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From Precious Pearls to Pi Omicron Omega

Pictured from left to right: First Row: Barbara Sellars; Enzer Packenham; Barbara W. Davis, 10th Mid-Atlantic Regional Director; Marye J. Jeffries, 11th Mid-Atlantic Regional Director; Juanita Spaulding; Eleanor Scott; Robin Flintall Second Row: Catherine Smith; Helen Banks; Shirley Freeman; Elaine Thompson; Pearl Lee; Janie Wilson; Lela Warren; Mary Shanks; Valerie Thompson Not pictured: Carolyn Long, Julia McMillan, Hazel Poteat

Pi Omicron Omega chartering ceremony. December 7, 1986

In January of 1986, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority member Barbara L. Sellars contacted then Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Barbara W. Davis*, to learn about the steps necessary to charter a graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Burlington, North Carolina.


Barbara Sellars, Pearl C. Lee, Helen B. Banks*, Mary L. Shanks* and Elaine Thompson*, were all active members of the Beta Iota Omega chapter in nearby Greensboro, NC. These members identified fifteen (15) inactive members in the Burlington/Alamance county area who might be interested in chartering a graduate chapter in the area.

Barbara Sellars was also working with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Barbara Davis*, in hopes of establishing an undergraduate chapter at Elon College. Director Davis arrived to Burlington and met with sorority members who were interested in chartering a graduate chapter on February 8, 1986—during her visit she also met with interested young ladies at Elon College on February 9, 1986 regarding chartering an undergraduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. After Director Davis' visit, the interested graduate members established The Precious Pearls interest group with seventeen members. After approximately ten (10) months of service projects and diligent planning, the Pi Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated was chartered on December 7, 1986 , becoming the 79th chapter of the Mid-Atlantic Region.


Charter members of the Pi Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority are: Barbara Sellars, Enzer Packenham*, Juanita Spaulding*, Eleanor Scott, Robin Flintall, Catherine Smith, Helen Banks*, Shirley Freeman*, Elaine Thompson*, Pearl Lee*, Janie Wilson, Lela Warren*, Mary Shanks*, Valerie Thompson, Carolyn Long, Julia McMillan and Hazel Poteat.


The chartering ceremony was conducted by sorority member Dr. Marye Jeffries (11th Mid-Atlantic Regional Director), with the assistance of then Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Barbara Davis, under direction of International President, Janet Jones Ballard. Barbara Sellars was elected as the first president of the newly chartered chapter. Pi Omicron Omega is also proud to be the sponsoring chapter for Omicron Epsilon Chapter located at Elon University (formerly Elon College), chartered May 9, 1987.

Past Presidents of Pi Omicron Omega Chapter

Barbara L. Sellars (1987—1988)

Elaine W. Thompson (1989—1990) *

Hazel T. Poteat (1991—1992)

Janie B. Wilson (1993—1994)

Eleanor Scott (1995—1996)

Carolyn E. Jordan (1997—1998)

Brenda P. Hampton (1999—2000)

Sandra K. Leath (2001—2002)

Clara T. Foriest (2003—2004)

Teresa A. Smith (2005—2006)

Jinx S. Kenan (2007—2008)

Carolyn L. Long (2009—2010)

Patricia P. Foust (2011—2012)

Carolyn L. Long (2013—2014)

Walthea V. Yarbrough (2015—2016)

LeAndra Ratliff (2017—2018)

Shirley C. Coble-Ray (2019—2020)

Eleanor Scott  (2021—2022)

Takesha Briggins (2023-2024)

*Indicates Deceased

Pi Omicron Omega has hosted two successful Northern Carolina Cluster Meetings. The first was under the leadership of Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Maxine L. Black, on November 17, 1990. Workshops and activities were presented in keeping with the theme, “Preparing to Meet the Crises of the 1990’s”. Elaine Thompson was president of the chapter at that time and Barbara L. Sellars was Cluster Chairperson. The second was under the leadership of Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Caroline L. Lattimore, on October 8, 2005. Workshops and activities at that conference were presented in keeping with the theme, “AKA SPIRIT: A Serious Commitment”. Teresa Smith was president of the chapter at that time and Brenda Hampton was Cluster Chairperson.

Pi Omicron Omega co-hosts Mid-Atlantic Regional Conferences every five years with the other chapters that comprise the Northern Carolina Cluster. A high percentage of Pi Omicron Omega Chapter’s members always attend Cluster Meetings, Regional Conferences, and International Conferences.


Engaging in Programs of Service

The programs and projects of Pi Omicron Omega are planned to focus on the international program strands that are set forth by each International President. Because a significant portion of the chapter's membership was (and continues to be) composed of professional educators, it has always been important to the membership to place special emphasis on education, academics and scholarship.


As a result, Pi Omicron Omega Chapter has traditionally implemented programs that reflected our members' commitment in those areas. Some of these programs have included: mentoring students (Emerging Young Leaders), engaging in cultural activities (museum exhibits, stage plays, etc.), awarding college scholarships to local high school students, and conducting literacy activities in our community (giveaways, book readings/signings).


Caring for Caregivers (May 2021)


Pi Omicron Omega Chapter has also sponsored annual Cotillions and Dinner Theaters, with proceeds being used to support scholarships for young ladies to attend four-year colleges as well as community college. Members of our chapter have volunteered their time and contributions to the local Women's Shelter and Women's Resource Center, sponsored Blood Drives and participated in a Bone Marrow drive, worked collaboratively to co-sponsor a number of programs and projects with a local chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated (Cancer Awareness workshops, June Marie Thompson Blood Drive) as well as Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. Our chapter is also an annual contributor and collaborator of the Burlington Chapter of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and Alamance Regional Medical Center's Breast Cancer Awareness Events.


In addition to these and other community literacy, food and education-related outreach and service, Pi Omicron Omega adopted a stretch of street in Burlington through the North Carolina Adopt-A-Highway project. Twice annually members from Pi Omicron Omega and Omicron Epsilon chapters help beautify the area by cleaning up debris alongside the road that runs through a historic African-American residential area in Burlington, NC.

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