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. Prior to establishing the cotillion, the high school seniors in the chapter’s youth leadership group, Al-Ka-Pals, were acknowledged with a Senior Recognition Day. However, the senior Al-Ka-Pals of the Class of 1981, under president Naithel “Tuffy” Hall, requested a more embellished affair. So, Al-Ka-Pal Advisor Donna Payne suggested to the chapter that an advisory council be established to plan an elaborate activity for the graduating Al-Ka-Pal seniors. The council was comprised of Carolyn Day, Marionette Gibson, Judy Hall, Lillian Jones, Barbara Lewis, Nancy Palmer, Paula Sharper, and Joné West. From the council’s recommendation, chapter President Inez T. Nunley announced the creation of the Ebony Jewels and Gems Cotillion to be held on April 25, 1981. Carolyn Day and Nancy Palmer served as the first co-chairmen.
The Cotillion is a five-month process with four basic components: 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 half a million dollars have been provided to eligible participants from Dayton and the surrounding communities.
It is our goal to honor the outstanding accomplishments of male and female high school seniors with an extraordinary and rewarding experience. The application for the 2020 Ebony Jewels and Gems Cotillion will be available in August 2019. The members of Beta Eta Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated look forward to working with each of you as we journey towards this unforgettable event!
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