Two-way tie for AKA top honor
Alexa Delaney, a student at St. Andrew’s International School, and Ryan Rahming, a student at St. John’s College, were both named the 41st Alpha Kappa Alpha’s 2019 Honours Day outstanding student awards and share co-valedictorian honors. A two-way tie emerged for the Linda Higgs-Swann Memorial Scholarship Award after Delaney and Rahming both received the overall award for the highest score on the general knowledge test.
Delaney and Rahming were both awarded $3,500 in scholarship funds tenable at the university/college of their choice, from the program that honors the most outstanding graduating high school females in the country.
Rahming was also awarded the Hanna, Heastie, Tynes Essay Award.
Delaney said the program was an exciting growth opportunity for her.
“The educational sessions provided excellent guidance for my future life and career choices. Interacting with the other girls from various schools and islands was particularly rewarding and enabled me to create lasting bonds with them.”
She said earning an award was the “icing on the cake”.
“While I’m very thankful for the award and the help it will provide in defraying my school tuition, the experience would have been worth the time and effort regardless. The entire experience was very impactful.”
Rahming said she was honored to be a part of the cadre of young ladies honored by the sorority for their stellar academic and civic achievements, leadership potential and athletic abilities.
She was also delighted she was presented with the essay award, but even more pleased to receive the Linda Higgs-Swann Memorial Scholarship which she shares with Delaney.
“While the results reflect my commitment to my studies, my success would not be possible without the help of my dedicated teachers and my loving, supportive family,” said Rahming.
She also wished her fellow honorees well in their future academic endeavors.
Kathleen Mendoza from St. Francis de Sales School in Abaco received a $2,500 scholarship award and took home the Janet Jones Ballard Outstanding Family Island Award. Mendoza also received the Dolores Smith Mathematics Award after scoring highest on the math section of the exam.
Tammika Charlton, a student at Arthur’s Town High School in Cat Island, received the Financial Services award.
Oriana Carey, a Preston H. Albury High School student out of Eleuthera, was awarded the Sheila M. Culmer Student Athlete Award.
Daejah Johnson, from Sunland Baptist Academy in Grand Bahama, took home the Leadership Award.
Ravyn Kelly, from Genesis Academy in New Providence, took home the Community Service Award.
Aaliyah Adderley, from N.G.M. Major High School in Long Island, and Mahlia Neely, from Queen’s College in New Providence, were both given the Patron Award.
The members of the Eta Psi Omega Chapter of AKA, Sorority Inc. hosted 44 top graduating female students from across the country for its Honours Day Programme.
For more than 40 years, the top students have competed for scholarships and prizes including the title of valedictorian.
The Honours Day Programme was started by the local chapter in 1978 to give young Bahamian women graduating high school financial support for tertiary education. To date, it has since awarded more than $375,000 in scholarships and awards to the most outstanding graduating high school female students in the country.
The programme, which initially started as a one-day event, has evolved over the years to a full weekend of activities that includes workshops which focus on applying to colleges, health and wellness, budgeting for college life and taking advantage of global opportunities, among other activities.
The honorees along with the members of the Eta Psi Omega Chapter also completed a community service project which saw them clean up the Bahamas National Trust’s Bonefish Pond.
Delaney said the pond cleanup raised her environmental consciousness.
Initially, the chapter invited the top three female graduating seniors from high schools in New Providence to participate in an essay competition awarding a cash prize. In 1984, a scholarship to attend Success Training College was added to the program. In 1990, the concept expanded and Family Island students were invited to participate and the scholarship was renamed the Linda Higgs-Swan Memorial Scholarship Award in honor of the past president. In recognition of the quality of tertiary education in The Bahamas, in 1992, the award was made tenable at the College of The Bahamas. Today the scholarship is made payable to the university/college of the student’s choice.
Through the years, the annual program has become more elaborate with students participating in a weekend of interactive, educational and social activities designed to celebrate the accomplishments of the best and the brightest female graduates.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.