Tallahassee Links celebrate 17 young gentlemen at 8th Annual Links Beautillion Affair
Special to the Outlook
Tallahassee Links hosted over 450 guests at its Eighth Annual Links Beautillion white tie formal presentation held Sunday, March 11, at Florida A&M University’s Al Lawson Multipurpose Center where 17 local high school seniors were celebrated, presented to the community and received more than $22,000 in scholarship awards. The organization developed its Leadership Development, Mentoring, Character Education Program and Links Beautillion (aka Links Beautillion) as a curriculum based program designed to celebrate the achievements of male high school seniors of color while also encouraging and inspiring them through participation in high quality leadership, character education and mentoring opportunities.
Links Beautillion participants (each referred to as Beau and collectively as Beaux) were selected based upon demonstrated achievements in: academics, leadership, sports, the arts, community service and/or church involvement. Beaux participating in the 2018 leadership development and mentoring program included: Kyreek Kelly of FAMU DRS; Jordan Nance and Tareq Salley of Rickards High School; John Bailey, Winston Bogan, Marcus Boston, Austin Glenn, Malik Jefferies, Stanton Johnson, and Spencer Lewis of Lincoln High School; Jordan Burney and Marion “Trey” Jones of Godby High School; Jalen Monroe and Kameron Woodard of Florida State University High School; Jeremiah Jones and Ernso Louissaint of Lawton Chiles High School; and Ronnie Fields, Jr. of Gadsden County High School.
The Links Beautillion program featured a nine week curriculum-based program beginning with a “Green Coat Ceremony”, signifying leadership and character commitment, and culminated with the White Tie Formal Presentation. The formal program celebrated their leadership, cultural and character enrichment program completion. Aside from mentoring facilitated by community leaders, participants engaged a leadership and character development program centered around: rites of passage, cultural awareness, leadership development and community service learning. Weekly workshop sessions exposed Links Beaux to extraordinary experiences, information and highlights such as: a Howard University Tour; a Man-to-Man Session; traveled to Washington, DC where they visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Capitol Hill, visited the office of Congressman Al Lawson, Jr. and attended the Washington Wizards – Atlanta Hawks NBA basketball game in Atlanta, GA; were guests of the Florida Supreme Court; attended the Big Bend Community Orchestra Concert entitled, “Celebrating Song”; introduced to Caribbean culture, customs and cuisine; attended a presentation on the Tuskegee Airman and Redtails provided by Dr. AJ Brickler and experienced a private jet flight; participated in a Southwood Golf Course golf clinic; delivered a community service project entailing research and a contribution to the Florida A&M University March 100’s 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade participation in Pasedena, California; learned formal dining etiquette; attended an Entrepreneurship presentation provided by former NFL linebacker and local businessman Mr. Angelo Crowell; experienced broadcast communications through WFSU 88.9 FM radio interviews on the “Voices that Inspire ” and “411 Teen” programs; learned to Waltz under the tutelage of acclaimed Tallahassee Ballet Company’s Artistic Director, Mr. Tyrone Brooks and a Hip Hop dance directed by Mrs. Aurora Hansen, Artistic Director of the Tallahassee Community College Dance Company; and were mentored by various community leaders.
The culminating Links Beautillion formal presentation featured the traditional Mothers and Beaux Waltz. Beautillion Mothers and Beaux were later joined in Waltz by Fathers and Links Beautillion Attendants who included: Richlyn Barnhart, Solazia Billington, Jada Black, Trinity Bond, Daisha Burney, LeFaren Donaldson, Trentorria A. Green, Ameion Hamlet, Brianna Laclara Jones, Kaitlyn Rochelle Lawson, Tashana Ligon, Jordan Middleton, Zoe Mitchell, Mattie Mooney-McMillan, Carina Richardson, Karrington Simmons and Camille Renay Zanders. Former Mayor John R. Marks, III issued an inspiring charge to the celebrated Beaux and Attorney Fred Flowers served as the program’s Griot. Musical inspiration was provided by Mr. Darrington Ferguson as accompanied by Mr. Brandon Waddles.
Links Beautillion awards and scholarships to assist the Beaux’s college education were announced by Dr. Delores Lawson. Each Beau received a participant trophy and a scholarship award. In addition, superlative award recipients were: Lola M. Jones Academic Excellence – Austin Glenn, winner; Jordan Burney, second place; and Ronnie Fields, Jr., third place; Outstanding Leadership – Winston Bogan, winner; Tareq Salley, second place; and both John Bailey and Marion “Trey” Jones tied for third place; Entrepreneurial Excellence – John Bailey, winner; Kameron Woodard, third place; both Marcus Boston, II and Malik Jefferies tied for fourth place; and Winston Bogan, McCloud Future Investors Scholarship, second place; Outstanding Community Service – Winston Bogan, winner; Kameron Woodard second place, and Austin Glenn, Jalen Monroe and Ronnie Fields all tied for third place; Beaux chose the Best All Around Beau as Marion “Trey” Jones; and the 2018 Beau of the Year winner was Winston W.L. Bogan.
Tallahassee Chapter President, Dr. Debra Austin, said the organization’s membership was most pleased to witness the growth and development of these young gentlemen. She said the Links Beaux’s sense of civic responsibility, leadership, aspiration for professional achievement and enthusiasm in embracing accountability as adults were commendable. The 2018 Links Beautillion was chaired by Mrs. Linda Dilworth. Links Beautillion Deans, Dr. Thyria Ansley and Dr. Bertha Murray, applauded the Beaux’s program accomplishments and also the zeal with which the curriculum and program agenda were embraced by the 17 selected participants. The 2017 Beau of the Year (7th Annual), Julius H. McAllister, III, a freshman at Morehouse College, offered a stirring message at the formal event directed to the 2018 Links Beaux. In reflection he used the leadership insight of greats such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and others to challenge the young gentlemen to work hard, choose to be smart and prepare themselves to be the future leaders that our nation is in need of.
The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946. The membership consists of more than 15,000 professional women of color in 284 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Links members contribute more than 500,000 documented hours of community service annually – strengthening their communities and enhancing the nation. In 1951, the Tallahassee Chapter of The Links, Incorporated was the first chapter chartered in Florida and has a membership of 36 leading African American women in the Tallahassee community. Tallahassee Links’ current program theme is Intentional Leadership, Serving With a Servant’s Heart.