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Who Sang it Best?

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Local sorority chapter hosts a lip-sync challenge TV show to raise scholarship funds for area students

For many organizations and businesses in our community, events of all kinds came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic, but the Sanford Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority quickly found a way to reimagine its signature annual scholarship fundraiser, which raises more than $10,000 every year for deserving high-school graduates throughout Seminole County.

With a dose of creative thinking and lots of community support, the organization launched Lip Sync Challenge Seminole County, a television show and lip-sync battle featuring three local community leaders. The event aired on Orlando station WRDQ TV 27 on Saturday, January 30, and was made viewable from anywhere in the world via WFTV Live on Facebook and on the WFTV Now App.

“Conceptualizing the TV show was one thing, but it was quite another to find three community leaders who were willing to take off their business suits, change into entertainment attire, and step on a stage to risk ridicule,” grins Lajuana Miller, the sorority’s fundraising committee chair. “But all of them are extremely dedicated to serving their community, so I wasn’t surprised that they agreed to do it. We cannot thank them enough as this would not have been possible without their participation. From my perspective, all three are winners.”

The competitors included Reverend Octavious Smith; Donna Walsh, health officer with the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County; and Sanford City Commissioner Kerry Wiggins, Sr. from district 2. 

As the contestants performed their lip-sync routines, viewers placed their votes online while two celebrity judges – State Representative Kamia Brown and Thomas McClary, founder and lead guitarist of The Commodores – finalized the vote. All three competitors brought their A game to the stage, but Commissioner Kerry Wiggins, Sr. emerged victorious. 

The televised event also featured a salute to first responders, a raffle drawing with a grand prize of $1,000 in cash, and the announcement of the 2020-2021 Public Servant Award recipient, Melvin Philpot. The award is presented annually to individuals in Seminole County who exemplify the ideals of the sorority: service, leadership, and empowerment.

“Once Mr. Philpot’s name was mentioned, there was a unanimous vote for him to be our honoree,” says Rhonda Combs-Jenkins, president of the Sanford Alumnae Chapter. “He is a native of Sanford and a lifelong resident who has led efforts that positively touched nearly every aspect of life in Seminole County through his service on boards, committees, his church, and throughout his career.”

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization that provides assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. Since its founding, more than 300,000 women have joined the organization, a sisterhood of predominantly African-American, college-educated women. The Sanford Alumnae Chapter was established in 1984 by a group of Delta women who wanted to help those in need in Seminole County. The chapter is involved in educational development, economic development, physical and mental health awareness, political awareness and involvement, and international awareness and involvement. More information about the organization can be found at SanfordFLDST.com.

For students interested in applying for the Sanford Alumnae Chapter scholarships, reach out to Ruth Walker at DBunyan@BellSouth.net or  407-416-9878. Awards will be presented in June.

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