Using excerpts from various authors, Sherry Butler encouraged the group to connect with people, to be generous, and to leave a worthwhile mark on others. To sum up, she quoted Noah Webster, who said, “If we work upon marble, it will perish; if on brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds, and imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and love for our fellow man, we will engrave on those tablets something that will brighten all eternity.”
During the Music and Related Arts segment, Debbie Braun shared a recording of the song “What Have I Done?” from the classic hit movie Les Miserables. This song, sung by Daniel Day-Lewis in his award-winning performance as the main character Jean Valjean, tells the story of French ex-con Valjean, who feels extreme hatred until he experiences forgiveness and redemption from the bishop of the small town. According to Mrs. Braun, the sacrificial lessons learned by Valjean can greatly benefit educators as they discover how to trust, to give unconditional love, and to never give up on students of diverse intellectual, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. She ended with Valjean’s realization at the end of the film when he says, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
Next, Mrs. Judy Douthitt shared interesting history about the Beta State (Alabama) Biennium of 1948-1950. Speaking of Zora Ellis, an English teacher from Talladega who later served as both a national and international president of Delta Kappa Gamma International, Ms. Douthitt told how Beta State leaders reviewed recommendations made previously at the Milwaukee Convention in creating committees for their own Biennium. As a result, the Pioneer Committee sponsored an Old Textbook Exhibit and requested chapters to send in biographies of teachers who had taught for 35 years or more, which they later had bound together in a volume for historical purposes. In addition, the Program Committee collected chapter yearbooks, which revealed that the most popular items used at chapter programs dealt with teachers’ personal lives, service to the public, professional growth, and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Societal, and Cultural Organization). Finally, the Music Committee encouraged chapters to include music in their programs, which led to Beta State’s presenting the first state chorus at a state convention.
For the special program emphasis, Ms. Suzanne Cunningham introduced Dr. Derek Staples, Lead Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, who took his captive audience on a virtual trip to Israel. Dr. Staples, a minister for over 32 years and in his seventh year as pastor of First Baptist Jacksonville, recently led a group of members from his church on a tour of key places throughout Israel. Sigma members viewed slides of the tour group as they visited historical Joppa, then Bathshan, where King Saul was killed, and the notorious Roman Coliseum where Christians of the New Testament were killed for their faith. Other photos revealed scenes of the Sea of Galilee, the city of Capernaum, the Mount of the Beatitudes, and the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (and where several tour group members decided to be baptized during this historical trip). Dr. Staples’ presentation also took DKG members to Elijah’s Mount Carmel, Nazareth, Bethlehem with its Church of the Nativity, the Mount of Olives and Garden of Gethsemane, the Dead Sea, Jericho, and Golgotha, or Calvary. After this spectacular “slideshow visit to Israe,l” members took advantage of the brochures left by Dr. Staples in order to find out how they might learn more about a future tour of the Holy Land.
During the regular business session, Secretary Juanita Badgett shared a note of thanks from a local Teacher of the Year who had been awarded a cash award by Sigma Chapter. President Gloria Horton reported on the Beta State Convention, informing members that the Order of the Rose had been awarded to Sigma Chapter; that Marie Hendrix was part of a group recognized for being a member of Delta Kappa Gamma International for 50 years or more; and that Juanita Badgett wowed convention attendees with her solo “When God Unfolds the Rose.”
As members gave donations for the Schools for Africa project, Karen Burnham shared briefly about her recent trip to Kenya and Malawi with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Marie Hendrix thanked members for the small toys they previously donated for a medical missionary team in Ecuador that gave comfort to children having surgery for physical deformities.
This “international affair” ended with the singing of the “Delta Kappa Gamma Song.