The inaugural Beautillion Militaire

BY Raven Joy Shonel, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – The St. Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta in conjunction with their foundation the St. Petersburg Chapter Alumnae Educational Services (S.P.A.C.E.S.) is hosting the 2015-16 Beautillion Militaire Crème de la Crème Scholarship Ball, a first for the St. Petersburg area.

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.  The purpose of the Beautillion Militaire program is to educate young men in the 11th and 12th grades by giving them a positive outlook on life through adult male mentoring, lectures, workshops, cultural activities and practical application as well as creating a holistic African-American student.

The program has been developed to provide these individually selected young men with an academic and social support network, encouraging them to become well rounded in their educational surroundings as well as their communities.

There will be a public presentation (much like the cotillion debutante balls) of the young men to society at a formal scholarship ball.

During the program you can expect as a participant to be exposed to cultural and professional enrichment. You will fellowship with aspiring high achievers, receive personal mentoring, teamwork and leadership skills, social and interpersonal skills, academic development, college prep, career path guidance, civic responsibility, an appreciation for cultural heritage and academic scholarship opportunities.

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.

Tamaira Heyward

Tamaira Heyward

“These sessions that we will have for the young men will be facilitated by other men. So it’s not ladies teaching our boys,” said Tamaira Heyward, chairperson of the event.

The curriculum program will end with the beaus going through a Rites of Passage ceremony that symbolically inducts them into manhood. The ceremony will be for the beau and the significant male figure in their life such as a father, grandfather or mentor. The Beautillion Militaire Crème de la Crème Scholarship Ball is the culminating event of the six-month long program.

This is a formal community recognition event that gives the young men an opportunity to showcase their musical and other creative talents, drill precision, as well as their scholastic achievements.  The beaus in their formal wear will demonstrate their courtesy, good manners, and respect for others that are hallmarks of a gentleman.

During the ball, scholarships and book monies raised through corporate grants and donations will be awarded. The title “Mr. Beautillion Militaire” is presented to the beau who accumulates the most fundraising and program participation points.

If you are familiar with the debutante cotillion that the Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority puts on yearly, this will be very similar to the event and the process that the young ladies go through.

“We as an organization thought it was time that we had something for the young men so that they have the opportunity to showcase their talents and success before they graduate from high school,” said Heyward.

They are looking for outstanding college bound African-American high school juniors and seniors with notable records in academics, leadership, community service, athleticism, the arts, religion or any other noteworthy field or endeavor.

The student must have a cumulative 2.1 GPA to participate and submit a transcript. The applicant must not be a father and considered in good standing in the community. Every beau will be required to have a date for the grand ball and for several events during the beau sessions.

Their dates, which are called belles, must also not be a parent and be in good standing in the community. It is recommended that the beaus pick belles who will be committed to the process.

Since this is a Beautillion Militaire, there will be a drill piece added to the event. The drills that the young men will go through, along with a mentoring session, will be addressed by the drillmasters. They must master the drill component and program individually and as a group. Excessive absence will affect their performance.

More details will be provided in the mandatory information sessions. Applications are currently being accepted for males that will be in the 11th or 12th grade for the 2015-16 year.

For more information contact Tamaira Heyward or Kathy Cason at (727)-228-0096, or email at dstbeautillion@gmail.com.

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