by Grace Houston, Lambda Tau (U of Louisiana Monroe), International Vice President
We often hear that the choices we make define us, and I believe that is true. What beliefs or ideals determine the choices we make? What values have major influence on our behavior and attitude and serve as broad guidelines in all situations? Values are not selected but are discovered. Our values reveal themselves to us. Our values form our thoughts, words and actions. Our decisions are a reflection of our values and beliefs and are always directed toward a specific purpose.
As stated in the Object of the Fraternity, Alpha Omicron Pi was founded on the ideals of love among its members, with the goal of striving for character, dignity, scholarship and college loyalty.
I joined AOII as a second semester freshman and found women who shared my values. Scholarship was as important to these women as it was to me. My new sisters were women of good character. Love was evident in their behavior, and charity took on a new meaning when hearing their words and viewing their actions.
I witnessed the love we often speak about very early in my life as an AOII from two very special women. Our Vice President and Pledge Trainer (New Member Educator is the current title) was Norma Jean Magee Vance. A campus beauty, she was admired by all. When Jean became President of the chapter, I was excited that she would initiate the six new members from the spring semester. Her love for us was evident in the preparation we received for initiation. Looking into Jean’s beautiful eyes as she brought me into AOII is one of my most treasured and vivid AOII memories. Not only did Jean teach me about AOII, she also brought me into AOII.
I met Eleanore Dietrich MacCurdy at the first spring formal I attended. She was our Collegiate Director (similar to today’s Network Specialist) and exemplified fraternal love and graciousness. After my graduation and move to Shreveport, Louisiana, Eleanore and her husband Bob took me into their family and guided me in my first time away from home. Eleanore later served the Fraternity as National President.
Sisterhood in AOII is more than words and promises, attending meetings, or even wearing our badges and letters. It is sharing our story, discovering our similarities and differences, and finding strength in learning about each other. Stella, Helen, Jessie and Bess were loyal friends and lived by their values of love, integrity, good character and social awareness. They were courageous, and that courage inspires us to achieve greatness. The Founders lived their values each day, and we are inspired to do the same.
I have modeled my life by the examples of the women mentioned above and follow these three rules from legendary football player and coach Lou Holtz:
Do the right thing.
Do the best you can.
Always show people you care.