On Saturday, June 9, 2018, the audience in King-Frazier Ballroom at Savannah State University was dazzled, by the talent, beauty, and graciousness of fourteen young ladies as they made their debut. The 19th Precious Gems Junior Debutante Cotillion was the culminating event of a two- year journey for these middle school scholars as Precious Gems sponsored by Moving All Races To Higher Achievement, Incorporated (M.A.R.T.H.A.), the non-profit arm of Gamma Sigma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. The cotillion theme was: “This Girl Is on Fire” and that theme was truly demonstrated as the girls displayed their talents as follows: Gem Leyla Lemon danced to “Better” by Ready; Gem Malinda Stafford recited “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou; Gem Tamiia Brown rendered an instrumental solo on the viola entitled “Dragon Slayer” by Rob Grice; Gem Daphnie Young recited “Hey Black Child” by Cullen; Gem Jayla Pierce sang “For You I Will” by Monica; Gem Taylor Riley danced to “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion; Gem Paris Glover recited an original poem that she wrote entitled “I Believe”; Gem McCalla Scott sang “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson; Gem Delicia Pierce performed a monologue entitled “My Supposed Best Friend” by MJ Ferruzza; Gem Sanai Jones presented her original Artistic Presentations in dress designs and drawings; Gem Alexandrea Stafford recited “Woman’s Work” by Maya Angelou; Gem Bethany Patterson sang “This Is Me” by John Paul; Gem Mariah Wall recited “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou; and Gem Rahnya Myers danced to “Rise Up” by Andra Day. Following the amazing array of talent, the Precious Gems entered the ballroom attired in beautiful midlength white dresses with white evening gloves and white closed toe shoes looking simply elegant. Each Gem was escorted by her father/family member, presented a long stem rose to her mother/guardian, and was formally presented to the audience by Dr. Sylathea Prescott-Hutchins, the 2017- 2018 Precious Gems Chair.
After Christina A. Manning, the 2016 Precious Gem, took her runway stroll and expressed how being Miss Precious Gem has enhanced her life, the Precious Gems were challenged by Mrs. Carol Bell with three take-away Gems of Inspiration: (1) Believe in yourself, (2) I can do all things, and (3) Be your best self.
The highlight of the Cotillion was the crowning of “Miss Precious Gem – 2018” who is Gem Mariah Amari Wall, the daughter of Markecis Wall and Cierra Kimble. The first runner-up is Gem Paris Denise Glover, the daughter of Shonte` Johnson and Tyrone Glover; and the second runner-up is Gem Taylor Alasia Riley, the daughter of Shaunce and Karla Riley.
Special thanks to the Debutante Cotillion Master of Ceremony, First District City Alderman, Mr. Van Johnson, Mistress of Ceremony, WSAV TV Personality, Mrs. Kim Gusby, and to Mr. Gary Swindell for musical prelude and selection.
The biennial Cotillion provides funds for activities and events for the next group of Precious Gems and allows M.A.R.T.H.A to provide charitable contributions to programs and services that assist in the growth and development of individuals and entities in the Savannah Chatham County communities.
Applications are available now for the 2019- 2020 group of middle school age young ladies interested in being Precious Gems. For information, contact Mrs. Shelia B. Hutcherson, President of M.A.R.T.H.A./ Gamma Sigma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.