'Sweetheart' dance honors seven Merced-area women

A Mardi Gras theme will prevail at Merced Golf and Country Club Feb. 28 when Merced Area Council, Beta Sigma Phi, honors seven women at the annual Sweetheart dinner dance. President Marion Silva will introduce chapter sweethearts and their escorts.

Sweethearts are Mary “Ti” Shackleton, Patricia Metz, Annie Alexander, Cheryl Whittemore, Joan Parvin, Midge Neff and Dorothy Bizzini.

Shackleton is a five-year Xi Phi Upsilon chapter member. Her chapter hosts a soup luncheon each January in Mariposa to fund its projects and charities. At the top of the list is breast cancer.

Preceptor Epsilon Omicron chose 45-year sorority member Metz as its sweetheart. Metz recently received the master’s degree, the highest degree in Beta Sigma Phi. Preceptor Epsilon Omicron supports Merced Rescue Mission and the homeless. Its members make bags and fill them with clothing and toiletries to give to the needy.

Preceptor Epsilon Zeta members, who selected Alexander, a two-year sorority member as their sweetheart, support and provide items for servicemen overseas. They also help the American Cancer Society with Daffodil Days and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society with its MS Walkathon.

The Merced Rescue Mission is the main service project of Whittemore and the members of Preceptor Xi Alpha.Parvin, sweetheart of Laureate Iota Xi and a 46-year sorority member, is dedicated to two service projects -- Christmas greeting cards for the Rescue Mission and collecting toys for the Fire Department to give to needy children.

Neff, another 46-year member, is the sweetheart of Delta Nu Master. The chapter’s service projects are numerous, including Merced Rescue Mission, Bay Area Lupus Foundation, Kidney Research, Cancer Research, Cystic Fibrosis and Scleroderma.Bizzini joined Beta Sigma Phi in 1962 and in this, her 47th year of membership was selected sweetheart of Gamma Delta Master.

She is active in Atwater Chamber of Commerce, Soroptmist International, was a District Governor in Rotary Club in 2002, and serves as a trustee of UC Merced and California State University Stanislaus. Her chapter does a variety of community service.Membership is open to women interested in joining Beta Sigma Phi -- a social and cultural sorority for women of all ages. For sorority information telephone Merced Area Council Vice President Pauline Newbry at (209) 826-0809. Call the same number for dinner dance reservations.