When we are born, we get an alarming welcome into this world. The doctor slaps us on our backsides initiating cries just to make sure that our lungs are functioning. I find that to be a foreshadow of what life has in store for us.
Every birthday, we celebrate another year of life. It is customary to invest in cake, candles, balloons or even go further and splurge on a party. But I think the true appreciation for life comes at another time. When tests of faith come and go, it is as though God has pinched us on our arms just to make sure that we are still here.
There are other ways to turn our dark hours into light.
Sirena Saul did just that by helping Miami Norland and Miami Central Senior High School students.
Love never dies
Saul is a 30-something-year-old, slender, cocoa-toned woman with a radiant smile. She is known for having a sharp tongue lined with wit. Behind all of that, Saul said she carries “a burden on her heart.”
Saul’s son, Isaiah “Zay” Solomon, was killed while attending his cousin’s wake near West Little River in 2016. Isaiah would have been a high school senior this year. That means he would have been experiencing the activities leading up to his graduation, including attending prom. Instead of focusing on the moments that she would be missing out on, Saul decided to use the time to pay homage to Isaiah.
Saul sponsored other high school seniors for prom. She raised funds and paid for Jason Louis, a senior at Norland High, to attend his prom in style the weekend of May 10. This weekend, she sponsored Miami Central senior, Christian Namphy.
Saul shared pictures on Facebook of Jason, his date, she and her daughter smiling as they watched him off to prom.
Even though Isaiah is not physically here for his mother to dote on him on his prom night, Saul was able to pass on the love that lives on in her heart for him to Jason and Christian.
“I know Jason believes I changed his life…little does he know...HE CHANGED MINE,” she wrote on Facebook.
Teen Sensation Live
There is birth, our sunrises, and death, our sunsets, and there is everything in between. One of the transitions that we go through is growing from a child into an adult. Teenage years can be a challenging for both children and their parents. The transition from childhood to adulthood is hard one.
I still remember my prom more than a decade ago. I did not have a date because “my friend” attended another school, and his prom was the same night. My mother took me to a secondhand designer store where I found a beautiful red, mermaid style gown with lace and beading. Her only concern was that she did not want it to be too tight to show off too much of my young body.
Studies have shown that the arts serve as good outlet for children to express themselves, and it can lead to better academic performance. Nonprofit organization, People for A Better Community, tries to help teenagers focus on learning and developing their individual craft through preparation for the annual competition,Teen Sensation Live.
The event gives teens, 14-19, a platform to showcase their talent and the opportunity to go on to compete on popular TV programs such as the “Voice.”
Each year, the program invites individuals from the industry to assist in the audition process and as judges at the finals. Additionally, these individuals also serve as mentors to the teens during the time leading up to the finals.
The sixth annual Teen Sensation Live Singing Talent Competition took place, Friday May 17 at the Lauderdale Lakes Multipurpose Auditorium. The finalists were Melicia Rodriguez, Andrew Rochaud, Haven, Marshall Mitchell and Daniel Clarke. In the end, Andrew, a student at Dillard High School took home the top prize of $1,000. The 17-year-old, who started singing four years ago, said he is inspired by Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. He is full of soul.
Zeta debutante cotillion
This past weekend, a group of high school seniors made their debut as young women.
The Beta Tau Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., under the leadership of Dr. Lois Lee, held its annual Zeta Debutante Cotillion on Sunday, May 19, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Airport & Convention Center. This year’s theme was Gallery of Footprints: Past, Present, and Future.
The event showcased high school senior girls from the following schools: Barbara Goleman Senior High, Everglades High School, Miami Norland Senior High, Coral Reef High School, Florida Christian School, William H. Turner Technical Arts High School, Stranahan High School and North Miami Beach Senior High School.
In addition to celebrating the new debutantes, the Beta Tau Zeta Chapter also honored its Zeta debutantes from years past who have achieved success in their respective careers and communities.
Scholarships and awards were presented in excess of $20,000.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority is a community-conscious organization with hundreds of chapters worldwide and a membership of more than 125,000.
Living for more than a century
For the past several months, I have encountered a good amount of nonagenarians and centenarians in our community. My own aunt will be celebrating her 103rd birthday in August, and she has lived in Miami Gardens since she was in her 20s. Two weeks ago, I featured Beulah Lee Allen who turned 105 years old this month, and it looks like Allen has some company in the birthday club.
Severia “Vera” Herring will be 105 on May 26.
Herring was born in Havana, Florida in 1914 and moved to Miami, in her 20s after she married her late husband J.W. Herring. She has three daughters and four granddaughters and is an active member at St. Paul AME Church Miami, where she attends Sunday service every week.
Herring enjoys reading the newspaper and the Bible, watching her daytime soap operas, “Family Feud,” “Wheel of Fortune” and enjoying fun time with family.
Her granddaughter Tiffani Gulley reached out to me because the family is planning a birthday celebration. Gulley said her grandmother still has a good sense of humor.
“They told me this is my 105th birthday, but I don’t know anything about being that old,” said Herring about her upcoming birthday party.
I also received a call that Sally Bradshaw Williams, Miami Northwestern Class of ’59 was taken off life support and is now breathing on her own. She will be moving on from hospice to recovery. I made an announcement in the May 8 newspaper regarding the 60-year-reunion celebrations. The deadline was noted as May 10. However, many of Class of ’59ers have lagged behind on their bios and reservations. Any questions should be directed to Jackie Rawls, 786-444-1110. She will be finalizing the preparations this week.
The president of the Miami Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction Inc. also reached out because she forgot to mention one of the awardees at the Area IV Conference this year.
Lady Betty B. Bridges, Area IV Director Lady Crystal C. Pittman and the other members the Miami chapter extend their “congratulations” to the Top Lady of the Year award recipient, Lady JoAnn J. McDonald.
Don’t forget to live, laugh and dance in this whirl.
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