Institute graduates during a sacred and solemn Rites of Passage Graduation and awards ceremony.
The Delta GEMS – which stands for Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully – is the sorority’s youth initiative designed to elevate and expand the horizons of young women in ninth through 12th grades. The program operates from September to June every year.
Jaimi Boston, a former participant and graduate of the Delta GEMS institute, was the keynote speaker. Jenai Boston, a 2013 Delta GEMS graduate and freshman at N.C. A&T State University, introduced her sister. Jaimi Boston is a senior at Elizabeth City State University. She is majoring in chemistry and is a member of the Science Honor Society.
Jaimi Boston shared her experiences in Delta GEMS, describing how the program assisted her when she entered college by boosting her confidence and inspiring her to become a public speaker. She told the graduates to take advantage of the program’s benefits and also offered advice as they begin the college journey.
The 2014 Delta GEMS graduates are RayShonna Anstead, Rodnika Jones, Amber Pope and Arlexis Staton. Pope was the recipient of the Highest Academic Award and the Outstanding Participant Award.
The four graduates are 2014 high school graduates of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools and plan to attend four-year universities in North Carolina in the fall. Each graduate was presented a Bible and an Infinitely Complete Rites of Passage certificate. Parents received a red rose.
The Delta GEMS curriculum includes monthly meetings and engagement in activities, including community service projects, cultural events and educational workshops. The workshops are designed to be fun and informative and have covered topics such as college and career planning, female careers in STEM, self-esteem, etiquette, celebrating black history, college roundup, wellness, money management and bullying.
The 2013-14 Delta GEMS program consisted of 22 participants, primarily freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Most have been in the program since their first year in high school.
Other awards presented during the ceremony were Delta GEMS of the Year to Myesha Parker; Exemplary Commitment and Attendance Award to Naaliah Green; Exemplary Leadership awards to Alexis Battle and D’evian Biggs; Outstanding Sisterly Spirit to Imani West; Outstanding Participant awards to Tiara Alford and Bobbie Wiggins; and Outstanding Parental Involvement awards to Susan Parker, Penny Williams and Daryl Williams.
Past Delta GEMS chairwomen Dr. Evelyn Johnson and Katrina Porter were recognized for their leadership and were awarded a token of appreciation, as was Katrina Alston-Joyner, chapter president of the local sorority.
The Delta GEMS initiative is coordinated by Christine D. Horne and Beverly Bobbitt. Delta GEMS advisors Luretta Belfield, Christian Cleveland, Danielle Hannon, Anita Harris, Ann Lenear, Katrina Porter, Beverly Riley, Shemonica Scott, Alicia Slaughter and Shirley Sykes assisted with all activities during the year and participated in the culminating graduation and awards ceremony.
Following the ceremony, a reception was held for the Delta GEMS graduates, parents and guests in attendance.