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Alabama DKG members travel for international convention

By Susie Hovater Malone

More than 60 Alabama Delta Kappa Gamma members traveled by bus, train, plane or car to New Orleans this past month to attend the International DKG Convention, July 12-16. More than 800 members spent five days in the Big Easy, attending workshops and business sessions, touring historical sites or just rolling on the mighty Mississippi River.

Three members of the Franklin County DKG Alpha Upsilon Chapter – Cheri McCain, Gayle McAlister and Beverly Donaldson – were among the DKG Alabama State Delegation.

Cheri, president of the DKG Alpha Upsilon Chapter, said one of the highlights of the convention was getting to hear Iceland’s acclaimed Teacher of the Year, Ingvi Omarsson, speak about five guiding principles in education.

Omarsson is considered as one of the top 200 teachers in the world. Among his guiding principles, he said standardized tests tell us nothing; they exist for administrators and political purposes.  His second guiding principle is that collaboration is key while educating a child.

He also said he believes students learn best by doing, and playing is the ultimate form of doing.

The fourth principle states, “To be intelligent is to be creative.” Top scientific Nobel Prize winners have also had interests and hobbies as artists, musicians, stage performers and dancers according.

The fifth principle is that “The purpose of education is to make us more human, not machines.” Instead of being second-rate robots, we should strive to be first-rate humans.

He ended his presentation with the message, “To be educated is to be more human.”

Gayle said this was one of the best conventions she’s ever attended. She was impressed by the handheld vote counters that were used for the first time by delegates voting on amendments. The vote counters were controlled by the head of technology, and results posted within seconds on a screen, with percentages.

Beverly, former DKG Alabama state president, attended three workshops at the convention. The first one was “What in the World Is ‘World Fellowship’?” The history and background of World Fellowship were presented. Funding and how chapters raise money for World Fellowship were shared. A video featuring some of the World Fellowship recipients were shown.

The “Challenges of Membership: Encouragement to Change” workshop covered how DKG is relevant to different stages of our life. Programs should be meaningful as well as add some life back into the chapter. The workshop shared many ideas on how to keep members interested in DKG and make sure the chapters are visible in their communities.

The workshop titled “Like Tulips in the Snow: Pushing through Personal Stagnation” gave suggestions to help participants release emotional stagnation in their daily lives and navigate feelings of being overwhelmed. Participants learned how to push through and rise above personal tensions toward purpose and joy and were encouraged to give personal examples of how they need help with struggles in their lives.

Beverly said all these workshops were very informative and helpful, and she really enjoyed all three.

Each day was filled with business meetings, workshops and more, but the evenings were for fun! DKG Alabama President Penny Christian scheduled various entertaining events each evening. A Jazz Dinner Cruise was hosted on the Riverboat City of New Orleans. One evening was dedicated to a

two-hour bus tour of the “Dead of Night Ghosts & Haunts.” Dinner was enjoyed at Cafe Du Monde, and everyone enjoyed eating beignets. It’s a must when in New Orleans to go to Pat O’Brien’s and enjoy singing along with the group!

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