Press Room

Military sorority has prom surprise for Aycock student


Destiny Washington, center and her grandmother Deborah Everett speak with Destiny's mother, Devin Atkinson, on a cell phone held by her aunt Jamie Everett after receiving a check from Kappa Epsilon Psi.

Destiny Washington had no plans to go to prom this year.

The Charles B. Aycock High School senior didn't like "that stuff," she said, and was going to pass.

That was until members of Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority surprised her last week with a $500 sponsorship, which will pay for her ticket, clothes, shoes and whatever else she needs.

Why would a military sorority give money to a high school student? That is because Ms. Washington has already signed her paperwork to enlist in the U.S. Army, and will head off to basic training after she graduates.

Retired Air Force Tech Sgt. Mary Williams, vice president of the sorority's Goldsboro chapter, said the group decided to give Ms. Washington the money based on its core principles.

"We have three pillars, to honor our past, unite our current service members, and mentor and inspire future service members," she said. "We figured we'd been doing pretty well with the first two, and it was time to find a future member to mentor. So we reached out to the local recruiter, and through him we found Destiny."

The donation was the first of its kind that the sorority chapter has done, but Ms. Williams said the group plans to do more going forward.

The sorority members gathered in the lobby outside one of Ms. Washington's classes, and greeted her with smiles as she came around the corner.

After Ms. Williams introduced the sorority members, to her credit, Ms. Washington took the surprise in stride, although she couldn't help but be a bit overwhelmed.

"I don't even know what I'm thinking right now," she said.

Several members of Ms. Washington's family were there for the surprise. Deborah Everett, her grandmother, said that Ms. Washington's choice to join the Army had been a surprise.

"It was her decision, she made it on her own," Mrs. Everett said. "I'm glad she did it though. It will give her a chance to mature, and it will be her way to give a contribution to society."

Mrs. Everett said that Ms. Washington has earned the recognition she received.

"Destiny never asked anybody for anything," she said. "She wants a lot out of life, and she's going to go get it."

An avid basketball player, Ms. Washington said she has spoken to recruiters about playing while in the Army. She said that, having been inspired by one of her teachers, she wants to be a biomedical engineer once she joins up.

For now, however, she's changed her mind on going to the prom.

"Well yeah, I'll go now," she said with a smile.