By Ameera Steward
Sameria Harris, a John Carroll Catholic High School senior, felt like she was with family on Saturday at the Delta Life Development Center in the Green Acres community.
Harris, who plans to attend Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, in the fall was one of 29 students – 23 high school and six college – who was awarded over $50,000 in scholarships and book stipends from the Birmingham Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (BAC).
Harris is familiar with the Deltas. She has been the President of the Delta GEMS (Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully) for the past two years, Delta Sigma Theta’s high school girls, one of their youth initiatives, and said getting a scholarship from a sorority she is so fond of is a great joy because “. . . they love you and they treat you with so much love and respect and welcome you into their family.”
She was also proud to be a part of the other scholarship winners. “It feels good to be one of the people to be selected for an amazing group of girls who work really hard for their parents, and to earn it, it feels good to be having this opportunity,” said Harris, who received $1,000 from the Deltas and a $500 book stipend.
MaKayla Rogers, a Gardendale High School senior student, planning to attend Tennessee State University and majoring in computer science received $1,000 from the Deltas and $1,000 for the Willene C. Jackson Memorial Scholarship.
“It brought me so much joy and excitement to be a part of this,” she said.
Rogers said her mother was a support. “She kept me motivated to [get] ahead,” said Rogers, who added that she kept up with her and made sure her GPA was on point.
Matilda Merriweather, president of The Birmingham Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, said the scholarships reflected the hard work of the winners.
“You’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord and trusting in his holy word knowing that He has not failed you yet and He will continue to help you and when you leave this place, when you leave high school, and or college,” she told the students, parents and chapter members decked out in red. “Remember failure is not an option, make sure you make your parents proud.”
The scholarships are based on outstanding academic achievement, educational goals, community service and leadership skills.
May Week, created in 1920, is a national program of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The events emphasize the importance of higher education in the community, especially African-American women.
May Week celebrates the culmination of their entire year and it focuses on accomplishments, Merriweather said. “And much of that has to do with scholarships, we put that down in May Week so that we could give back to the community, to our kids so that they can have a chance for a better education,” she said.
-This post was updated on May 6, 2019 at 9:44 a.m. to correct that the Birmingham Alumnae Chapter gave scholarships to a total of 29 students.
This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.