Ida Gillis (left), president of the Gamma Psi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, looks on as Jordan Newman (second from left), daughter of the late Ayronn Newman, presents a check for a $2,000 Ayronn Newman Scholarship to Shakiyla Gatewood of Gary. Alpha Kappa Alpha member Joyce Price (right) looks on. | Photo provided
Updated: February 11, 2014 6:13AM
When Shakiyla Gatewood was invited to attend an executive committee meeting of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Gamma Psi Omega chapter at the home of chapter president Ida Gillis on Dec. 23, she had no idea she’d be the center of attention for a very special presentation.
Gatewood, a nursing student at Indiana University Northwest and a member of the undergraduate chapter of AKA sorority, became the first recipient of the Ayronn Newman Scholarship.
The scholarship award was established through Newman, who died March 6 from breast cancer. Newman’s daughter, Jordan Newman, personally presented Gatewood with the $2,000 scholarship award during the meeting.
The scholarship award is given to a sophomore with a high grade point average.
“It was my mother’s wish to award a college student with a $2,000 scholarship for the next five years as a way to continue her legacy of education and excellence among minorities in our community,” Jordan Newman said. “My mother made it her mission to push for a good education and to strive for excellence. She wanted everyone to have the opportunity to attend college because it created a pathway to success.”
Newman is currently a senior at Morgan State University in Baltimore, and recently joined Alpha Kappa Alpha. Ayronn’s sister, Dayna Bennett, was also present at the meeting.
Gatewood said she was completely shocked when Gillis announced her name as a scholarship recipient.
“I honestly had no idea why I was attending the meeting, so yes, I was surprised!” Gatewood said. “I am grateful for the award as things financially have been tough. It really is a blessing and I am honored that my sorors thought so greatly of me to give me the scholarship. I am glad to be a part of a group of women that show so much love and concern for one another. It feels really good to have their support.”