City-wide reception honors Rayne’s Elaine Sias

A reception was held Sunday, March 29, 2009, at the Civic Center Ballroom in honor of Elaine M. Sias, National Second Vice President of the National Association of University Women.

Hosting the 3 p.m. event were ladies of the Rayne-Branch Chapter of the NAUW, who provided a complete and enjoyable afternoon program in her honor.

As announced by City Councilman Gerald Foreman, attending in place of Mayor Jim Petitjean, “Elaine M. Sias Day” was proclaimed for the day, one of many presentations made throughout the program.

Local president Katie Jolivette welcomed all in attendance, with musical selections provided by the Salt of the Earth Gospel Choir.

A special liturgical dance was performed by Jasmine Evans, and a special poem was recited by Mary K. Figaro, NAUW member and 1971 graduating classmate of Rayne High School.

Mistress of ceremonies was NAUW member Hilda Wiltz, who also made a presentation on behalf of the Congressman Charles Boustany.

Also taking the podium during the special event were Nolton J. Senegal, Executive Director of La. School Boards Association; NAUW Treasurer Mildred Young, Marshall Thibodeaux, Armstrong Middle School Principal; Ezora Proctor, NAUW Crowley-Branch; Laura Levy, NAUW Financial Secretary; Connie Fontenot, 2nd Vice President; and NAUW National President Ollie Johnson, who presented Elaine with a special gift for the special occasion.

On the national level of NAUW, Sias holds the office of 2nd Vice-President (2008-2010), and has also held the office of Corresponding Secretary (2004-2008), Nominating Committee Chair (2000-2004), Workshop Recorder and Facilitator, and served on the National Youth, Convention Committee at the 2000 National Youth Convention.

At the Section level, Sias has served as delegate, attended the Sectional Planning Session, Workshop Facilitator and Recorder, Recommendations Chair, By-Laws Com-mittee, Member of Sectional Choir, and served on the Necrology and Evaluations Committees.

Locally, Sias is a charter member, serving 28 years with the NAUW Rayne-Branch. She has served two terms as president, two terms 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Financial Secretary, Black History Month Program Chair, Initiated the Outstanding African American Citizen Award, chaired the City-Wide MLK Program, chaired the Acadiana Area Founders’ Day Celebration, Branch Sectional Newsletter Reporter, served on Scholarship, Youth, Library Day, Reading Jubilee Day and numerous other committees for the community.

A 28-year teaching veteran with the Acadia Parish School Board, Elaine is a teacher at Armstrong Middle School since 1979. She also taught at Rayne Catholic Elementary for three years and served as the swimming instructor/recereation director for 18 years with the City of Rayne. She also serves as the Talent Search Instructor for the Summer Enrichment Program offered throughout UL-Lafayette for underprivileged students.

In her professional preparation, she received her B.S. degree from Southern University in 1975, completed the PIPS Program and pursued elementary certification through LSU-Eunice and USL in 1995, and attained a master in education/administration from McNeese State University in 2003.

In addition to serving her community and NAUW, Elaine has also collected a number of honors, including 2000 Rayne Branch NAUW Woman of the Year, 2000 South Central Section NAUW Woman of the Year, 1st Runner-up 2000 National Woman of the Year, 1988 and 2004 Recipient of the A & O 21st Century Club’s “Ronald Duplechain Community Service Award, 1995 and 2007 Ebonite Civic and Social Club Woman of the Year, 1995 Lafayette Heritage Association’s Acadia Parish Teacher of the Year, 2000 Outstanding Female Civic Leader-City of Rayne, 2002 Outstanding African American Citizen Award-Rayne Branch NAUW Black History Month , “Woman of Excellence “ Award Nominee, 2007 Grand Marshall for the Krewe de Mardi Gras Creole Organization’s Mardi Gras Parade, and 2002, 2003, and 2004 Who’s Who Among Outstanding Teachers Nominee.

Sias is also affiliated with the Louisiana and National Educators Associations, Southern University Alumnae Chapter of Acadia Parish, and Ladies Auxiliary of St. Peter Clavier through the Shrine of Our Mother of Mercy.

Following the program, refreshments were served.

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