Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. holds inaugural Night of Excellence

Published 9:45 am Saturday, May 20, 2023

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On Thursday, the Theta Xi Zeta chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., held its inaugural Night of Excellence at the Del’avant.

Nicole Joseph, scholarship chair of the chapter, said inspiration for the ceremony came from wanting to honor graduating seniors with scholarships and awards for completing high school.

“We wanted to honor our scholarship recipients and give out Dare to Soar awards. With the Dare to Soar awards, we took four inner city youth and wanted them to know that we recognize them for their efforts of graduating high school,” Joseph said.

“Even if we couldn’t give them a scholarship, we want to give them a plaque to recognize them for their efforts and dedication to finishing school. Maybe they’re not going to four-year university, but they are graduating — they bet on themselves and won despite the odds stacked against them.”

Honorees included Treon Sams, Terrianna Blackmon, Jonquil Gates, Shakira Hannibal, Tre’veon Thrash, Makell Ferrell, and Iyanna Mayfield.

Thrash, Ferrell and Mayfield were recipients of a scholarship worth $500. Gates, Blackmon, Sams, and Hannibal were recipients of the Dare to Soar award.

“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do something for our youth. It’s impactful to be able to let them know that we care. Maybe they weren’t honor graduates, at top of their class or participated in a lot of sports — they graduated and we want to honor them for that achievement,” Joseph said.

Thrash, a Callaway High student, said it felt good to be recognized for his hard work in high school.

“I feel like I worked hard to get here, and now it’s finally paying off,” Thrash said.

Thrash’s mother, Tresheria Gates, said he is the first male in his family to attend college and is proud of the work he has put in being active in the community and at school.

After graduating, Thrash said he plans to attend Columbus State University and major in mathematics.

Blackmon, a LaGrange High student, said she was excited to be honored for her dedication and determination to graduate high school.

After graduation, Blackmon said she wants to attend Albany State University, where she will major in nursing.

“I want to go into labor and delivery. I’ve always had a love for babies, and I want to help women bring their babies safely into the world,” Blackmon said.

Mayfield, a CHS student, said it felt great to know that her stressful nights and dedication paid off in the end.

After graduation, Mayfield said she plans to attend Fort Valley State University to work toward a career in medical field.

“My mom has always been my motivation to push myself harder. My dad is longer with us and can’t see me walk, but I’m going to make him proud,” Mayfield said.

Hannibal, a LHS student, said it was an honor to be recognized by the sorority.

“I would never have expected me to be a recipient of an award like this. To be here with my family and days from graduating feels amazing,” Hannibal said.

After graduation, Hannibal plans to attend Georgia State Univeristy.


“I want to pursue either real estate or nursing,” Hannibal said. “Real estate because I think being able to fix houses and sell houses to people in need would be cool. Nursing because I think it would be amazing to be a labor and delivery nurse and help deliver babies.”

Gates, a CHS student, said he felt it was nice that people in the community still care about people, even if they aren’t the smartest or the most athletic.

After graduation, Gates said he plans to attend college but isn’t sure which one yet.

In the future, Joseph said she hopes to get the community more involved in the ceremony.

“Even though this is our first one, we hope to get the community to come in and help support these young children because that’s what they need. They need to know that somebody cares,” Joseph said.