UM students perform at the Miami Heat Black History Month Challenge

University of Miami National Pan-Hellenic Council members, better known as the Divine Nine, pose with Miami Heat mascot, Burnie at the 10th Annual Miami Heat Black History Month Challenge.

By Ashley A. Williams

University of Miami National Pan-Hellenic Council members, better known as the Divine Nine, pose with Miami Heat mascot, Burnie at the 10th Annual Miami Heat Black History Month Challenge.

UM students perform at the Miami Heat Black History Month Challenge

By Ashley A. Williams
Members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council participated in the 10th annual game-show style competition at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Black History Month is a time to reflect, celebrate, and raise awareness of issues that affect blacks in America. For the 10th year in a row, the Miami Heat commemorated the month with a friendly Jeopardy-style competition.

The University of Miami’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, comprised of the "Divine Nine" historically black Greek letter organizations, was invited to this year’s event to perform at the half-way mark of the show. UM’s Pan-Hellenic members were able to show the high school students in attendance a glimpse of what the historic black Greek strolling and stepping routines—often portrayed in movies, television shows, and music videos—represent.

Members from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. performed their signature step routines, which have been passed down since their individual chapters were chartered. 

Competing in this year’s Miami Heat Black History Month Challenge were students from South Broward Senior High School and Miami Norland Senior High School. Heat legends Shane Battier and Alonzo Mourning participated as team captains for South Broward High and Miami Norland, respectively. Jason Jackson, Miami Heat courtside reporter and television host, added his unique and candid flair as the host of the game show.

Before the event took off, Jackson introduced Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who addressed the audience of students, teachers, and staff. He referred to Black History Month as a time to "celebrate the greatness of African-American history."

“Let’s always remember that everyone’s history is to be known, understood, and celebrated,” Carvalho said.

After a close game between the two high school teams, South Broward went home with the win. Prior to the competition, UM senior and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority member, Kyla Cook, took to the stage to share more information about historically black, international Greek fraternities and sororities. 

“All organizations within the Divine Nine’s focus is community service and supporting the black community, so if that’s something that you’re passionate about and interested in, it’s about just finding which group you fit in with,” Cook, a psychology major, said, referring to the nine Greek letter organizations that traditionally compose the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

She shared that she had dreams of becoming a Delta woman since childhood, and even participated in their mentorship program and annual debutante cotillion. Once enrolled at UM, the opportunity came for Cook to join the organization two years ago.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council's purpose at the University of Miami is to assist members and chapters in achieving their educational, social, and cultural objectives. The council promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions. Each organization has its own program agenda and strives for academic excellence for its members and service to the communities they serve.