Beta Eta Omega Chapter held its first Ebony Jewels and Gems Cotillion on April 25, 1981, under the leadership of President Inez T. Nunley.
For many years, the members of Beta Eta Omega Chapter expressed an interest in sponsoring a cotillion for high school senior young men and women. The members wanted an event to recognize the outstanding academic and community accomplishments of these students. Additionally, prior to 1981, the senior students of our youth leadership group, the Al-Ka-Pals, had been acknowledged with a "Senior Recognition Day." However, the senior Al-Ka-Pals of 1981, under the presidency of Naithel "Tuffy" Hall, requested a more eloquent affair.
The Al-Ka-Pals Advisor Donna Payne suggested to the chapter that an advisory council be established to plan and implement an elaborate activity for all high school seniors. Chapter members who volunteered to work on the council were Carolyn Day, Marionette Gibson, Judy Hall, Lillian Jones, Barbara Lewis, Nancy Palmer, Paula Sharper, and Joné West. After numerous proposals were reviewed, a proposal presented by Marionette Gibson was approved by the membership of Beta Eta Omea Chapter and the Al-Ka-Pals. As a result, the Ebony Jewels and Gems Cotillion was established. Members Carolyn Day and Nancy Palmer were the first co-chairmen.
The Cotillion experience has four basic components of leadership, scholarship, service, and cultural enrichment. The culmination of the process is an elegant affair highlighting the participants' achievements and aspirations. Eligible Cotillion participants are also awarded scholarships to further their educational goals. To date, over 1200 seniors have participated in the Ebony Jewels and Gems Cotillion. As well as more than $700,000 has been awarded in scholarships.
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