Coronado Chapters Celebrate P.E.O. Founders’ Day - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Island News

Coronado Chapters Celebrate P.E.O. Founders’ Day

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Posted: Monday, January 27, 2020 3:48 pm | Updated: 3:55 pm, Mon Jan 27, 2020.

Each January the five Coronado chapters of the P.E.O. Sisterhood gather to honor the founders and to join fellow sisters in celebrating the philanthropic sisterhood. Since 1915, the chapters have fulfilled the requirement to celebrate the seven founders annually in various ways. While some chapters have their own ceremonies, Coronado uses the opportunity to meld the various chapters and enlarge the concept of P.E.O. among its members.

Although the official anniversary is on Jan. 21, Coronado sisters gathered on Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Coronado Golf Course for a brief candle lighting ceremony. Using a variety of candles symbolized the diversity of the members who stand together to shine a powerful light of influence. A speech by Peggy Bottorf, a past president of California State Chapter, highlighted the virtues and interesting trivia of the founders as well as some organizational problems the early members experienced.

Coronado Crown City Reciprocity, a group composed of chapter presidents and representatives, each year organizes the event with each chapter participating. Margaret Balcom, a past president of North Carolina State Chapter, as CCC Reciprocity president was the MC. Eight Golden Girls, members of P.E.O. for 50 years or more, attended and received a yellow rose. Jean Condon from Chapter UD and Barbara Stevenson from Chapter D, as members for 66 years, were the longest members in attendance. Marion Behrns from Chapter UD holds the record for Coronado with 80 years as a P.E.O. Mary Gilliland from MY was the newest member of the elite group. Five new members also, attended.

P.E.O. began in 1869 with seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. When only two girls were selected for a new sorority, the friends decided to start their own “friendship society.” They wrote a creed, constitution, and instituted procedures that endure today. Little did the seven realize that in 2020 almost a quarter of a million women in the United States and Canada would be following in their footsteps as members. With five international philanthropies to promote education for women, P.E.O. strives to make a difference. The URL describes the organization as the following: “PEO is a philanthropic organization where women celebrate the advancement of women, educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations.”

Cottey College, a women’s college in Nevada, Missouri, is a private, fully accredited liberal arts and sciences college funded and supported by the P.E.O. Sisterhood since 1927. It has two-year and selected four-year programs. “Its commitment to academic quality, its spirited and energetic environment and independent mindedness are qualities it inherited from its founder, Virginia Alice Cottey.”

The State Chapter President, Becky Clines from Carlsbad, chose this year’s theme “Make Your Moments,” which epitomizes the leadership qualities and strength of the P.E.O. sisters. Many of the traditions may be from the early beginnings, but the speaker emphasized that “We will continue to evolve and grow to meet the communities’ needs.” P.E.O. women tend to be independent thinkers who are perhaps best described by the selection Balcomb read to the assembled women. “In P.E.O. we laugh a lot; we try our best; we tell the truth; we hug often; we make mistakes; we never give up; we always forgive; we always have fun; but above all we love.”

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