Jack and Jill Beau­til­lion, in their own words

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Joanne David­son Joanne David­son: 303-809-1314, par­ti­writer@hot­mail.com and @joanne­david­son on Twit­ter.

This year was one of change for the Jack and Jill Beau­til­lion. The new venue and elab­o­rate decor were nice, but the best part was for­go­ing the lengthy reading of each hon­oree’s ac­com­plish­ments — in­for­ma­tion con­tained in the sou­venir jour­nal — and in­stead hav­ing each young man de­liver a few words that re­flected his goals, as­pi­ra­tions or view of the world.

Their re­marks gave mov­ing tes­ti­mony not only to who they are today, but in­sight into the game-chang­ers they will be­come.

Eli­jah Blake, for ex­am­ple, said he looked for­ward to a day when the world can hap­pily “em­brace brown skin and curly hair.” Joshua Cole­man noted that his peers are given the choice to im­prove or set­tle, “And I’m not will­ing to set­tle.”

Dion­dre John­son pointed out that be­com­ing a Beau made him re­al­ize, “I am some­body,” while Charles Green-Wor­shum cred­ited God for en­abling him to rise from hum­ble cir­cum­stances, “To be­ing cel­e­brated for (my) ac­com­plish­ments.”

Joel Campbell pledged to do what he can to re­verse neg­a­tive stereo­types; Al­lah’Jah Mu­jib said his goal is to “Gain the skills to change the world.”

In the end, it was ob­vi­ous there is no one size fits all phrase to de­scribe the 23 high school seniors pre­sented at the 33rd edi­tion of this black-tie event held at the Mar­riott City Cen­ter and chaired by Toshia Cowans, Si­mone Ross and Deirdre Wilson.

Other than the fact that they are, as the co-chairs noted, “Men of dig­nity, grace and strength.” The hon­orees, who were nom­i­nated by their high school prin­ci­pals or coun­selors, pretty much came into the Beau­til­lion as a group of strangers but wound up their ex­pe­ri­ence with strong bonds of friend­ship.

“I love th­ese guys so much,” said East High se­nior Joseph Abi­akam. “At first I felt a bit ten­ta­tive be­cause I didn’t know what to ex­pect. So I’d have to say that the pro­gres­sion of our friend­ships has been the best part.”

Abi­akam hopes to at­tend Hamp­ton Univer­sity on a bas­ket­ball schol­ar­ship.

The Beau­til­lion ex­pe­ri­ence also in­cludes a ser­vice project — this year, a tour of Den­ver’s his­toric Five Points neigh­bor­hood fol­lowed by a com­mu­nity cleanup ef­fort that in­volved pick­ing up trash, re­mov­ing graf­fiti and paint­ing dump­sters — and an es­say con­test.

The lat­ter was won by East High’s Langston Shupe-Diggs, who also was the re­gional win­ner of Des­ti­na­tion Imag­i­na­tion. His col­lege plans call for be­com­ing an an­thro­pol­ogy ma­jor at ei­ther the Univer­sity of Hawai­iManoa or the Univer­sity of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Mas­ters of cer­e­mony for the 2016 Beau­til­lion were Matthew Bur­kett, founder, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of The Fly­fisher Group, and Man­ual High School prin­ci­pal Nick­o­las Dawkins.

In ad­di­tion to those al­ready men­tioned, they also in­tro­duced fel­low hon­orees Wil­liam Clay, a three-year mem­ber of Chero­kee Trail High School’s honor roll; Charles Davis, the re­cip­i­ent of mul­ti­ple Good Cit­i­zen­ship awards at Smoky Hill High School; Evan Edmondson, a Rangeview High se­nior who has given 150 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice per year for the past two years; Morgan Fuller, a se­nior at Alexan­der Daw­son High who had the honor of be­ing a sum­mer re­search scholar in en­gi­neer­ing at UCLA; and Eli­jah Grant, a Smoky Hill se­nior and re­cip­i­ent of the John Lynch Award for Aca­demics, Ath­let­ics and Com­mu­nity Ser­vice.

Also, Jalen Meeks, who plays varsity bas­ket­ball at Cherry Creek High and is pres­i­dent of the Top Teens of Amer­ica; Isaac Nel­lum, a Mayor’s Youth Award re­cip­i­ent from East High; Ab­dul Neville, a rugby let­ter­man and reg­is­tered USA Rugby ref­eree from East High; Matthew Perry, a mem­ber of the An­ge­laires hon­ors choir at East High; Josiah Peters, the 20162017 head boy at East; and Kalif Pres­i­dent, the re­cip­i­ent of four Out­stand­ing Achieve­ment awards for aca­demics at Chero­kee Trail High School.

And, Joshua Ross, an honor roll stu­dent at Rangeview High; Iza­iah Rouse, who main­tains a 3.5 grade point av­er­age at Chero­kee Trail; Aaron Tate, a two-time foot­ball let­ter­man and founder of the League of Lead­er­ship at East High; and Mau­rice Wyatt, a three­year foot­ball let­ter­man and honor roll stu­dent at Smoky Hill High.

Beaus dance with their es­corts at the 2016 Beau­til­lion, pre­sented by the Den­ver Chap­ter of Jack and Jill of Amer­ica, Inc. Photos by Steve Peter­son, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

Rep­re­sent­ing Den­ver Pub­lic Schools: Michael John­son, Ed­die Koen, Danielle Har­ris, Deb­bie Staten and Renard Sim­mons.

Evan Edmondson, Langston Shupe-Diggs and Eli­jah Grant.

Ab­dul Neville with es­cort Mikayla Zei­gler.

Em­cees Matthew Bur­kett and Nick Dawkins.

Mau­rice Wyatt and Tyler Speller.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.