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PHOTO GALLERY — Delta Sigma Theta honors Port Arthur community leaders, high school graduates

The Port Arthur Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority usually hosts an annual May Week Awards Program.

However, due to COVID-19, the program was presented this years in a different format. The program showcased people who have rendered outstanding service during COVID-19 that benefited residents in the community.

Community awards were presented to Lucy Dennis, Pastor Donald Frank, Stephen Mosely and staff, Dr. Mark Porterie and PAISD Employees, and Judith Smith and the Port Arthur Health Department and volunteers.

Lucy Dennis

Lucy Dennis is self-employed, a seamstress and author who has written and published several books. She sewed numerous masks and distributed them in the community with no fees attached. However, due to her generosity, some individuals donated funds she used to purchase additional materials and supplies to make more masks to distribute.

Dennis simply wants what is best for her community and works diligently to see needs are met by providing her unlimited services, free of charge. This is evident through her founding of Port Arthur Poetry and Literary Society (PAPLS) as an outlet for artists to showcase their talents.

The Port Arthur Poetry and Literary Society provides an opportunity to bring Black History to the youth of this community and encourages their creativity.

Donald Frank

Pastor Frank, senior pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, realized the need to disseminate information about the virus and uplift the spirit of the people as they faced the challenges of COVID-19.

Frank felt the virus had become the greatest pandemic in 100 years to invade the shores of America. Not only did it bring disease, depression and death, but it also changed the facets of lives as it forced many to separate from each other as never before. It appeared many people in the community were dealing with economic, emotional and mental problems, as a result, of the virus.

Frank expressed he prayed, and God directed him to implement a daily Facebook segment that would disseminate information concerning the virus, how it is contracted, how to avoid it, and eventually the locations for receiving the vaccine.

The segment “Frankly Speaking” informs listeners and encourages them to believe the place where we are, would not be the place where we would remain, for God would deliver us.

Stephen Mosely & The Breeze radio station

“The Breeze” Radio Station is the fulfillment of a dream for Stephen Mosely, “The Flash,” over 40 years after he first observed the magic of broadcasting as a child. The station began in 2004 with a goal to provide information to empower its listeners educationally, spiritually, economically and socially.

“The Breeze” audience hears a mixture of news, local public affairs, traditional Gospel, Jazz, R&B, Zydeco and Vietnamese. The programs operate 24 hours per day.

The radio station has served the community during the pandemic by informing it of important issues. They allowed time for the audience to voice concerns and opinions. They also made public announcements for church groups and local businesses. Speakers were given the opportunity to share information concerning the pandemic.

Mark Porterie and PAISD employees

Dr. Mark Porterie, Superintendent of PAISD, said March 16, 2020, marked a forever change in the way we educate children. The delivery of instruction, student engagement, nutrition, safety and security, all changed with a blink of an eye.

Teachers, bus drivers, aides, custodians and every individual in the system are heroes who have continued to come to work to provide the necessary and essential resources of education. Every employee has been added to the list of essential workers as they felt just how important their job is in the district.

  • Child nutrition department never ceased cooking and some even stood outside and handed food to parents as they drove through the circle drives at various schools.
  • Transportation department teamed with nutrition department to deliver breakfast and lunch.
  • Custodians learned how to disinfect and work new machinery to mitigate the spread of the virus.
  • Technology department found ways to communicate with students. They were able to create, manage and share academic content via Schoology. They also had the task of training teachers and students how to use virtual schooling.
  • Maintenance department ensured safety within the buildings with the purchase and installation of face shields, desk shields and buzzers for entrances.
  • Principals, directors and curriculum supervisors presented innovative ways to deliver the curriculum to students.
  • Secretaries became keepers of the doors at schools and did not allow anyone inside, including parents.
  • Teachers overcame the anxiety of coming to school and interacting with other adults and students not knowing IF he/she was risking their life and the lives of their loved ones. Teachers delivered instruction to students as dogs jumped in front of screens, TVs blared in the background and younger siblings tried to get attention.

Judith Smith, Port Arthur Health Department & volunteers

Judith Smith, director for the Port Arthur Health Department, oversees services in Port Arthur, Groves, Nederland, Port Neches and Sabine Pass.

The Port Arthur Health Department developed pandemic plans many years ago. Therefore, when the request was made for a COVID-19 Drive Thru test site, the City of Port Arthur nurses and support staff were able to respond immediately.

Smith headed the staff in charge of working the COVID-19 vaccination hub, which included 12 of her staff as well as other city staff, volunteer nurses and other volunteers. They have administered many vaccines since January and plan to continue the services in the community and surrounding areas, as the need and vaccine is available.

Every individual and group have readily combined their time and energy to provide a well-deserved service to the community and surrounding areas.

The ladies of the Port Arthur Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority wish to thank each honoree for commitment, dedication and service to the community through the challenges of COVID-19.

“We wish to extend congratulations to our Senior Delta GEM, Rhiannon Weatherly, and the 2021 Ideal Students who are graduates of Memorial High School and Wilson Early College,” a sorority statement read. “Ideal Students from Memorial High School are Roysaeshia Viveca Anderson, Sydney Listene Roberson and Payton Amir Watkins. Ideal Students from Wilson Early College are Elton Anderson III, Brelien A’Aron Charles, Chaliah Annmarie Dejean-Dwin, Davian Joseph Hayes, Craig Johnson III, Kaitlin Nicole Newcost and Mia Shakay Patryce Wells.”

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