By Randee May, Staff Writer
On Feb. 28, the doors to the Student Ballroom opened, revealing a flawless set up that was the start of Collegiate 100’s Fifth Annual Winter Ball.
As guests flowed in under an arch, dressed in their best attire of suits and gowns, the event began.
With more than fifteen tables, with ten chairs at each, the room was filled with students, faculty, staff, and notable guests.
Dr. Linda Bleicken, the President of Armstrong attended the event with her husband Carl Bleicken.
“We have been attending since Collegiate 100 has been here,” Dr. Bleicken said. “We are very impressed by the scholarships and mentorship that go on between these young men.”
She also pointed out that one year Collegiate 100 had been named Most Outstanding Chapter in the United States. “I’m amazed by the work that Collegiate 100 does. They reach out to one another and make the community a better place.”
Mr. Bleicken added, “These young people are part of the future of America. They are hardworking and disciplined.”
Collegiate 100, according to Kenny Wilson, the current President of the Armstrong group, is an organization that started off with ten members who met with an advisor to create initiative for African American males.
The group was started by Kwame Phillips, an Armstrong Alumni. The main purpose of Collegiate 100 is mentorship. They participate in Community Service such as Treasure Savannah, help to strengthen the community, charity, and develop leaders of tomorrow. “We also mentor with Blessings in a Book Bag,” Wilson stated.
Vancci Celestin, the director of finance for Collegiate 100 elaborated on what Blessings in a Book Bag does. “All the money that Collegiate 100 gets from its events goes to charity,” Celestin stated. “Blessings in a Book Bag is an organization for kids to go home with food over the weekend. It’s run by Lady Mahogany.”
Once everyone was seated with their food, the program commenced.
Members of Collegiate 100, past, present and future rose to be applauded before Vancci Celestin presented the Miss Collegiate 100 Court, consisting of Joan Branistareanu, Ahna Zackery, Kourtnei Zellner, Charlene Rogers, Naivasha Gleaves, and Asiah Thomas.
“These are really great girls. They have been working hard to prepare for the Miss Collegiate 100 Pageant which will be held on April 12 at 7p.m.,” Celestin said.
As the program started to taper off, Kwame Phillips awarded Kenny Wilson with the Choice Award. The award stands for “Change Happens Once Individuals Choose Excellence.”
Kenny Wilson, during an interview, said that he never had a father figure in his life and knew that he could not make the journey alone.
Wilson joined Collegiate 100 because he needed the brotherhood and wanted to impact the community.
He went further into depth during the heartfelt thank you he gave to all who had helped push him forward.
Wilson expressed how he had first met Kwame who was like a brother to him.
“I saw him and said, that guy is smooth, I never saw myself like that in high school. Kwame has been here with me when I was at my highs and lows and highs again.”
Once Wilson had finished speaking, Collegiate 100 surprised him with a video from his brother in Ohio, who mentioned how proud he was of Wilson and all of his accomplishments.
The program then ended with Fernando Foster, Advisor of Collegiate 100 during his speech he said that he felt like a proud father.
With entertainment, food, the small talk and greetings of friends, the Collegiate 100 ball was a token to the success of the organization, all it stood for and how the organization fosters an unbreakable bond of brotherhood.