STUDENT NEWS: 33 inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda

One by one, 33 inductees of the Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL) Honor Society stepped onto the Fulton Auditorium stage March 29 to receive their new member certificates. Faculty sponsors, families, friends and students cheered on the group of adult learners who pledged to uphold ASL’s motto of “First in Scholarship and Leadership.”

New ASL members pose for a group photo to commemorate their induction.

New ASL members pose for a group photo to commemorate their induction.

ASL is the oldest and largest chapter-based adult honor society for non-traditional students who maintain standards of academic excellence while balancing family and employment obligations.  Alpha Sigma Lambda awards scholarships to help students overcome financial challenges while they pursue an undergraduate degree.

It was four induction ceremonies ago in the very same auditorium that the Southwest chapter hosted its inaugural ceremony, thanks to the efforts of Vice President of Student Affairs Jacqueline Faulkner. It has been my pleasure to be a part of Alpha Sigma Lambda since its inception at Southwest, said Faulkner. I am always deeply inspired when I hear the individual stories of these adult scholars during the induction ceremony because they epitomize what it means to overcome adversity, multi-task, be leaders in their homes, churches, and communities, all the while continue their pursuit of excellence in achieving their academic goals. Given the significant increase in adult students with the introduction of Tennessee Reconnect, Faulkner says ASL is another example of the college's commitment to helping adult learners succeed and graduate.

Membership into the chapter is by invitation only but open to high achieving adult students who have completed a minimum of 24 credit hours at Southwest.

Most ASL students have delayed their college education due to familial and work obligations. Program facilitator and ASL President Celeste Riley, a mother of seven children, represents many of the students who returned to school after several years away raising her children and working. She began her pursuit of an Associate of Science in teaching 22 years after her high school graduation. In her remarks, Riley encouraged students to dream big, stay determined and keep striving to attain their goals. “When I started school, I was nervous and scared but I put in the hard work. Trust me, it will change the trajectory of your lives and that of your families,” Riley said. She graduates in May and plans to transfer to the University of Memphis to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English as a Second Language.  She was one of three Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition (SOAR) award finalists and is a Tennessee Higher Education student regent finalist for the second consecutive year.

Carol Madison is an inductee who returned to college after 34 years away from school. She worked for a company in the legal department as a billing and file clerk.  When a paralegal decided to leave and join another company, Madison stepped in to do her work; however, she could not receive equitable wages without the requisite degree.  Madison knew what she needed to do. She graduates with an Associate of Science in paralegal studies this fall.

Linda Kay Patterson, M.Ed., a graduate of the University of Memphis, was the keynote speaker. Patterson worked for 33 years in Shelby County Schools as a high school teacher, assistant principal and principal. She reflected on the ceremony’s theme, “2020 Vision: Looking Beyond Obstacles to Focus on the Goals,” in her keynote address.  “To look beyond obstacles means to look past them, whether they are personal, environment or social,” said Patterson. “Obstacles can block your vision and prevent you from keeping your eyes on your goals.” She cautioned the inductees of the obstacles and challenges they have yet to face in life, and said that despite any detour they may take on their journey, the main thing is to have a contingency plan.  “Prepare to meet your obstacles,” she said “and to do that, you will need all of your sight – hindsight, foresight and insight.”

The ceremony concluded with a biographical sketch of each inductee as they accepted their certificates.  Each reading showcased a student who overcame challenges and/or preserved in his/her education. It was evident they had focused on their goals. As Patterson aptly stated, “You have all certainly shown you are scholars and leaders by your presence here today. We recognize you and applaud your accomplishments.”

In addition to the swearing in of the inductees and keynote speaker, chapter president Dana Warwick was presented as the new chapter president, and Kelsi Huddleston gave an inspirational reading of Ode to Can by Andy Flemming. Chapter sponsors Victoria J. Gray, Chapter Councilor, Mahnaz Ghaffarian, Treasurer, Cynthia Elliott, and Nanette Graddy were also recognized.

Keynote speaker Linda Kay  Patterson

Keynote speaker Linda Kay Patterson

Outgoing ASL Chapter President Celeste Riley and President-elect Dana Warwick welcome Patterson.

Outgoing ASL Chapter President Celeste Riley and President-elect Dana Warwick welcome Patterson.

2019 ASL National Honor Society inductees recite the ASL pledge.

2019 ASL National Honor Society inductees recite the ASL pledge.

Congratulations to the following Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society inductees:

  • Khadra Abdelghani
  • Gabrielle Bays
  • Robert E. Beveridge
  • Wendy D. Biggs
  • Quinten C. Brown
  • Kisha Choice
  • Samantha Chum
  • Aimee Coccodrilli
  • Brenda K. Dionne
  • Darlene Dotson-Green
  • Kenyetta Fairley
  • Jonathan Fuschi
  • Meghan E. Horn
  • Carolyn Ivy
  • Frashiah N. Karanja
  • Carol M. Madison
  • Jessica T. McVey
  • Lekeyantia Naylor
  • Tram N. Nguyen
  • Ijeoma J. Okeke
  • Dorothy Pickett
  • Chelbie N. Reed
  • Stephanie Ann Robinson
  • Aleasheia R. Stanford
  • Laura A. Talley
  • Michael Taylor
  • Dana L. Warwick
  • Kimberly N. Weston
  • Stanley C. Wilkins, III
  • Tiffany R. Williams
  • LaToya Wortham-Brown
  • Jacqueline R. Yarbrough
  • Ahmed A. Yusef