Delta Sigma Theta Sorority honors four at Jazz Brunch

April 21, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • From left, Melissa Hernandez, Renzo Diaz, Nichole Henderson and Matthew McClung received scholarships Saturday from the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority's Eastern Panhandle Alumnae Chapter.
By Richard F. Belisle

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A schools superintendent, a retired teacher, an NAACP officer and a gold medal-winning Olympian were honored Saturday by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Eastern Panhandle Alumnae Chapter.

Four high school seniors from both counties also were awarded scholarships at the chapter’s fifth annual Jazz Brunch and Silent Auction. It was attended by more than 230 people, said Dr. Angela Oglesby, president of the 22-member Eastern Panhandle Alumnae Chapter of the 99-year-old international organization of professional and college-education black women.

“It was founded at Howard University in 1913 to be part of the women’s suffrage movement,” said Oglesby, a family practitioner at Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) Family Medicine. “There are more than 200,000 members in 1,000 local chapters in the United States and abroad.”

The event is one of the chapter’s major annual fundraisers.

The 2012 Educator Award went to Manny P. Arvon, superintendent of Berkeley County Schools.

Arvon’s standards for excellence in education are evident in his many accomplishments, including the fact that 23 of the county’s 29 schools have been honored with West Virginia Achieves recognitions, 12 schools were recognized as West Virginia Schools of Excellence and six claim the title of West Virginia Exemplary School, chapter officials said.

Velma Twyman was named EPAC’s 2012 Service Award recipient.

She was the first certified special education teacher in Jefferson County. She was voted Jefferson County Teacher of the Year in 1990 and served for 10 years on a special committee to recruit and retain teachers. She also served on the county’s Cultural Diversity Committee.

Vicky Bullett of Martinsburg was named EPAC’s second Service Award recipient for 2012.

Bullett, a member of the 1988 Olympic gold medal U.S. women’s basketball team, began her sports career at Martinsburg High School and went on to play for the University of Maryland. Bullett is a Women’s National Basketball Association Hall of Famer and a former WNBA player.

She teaches at Martinsburg High School and serves as head women’s basketball coach at Hagerstown Community College.

Jennifer Gayle is the chapter’s 2012 Arts and Letters Award recipient.

Gayle is the founder of Agape School of Performing Arts, a school that offers faith-based performing arts training and needs-based performing arts scholarships.

She has given the experience of dance to those who never thought it was a possibility for them and has affected the lives of many of her students, chapter officials said.

Two female high school seniors, Melissa Hernandez, 18, of Washington High School, and Nichole Henderson, 17, of Musselman High School, each received $1,000 scholarships from EPAC.

Hernandez plans to study pediatric medicine, while Henderson aspires to be a broadcast journalist in news or sports and will study at Wilberforce University in Ohio.

Two male seniors, Matthew McClung, 18, of Hedgesville High School, and Renzo Diaz, 17, of Washington High School, received $500 scholarships.

McClung will attend Brigham Young University and will study sound recording technology to prepare for a career in the music industry. Diaz has served as president of his school’s business and marketing club, an experience that is pointing him toward a career in that field. He will attend West Virginia University in the fall.

The alumnae chapter members also awarded the banquet staff of the Holiday Inn with the Friend of EPAC Award for the year.

Music for the event was provided by the Howard Burns Quartet. The quartet has played with such notable performers as Wilson Pickett, The Temptations, The Four Tops and Earth, Wind and Fire.

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