Delta Kappa Gamma Society Alpha Iota Chapter of Etowah and Cherokee County


  The Vagabond quite often sees a lot of folks who in the past have made contributions and are rarely recognized for their achievements. 

Members of the Alpha Iota Chapter of Etowah and Cherokee County are an example. There are many names listed here that many folks may recognize from the past.

It all got started by the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, which was founded in Austin, Texas on May 11, 1929. Delta Kappa Gamma is an educational, honor and professional organization for women educators. 

The name is a combination of the initial letters of three Greek words: Διδασκοτικι (di des ko’ tee ki’) – teacher; Κλειδουχι (kli doo’ ki) – key; and Γυναικεσ (gee ni’ kays) – women. 

Membership in the society is by invitation and extended to those women educators whose distinguished contributions and achievements in the field of education and to their communities are identified as outstanding. 

The nurturing environment of the society encourages all members to grow and reach the highest levels of professional and personal accomplishments that their many unique talents allow. 

Members are committed to fulfilling their potential for greatness, creativity, leadership and service through appropriate programs of action.

The Alpha Iota Chapter was founded as a chapter of Beta State (Alabama) on April 25, 1942. Charter members were Eura Brown, Mary Dale McCord, Bettie Heritage, Janey Knight, Francena McClendon, Jean Baker Todd, Elma Nelms, Mildred Marona, Daisy Slay, Martha Kirkland, Marie McDonald, Jewel Cobia, Virginia Haggard, Mertie Mey Moore, Lois Kirkland, Marguerite Page, Nettie Councelman, Orlean Wright, Estelle Smith, Brooksie Usry, Eloise McClendon, Luranie Greathouse, Louellen Hood and Haynie Johnson.

Alpha Iota’s First Three Years 1942-1944, 

by Martha Kirkland

“The Alpha Iota Chapter of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International saw birth on the evening of April 25, 1942, in the ballroom of the Hotel Reich in Gadsden, Ala. Eleven new members were initiated in an impressive ceremony conducted by Mrs. Ruth Cammack, State President. She was assisted by Miss Inez Smith and Miss Corrinne Weaver of Anniston and Mrs. Bushnell Johnson of Birmingham.

“Also assisting were state members Mrs. Virginia Haggard, Mrs. Mary Dale McCord, Mrs. Mertie Mey Moore and Miss Eura Brown. These state members affiliated themselves with Alpha Iota Chapter. Miss Marguerette Page and Miss Janette Knight were members in the counties in which they taught before coming to Gadsden. Mrs. Estelle Smith of Cherokee County was also a state member and affiliated with Alpha Iota Chapter. Initiates from Cherokee County included Mrs. Hayne Baker, Miss Jewel Cobia, Mrs. Amanda Henderson and Mrs. Mary F. Knight.

“Initiates from Gadsden and Etowah County were Mrs. Nettie Concelman, Miss Lois Kirkland, Miss Mildred Marona, Mrs. Eloise McClendon, Mrs. Francina McLendon, Mrs. Daisy Slay, Miss Brooksie Usry, Miss Olean Wright and Miss Martha Kirkland.

“Mrs. Virginia Haggard took the leadership of the infant chapter, and the first year was a great success. “Education – The School at War and the Children of the War Period” was the theme for the year. 

“Several outstanding leaders were called in for expert advice on this vital question.

“Eight meetings were held during the year, two of which were social. Mrs. Mary Dale McCord invited the entire chapter to spend the day with her at her lovely home in Bellevue Highlands.

“A houseboat party came as the climax of the year aboard the “Leota” on the Coosa River, with Mrs. Nettie Councelman as a gracious hostess.

“The second year saw a shortage of gasoline and tires. This meant getting more from each meeting and having fewer meetings. It was decided to hold only four meetings, but each was to be a luncheon.

“Eight new members were initiated in a beautiful ceremony conducted by Mrs. Virginia Haggard, President. New members included Miss Gladys Marona, Mrs. Ethyl Hollingworth, Miss Genora McFaddin, Mrs. Kathleen Miller, Miss Pollyanna Mobbs, Miss Lena Sue Neely, Miss Lillian Waits and Mrs. Floy B. Nixon.

“Mrs. Francina McLendon entertained with a lovely ‘spend the day’ party at her country home at Lock Three on the Coosa River.

“Teacher Recruitment or Better Teacher for Schools’ was selected for the theme of their third year program. Several prominent school leaders were invited to our high school to speak to the seniors in an effort to attract the best students into the teaching profession.

“New officers for the coming term were elected: Mrs. Mary Dale McCord, President; Miss Jewel Cobia, First Vice-President; Miss Genora McFaddin, Second Vice-President; Miss Lillian Waits, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Kathleen Miller, Corresponding Secretary; Miss Mildred Marona, Treasurer; and Mrs. Mertie Mey Moore, Parliamentarian. New members initiated were Mrs. S.L. Williams, Mrs. E.E.S. Sutton, Mrs. Odelle Waldrop, Miss Ava Jordan, Miss Thelma Williams, Mrs. Taska Tyson and Mrs. Winnie Galloway.

“The chapter was greatly honored in its January meeting by having the State President Miss Henrietta Thompson as its guest.

“During the three years spent in Alpha Iota Chapter, the members have been busy and happy, each trying to help in her own way in community welfare. And members have had a prominent part in the professional affairs of the community, county, state and national affairs.

“Mrs. Virginia Haggard was supervisor of mathematics at Training School, Alabama Polytechnic Institute at Auburn, Ala., in the summer of 1944. She served on the Legislative and Planning Committee for the Maryshall County Educational Association.

“Miss Luranie Greathouse was president of Etowah Nutrition Association.

“Miss Lois Kirkland serves on the Legislative and Policy Planning Committee of the Etowah County Association.

“Mrs. Estelle Smith, Elementary Supervisor of Cherokee County, has a leave of absence and is doing graduate work at Columbia University in New York.

“At a recent meeting of the District Alabama Educational Association, Miss Gladys Marona was elected Secretary. She served as vice-president for the state organization of School Attendance Supervisors.

“Miss Genoa McFaddin was re-elected to position of secretaryship in Department of Supervisors and Directors of Instruction in the State.

“Miss Mildred Marona was appointed member advisory committee on International Relations for the National Education Association.

“Mrs. Jean Baker Todd, Gadsden Art Supervisor, has been appointed a state judge for scholastic award in Art for Alabama.

“Miss Martha Kirkland has changed from teacher in the John S. Jones School to head department of Arts and Crafts at Etowah High School.

“Miss Lillian Waits was promoted from classroom teacher to principal at Disque Junior High School.

“The Alpha Iota Chapter has adopted the A.E.A. Legislative Program and has contacted our representatives in the state legislature and used every effort to gain their cooperation in securing legislation favorable to the schools.

“We have secured a 100 percent membership in Etowah County School System and Gadsden City School System in the National Education Association and have contacted our congressmen in regard to legislation for Federal Aid to Education.”

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