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Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — National President Betty J. Dixon of Shaker Heights, Ohio presided over the 88th Anniversary Biennial Conclave of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. (NSPDK) at the New Orleans Marriott from July 15 through 22, 2011, attended by over 750 members and guests with Alpha Theta Chapter, New Orleans, Louisiana as host. The National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., an organization dedicated to the highest ideals of the teaching profession, consists of 150 chapters ranging from California to Florida and from Connecticut to Texas.

The association is comprised of college-trained, knowledgeable educators including administrators, classroom teachers, college professors, college presidents, guidance counselors, educational specialists and other educational practitioners, who have made an impact on the educational enterprise in their respective communities. The Conclave theme, “Imagine the Impossibilities: Conceive, Believe, Achieve,” was implemented in an assortment of events designed to educate, challenge, stimulate and inspire participants to strive for excellence in education and to enhance the work of our great sisterhood. Pre-Conclave activities included a community event at Southern University of New Orleans. The Rev. Barbara Gibson of New Orleans was the inspirational guest speaker at the Sunday Worship Service.

On Sunday evening, July 17, the Anthropos, the male affiliate group hosted its inaugural public meeting with Attorney Peter L. Jones of Cleveland, Ohio as the guest speaker. The honorees were award-winning photographer and community activist Lloyd Dennis of New Orleans and Rev. Dwight Webster.

Following the training session for local presidents on Monday morning, the Membership Luncheon took place. New Life Members, sorors with 20 consecutive years of service were recognized. Special tribute was paid to the new Ruby and Diamond Members, who had contributed $750 and $1500, respectively.

An important outreach initiative was the Parade of Books on Monday afternoon, where members from the five regions of the Sorority marched with their 10,000 books to be donated to local schools.

Renowned principal and motivational speaker Shirley Knox Benton of Fort Worth, Texas challenged the audience with her provocative address at the Public Meeting on Monday evening. Juanita Tillman- West, an educator from Pasadena, California received the Sorority’s National Achievement Award for outstanding contributions and service as a member of NSPDK, and Dr. Deborah Voltz, Dean of the School of Education and Director of the Center for Urban Education at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, was the recipient of the National Citation Award, given to an outstanding citizen for extraordinary achievement.

The Grand Opening of the Conclave, a New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade on Tuesday, July 19 was spectacular, resplendent with a band, carnival dancers in gorgeous costumes, stilt walkers and other masked performers. The Zulu Queen was National President Betty J. Dixon, arrayed in a dazzling, multi-colored robe with a half-face feathered mask. National Officers led the parade along with the band and performers.

The Every Member Forum on Wednesday afternoon presented an opportunity for members to discuss cogent educational and societal issues. Among the topics addressed by panelists were: “Parental Involvement-Administrative and Organizational Leadership,” “Top Reasons Why Public Schools Are Not Thriving,” “Lack of Early Intervention,” Instructional Strategies, Politics and Voucher and State Mandates,” “Technology,” “Lack of Motivation,” Outside Influences Invading the School” and “School Resources and Staff.” The panelists were: Sorors Gatsy Moye, Epsilon Theta Chapter; Chaleeta Barnes, Epsilon Alpha Chapter; Kisha Webster, Alpha Mu Chapter; Dr. Shirley Weber, Delta Upsilon Chapter and Dr. Brenda Burrell, Delta Beta Chapter.

Sorors and guests enjoyed a change of pace at fun-filled Gala Night on Wednesday, where groups from each region entertained with song and dance, spotlighting such acts as “The Rockettes”, “Dream Girls”, the “Temptations”, “Soul Train”, “Boots and Spurs”, the “Spinners”, “Smokey Robinson,” “Hollywood” and “Zydeco.”

Dr. Brenda Burrell, National Parliamentarian, presented a thoughtful addressed on “Literacy” at the Vital Issues Breakfast .on Thursday morning. The Conclave Chorus under the direction of Soror Tillie Colter rendered several selections. The Conclave Chorus sang at all major events throughout the conference.

Newly elected officers and board of Trustees members were installed during the Third Plenary Session following the Meditation for Ill and Deceased Sorors. The 2011-2015 officers elected are: Christella Cain, Austin, Texas, First National Vice President; National Corresponding Secretary Yvonne Johnson, Fort Worth, Texas; Donna E. Thompson, University Park, Illinois, National Financial Secretary; Princess Towe, Hillside, New Jersey, National Director of Public Relations; Drusilla Kinzonzi, Monroe, New York, Eastern Regional Director; Yvonne W. Ben, Violet, Louisiana, Southeast Regional Director; Emma Henderson, Westerville, Ohio, Midwest Regional Director; Margarette Gallaway, Dallas, Texas, Southwest Regional Director; Hattie McFrazier, Los Angeles, California, Far West Regional Director and, Peggy Hattiex-Penn, Indianapolis, Indiana, Midwest Region Member-at-Large. Newly installed members of the Board of Trustees are; Ann D. Black, Nashville, TN; Velma Brown, Chino, CA; Dr. Brenda Burrell, Syracuse, UT; Mary E. Ennon, Hackensack, NJ; Sherelene Harris, South Holland, IL and Margaret C. Nelson, Washington, DC.

The Formal Banquet on Thursday evening was the culminating activity of the 88th Anniversary Conclave. Florence O. King, President of the Perpetual Scholarship Foundation, presented a check for $55,000 to support the NSPDK scholarship program. Walter Worthem of Nu Chapter, Birmingham, Alabama was chosen Anthropos of the Year. Rudolph Brown of Chino, California is the newly elected National Anthropos President. Black Cat Productions’ 4 X 4 Band of New Orleans provided incidental music during the banquet and also entertained throughout the evening.

Photocaption: (left to right) Photographer Lloyd Dennis accepting award with presenter Lee Barnes, President of the Eastern Region Anthropos; and Cleveland Call and Post Editor Constance Harper being inducted as an Honorary Member by Betty J. Dixon, National President.

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