In the month of January, the Ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Xi Chapter here at Eastern not only celebrate their Founder’s Day (Jan.15) and Charter Day (Jan.22), but they also host their annual Edith Penn Scholarship Ball. This year’s ball was held Thursday, January 26th in the McKenny Hall Ballroom.
The Edith Penn Scholarship, founded after Edith Penn, a charter member of the Xi chapter, was created as a way to give back the EMU community.
“If there's one thing most college students have in common, it's the need for money, Xi saw it as a need to fulfill on EMU’s campus.” says Xi Chapter President, DeNika Bryson-Kelly.
When choosing a theme for Thursday’s ball, Bryson-Kelly expressed how the ladies of Xi considered the recent racial tension occurring on campus. “A lot of our students have been remaining steadfast in the face of adversity so it just seemed very fitting for our ball this year,” she said.
Applicants were asked to write an essay that aligned with this year’s theme of persevering through adversity.
DaShonay Speight, a senior at EMU, majoring in Public Health was surprised when McCoggle announced her as the 68th winner of the Edith Penn Scholarship.
“I’m very honored to be here today. Something told me what if I win, and what if I have to read my essay to everyone,” said Speight to the audience. “Everything in me told me to apply for tonight’s scholarship, I felt like this was truly going to be my moment.” she continued.
“I shared my story because I felt this was for me, it allowed everyone to see that everyone has hard times,” she said. Speight shared a deeply personal essay, that moved the audience with an important message.
“Her story really said keep trying, if there’s a will there’s a way” said Sandra Nkwuzor, sophomore at EMU.
The Keynote Speaker of the evening, Sylvia Crawford, member Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., told the audience about multiple adversities she herself faced as she gained a position as Supervising Publicist for the City of Detroit, Planning and Developing department.
She encouraged them to look past adversities in order to reach goals that they set for themselves.“There’s no adversity that should stop you from achieving the purpose in your life. Your very own dreams will be fulfilled,” said Crawford.