HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - "Welcome to the Winner's Circle" is a new non-profit organization founded in Hattiesburg with one of its goals being to teach minority women to serve and lead while finding their light in life. Stellar young girls and women dedicated to education walked across the stage to be honored for their ambition and accomplishments in "A Night Amongst the Stars." The organization has future goals set for the sisterhood.
Behind their smiles are young women of character and enthusiasm for success.
"I was Valedictorian. I was a part of the varsity cheer-leading squad, varsity soccer squad, student council. I was the president," said Tierra Cooper, recipient of the Top Excellence Award.
During "A Night Amongst the Stars" the women who graced the stage had in common accomplishments, determination, and the desire do it all.
"It feels great. When they called everybody and started describing everything that they've done. We had people who were highest honor in Biology. I was like you go girl! We have some Brainiacs up here. They were all beautiful and smart," Cooper said.
This was just one event of many put on by "Welcome to the Winner's Circle." Founded by Tameikia Smith, the organization offers guidance, support, sisterhood, and love.
"It's about bringing a group of girls together, so they could know that life is not a competition," said Tameikia Smith, Founder of "Welcome to the Winner's Circle. "The girl sitting beside you is not your enemy. It's not meant for you to compete with her. It's meant for you to be her support system. When she's up or down, she can look to her left and her right she can have people around her who have her back."
Positivity filled the Saenger Theatre on that night. Tori Bowie, Olympic gold medalist, and most heartwarming – Mississippi's own, took the time to inspire. "It meant so much to not only me, but to the girls and to the teachers, because it let them see that they were important enough for her to stop and take time out of her schedule and spend a little time with us. I'm forever indebted to her for that," Smith said.
"It feels awesome. It feels like an honor to know that I just don't see my work. Other people see that I've tried my best. I put my all into what I did and it feels good to be recognized for it," Cooper said.
"I feel like they need us, so we want to be there for them. The way to do that is to have people in the community who support us," Smith said.
With heads held high and futures bright, those uplifted by "Welcome to the Winner's Circle" were encouraged to continue to strive for greatness. It's a sisterhood Smith is dedicated to spreading across the nation,
"We wanted to give them a positive outlet that they could be connected to and be a part of that would help them know they can win no matter what," Smith said.
"When we come together, we are unstoppable. Nothing can stop us," Cooper said.
If you would like to support this organization, click here for more details.