The Wellington Preceptor Epsilon Lambda chapter of Beta Sigma Phi is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Beta Sigma Phi International is a non-academic sorority with 200,000 members in chapters around the world. Founded in 1931 in Abilene, Kan., by Walter W. Ross, the organization has spread to every state of the U.S., every Canadian province, and 30 other countries.
The sorority was founded for the social, cultural, and civic enrichment of its members who have donated approximately $1 million to medical research and treatment through its endowment fund.
The Wellington chapter got its start from an Elyria chapter and has grown and changed through the years with as many as 13 and as few as eight members. All present members have attained the Laureate Degree and three have received the Torchbearer Degree, the highest degree in Beta Sigma Phi.
In the beginning, Wellington Beta Sigma Phi meetings were held at the local bank community room. Joyce Horvath, one of the founding members, explained that it was a custom to wear dresses to all meetings and a formal gown for the rituals. Most of the women at the time were “stay-at-home moms” who were also involved in various daytime activities such as the local women’s league and daytime cards.
Today, meetings are held once a month in a member’s home. The traditions have remained the same but attire is business casual for meetings and festive dress for holidays. Focus is given to the community and performing service projects that involve the schools and Well-Help as well as social events. Also, spouses are involved in most monthly socials.
Important to the group is fundraising to provide a scholarship each year to be awarded to a deserving Wellington High School senior. Fundraisers have seen many changes over the last 50 years, from long hours spent selling food on the Fourth of July and ushering at the Lorain County Fair as well as many other projects. The longest-running fundraiser at more than 30 years is ushering at the Lorain County Fair.
Members are dedicated and enjoy the camaraderie of the sisterhood and the fulfillment of working to support the community of Wellington in any way they can. Active members presently are Brenda Stump, Marsha Coates, Jann Dyke, Debbie Dumke, Elaine Howk, Diane Knoble, Karen Norton, and Jodi Rollin.