Tallahassee Links hold annual ceremony for Green Coat recipients
By Oldens Lafortune
Nineteen candles, one for each of the young men who sat at a white table, was the first indication that something special was happening.
It was their big day to be recognized. Community leaders, mentors, teachers, family and friends came to mark the occasion as the young men celebrated becoming Links Beautillion Green Coat recipients.
The ceremony marked the 10th time that the Tallahassee Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, staged the event, which was held at the Capital City Country Club last Sunday.
Speakers included Congressman Al Lawson, former Tallahassee mayor of John Marks, and Tallahassee Chapter President Alexis Roberts McMillan.
“We are so excited that this is our 10th year for the beautillion to have these 19 young men represent the community from Gadsden County and Leon County,” McMillan said. “To know that they are well on their way to having a wonderful time with this program that is a leadership mentoring program is something were excited about.”
The Tallahassee Chapter of The Links, Incorporated was established in 1951. Since its inception, the chapter has received numerous awards for its programs, provided numerous financial contributions to the community, and has donated over $50,000 in scholarships in the last few years.
The Beautillion, one of its many programs promotes higher education by aiding in the improvement high school graduation rates, leadership development, character education and community service.
Recipient Jalan Black, a student at Crossroads Academy Charter School of Business, said he was glad to be a one of the selections.
“Even with a couple of the sessions we’ve had now, it just feels like a great brotherhood and family within the links,” Black said.
The nineteen young men, all high school seniors, will have to go through a nine-week program curriculum that includes team building exercises, community service projects, man-to-man sessions and etiquette sessions.
Kelvin Harper Jr., a senior at Rickards High School, said becoming a Beautillion is his first step in becoming a man.
“This for me is pretty much encouragement that I made it this far and people are recognizing me,” he said. “It’s just really a push for me to keep going and to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Bonding with the other young men is something that he’s also looking forward to the most, Harper said.
“They teach us different things, our personalities come together and just vibe.”
In addition to having connections with state leaders, community leaders and past recipients of The Links Beautillion Green Coat Ceremony, the inductees will conclude the program with a White Tie event introducing the completion of their curriculum.