TULSA — Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. celebrates its 100th anniversary with a series of planned events — which culminate at the national convention in Washington, D.C., in July. The 78th Mid-Western Regional Conference in Tulsa is one of the many centennial celebrations.

During the conference, a public program and reception will be held to honor community leaders throughout Oklahoma, including Muskogee. The public program will be at 7 p.m. today at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Promenade Room C and D. There’s no cost to attend the program.

The Muskogee honorees are Derryl Venters and Cassandra Gaines. Venters is the first African-American woman to serve as an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Muskogee Public Schools. She has served as district science curriculum coordinator, director of professional development and public relations.

Venters was inducted into the Oklahoma State Science and Engineering Hall of Fame. She has also received a U.S. Department of Energy Fellowship to work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She also was selected as Teacher of the Year for Muskogee Public Schools in 1989. In 1992, she was selected Educator of the Year.

Gaines, a tourism specialist in northeastern Oklahoma since 1982, has developed and promoted Black historical towns gaining national notoriety including appearances in Essence Magazine. Gaines' efforts have even brought celebrities to Muskogee. She has received the TIA Destiny Awards Special Project for her work in tourism. Gaines serves as the president of Women Who Care, a breast cancer awareness organization and spearheaded a Feed the Homeless project on Christmas Eve.

Hundreds of AKA members throughout the region will be in attendance to celebrate a century of excellence, service and progress and to honor community leaders.

The conference will include a variety of workshops that prepare members to implement program platforms that address economics, sisterhood and partnership.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. was founded to touch lives. It’s a sisterhood created to effect change-committed to improving the stature of women and service to all mankind. Recognizing community leaders that exemplify the same level of community service and commitment is a great honor and, more importantly, an amazing contribution for those in need.

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