Alpha Phi Alpha Beautillion 2019

Photographs by Anthony Wade

Written by John Duncan, PhD.

On Sunday, June 2nd, 2019 at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts, five dynamic high school seniors from Bermuda’s private and public schools took to the stage to compete in the 18th annual Alpha Beautillion sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Epsilon Theta Lambda Chapter, Bermuda.

The five Alpha Beaus who competed for the $12,000 in scholarship funds towards the continuance of their educational careers in overseas colleges and universities were Myles Smith representing CedarBridge Academy, Antonio Carvelho, from Impact Mentoring Academy, Jehkio Bean-Lightbourne hailing from Mt. St. Agnes Academy, Sediq Simons representing Bermuda Institute, and Dimitrius Richardson of The Berkeley Institute.

These outstanding young men were nominated to participate in the Alpha Beautillion by the administration at their respective schools as a result of their strong leadership skills, solid academic standing, and overall involvement in their school communities.

The doors opened at 5:00 p.m. for a prompt 5:30 p.m. start. As the audience sauntered into the auditorium you could feel the charged atmosphere and contagious excitement from the attendees. This heightened level of expectation set the tone for an unforgettable experience. The evening commenced with congratulatory remarks from the illustrious Vice President, Bro. Ahmad Ahad, followed by preliminary remarks by our emcees for the night Brother Chris Crumpler and Aaron Spencer who was the winner of the 2017 Alpha Beautillion.

As the curtains lifted for the start of the show, the 2019 Alpha Beaus were greeted by the rapturous applause of cheering fans. “The first talent of the evening was the Introduction of the Alpha Beaus. Each participant was immaculately adorned in his school uniform and introduced himself to the audience by stating the school he represented, his interests and hobbies, career aspirations, and the axioms by which he governs his life. Each Alpha Beau delivered his introduction with poise and self-confidence as the audience waved banners, blew party horns, and cheered in admiration for the Alpha Beau they came to support.

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Each Alpha Beau was then charged to execute a 5 minute oratory speech on the following topic: “One of the statistics shared during Mental Health Awareness Month in May was that one in six people between the ages of 10-19 suffer from a mental health disorder. Anxiety and depression are in the top 10 causes of illness and disabilities among adolescents globally, and if left untreated can put a person’s health at risk. What can be done in Bermuda to help eradicate the stigma of mental health disorders and encourage more young people to seek help from a professional?“ As each Alpha Beau presented his speech, it was evident that the mentoring from the Mrs. Kimberly Caines-Best, and Ms. Ebony Fray of Bermuda Toastmasters afforded the young men the opportunity to hone oratorical skills. Each Alpha Beau presented lucid arguments to support his position on the aforementioned topic, and delivered an intellectually stimulating narrative that engaged the audience.

The talent exhibition of the Alpha Beaus commenced with the melodious rendition of the classic hymn Great is thy Faithfulness by Sediq Simons of Bermuda Institute. After his rendition on the keyboards, he moved to the drums and gave a spirited rendition of “Blessed” by gospel legend Fred Hammond. It was heartwarming moment as Antonio Carvelho of Impact Mentoring Academy took the audience on an oral biographical expedition. During his presentation he shared how he overcame adversity to achieve acceptance into North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. As the audience remained in high gear Dimitrius Richardson capitalized on the residual excitement with an outstanding percussion presentation on the drums. Jehkio Bean-Lightbourne entered the stage in dance mode and presented a mime that took the audience through an abstract theatrical journey of passion and excitement. Myles Smith of CedarBridge Academy presented a passionate dance performance which challenged the audience to identify with the struggle of life. All presentations were classic and executed in fine style.

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One of the most challenging aspects of the competition is the Impromptu Question and Answer Period. This part of the program allows the Alpha Beaus to demonstrate their ability to think critically, to remain composed under pressure, and to respond expeditiously to a current issue in Bermuda. The impromptu question this year was: An element of your program has been volunteering at Matilda Smith. How do we get more young people engaged in volunteering initiatives

One major highlight that every attendee of the Alpha Beautillion looks forward to is the annual Step Show Exhibition. This year our Alpha Beaus were instructed once again by Bro. Omar Lodge, Fraternity brother of our local chapter. This year our step routine started from the back of the auditorium, which immediately grabbed the attention of the anticipation audience. The applause continued as the Alpha Beaus landed on the stage and skillfully executed their routine.

In between each major segment of the program, a video presentation enlightened the audience about the activities that the Alpha Beaus engaged in throughout their six month mentoring process with the Brothers of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Each of the Alpha Beaus participated in community service initiatives at the Matilda Smith Williams Residence home, Workshop Presentations Deloitte and Butterfield & Vallis and OBMI, as well as public Speaking initiatives with Bermuda Toastmasters, Sandys Rotary Club and a Social Media workshop with Rayzhane Simons.