ST. PETERSBURG – “Look good, dress good, feel good, sound good,” could be heard echoing through the banquet hall of the Hilton Hotel in downtown St. Pete last Saturday as 19 beaus performed a flawless drill performance led by Drill Master Marlin Heyward.
The Beautillion Militaire Alpha Class
Six months in the making, the 2015-16 Beautillion Militaire Crème de la Crème Scholarship Ball, a first for the St. Petersburg area, was a highly anticipated event that did not disappoint.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority St. Petersburg Alumnae Chapter in conjunction with their foundation the St. Petersburg Alumnae Chapter Educational Services hosted the event.
Much like a debutante cotillion for young ladies, a beautillion is a formal presentation of young men to a community or society. More than just an introduction or presentation, the vision for the beautillion by the Deltas was to create a rite of passage journey that would include scholarships and mentoring and leadership development, which all led up to the Saturday night’s grand celebration and successful entrance into manhood.
“This is an evening that will prepare these young men for a lifetime of success, for a lifetime of fulfillment of their inherent potential and ability to exceed all expectations,” said Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin.
The most significant aspect of the program was the impact of mentoring on the young men. Community and business leaders conducted rites of passage sessions in which the beaus forged effective relationships with law enforcement, learned to build their personal brand, prepared for college, learned gentlemen’s etiquette and grooming, quality leadership and public speaking.
The Deltas feel that it is important to show the community that these young men are an accurate representation of what St. Petersburg has to offer and that they are the norm and not the exception.
“We know that it’s as important today as yesterday and every day that we as African Americans, as community leaders, as Deltas, as women, wrap our arms around our young men to love, protect and elevate,” said soror Cheri Ashwood.
Beau Edgar Martin, Jr. told the standing room only audience that their six months journey was a wonderful learning experience, but had a rocky start.
“Of course most of us did not know each other and were very unsure if this is what we really wanted to do. There was minimal talking and enthusiasm, but as the time and months progressed, so did our bond,” he said, stating that a brotherhood was formed.
Martin, Jr. said that the program taught them how to become leaders, how to survive in the real world, helped them learn proper dinner etiquette and how to treat a woman. He is proud to be one of the 20 young African-American men “who will become future leaders, business owners, lawyers, doctors, activists and much more,” he averred.
Beau DeWuan Hopkins was unable to attend the ceremony because he was in Kentucky at a JROTC competition.
Rites of Passage Session Sponsors:
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Eta Rho Chapter
Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Churc
Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Gamma Omicron Boule
St. Petersburg Police Department
Write Field, Poynter Institute
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Delta Omicron Sigma
Dr. Christopher Warren
Mr. Swag – Jalen Harrison
Mr. Academic – Kasamba Mosi Kokayi
Mr. Comedian – Ryian Freeman
Mr. Personality – Donae’ Charlemagne
3rd runner up – Donae’ Charlemagne
2nd runner up – Zamari Postell
1st runner up – Aldric Griffin
Mr. Beautillion 2016 – Kofi Fort
Along with a certificate of completion, each beau was presented with a brand new laptop.