by Joe Bollig
ST. LOUIS — Junior Knights and Junior Daughters of the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliaries won offices and honors at the organization’s Central States District Junior Conference, held here June 13 to 15.
The conference, conducted at Harris-Stowe State University, drew more than 120 delegates and attendees from an eight-state district comprised of Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
The Greater Kansas City metropolitan area sent a 33-person delegation of youths and adult chaperones to the conference.
The Knights of Peter Claver is the largest African-American lay Catholic organization in the United States.
“The Knights and Ladies is a family organization,” said Franchiel Nyakatura, a member of Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady & St. Rose parishes in Kansas City, Kansas. She oversaw the conference as Central States District Junior Daughter directress. “All of our focus is the stability and wholesomeness of the Catholic family.”
The three-day event featured catechism competitions, congress-type sessions, debates about social issues, talent competitions, contests and elections of officers.
Youths from Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady & St. Rose parishes won five of the 10 leadership positions up for election. They will serve one two-year term:
The newly elected Junior Daughter officers are: Erica Baker, president; Racquel Barnett, secretary; Mary Alice Brooks, mistress-at-arms; and Nula Clement, treasurer.
The newly elected Junior Knights are: Colin Barnes, treasurer; and Wick Sonis, sergeant-at-arms.
Newly elected Junior Knights from St. Monica Parish in Kansas City, Missouri, are: Derrick Kagwanja, vice president; and Felix Anudike-Uzomah, secretary.
Two youths from Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady & St. Rose reaped awards in the talent show.
Raquel Barnett won first place in dance and second place overall in the talent show. Donovan Watts captured second place in singing and third place overall.
Juan Vazquez and his sister, Nieves Vazquez, both from Our Lady & St. Rose, won second and third place respectively in the poster competition. The competition was based on the theme of the conference: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”
The debate team from Branch 57 at St. Monica Parish, led by team captain Derrick Kagwanja, won first place. The team will represent the district in the national tournament next July.
Finally, the Branch/Court 61 from Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady & St. Rose won first place in the quiz bowl.
Victor Ammons contributed to this article.