2021 Partner of the Year

2021 Partner of the Year
Posted on 06/21/2021
Partner of the Year AwardNewton County School System (NCSS) and the Newton County Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.-Phi Omicron Zeta Chapter, is the 2021 NCSS Partner in Education of the Year! NCSS School Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey made the announcement at a special reception on Monday, June 21, 2021 at the Newton County Board of Education.

“We’ve seen many partners—mainly small businesses—have to close their doors either temporarily or permanently this year, and this has affected our schools,” said Fuhrey. “Fortunately, we saw an increase in assistance from local organizations such as yours who stepped to the plate and went above and beyond to assist our schools.”

In her partner of the year nomination letter, Newton High School principal Dr. Shannon Buff noted Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s “unwavering partnership” and how their continuing support boosted the morale of both students and staff. In fact, Dr. Buff stated that the women of Zeta Phi Beta “had become part of the Newton High School family” through their various service projects.

“You began the school year by providing hot meals after practice and games to various athletic teams in partnership with Emanuel Community Church,” said Fuhrey. “You also created hygiene bags for students. In September, you served Newton High School faculty and staff breakfast and provided goodie bags for all teachers, which included PPE, snacks, and gift cards. Needless to say, the staff were both surprised and appreciative.”

In October, the organization invited students and parents to attend a college essay-writing workshop sponsored by the chapter. During the event, students were able to prepare their college essays for submission to various colleges and scholarship organizations.

“This was especially important to our students as so many were attending school virtually and felt overwhelmed by the college application process,” Buff explained.

The group’s support did not stop there. This spring, the chapter continued their good work by replenishing the hygiene bags for Newton High School students. They also hosted two different teacher appreciation events to recognize the faculty and staff for their hard work. And finally, they ended the school year by providing a scholarship to a very deserving senior on Newton High School Honors Night.

“Your unwavering support for all of Newton High School’s stakeholders has been nothing short of amazing,” said Buff. “You stood in the gap at a time when other organizations were unable to provide the normal level of support. When Newton High School needed assistance, you were there to provide whatever we asked.”

“I can’t thank you enough for your organization stepping up in a time when a lot of us didn’t know what to do,” said Debbie Harper, President of the Newton County Chamber of Commerce. “When Dr. Buff reached out to you, you knew exactly what to do. I appreciate that. The fact that I am a graduate of Newton High School makes it even more special. Your support for this school is truly amazing.”

Upon accepting the award, Ms. Katheryn Williams, president of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.—Phi Omicron Zeta Chapter, addressed the assembled group and stated, “Dr. Buff, my sorority has four principles—scholarship, service, sisterhood and finer womanhood. While scholarship is the first principal…we pride ourselves on world-class service. Please know that we do this not for recognition; we do this because it is the right thing to do. My mom and dad always told me ‘to those who much is given, much is expected.’ And so we are very blessed and we are thankful that you allow us to use your school to help us facilitate the service that is so important to us.”

Williams noted that the organization would continue their partnership with Newton High School and promised even greater things to come.
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