ST. PETERSBURG – The inaugural class of the Beautillion Militaire Scholarship Program was welcomed Sat., Oct. 10 at Suncoast Hospice.
In conjunction with the St. Petersburg Chapter Alumnae Educational Services, the St. Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta has proudly implemented the Gentlemen’s Institute, where 27 young men will gain confidence, wisdom, self-love, connection to the community and brotherhood.
The objective of the Gentlemen’s Institute Program is to offer enriching experiences and opportunities for the beau to expand his network with like-achievers and mentors and to further develop his personal social and leadership skills through a variety of social, educational and cultural activities.
What is a Beautillion?
A Beautillion is a rite of passage in which young men move from one stage of their lives to another. It signals a young man’s coming of age.
Having been engaged in workshops that are designed to develop them intellectually, spiritually, socially and emotionally, the young beaus will be presented into society, much like the a debutante cotillion, at the formal Beautillion Militaire Crème de la Crème Scholarship Ball.
These 27 young men are either high school juniors or seniors and are of high moral and ethical character. His behavior, decorum, performance at school, home and in the community should please God. They must pursue collegiate training or enlist in one of the armed service.
The curriculum will focus on five Rites of Passage sessions that will be devised by the Beautillion Committee with the assistance of adult male mentors who will serve as facilitators at all of the programs and activities.
There will be five mandatory Rites of Passage sessions and some months will include community service activities such as reaching out to those who are less fortunate during Thanksgiving.
These sessions are sponsored and facilitated by organizations in the community that have agreed to work with these young men. Some sponsors include the Omega Psi Phi Paternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD), the Write Field Program and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
Since this is a Beautillion Militaire, at the scholarship ball there will be a drill in which each beau will participate. After each of the five sessions, there will be a drill rehearsal. This part of the program is to bring about camaraderie between the young men, and they must master the drill component individually and as a group.
Sergeant Marlin Heyward and Lieutenant Frank Williams from the SPPD will be the drillmasters, and both were on hand to address the beaus.
“Over the next several months we are going to become quite familiar with one another,” said Sgt. Heyward, who went on to tell the young men how special they are because they are the alpha class. “Being the first, you get to set the bar that everybody else has to measure up to.”
The afternoon ended with an induction ceremony and the reading of the poem “Invictus,” which each beau will have to commit to memory.