ROGERS, Ark. — For more than two decades the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (AKA) and the Tea Rose Foundation of Northwest Arkansas hosted their “Celebrity Waiter” fundraising event. This year, they awarded about $30,000 in scholarships to 16 students.
Over the past 5 years, around $200,000 worth of scholarships have been awarded to more than 175 students. The event also helps with the sorority’s health, poverty and social justice programs.
“It really does mean a lot. One of the purposes of Alpha Kappa Alpha is to maintain an interest in college life - a progressive interest in college life, said Chapter President Myra Mckenzie-Harris. "One of the ways we give life to that is by helping people go to college.”
The sorority is built on the foundation of "service to all mankind" and all of the proceeds raised are used to provide college scholarships for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in the community.
“It means a lot to us and it means a lot to the students. We have students who are going into many different fields, and you know college is very expensive these days,” said President of Tea Rose foundation Cora B. Davis.
Beverly Hodges is one of the scholarship recipients and a full-time Ph.D student and full-time employee at the University of Arkansas. She was paying out of pocket for school until she received the scholarship.
“One of the things I did was seek out opportunities to help me pay for my education and I noticed that they [AKA and Tea Rose Foundation] had a scholarship available. I thought about leaving a legacy not only for me but for other people who look like me,” Hodges explained.
Organizers say the application process is a blind operation. They choose students based on their grades and their involvement in the community.
“I feel very fortunate to be one of the recipients of such a prestigious scholarship. One of the things I’m so grateful for is their willingness to partner with me. It’s like they’re planting seeds if you will - into my life for me to able to afford my education,” Hodges said.
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