Young men who attend various high schools in the tri-state area were highlighted and recognized for their accomplishments last week as the Chester Pearls Foundation (CPF), Philanthropic Arm of Chester’s Tau Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. hosted its fourth annual Beautillion. The event was held at the Waterfall Banquet and Conference Center in Claymont, Del.
“There are so many distractions for our youth today, that it sometimes prohibits our young people to look outside of the box; it’s not always about sports,” said Karen Miah, Beautillion chair. “The youth have to be well engaged as well as well-rounded. Being involved in a Beautillion is a huge commitment, but it taught them hard work, dedication and enhanced their organizational skills. This program literally transforms them into young men and women.”
CPF is a charitable organization created by the women of Tau Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Since 2004, CPF has awarded college scholarships to Delaware County youth. In June 2009, CPF held its first White-Tie Beautillion for young men of high school ages.
“Our mission three years ago was to enrich the lives and spotlight the young men of our community through a series of workshops and a culminating event, much like a cotillion, but centered around the young men,” said Denise K. Poller, president of the Chester Pearls Foundation. “Although the foundation’s primary goal is to raise money for their scholarship fund, young men from around the area met regularly to learn about college and career options, shared talks with mentors, [and] participated in self-defense, esteem building and etiquette workshops.”
The goal of the Beautillion is to educate and encourage young, male students from various disciplines about the vital importance of earning a college degree, and to give back to their communities. The program develops a network of emerging scholars who are dedicated and sensitive to the needs and concerns of an increasingly diverse community.
The master of ceremonies was motivational speaker Michael Robinson. The Beautillion featured 16 young Beaus and Belles who entertained the crowd with various dances throughout the event.
“This is my first time actually participating in the Beautillion and it’s been a lot of fun,” said Emani Majors, a first-year student at Octoria Area High School in Atglen, Pa. “I got a chance to meet new people and build new memories with those people. There are a lot of us who want to do something productive. We have a lot to offer to society, and we want to continue to succeed in the future.”
The beaus included Daland Dixon, John Lolley, Kadene Bryant, Sylvester Gordon, Careaf Henson, Demoss Jones, Malcolm Bryheem Jones, Jaquille Lolley, Thomas D. Camper II, Taylor Ferguson, Christopher Garrett, Dimitri Bryant, Nathan Footman, Kyle Gordon, Dante Harris and Darius Thomas.
The belles included Cori Glasco, Diamond Pless, Iyhana McCaskill, Ashley Laury, Jasmine Richardson, Miriam Polk, Dasia Nicole Glenn, Shantell Blake, Ashley Chandler, Amani Thompson, Alexis Watson, Anuri Dike, Alexis Black, Veronica Butler and Shirleyanna Davis.
“I’ve been in the Beautillion for the last four years, and the journey has been amazing,” said Laury, a senior at Chichester High School said. “It’s a good way to interact with other youth who are from different areas, but who share the same interests. Even though this is my last year, I will be back next year to help out. I enjoyed this experience so much, that I don’t want to give it up completely.”
During the Beautillion season, the beaus and belles do community service and attend monthly workshops. Each workshop features a different topic.
Some of the workshops included lessons in technology, education, leadership, community involvement and finance. The presenters for the finance workshop were Thomas Parker and Bernard Harris.
“Being a part of the Beautillion is an experience in itself, but for a lot of us it’s the community service and monthly workshops that help us make that transition in young men and women,” said Dixon, a sophomore at Science and Discovery High School in Chester. “In addition to the support of our family the workshops help all of us prepare for our future. Every workshop is hosted by a positive role model who at some point went through the obstacles that we are facing now.
“A lot of the youth out here gets a bad rap because of the bad decisions other kids our age make, but we’re not all like that,” she added. “We want to make a difference in our community and make our family proud of us. I know I do, and hopefully more youth will follow in our footsteps.”