“Phenomenal Women” were honored on Saturday at a fundraising luncheon hosted by Surry County’s branch of the National Association of University Women (NAUW).
The purpose of the third-annual event was two-fold, according to JoAnn Larkins. The first was to honor amazing, phenomenal women who have given of themselves year after year, and the second was to fund a scholarship to go to a female student attending a four-year university or college. Applications are open for the scholarship through May 1.
“We never give up on our young people,” said Cheryl Yellow Fawn Scott, president of Mount Airy’s NAUW. “And because you’re here, I know you don’t, either.”
To set the tone for the event and explain the concept of phenomenal women, Marie Nicholson and Shepaille Dobson performed Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Woman.” J.J. Jones Auditorium was decorated for the event with flowers in honor of the theme, “Beautiful Flowers in our Midst.”
Roxanne Beamer performed the song “Give me my flowers,” the lyrics of which expressed the event’s theme. “Give me my flowers while I live, so that I can see the beauty that they bring.” Flowers, both literal and figurative, were then given to the honorees while they lived. Among those honorees receiving flowers while they live are an octogenarian and a nonagenarian.
The five Phenomenal Women chosen for 2018 are Sharon Galloway, Rebecca Hampton, Katie Hatcher, Leona McArthur and Teressa Spencer. Hampton was not able to attend the event.
In her acceptance speech, Sharon Galloway offered her philosophy to the audience, “Treat the people the way you want to be treated. They are all God’s children.”
“I am so glad somebody sees something in me I don’t see,” said Katie Hatcher. “I’m not anything phenomenal. I’m just a plain lady. Thank you for considering me a phenomenal woman.”
“I couldn’t even spell ‘phenomenal,’ Hatcher added, “and most of you can’t either. But you’re never too old to learn something new.” Hatcher left the podium to uproarious applause and a standing ovation, having set the bar high for the remaining speakers.
Leona McArthur was one of the original members of Mount Airy’s chapter of the NAACP, and is one of the few founders still living.
Teressa Spencer worked with HeadStart, as a hairdresser and with France Medical Center before going to Spencer’s Funeral Home upon the death of her mother-in-law, according to the introduction given her by Scott.
Speaking of Spencer’s work at Spencer’s Funeral Home, Scott said, “Where you are at the most horrendous time of your life, that’s her everyday reality.”
When Spencer got up to speak, she said,”I almost didn’t come. I didn’t tell my husband. He’s going to kill me.”
Scott closed the program by saying, “What a community to belong to. What a village to belong to.” She then offered the group a piece of advise given to her by her mother. “Each one – reach one.”
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.