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AKA AKAdemy Showcase/Awards Program

Celebrating an EMPIRE State of Mind

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – May 25, 2015. The Youth Development Foundation of the Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. held its annual AKA AKAdemy Showcase/Awards Program at the St. Petersburg Coliseum on Sunday, May 24, 2015.

The evening’s preshow featured the AKAdemy/Dream Choir and the Kali Kali Dancers.

Dr. Kevin B. Parrott served as Master of Ceremony and Rachel Nunn served as the Mistress of Ceremony. Cassandra Williams, president of the Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Manitia Moultrie, AKAdemy Program Director, delivered the Welcome and introduced the night’s theme, “Celebrating an Empire State of Mind.”

The first half of the evening introduced the Royal Class of 2015 with a saxophone selection by Andrew Baker. The AKAdemy then celebrated an Empire State of Mind….through Fashion and the “Friendly Challenge….through Step.” AKAdemy Awards were given for the Most Improved Pathfinder, the Leadership Award, the Spirit Award, and the Blossoms Award. The first half of the evening ended with “A Royal Celebration….through Dance” with the AKAdemy Baddiez Dance Troup.

The second half of the Showcase presented the AKAdemy Class of 2015 Award Presentation. Nicole Johnson and presented the AKAdemic Perfection Award for the students on the Dean’s list all year, the AKAdemic Excellence Recognition for those students who made the Dean’s list at least once during the school year, AKAdemic Achievement Recognition for those students who maintained good grades and made the honor roll at least once during the school year. The AKAdemy Awards included the Angel Award, the Character Award, the Ernest Fuller Citizenship Award, and the Scott Williams Pathfinder of the Year Award.

The YDF AKAdemic Scholarships were presented by Dharvette Barwick, Scholarship Committee Chair and Lesley Cooper, Scholarship Committee Co-Chair. The awards were as follows:

2015 Scholarship Award Recipients

$1,400             Jelani Pitts      

$1,200           Jae’Lyn Dorsey           

$1,000             Zackary Murray                     

$1,000             Kayla Crawford

$900                Brittany Smith

$800                Victoria Williams

$700                Julie West

$400                Sherie Moody

$400                Matthew Pinckney

$400                Andrew Baker

President’s Council/Merit Scholarship

$500                Kevon Neal-Parker

$500                James Chaney

AKAdemy Book Scholarships (Each will receive $250 Book Scholarship)

John’Ta Edwards

Caitlin Skinner

Auhria Newton-Reynolds

Mar’Kisha Sherrod

Terrell Lumpkin

A’Niysa Livingston

Precious Pace

Dr. David T. Welch Scholarship

$500                Shelby Fintak

$500                Kevon Neal-Parker

Madame Vivian Rouson Scholarship

$250                Shelby Fintak

$250                 Jelani Pitts

The AKAdemy Class of 2015 participated in the Graduation Ceremony that included a biography of each graduate along with post-graduation plans. Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter President, Cassandra Williams delivered the closing remarks and thanked the parents and the community for their unwavering support.

Media Contact: Lesley Cooper, Ivy Leaf Reporter - Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., (727) 642-5512


Community Partners on Playground Upgrades
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – On Saturday, May 16, community members came together to upgrade and celebrate Perry Park, the playground area of Clearview Park Apartments, 3200 37th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. The Environmental Ownership Committee of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Incorporated’s Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter added new mulch to the playground and planted pink roses in memory of former St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA) Commissioner Lorraine Perry, for whom the park was named.
At an appreciation ceremony after the work was completed, Cassandra Williams, AKA Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter president, presented the Perry family with a Certificate of Recognition.  Williams said, “The work we’ve done here today is to honor the legacy of Commissioner Perry’s outstanding dedication and service to the housing authority board and her lasting impact on the Clearview Park Apartments community.”
The sorority has dedicated the month of May to the beautification of local parks and playgrounds, as part of their national program initiative known as the “1908 Playgrounds Project.” Through the service of their 265,000 members in 986 local chapters, AKA’s goal is to restore, refresh, and renew a total of 1,908 playgrounds during the four year administration of their International President, Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, which ends in 2018. Locally, the Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter plans to upgrade three to five playgrounds, including Perry Park. The chapter donated all landscaping materials to SPHA.
SPHA Chief Executive Officer Darrell Irions said, “This kind of grassroots collaborative effort really gets our residents involved in the beautification of their community, and that’s something in which all of us can take great pride.  The apartments we own, and make available to low income families, are affordable, safe, and have great curb appeal too. We work hard to make our Public Housing communities look as attractive, or more attractive, than most market-rate apartment complexes, and we appreciate AKA’s help with that.”
SPHA Board Chairperson Delphinia Davis, who also is an AKA member, said, “To make Perry Park an even nicer place for children to play and for residents to gather, while at the same time remembering and honoring my friend and fellow board member, is a great thing. It is wonderful when the objectives of a community organization like AKA dovetail so well with the needs of a public agency like the housing authority.”
In addition to SPHA’s association with AKA, the housing authority has fostered other successful partnerships with community organizations and non-profits. SPHA works closely with the Boley Center and CareerSource Pinellas to offer job training and education programs to residents. SPHA also supports Pinellas Hope’s efforts to provide transitional housing for homeless people and provides apartments to young adults who have aged out of foster care in collaboration with Ready for Life, Inc.  More information about SPHA’s programs and services can be found online at www.stpeteha.org.
About Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA): Founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University, AKA is the first Greek-letter organization established for college-educated African-American women in the United States. The sorority connects thousands of college-trained women who give of themselves to support community service projects and scholarship programs. Celebrating 60 years of local service, the Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter was established in St. Petersburg on December 15, 1955. For more information, please visit the chapter’s website at www.zuochapter.org
About St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA): Founded in 1937, SPHA is one of the oldest housing authorities in the nation and is continually rated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a “High Performing” agency. SPHA provides housing assistance to qualifying low-income families within its service area, which includes the City of St. Petersburg and extends in a 10-mile radius outside of city limits. More information about SPHA’s programs and services can be found at www.stpeteha.org.
Editorial Note: Event photos are online at http://www.stpeteha.org/Community_Partners_on_Playground_Upgrades.htm; high resolution photos are available upon request.
Contact: Audra Butler, SPHA Communications Officer - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.