Scholarship is a key tenet of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Xi Mu Zeta Chapter, in partnership with The Pearl Foundation, supports this tenet through our scholarships. Learn more about these scholarship offerings here.
Debbie Gayden-LaVizzo Scholarship
Open to high school seniors attending District 205 and 228 schools or Marian Catholic High School.
This award is named after Zeta Debbie Gayden-Lavizzo. She was born in McComb, Mississippi, September 25, 1961. The youngest of six children, she was taught early in life that success comes with hard work and perseverance. Active in her community and church, loyal to her family and friends, Debbie gave of herself for the benefit of others in all that she did.
In 1981, she was initiated into the sisterhood of Zeta Phi Beta at Southern Mississippi University. As a dedicated member, she strived for excellence in her chapter. Upon graduation, Debbie relocated to Chicago where she continued her strive for excellence and true dedication as a member of Xi Mu Zeta Chapter.
In 1997, she lost her battle with breast cancer at the young age of 36. Before her transition, she resided in the south suburbs. Debbie’s spirit lives on through her husband, Christopher; her children, Michael Alexander and Taylor Marie; and her parents, sibling, sorority sisters and close friends. This award is named on her behalf to inspire students in the south suburbs to continue to strive for excellence.
Charlene Drake Scholarship
Open to undergraduate members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
This award is named in memory of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority sister Charlene Drake and given to an undergraduate sorority member, to promote that Zeta-spirited individual who strives to reach her highest goals in Zeta and her academic endeavors.
Miss Drake was born in Robbins, Illinois on August 8, 1952, and always had a commitment to the south suburban area. Her final employment was as a Comptroller for the city of Harvey, Illinois. Miss Drake embodied the many parallel characteristics that we strive to see in our undergraduate leaders of tomorrow; scholastically successful; actively participating in the sorority on the local, state, regional, and national levels; professional in all aspects; organized; and progressive.
On April 30, 1971, Miss Drake was initiated into the sisterhood through Eta Delta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., at Northern Illinois University. She was a pioneer in that she was a charter member of Eta Delta. Miss Drake progressively and swiftly moved forth in her Zeta life and her career. Always a part of groundbreaking ideas and plans, she never tired in her work for the sorority and was an active sorority sister until her death in October of 1989, when she lost her battle with breast cancer at the young age of 37.
Bonita Woods Harris Scholarship
Open to high school seniors who are members of the Xi Mu Zeta Chapter Archonette Youth Auxiliary
Bonita Woods-Harris was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 8, 1967. Affectionately known as "Bunny," she had a great love for children. This love led to her interest in the field of education. She acquired a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Education from Western Illinois University and Chicago State University respectively.
She entered the sisterhood of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., on May 6, 1990. After becoming a Zeta, she wanted to be involved in any and all activities that pertained to children. She soon became a sponsor of the Archonette youth auxiliary. Under her leadership, the club membership expanded to 70-80 members.
On September 16, 1995, Mrs. Woods-Harris became a Triumphant Zeta. At the time of her passing, she was a 5th grade teacher at Barton Elementary School. Mrs. Woods-Harris left an indelible impression and legacy of love to those students she taught and all of the young ladies who were members of the Archonette Club.
Janet K. Bell Scholarship
Open to high school seniors/college students who reside/resided in Markham, IL between 2016 - 2023
This award is named after our triumphant Soror, Janet K. Bell. She was born in Markham, Illinois. She was the eldest of three children and demonstrated an ability to lead at an early age. Janet freely shared her gifts of leadership and service to her community throughout her entire life.
In 1977, she was initiated into the sisterhood of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated at Northern Illinois University. As a dedicated member, she strived for excellence in her chapter. Upon graduation, Janet relocated to Chicago where as a member of Xi Mu Zeta Chapter she exemplified the principles of the Sorority: Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood, and Finer Womanhood.
Janet held various offices on the National, Regional, State, and local levels. She not only worked tirelessly in the Sorority but also within the community and volunteered when and wherever there was a need. Through her significant contributions to the Markham community, Featherfist, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Janet was a great example for others to follow.
In 2017, she lost her battle with kidney disease. Throughout her battle, Janet continued to serve her community and sorority. This award is named on her behalf to inspire students to continue supporting their communities with the gift of service and volunteerism.
Vera M. Paul Scholarship
Open to undergraduate students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics
In giving back to our community, a scholarship was developed to provide financial assistance to undergraduates majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics.
Vera Maxine Paul was born on December 14, 1940, in Mansfield, Louisiana. She attended Southern University in Baton Rouge and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and minors in Chemistry and Physics in 1962. She was initiated into the Beta Alpha Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. in 1960. She also received a master’s degree in Supervision and Administration from Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Vera started her distinguished teaching career in the Shreveport Public Schools. Later, she taught in the South Bend, Indiana, School System. Eventually, she settled in the Chicago Public School System where she started as a high school teacher and rose to be a school administrator. An active member of Zeta Phi Beta since 1965, she held many offices at the local, state, regional, and national levels. Vera Paul had a passion for civil rights and for mentoring youth in her community and in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
Five Pearls Scholarship
Open to undergraduate students who are prior recipients of the Bonita Woods-Harris, Charlene Drake, Debbie Gayden LaVizzo, Janet K. Bell or Vera M. Paul scholarships.
This award is named in memory of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s founders Arizona Cleaver Stemons, Viola Tyler Goings, Myrtle Tyler Faithful, Fannie Pettie Watts and Pearl Anna Neal. The sorority’s beloved founders are affectionately referred to as our “Five Pearls.”
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority was founded January 16, 1920 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. by five coeds. These five women dared to depart from the traditional coalitions for Black women and sought to establish a new organization predicated on the precepts of scholarship, service, sisterhood and finer womanhood. The trail blazed by the Five Pearls has been traversed by thousands of women dedicated to the emulation of the objectives and ideals of the sorority.