Sigma Gamma Rho sorority marks 96 years of service this month

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Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is celebrating 96 years of service, scholarship and sisterhood this month. The international organization was founded on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis on Nov. 12, 1922. The local chapter, Beta Zeta Sigma, will celebrate Founder’s Day with a rededication ceremony.

Beta Zeta Sigma was chartered in 1947 and serves Rocky Mount, Wilson and Tarboro.

Sigma Gamma Rho was started when seven schoolteachers bonded together to form a sisterhood of women interested in education for all people. The international organization has chapters all over the world with more than 70,000 members. National programs include Project Reassurance, working to provide prenatal care to new mothers; Operation Bookbag, providing backpacks and school supplies twice a year to students; the Hattie McDaniel Breast Cancer Awareness Program; and Swim 1922, providing water safety and swimming lessons.

Beta Zeta Sigma members have actively participated in the sorority’s national programs while serving local communities as bell-ringers during Christmas, adopting families in all three service areas all year long and supporting other organizations in the Rocky Mount-Wilson-Tarboro communities. The chapter will select two families to help this holiday season.

The local chapter will hold its Debutante Cotillion on March 8. There are 14 debutantes who will be introduced to society and awarded scholarships.

“We are so excited to continue our legacy of the beautiful tradition of the Debutante Cotillion,” said Kim T. Riggins, chapter president. “It is our honor to work with these young ladies on etiquette and social graces as they prepare for life after high school.”

The local chapter is proud of its members who have made significant contributions to the world and community. Members say some of their most notable sorors are the late Annie Neville, 11th international grand basileus of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority; the late Vivian D. Tillman, grand epistoleus and editor-in-chief of Aurora magazine for the sorority; the late Helen Gay, mayor pro-tem of Rocky Mount; Kim Tillman Riggins, editor-in-chief of the Aurora; Martha Noel, Area III coordinator of the northeast region of the sorority; Dr. Evelyn S. Wilson, chairwoman of the Edgecombe County Board of Education; Debora Powell, a Wilson County Board of Education member; and Delia Perkins, former mayor of the town of Princeville.

For more information about the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and the local chapter, email betazetasigma@gmail.com or call 252-903-4047.