Updated: Sep 7, 2022
In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.’s Denton Lewisville Alumni Chapter in Denton and Lewisville, Texas and did an interview with Sheldon H. Smith the polemarch/president of the chapter.
The position of president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Smith, who is a police officer, has been president of his chapter for 5 months.
We interviewed Smith, who is a Fall 1982 initiate of the Zeta Upsilon Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi at North Texas State University and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
I am blessed to be titled as the Polemarch, a leader of great men in Kappa Alpha Psi. It is a privileged position. I remain humbled as I was elected and strive to uphold the trust of the membership I serve. In short, I am honored.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
We started a chapter initiative we titled “Embracing the Dream”. It encompasses our commitments to Kappa Alpha Psi while dedicating service and benevolence in our community. Our work is designed to improve the quality of life of those in need. We remain very active in nonpartisan politics and holding our leadership accountable. Black Lives Truly Matter. Our Guide Right Youth program makes us all proud as our participants have received scholarships to further their education in college. Because we have several Police Officers in our Chapter, we provide a Youth and Community “What to Do When Stopped by the Police Class”. Health and Fitness is also important as we promote our “Who’s Getting It In” workouts. We have a homeless initiative where we provide essential clothing items, we participate in food drives while providing meals during Christmas and Thanksgiving. We remain open to participating in any endeavor where the need arises.
What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?
Prior to me pledging, no male in my family had ever been a member of a fraternity. I was very fortunate to attend a college that had most of the Greek letter organizations. I observed all of the organizations and was most impressed by the appearance of a close family I saw in Kappa. It reminded me of how I was raised and was a natural fit with how I lived my life. I am still most appreciative that I was chosen to become a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. I now have a nephew and son who are also members.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
We pride ourselves and let the world know at Denton Lewisville Alumni Chapter its always Brotherhood First. Our membership includes leaders from of a variety field of human endeavor. A federal judge, doctors, probation officers, Department of Homeland Security, military officers and NCOs from every branch of service and police officers like myself.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2021?
The digital world we live in allows Kappa Alpha Psi the opportunity to share information instantly. We shape our image by our communications. We realize that what we share and communicate reflects on our membership both past and present. All Greek letter organizations should promote what makes all of our membership, leadership and founders proud. We remain one whole with nine parts.
How is your chapter adapting to navigate the pandemic?
We have become very creative during the pandemic. We have meetings now utilizing Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We utilize Group Me, phone calls and text messages. The business of Kappa Alpha Psi will not stop because of COVID. We will continue to be informative while, socially distant and most importantly wearing our mask. We are encouraging our membership and families to take the vaccine when allowed to do so.
What does leadership mean to you?
Being a leader is one of the most cherished roles one may be entrusted. It encompasses the values that are most precious to the foundation of our lives. God, Duty, Honor, Integrity, Dedication, Trust and Commitment all blended together are traits that I look for and try to exhibit when leading. Never take leadership for granted and trust your heart and who you allow to surround you in the world you live in. This ideology was ingrained in me by my parents and family and practiced as a United States Army Airborne Infantry Officer, current President of the National Black Police Association Dallas Chapter and Polemarch for the Denton Lewisville Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard serves as a beacon to Greek organizations while providing honest articles which bring all of the Divine 9 closer together.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood has a very special meaning to me because our chapter’s motto is “Brotherhood First”. It defines the purpose of fraternity and describes the love shared by men within our organization. Brotherhood is pure devotion to one another. It remains one of the great traits of members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.