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Riverside Celebrates Newest Member of Sigma Gamma Rho Family, A Baby Girl Born Nov. 14 in Newport News

November 17, 2020

New parents Ethan and Teresa holding their newborn

Newport News, Va. — Newborn Aurora Estrella Harris is an only child with thousands of sisters.

For the sixth consecutive year, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., partnered with Riverside to recognize the first baby girl born at Riverside Regional Medical Center on the sorority’s national day of service, Nov. 14.

In past years, multiple sisters dressed in royal blue and gold, the official colors of the historically African American Greek-lettered organization, would have showered mother and baby with bags of gifts at the hospital.

Saturday afternoon’s celebration offered the same enthusiasm despite being virtual, a precaution due to COVID-19.

New parents Teresa Nevarez and Ethan Riley Harris of Newport News greeted a handful of sorority sisters on Zoom roughly 16 hours after their daughter’s birth. Mom and Dad were unsure of what to expect but eager to show off their 8-pound, 6-ounce bundle, born three minutes after midnight.

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii, Baby! . . . ” gushed Veronda Rooks-Price, president of Omega Sigma, the Hampton Roads chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho. “Isn’t she beautiful?”

Closeup on newborn Aurora

Rooks-Price explained to the speechless parents that seven teachers who founded Sigma Gamma Rho in 1922 believed in the mission of enhancing life for women and their families. One of Omega Sigma’s community service initiatives is to honor the first baby girl born at Riverside Regional Medical Center on the sorority’s national day of service.

It’s remarkably fitting that the 2020 recipient’s name is Aurora. Prior to becoming official members of Sigma Gamma Rho, newcomers are called “Auroras” before they become sisters or “Sorors.” The Aurora is the sorority’s quarterly magazine.

“We are so excited about Aurora!” said Soror Rhonda Perry. “We love her. We haven’t met her in person, but we can see her. She’s beautiful!”

Rooks-Price, holding up a check for $600, promised she would deliver it to the hospital on Sunday. A separate $25 gift card for Nevarez will allow her to buy something just for herself. Aurora will also receive a gift on her first birthday.

Ethan and Teresa zoom calling with family from the hospital

Nevarez and Harris repeated “thank you,” overwhelmed by the gesture. Nevarez wiped away tears.

“You can’t cry! We’re crying,” Rooks-Price said. “Our ultimate goal is to show you the passion and the love we have not only for this great organization but for human beings as well.”

Rooks-Price stays in contact with almost all of the babies born over the years on the milestone day and keeps a photo gallery of pictures for each, charting their growth.

“It’s a blessing to be a blessing to others,” she said. “We’re grateful that Riverside Regional Medical Center has given us this opportunity.”

Published: November 17, 2020