Xi Omega, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s first and largest graduate chapter in Washington, D.C., is celebrating 100 years of service to the nation’s capital with festive programming throughout the year. As the chapter commemorates its centennial, Xi Omega and its nonprofit arm the Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation (PIEF), is also remaining true to its mission of furthering academic opportunities for local youth.
Touting a long history of supporting students, this year, Xi Omega and PIEF raised $150,000 in scholarships, exceeding the foundation’s giving to more than $1 million since it was established in 1988. With more than 700 guests donning derby attire, and hues of pink and green filling the room, the Centennial Jubilee on Sunday, June 25, at the Marriott Marquis, highlighted Xi Omega and PIEF’s work in action. Using funds raised, 20 District students were awarded scholarships for their excellence in academia and service.
“For 100 years, education has been the backbone of our service initiatives,” said Raven L. Hill, Xi Omega Chapter and Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation president. “Our earliest members were teachers, which set the foundation for tutoring, mentoring and scholarship programs. As we celebrate this centennial anniversary and million-dollar milestone, we pay tribute to the vision and generosity of those who paved the way.”
This year, five of the 20 students received $10,000 Centennial Scholarships for their exemplary achievements scholastically and as leaders in their communities. Even with the special centennial celebrations at the forefront, PIEF Executive Director Amanda Alexander emphasized that the nonprofit is not new to supporting students, it’s true to it.
“At the heart of PIEF’s mission, we make college dreams come true for youth in our nation’s capital,” Alexander said.
The sold-out Centennial event was a party with multi-purposes: to celebrate 100 years of Xi Omega and foster the next generation of scholars.
“Our chapter’s rich legacy of service and scholarship in the Washington, D.C. region is truly a reason to celebrate all year,” said Centennial Jubilee Chairwoman F. Denise Gibson Bailey.
Outside of the ballroom were pink, green and ivy leaf photo walls and selfie installations for people to creatively capture memories; a bar with specialty cocktails such as “The Mint Jubilee,” and other beverages; and the Xi Omega Traveling Centennial Museum, which can later be viewed at spots throughout the city such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
Hosted by NBC 4 anchor Molette Green, who is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and Fox 5 DC’s Wisdom Martin, the event was smooth sailing as guests enjoyed a three-course meal, listened to captivating speeches, and celebrated the young scholars and work of Xi Omega and PIEF. Special guests included DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and former DC Councilmember Brandon Todd. Alpha Kappa Alpha North Atlantic Regional Director Elicia Pegues Spearman was also present and delivered an encouraging and captivating speech.
“It’s of significance to note that the Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation, celebrating 35 years of existence, perpetuates your commitment to the uplift and betterment of others in our nation’s capital—and beyond,” Spearman said. “It is duly noted that Xi Omega and the Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation have accomplished great works, and that you have done exceedingly well serving the community. While you can’t yet rest on your laurels, you can indeed pause today, and let the good work you’ve done speak for you, as you are truly Alpha Kappa Alpha’s and the North Atlantic Region’s good and faithful servant-leaders.”
With entertainment from Bliss the Electric Blue Violinist and the get-on-your-feet sounds of Secret Society, guests jammed, but the major focus remained on the young scholars, who were also awarded laptops by one of the organization’s major sponsors, Comcast.
Further, throughout the event, many guests approached scholars to offer congratulatory words and best wishes.
“I received a scholarship from the Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation,” said Terrell Webster, with gratitude.
Student-athlete Terrell graduated from McKinley Technological High School on June 21 and is headed to Morehouse on a full scholarship. While he recently learned the majority of his education is already financed, Terrell, 19, still appreciates the PIEF scholarship, which he hopes will not only support his educational endeavors, but inspire others.
“I want to use this [opportunity] to advocate for other student athletes to motivate them to take school more seriously, and actually prioritize it before [sports],” he said. “Your hard work in the classroom will be noticed as well as in whatever sport that you play.”