Announcing our 2022 Scholarship Awardees

The Distinguished Pearls Foundation awards support four scholars.

The Distinguished Pearls Foundation is proud to announce awardees of this year’s Power of the Written Word and Lynette Thomas Scholarships.

The awards were presented by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Tau Delta Zeta Chapter, in partnership with The Distinguished Pearls Foundation during the 5th Annual UniTEA celebration on April 24.

Join us in congratulating our awardees.

Power of the Written Word Scholarship

Tau Delta Zeta Chapter created the Power of the Written Word essay contest to encourage high scholarly achievement through writing and creative expression among college-bound young women. Through the Power of the Written Word essay contest, young women are challenged to define ideals and aspirations as it relates to scholarship.

2022 Power of the Written Word Awardees

Madison Payne

Madison is a senior at Elizabeth Seton High School, a private college preparatory high school of Prince George’s County in Bladensburg, Md. Madison is in the top 10% of her class. She has been awarded numerous academic and leadership awards, to include the President of the United States Award for Academic Excellence.

She plans to major in History at Loyola University of Maryland, and aspires to become a museum curator.

Aleila Rankin

Aleila is a senior at Oxon Hill High School, a public high school of Prince George’s County. Aleila attended Maya Angelou French Immersion from K-8 where she became fluent in French. She was accepted into the science and technology program at Oxon Hill, where she also participates in the mock trial club, and JV Volleyball. In her time there, she was inducted into the French, Science, and the National honor societies. Aleila is most passionate about the student government association, where she serves as secretary. 

Aleila hopes to become a family therapist. She will be attending either Norfolk State University or North Carolina A&T State University.

Joyce Banjo

 Joyce is a senior at Frederick Douglass High School where she is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. She enjoys debating, serving her community, playing volleyball, cooking, and doing hair. She loves being involved in her school’s community. Joyce’s career goal is to become a successful lawyer.

Lynette Thomas Scholarship

In memory of Tau Delta Zeta’s first Triumphant Soror Lynette Thomas, this book scholarship continues her legacy of scholarship and education in the community. The late Soror Thomas was an English teacher in Prince George’s County, MD’s public high schools for more than a decade.  As an educator, she taught and inspired hundreds of young minds at Henry A. Wise, Jr., Frederick Douglas and Laurel high schools.  She loved teaching and valued the relationships with her students.  Her family has allowed the Tau Delta Zeta Chapter to name a book scholarship in her honor. 

2022 Lynette Thomas Scholarship Awardee

Lance Rodgers

Lance is a Senior at Oxon Hill High School, a Prince George’s County Public School. He expects to major in Engineering and aspires to be a mechanical engineer. Over his high school career he has accumulated 216 community service hours and has hosted various S.T.E.M workshops for minority youth with the Patriots Technology Training Center.


The Distinguished Pearls Foundation is the 501(c)3 initiative of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. Tau Delta Zeta Chapter. The foundation is dedicated to strengthening communities through outreach, service and the promotion of educational advancement in Prince George’s County and surrounding communities.