The Statesboro Alpha Beta chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honor organization for women educators, honored one of its own Monday as a Diamond member.
Dot Youngblood was recognized during the organization's meeting, held at St. Matthew Catholic Church. Youngblood has been a member of the Statesboro chapter since 1961. She was invited to join by Margaret Sue Brown, who had taught with Youngblood in Portal. The local chapter was founded in October 1958, so Youngblood has been a member almost since the beginning.
“She is our go-to encyclopedia about anything related to ADK,” says chapter member Lynn Lamb, who is a past president. “Miss Dot is an amazing woman.”
Youngblood is originally from Bronwood, Georgia, and went to Georgia Southwestern in Americus, which was a junior college at the time. She transferred to the University of Georgia, and majored in Home Economics. After graduation, she moved to Portal to teach home economics.
“It was a small town and I had grown up in a small town, so I felt comfortable,” she said.
It was in Portal that Youngblood met and married her husband of almost 55 years, Courtney Youngblood. The couple married in 1949.
Youngblood taught in Portal for four years before she and her husband moved first to South Carolina, then North Carolina. She began studying counseling at East Carolina University during that time, after being encouraged to pursue it by a friend in North Carolina she knew from Georgia.
In 1960, the Youngbloods moved back to Bulloch County, and Youngblood began studying in the newly-begun counseling program at Georgia Southern University. During the time she was in school there, she was offered a counseling position with Portal and Southeast Bulloch high schools, and in 1968, she became full-time at Southeast Bulloch.
Eventually, Youngblood took a position at Georgia Southern, and she worked during her tenure there to start the counseling center. She later moved on to a counseling position at Statesboro High School, where she retired in 1985 after being in education for 30 years.
Youngblood says that although her career began in a home economics classroom, counseling became her calling.
“I guess I just kind of stumbled into it. I enjoyed home economics, but this, this was a challenge,” she said.
Youngblood says she enjoyed working with groups of students, but working with individual students was particularly gratifying.
“Individually, you’re really able to get to the heart of things and help them along in developing a career for themselves. It’s very rewarding,” she said.
Youngblood has held several leadership positions as part of Alpha Delta Kappa, both locally, and on the district, state and international levels. She served as state president from 1992-94, and chaired the International Teacher Board, which works with international students who come on scholarship to the United States and are hosted by ADK districts while they are getting their education.
“I’ve met so many wonderful people throughout the United States, and attended a number of international conventions, and had some really good experiences,” Youngblood said of her long-standing ADK membership.
Youngblood is proud of what her local chapter does, including supporting and donating to the local food bank, being a sponsor of the Ronald McDonald House in Savannah and the House of Hope in Brunswick, and providing refreshments and support for local hospice workers. Alpha Beta also has a $1,000 scholarship for local students who are planning a career in education, named for Youngblood.
“It’s just been a pleasure to work with these scholarship people, and to see the need being met to some extent,” she said.
Internationally, ADK supports St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the Alzheimer’s Association. Youngblood says the overall mission of ADK is to promote education, altruism, scholarship and world understanding.
Youngblood also says her chapter is constantly working to bring in new members. She says it’s crucial to do so, to keep the organization current and growing.
Youngblood offers some words of wisdom to educators new to the profession, and to those considering it as a career choice.
“You really have to want to do it,” she said. “And you just have to have that desire. I think most of the people who go into it do. It’s very important.”
To everyone else, Youngblood offers her thoughts on the importance of education: “Get yourself trained for something. It doesn’t have to be a college degree, it can be something at a technical college, but train yourself for something, or you’ll flounder around a lot, probably,” she said.
Of reaching this landmark in her own life, Youngblood takes it all in stride.
“I just never dreamed it would happen,” she said. “I reached the 50-year mark, that’s the Golden Sister. And this is the Diamond Sister. I have many friends throughout the state who have reached this, but there are not very many.”