Photo by Jeylin White
Morrow High School students, who are members of the new Ladies on F.I.R.E mentoring group, stand should-to-should, in a military fashion, on Thursday, prepping to recite the organization’s motto.
“The spark ignites the flame, and the flame lights the torch,” are the words of Lance Secretan, a management consultant, leadership expert and coach.
His quote is also the motto for the new Ladies of F.I.R.E. Mentoring Organization at Morrow High School.
F.I.R.E. is an acronym for Fortitude, Intelligence, Respect, and Excellence.
“The purpose of [the] Ladies of F.I.R.E. Mentoring Organization of Morrow High School is a positive, enlightening club for Morrow High School young ladies, that encourages high scholastic achievement, team-building, character development, educational and career planning, and community service,” said founders, Tiffany Adams and Marcia Payton.
During a meeting of the group, Thursday, the organization’s motto was boldly underlined when Adams instructed the young women to stand in a line, shoulder-to-shoulder, military-style. Adams then asserted herself like a drill sergeant, demonstrating how she wanted the young women to recite the motto with some “oomph.”
After a few rounds of practice, the giddy teenage girls managed to recite the motto with precision, force, and crisp enunciation.
Adams and Payton, who are sorority sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., said the exercise was used to instill confidence, and to show the teens how to be assertive in front of a crowd –– if they were to perform in a step show or some other public function. Adams and Payton even showed video clips of sorority sisters in step-show competitions.
However, the two women emphasized that the Ladies of F.I.R.E., is not affiliated with the sorority.
Adams said F.I.R.E., does support community service and sisterhood. She said, while the girls will get the opportunity to perform in a step show, the organization is more than that. “We want this organization to maintain a sense of sacredness –– a sense of ownership,” she said. “We are not grooming young women to become a part of a sorority, but forming a bond with one another.”
Payton, a science teacher, and Adams, the school’s secretary, said the two started the group to motivate, and invoke positive change in the young women, and at the school.
Adams said she is a former music teacher, and missed the camaraderie and the bond with students, and wanted to gain that back. “Being a music teacher for five years, you tend to form a strong bond with students,” she said. “Music is very impactful.”
Adams said she and Payton distributed 35 applications for interested young ladies, and 15 were submitted. Adams said, after a thorough application-and-interview process, and a mentally stimulating activity, nine girls were selected.
Cynthia Obie, tenth-grader, was one of the nine. She said she believes Ladies of F.I.R.E., will teach her the “true” value of sisterhood. “I feel, if you are having a problem, you will always have someone to turn to,” said Obie, “[It’s good to know] that you are not alone.” She added that being a part of the organization is like a second home.
Her classmate, tenth-grader Ure Obasi, agreed. She said reciting the motto taught her something about confidence. “For someone like me, who is shy ... if you want to be known, or heard, be loud.”
Amber Byars, another tenth-grader said she was looking forward to doing community-service work, and competing in step-show competitions. “Stepping is something that I always wanted to do,” said Byars. “I think this will prepare me to become a Delta, because that’s what I want to be.”
The girls already got a jump start on community-service work last month, Adams said. They were part of “Project Warmth,” that involved donating colorful gloves and lotion to other children during the holidays. For its next initiative –– during the month of January –– the group will share health-and-wellness tips, and conduct weekly fitness seminars, for students and teachers.