June 11, 2014
Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Seminar, National 4H Center
June 3, 2014
Elayne Bennett attended the National Dropout Prevention Board meeting in Atlanta, GA.
April 28 - 30, 2014
Milken Institute Global Conference, Los Angeles
March 5, 2014
World Over

Raymond Arroyo interviews Elayne Bennett on her book Daughters in Danger.

January 29, 2014
The Laura Ingraham Show

Interview with Elayne Bennett on the culture and its effect on girls today.

January 27, 2014
The O'Reilly Factor

Elayne Bennett interview with Bill O'Reilly on her book Daughters in Danger: helping our girls thrive in today's culture.

June 18, 2013
Family and school reception ceremony for Best Friends and Best Men at Brightwood Education Center

April, 2012
See our current college council scholarship recipients with this link:
2012 College Council students

March, 2012
See our Foundation Spring newsletter

View a 32 page .pdf file of our 2012 Spring newsletter and see news about our program results, fundraising activities, donors, achievements of our student leaders, college scholarships, our curriculum and programs and our staff and volunteers.
View a full color 32 page .pdf file of our 2012 Spring newsletter (large 1.5 MB file)

November, 2011
"Drug Free Me" Video

"Drug Free Me" Video
Our students were encouraged to submit a fun and inspiring video for the second annual MusiCares® and GRAMMY Foundation® Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest. This contest gives an opportunity for teens to express and celebrate a healthy life, free of drugs. We thought this would be a wonderful way to feature teens who have happy and healthy lifestyles.
We are proud to have joined forces with Hope Ajayi, College Council member, and Lori Williams, a former Best Friends employee and current Vocal Music Director at Wilson Senior High School and her harmonious vocal ensemble. The determination and dedication of the production team and the students involved made the video a success. The music video displayed a group of vibrant and healthy teens who were singing, dancing, doing cartwheels, basketball drills, and cheers. The teens encouraged other teens to stay drug free and as the lyrics of the song say, to keep a “clear head, clear mind.” The purpose of the video is to encourage other teens to not use drugs so they avoid the problems they bring.

October, 2011
Greater Washington
Give to the Max Day was November 9th, 2011. Please donate next year.

Give To The Max Day - Greater Washington Fundraising

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
was Greater Washington
Give to the Max Day.
Please Donate Next Year.

July 15th, 2011
Elayne Bennett interview with
Seth Leibsohn on
Bill Bennett's “Morning in America” radio
talk show

Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of Best Friends Foundation was interviewed by Seth Leibsohn, Producer/Director of Research for Bill Bennett's “Morning in America” radio talk show on the importance of marriage. Listen to the interview by using the following link:

June 17th, 2011
2011 Diamond Girl
and Best Men Leadership
Scholarship Recipients

2011 Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Scholarship Recipients
Diamond Girl Leadership
*Hope Ajayi George Washington University
Kevwe Ajueyitsi North Carolina A & T
Tori Dugger University of New Haven
Yaa Yaa Hunt Pennsylvania State University
Lauren Mauney Bryn Athyn College
Mbachur Mbenga Trinity University

Best Men Leadership

DeAngelo Anderson Montgomery Community College
Jamal Childs North Carolina A & T
Cameron Harris Howard University
Christopher Holness Virginia Commonwealth University

*Hope Ajayi has received a full scholarship from George Washington University.
Her Diamond Girl Leadership award is a U. S. Savings Bond to be utilized within the GWU scholarship guidelines.


June 17th, 2011 event
Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Recognition Program

The Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Recognition Program was held on Friday, June 17th, 2011 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on 7100 Connecticut Avenue.
A luncheon was served in the Danforth Courtyard and the Recognition Program followed in Aiton Auditorium. The Recognition Program recognized the 2011 Scholarship recipients, the Best Friends Foundation College Council and the achievements of Diamond Girl Leadership, Best Men Leadership, Potomac Job Corps and the support and dedication of their school principals, coordinators and parents.
Open a .pdf of pages from the event program booklet for details about the event.


June 17th-18th, 2011 event
Youth Leadership Summit

The Youth Leadership Summit was held on Friday and Saturday, June 17th –18th, 2011 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on 7100 Connecticut Avenue. Sessions for student leaders included: video and discussions about Dating Violence, Healthy Relationships/Healthy Marriage - Conflict Resolution and Communication Skills, College and Career Planning, Networking and Financial Planning.

Contact Pauline Hamlette or phone for details about the summit at
(202) 478-9677.

March, 2011
New CDC Sex Report for ages
15 to 24

Great News!
A new sex trends report has been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Researchers found that between 2006 and 2008, abstinence was 27% in young men between the ages of 15 and 24 years, up 22% since 2002. Abstinent females in the same age bracket was at 29%, up 7% from 2002. Students, parents, teachers and risk-avoidance programs like ours can be encouraged by this positive new trend for America's youth.

Anjani Chandra, a health scientist at the NCHS comments:
"I think a lot of people misconstrue this as meaning they've never had vaginal sex. But this is no sexual contact of any kind......They didn't have anything. It's what they're telling us and we have to take it on faith."

View a .pdf file of the full 49 page CDC/NCHS report.

March, 2011 Newsletter "The Leader" published

The newsletter for the Best Friends Foundation and the National Youth Leadership Summit entitled "The Leader" has been published. View a 20 page .pdf file of "The Leader" and see news about our program results, fundraising activities, donors, achievements of our student leaders and our curriculum and programs.

February 26th, 2011 event

Dating Violence Prevention Seminar:Stop the Silence. Prevent the Violence”

uk prom dress

In response to the current epidemic of teen violence and abuse, the Best Friends Foundation conducted a Dating Violence Prevention Seminar: Stop the Silence. Prevent the Violence” on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on 7100 Connecticut Avenue.

View a .pdf file of the program for the Dating Violence Prevention Seminar.
The Best Friends Foundation is a recipient of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Healthy Marriage / Healthy Relationships grant for high school youth. An important component of the grant is the focus on teen violence and abuse in intimate relationships. We are expanding our program to offer our HHS approved curriculum and Violence and Abuse Prevention Protocol to more students and teachers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The Seminar agenda included a performance of the “Yellow Dress” by Deana's Educational Theater and a presentation by Best Friends Foundation Leadership students entitled “Make Music Not Madness” which promoted positive peer relationships through music and dance. The performances were followed by a question and answer period with Dr. Robert DuPont a graduate of the Harvard Medical School and a nationally recognized expert on substance abuse. Dr. DuPont is the founding president of the Institute for Behavior and Health. Lunch was provided and a workshop on Conflict Resolution and Communication Skills was held in the afternoon.

If you have any questions regarding the seminar, please contact either Pauline Hamlette at 202-478-9683 or by email at phamlette@bestfriendsfoundation.org or Elayne Bennett at ebennett@bestfriendsfoundation.org for more information. 

10th-12th, 2010

The National Youth Leadership Summit was held Friday, September 10th - Sunday, September 12th at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in DC. This event was sponsored by the HHS Healthy Relationships/Healthy Marriage grant. An expert guest speaker panel included Dr. Curtis Adams, author and psychiatrist; Judge Reggie Walton, U.S. District Judge, District of Columbia;  Judge Anita Josey-Herring, Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; Seth Leibsohn, Producer/Director of Research “Morning in America” radio talk show and Claremont Institute Fellow; Seth's wife Elaine Leibsohn who is an expert in community relations/strategic partnerships and a featured speaker at numerous national conferences; and Kyle Mims a former Best Men member and graduate of Temple University in 2010. There was also a dance for leadership students on Saturday night. Some topics addressed at the summit included: Benefits of Healthy Relationships and Marriage, Drugs and Alcohol, Dating Violence, and AIDs and STDs.

May 13th, 2010
The 2010 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event
was held Thursday evening May 13th, 2010 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC.
Attendees, donors and distinguished guests enjoyed a heartwarming evening of great music,
dining and dancing to benefit our DC students.
The Best Friends Foundation expresses
our heartfelt appreciation to all who attended and donated to benefit our youth.
You can go to the event web page to view details of that year's event.
February 26th, 2010

The Best Men Health and Fitness Day was a great success! 306 attend.
The event was attended by 256 Best Men in middle school and 50 Best Men Leadership high school students. Health and Fitness Day featured a basketball tournament and was held at Georgetown Prep High School. We are very grateful to Father George and Jeff Jones of Georgetown Prep for hosting and helping with this event. Congratulations to Best Men staff Danny Flynn, Jon Carter and Kevin Kistler. Staff members Pauline Hamlette, Rita Burns and Robin Williams were also involved in managing this successful event. The leadership students attended a one hour curriculum session on victimization and how to report domestic violence. They were joined by thirty 9th and 10 graders for a guided curriculum session and discussion. This was an excellent day in which nearly 80 high school boys learned the domestic violence protocol and to recognize the signs of victimization.

February 2nd, 2010

Landmark research published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine proves abstinence education effective.
The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that a federally funded study producing the highest level of scientific evidence evaluated an abstinence class for an extended period of time and found it as effective or more effective than compared classes. The study was led John B. Jemmott III, PhD a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Jemmott, his wife, Loretta S. Jemmott. PhD, RN and Geoffrey T. Fong, Phd conducted the randomized controlled trial of 662 6th and 7th grade students in urban public schools.
Link to the Washington Post article Link to the New York Times article
Link to the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine article

January 30th, 2010
(Event planned for May 13th, 2010)

The 2010 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event will be held Thursday evening May 13th at the Four Seasons Hotel in DC. Please go to the event web page to view details. Please contact Ann Goldsmith at (202) 478-9685 for sponsorship and ticket information.

January 29th, 2010

Best Friends staff referenced on The World Over with Raymond Arroyo radio program
Pauline Hamlette, National and Metropolitan Program Director of the Best Friends Foundation and Robin Williams, Best Friends Metropolitan Program Manager of the Best Friends Foundation were referenced on the rise in teen pregnancy rates.
Download the program (may be downloaded for private use only)

January 26th, 2010

Best Friends on Laura Ingraham radio program
Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of the Best Friends Foundation was on the Laura Ingraham radio show to discuss teen pregnancy.

September 11-13, 2009

The 2009 Best Friends Foundation National Youth Leadership Summit
was held September 11th—13th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.
See a .pdf of the newsletter for this event, "The Leader."

July 16th, 2009

Best Friends on Bennett Mornings
Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of the Best Friends Foundation and Valerie Huber were on Bennett Mornings radio show. Follow this link to hear the broadcast on townhall.com.

June 5th, 2009

The 2009 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event "Make Music Not Madness" was held Friday evening June 5th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC.
Attendees, donors and distinguished guests enjoyed a heartwarming evening of great music, dining and dancing to benefit our DC students. Best Friends celebrates 22 years of programs that "Make Music Not Madness."
The Best Friends Foundation expresses our heartfelt appreciation to all who attended and donated to benefit our services to youth. We especially wish to thank these donors:
Benefactor Council–Susan and Lawrence Kadish
Patron Council–Elayne and Bill Bennett, GEICO, Jim Kimsey-Kimsey Foundation,
Marlene and Fred Malek, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Bill O'Reilly
Friends Council–L & S Milken Foundation, Rosenthal Automotive

March 30, 2009

Best Friends on Fox News—The O'Reilly Factor Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of the Best Friends Foundation, appeared on
The O’Reilly Factor
on the FOX News Channel on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:00 pm EST
(repeated at 11 pm EST).


February 22, 2009

Best Friends Health is Happiness Day
9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
“Stop the Madness” Panel Luncheon and “Make Music Not Madness” Assembly
Noon – 2:30 p.m.
For additional Health is Happiness Day information contact:
Rita Kelly Burns at 202-478-9677


February 20-22, 2009

Best Friends Foundation National Training Conference
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC 20015

For additonal Training Conference and Luncheon information contact:
Ann Goldsmith at 202-478-9677

February 7, 2009

Best Men Health and Fitness Day – February 7, 2009
Boys and Girls Club – The Arc, 1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

December 13, 2008


Holiday Party
The Holiday Party for Best Friends and Best Men mentors and the College Council students was held on Saturday, December 13th at Catholic University.
Christmas came early for the Metropolitan Leadership Choir, Best Men Leadership Step Team, and Diamond Girl Leadership Dance Troupe as they performed at the Angel for a Day celebration on the campus of Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Approximately 500 children from area schools enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon of carols, games, and activities. A highlight was a Secret Santa room where approximately 1000 toys were distributed.

Sponsored by the DC Young Men’s Leadership Team, the fifth annual holiday event brought smiles to the faces of all who attended. Special guest Bishop Martin D. Holley of the Archdiocese of Washington DC commended the young people for their hard work and spirit of service and expressed his gratitude to those who “gave so generously of their time and effort to provide such joy and hope to the young children.”

September 5-7, 2008

The 2008 Best Friends Foundation National Youth Leadership Summit
was held Friday, September 5th through Sunday, September 7th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. On Saturday, a luncheon and panel discussion with distinguished guests was led by Elayne Bennett and Carol Platt Liebau, author of Prude: How The Sex Obsessed Culture Damages Girls.

This is the 3rd year of our Stop the Madness panel on the importance of healthy relationships and prevention of alcohol and drug use, sex, and violence among adolescents.  The panel included community leaders from the Metro D.C. area who share a concern for today’s youth.  The panel discussion was followed by a production of Make Music Not Madness, which aims to promote among our youth “music” activities which enrich, inspire and uplift instead of “madness” activities which degrade, depress and lead to danger.

See more information.

May 9, 2008

The 2008 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event was held Friday evening May 9th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Entertainers were Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (original members of the 5th Dimension), The Drifters and Chuck Brown. Donors and guests enjoyed dinner, dancing and fun at what has been called "Washington's best party."
The Foundation is very grateful to all donors and guests for their generosity and attendance.

See a .pdf file with pictures/info from the event.

November 9, 2007

Best Friends on Fox News—The O'Reilly Factor

Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of the Best Friends Foundation, appeared on
The O’Reilly Factor
on the FOX News Channel on Friday, November 9 at 8:00 pm EST
(repeated at 11 pm EST) to discuss the Best Friends Foundation programs.

Read or print a .pdf of a transcript of the interview.

July 22-25, 2007
Youth Leadership Summit

John Walters

Melba Moore

America’s youth at our nation’s capitol for our Youth Leadership Summit
View press release .pdf Washington, DC – Youth and adult mentors from Washington, DC and across the nation participated in the Best Friends Foundation’s third annual National Youth Leadership Summit Today’s Leaders, Tomorrow’s Future at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, July 22-25, 2007.  Over 150 youth leaders attended this national leadership summit to hear from presenters and engage in discussions that address the current state of youth.  Each youth leader gained a greater knowledge on how to avoid violence, drugs, alcohol and premarital sex, as well as listened to presentations on college/career prep and financial planning.  Summit Highlights:
John Walters, Director of The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, spoke to youth leaders from around the country during a keynote luncheon address: “The Current State of Adolescent Drug Use.”
“Stop The Madness,” panel discussion. Experts discussed issues and solutions regarding adolescent risk behavior.  Panelists included The Honorable Robert Flores, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Dr. David Murray, Chief Scientist for Counter-Drug Technology Assessment Center, Office of National Drug Control Policy; Jose Dominguez, Director of Grants Administration, DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation; Tyrone C. Parker, Co-founder and Executive Director of Alliance for Concerned Men; Beverly Watts Davis, Senior Advisor on Substance Abuse Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); and Seth Leibsohn, Producer of William Bennett’s “Morning In America” radio show.  Best Friends Foundation Founder and President, Elayne Bennett, served as moderator.

Best Friends Foundation’s student musical production, “Make Music Not Madness,” with special guest appearance by acclaimed singer and actress Melba Moore, most recognized for making history as Luttiebelle in the Broadway production “Purlie,” and becoming the first black actress to win a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress.

May 11, 2007
DC Recognition

Washington, DC - Marriott Wardman Park Hotel . This ceremony recognized the achievements of the DC Best Friends, Diamond Girls Leadership, Best Men and Best Men Leadership and the dedication of their school principals, coordinators, parents and teacher mentors. Guest speakers were Will A. Gunn, President and CEO Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and George Sanker, Principal Hope Community Charter School. The audience was treated to special performances from Make Music Not Madness.

DC 2007 Essay Winners:

Best Friends
Best Men
5th GradeShaquan Charles
6th GradeLatrice Chizobu
7th GradeUnique Stephon
8th GradeKevwe Musa
Diamond Girls Leadership - Cherre
Best Men Leadership - Dominique
Pauline Hamlette, Director of Programs
April 27, 2007
"Rockin' at
The Ritz" Annual Fundraising Event
Foundation Annual Fundraising Event -"Rockin' at The Ritz" was held on Friday evening April 27th, 2007 at The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Washington, DC. Performers this year were Fabian, Jerry Butler, Barbara Lewis and Bobby Vee & The Vees.

June 9, 2006
Recognition Ceremony


Read about last year's Recognition Ceremonies
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Four Points Sheraton Hotel, Milwaukee Airport
This Best Friends Recognition ceremony included essay winners reading their submissions to the parents and teachers present.  All parents, coordinators and Best Friends School principles were also recognized.
The Diamond Girl Recognition Ceremony included a solo performance by Diana and a poem reading by ShaniceClarice gave a welcome address to upcoming 9th graders and Trisha & Clarice spoke about, “Why stay in Diamond Girls.”  Diamond Girl essays were also read.  Myquisha led the Good-bye to Seniors.  The event also included a student dance and a performance by the Jazz Choir.

Pat Kirby
, Best Friends Program Coordinator


June 6, 2006
Diamond Girl


Newark, New Jersey - New Jersey Institute of Technology
The Diamond Girls of Newark, New Jersey came together to perform songs, poems, and step routines for friends and family at their School and Family Recognition Ceremony. The Mistress of Ceremonies, for the evening, was Miss Danielle Brown, former Best Friend and Diamond Girl. Diamond Girls and their family enjoyed a buffet dinner and listened to Newark Councilwoman at-large Ms. Bessie Walker speak about sisterhood. The entertainment included a slideshow of this year’s Diamond Girl events, a poem written and read by Amma and recognition of all Diamond Girls and rising ninth graders. Scholarship award winners were recognized and the Creative Movement Dance Troupe did a Step and Dance routine. University High School girls put on a drama presentation.

Q. Yolanda Simmons, Diamond Girls Leadership Program Coordinator

May 23, 2006
DC Recognition

See more
photos of
DC's Recognition

Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall See more photos of the ceremony
DC's ceremony featured Kathy Sledge, lead singer of Sister Sledge, Angela McGlowan, Fox News political analyst, Todd Pride, Founder of Sullivan Community Capital LLC and George Sanker, Principal of Hope Community Charter School
The ceremony had special performances from:
Make Music Not Madness, Diamond Girl Choir, Diamond Girl Performance Dance Troupe, Frequency Reset Dance Group
and special performances with Best Friends and Best Men from:
Amidon, Brightwood, Ferebee Hope, Gage Eckington, Orr, Park View, and Simon Elementary Schools
Friendship Edison Public Charter School
Jefferson, Kelly Miller, MacFarland, Ron Brown and Sousa Middle Schools
Shaw Junior High School

P.R. Harris and Fletcher Johnson Educational Centers

DC 2006 Essay Winners:

Best Friends
Best Men
5th GradeShaquille Olarewaju
6th GradeMercedes Norman
7th GradeIrene & Hope Darnell
8th GradeShirlena Vondre
Diamond Girls Leadership - Ebonee
Best Men Leadership - Kyle and Asriel
Pauline Hamlette, Director of Instruction


May 16, 2006
Recognition Ceremony

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Holiday Inn Select, University Center
Pittsburgh's ceremony included recognizing students from both middle schools.  Theresa, Denise and Danielle won Friendship Awards.  L Nise was the Essay Winner and Ms. Nolan was named most dedicated mentor.  The Best Friend Girl Achievement Award went to Betty (for best attendance) and Chelsye.  All Best Friends girls received a jewelry charm to recognize their commitment to the program throughout the year.

Peg Foster
, Best Friends Program Director

May 12, 2006
Recognition Ceremony

Martinsville, Virginia - Martinsville Middle School
The program included two distinguished speakers:  Latrice Mitchell, a former Martinsville Best Friend/Diamond Girl, and Nancy Redd, former Miss Virginia. Latrice was in the first Best Friends class at Martinsville Middle School.  She was also in the first class of Diamond Girls to graduate from Martinsville High School.  Currently, Latrice is studying Early Childhood Education at Patrick Henry Community College.  She looks forward to completing her bachelor’s degree and teaching elementary education. Nancy Redd graduated with honors from Harvard University in 2003.  She majored in Women’s Studies.  She was named Miss Virginia in 2003 and went on to the top 10 at Miss America 2004.  As an undergraduate Nancy was selected as one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 College Women“Most likely to succeed – at anything!” She supports a number of charities including, 4-H and Martinsville’s local Free-Clinic.  Recently, Redd became a spokesperson for the Dale Carnegie Institute’s newest book How to Win Friends and Influence People - for Teens.

The Recognition Program also included dance numbers from the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students.  It concluded with all the girls singing the Best Friend theme song. Mentors were named in the program and honored. Supporters of this site include The Lucy Sale Foundation, Martinsville Virginia.

Carolyn Baptist, Best Friends Program Director

May 11, 2006
"Heart of Gold" Gala Reception

Newark, New Jersey - Nanina’s in the Park, Belleville, New Jersey
“The Heart of Gold” Gala Reception recognized Newark Best Friends, Best Men and Diamond Girls.  Governor Thomas H. Kean was honored with The Heart of Gold Award and The Honorable Herbert C. Klein & Jacqueline K. Klein were honored as Best Friends of the Year.  Willie Hutcherson was awarded the Ester Azure Community Achievement Award. The event included a Newark Best Men Martial Arts Demonstration and an address entitled, “What Diamond Girls Means to Me” by Q. Yolanda Simmons, Diamond Girl Coordinator.

RoseMarie Peterkin, Executive Director, Friends and Families Foundation, Inc.

May 9, 2006
Indian River
Recognition Ceremony

Indian River, Florida - Marsh Landing Restaurant, Fellsmere, Florida
 This event was an awards luncheon for the Best Friends and Best Men of Indian River, Florida.  Marcia Blackburn, local supporter of the program gave the Invocation Address.  Dr. Martha McAdams, Principle of Sebastian Charter Jr. High School and Best Friends Program Director introduced Essay Contest Winners.  The guest speaker was Ricki Klaus, a student from the University of Florida.  Elayne Bennett was also on hand to make some remarks about this program.  The event concluded with Best Friends and Best Men Awards, a performance by the 6th graders from Sebastian Jr. High School and a video presentation.

Dr. Martha McAdams, Best Friends Program Director

May 5, 2006
Recognition Ceremony

Charlotte, NC - University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Halton Arena
This event was attended by 2000 people!  500 students had a part in the ceremony while supportive parents, families and mentors cheered them on. The Diamond Girl Jazz Choir performed classic American Jazz songs. 175 Best Friends girls performed the Best Friends Theme Song and Step Chant. The Best Men boys from three schools performed a step drill about the four quadrants of the Best Men shield. Over 100 8th grade girls received a blue “Diamond Girl” sash to signify their transition into the Diamond Girl Leadership Program. The 8th grade boys received a Best Men Medallion of the Best Men shield. Seventeen graduating Diamond Girl seniors were presented in lovely formal gowns as they were escorted by a parent or grandparent.  Fourteen seniors were honored with a college scholarship presented by Lesley Long,  National Diamond Girl Program Director.  Speakers for the ceremony included Anthony Bucci, Assistant Superintendent, and four middle school principals: Dr. Terry Brown, Cochrane Middle School;  Kevin Carr, Ranson Middle School;  Jamal Crawford, Northridge Middle School; and Raynard Lee, James Martin Middle School.
The ceremony also included a special recognition of school advisors. The grand finale of the ceremony is a favorite Charlotte tradition. The 40 member Diamond Girl Step Team performed in perfect synchronization to a cheering crowd.

Diane Glover, Best Friends and Best Men Program Director

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