May 30, 2005

Young artists share their crafts with Rotarians

MAY 24, 2005 -- The program was introduced by Ellen Dressler-Moryl . The topic addressed the importance of cultural arts programs in elementary school curriculums. Rotarians were treated to performances by young artists who had benefited from one such arts program called "Project Artistic." This program was the result of a 3-year grant and the combined efforts of many individuals.

The Director of Project Artistic explained the critical role Cultural Arts programs play in a comprehensive elementary school program and the positive impact it can have on the children and the community. As a former school principal, the Director commented, "While others around me were working to increase grades, those of us involved in the cultural arts were involved in changing lives through these arts." He also talked about the importance of teaching the arts to young children because it instills them with an appreciation. He believes this appreciation goes on towards guaranteeing a community’s commitment to preserving those arts.

The Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School chorale first demonstrated their talent with a harmonious rendition of "America the Beautiful," which followed the Pledge of Allegiance. Later in the program the chorale sang three songs. The first song was “This Pretty Planet” followed by a Baroque hymn and finally, a song in Hebrew. Next, Rotarians were treated to lively examples of African drumming. Fourth grade students from Memminger Elementary School along with their instructors enthusiastically beat out three West African rhythms and Rotary members were captivated. In fact, most members stayed long after the official meeting concluded in order to enjoy this treat.

-- submitted by Helen R. Harloe

May 24, 2005

School Choice: Will it help or hurt our education system in South Carolina?

May 17, 2005 -- Rotarians learned more about the ongoing debate of whether or not school choice is what South Carolina needs to improve our state's education system. Sherry Street and Jon Butzon, two key players involved in this issue, discussed the SC Put Parents in Charge Act (PPIC), a bill that has gone through many forms and is now in front of the SC House Ways and Means Committee. The bill, if enacted, would allow tax credits or vouchers (based on eligibility) for qualified tuition payments to a public or independent school.

Sherry Street is a proponent for school choice, and shared examples of regions where school choice has been successful, namely Milwaukee, WI. Street claims that this is the best example of school choice at work, and the program has been in place for the past 15 years. The main point she conveyed was that school choice gives parents educational options, and gives power to those who have never had power before. She stated that African-Americans and the poor working class are usually the groups who benefit the most from school choice. She worked to dispel many myths that are a part of this debate, such as
concerns that PPIC will destroy public education, the best students will leave and leave the worst behind, and that schools will re-segregate.

Jon Butzon believes the main issue is maintaining status quo, and needing to make leaps in ways we can improve the educational system of our state. He admits the debate has become very political, and pointed out that for every example of a program that works, there is one that does not. He claims we should be looking for the public policy lesson in this issue: how are we going to make policy and are we spending enough on public education in SC? Issues include money, skill of teachers, leadership, choice, & privatization -- we have lots more facts to weigh before an effective program can be crafted using either solution.

In other business. . .

Dyson Scott gave the invocation and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Peter Lucash welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests. Margaret MacDonald offered Health & Happiness, and President Mark thanked the Adopt-A-Highway volunteers. Ted Creech and Earl Walker were recognized for their Paul Harris Fellow contributions, and President Mark congratulated
the Board on its 100% Paul Harris Fellow representation. Amy Riley kicked off the 4-Way Test special series with “Is it the Truth?” and Larry Tarleton introduced our speakers, Sherry Street and Jon Butzon.

May 17, 2005

Honoring Rotary Scholars
Saluting our future's best and brightest from all around Charleston

May 10, 2005 -- Rotarians were introduced to the 2005 Rotary Scholars, which included 20 bright Charleston County high school seniors who are bound for higher education. Accompanied by their parents and principals, each scholar received a certificate from our Club, as well as a $200 scholarship check to be used for their future education. One scholar per high school
was selected, who was the most deserving based on their accomplishments during their high school career.

Many belonged to the National Honor Society, Math Clubs, Latin Clubs, Junior Varsity and Varsity sport teams, even theater, and received academic and extracurricular awards and recognition. Many also were involved in their respective communities, and volunteered for such places as the American Red Cross and the local hospitals.

The list of these impressive scholars is as follows:

Kathryn Anne Baldwin.........................Ashley Hall
Emily Page Canup................................ West Ashley High School
Jordan Marie Casey..............................James Island Charter High School
Keshia Nekole Colleton........................Burke High School
Yekaterina Demchenko...................... North Charleston High School
Elizabeth Wade Folsom.......................James Island Christian School
Robert Jefferson Griffith................ Trident Academy
Reem Aida Hannun.......................... Porter-Gaud School
Sarah Frances Hart.......................... First Baptist Church School
Arthur Wesley Holtzclaw................ Bishop England High School
Stephanie Cierra Jenkins................ Lincoln High School
Keturah Ann Ladson....................... Garrett Academy
Felicity Madeleine Beverly Lenes.... Wando High School
Kenneth Mungin.............................. St. John’s High
Veronica Denise Ransom................ Baptist Hill High School
Ronnie Roland.................................. R.B. Stall High School
Paul Christian Saylor...................... Charleston County School of the Arts
Dominique Nicole Smalls................ Septima P. Clark Corporate Academy
Sydney Walmsley.......................... Charleston Collegiate
Ching Zhu........................................ Academic Magnet High School

Congratulations to these fine students! You make Charleston County very proud! Good luck in your future endeavors—we would love to hear where your academic travels have taken you!

In other business. . .

Jennet Alterman gave the invocation and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Greg Robinson welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests. John Milkereit offered Health & Happiness, and Cooper Coker announced the Adopt-A-Highway this Saturday. Gordon Jones announced his trip to Dublin, Ireland and flag ex- change, and Bill Eaton thanked volunteers who participated in the Alzheimer’s volunteer opportunity. Cindy Williams announced the 4-Way Test special series, and Myron Harrington announced the Rotary Scholars.

May 10, 2005

Charleston's Civic Design Center
Speaker Michael Maher discusses plans for neighborhoods after the bridges come down

MAY 3, 2005 — Rotarians learned about the City’s plans for the area underneath the existing Cooper River Bridges, as well as other initiatives undertaken by the City’s Civic Design Center. Michael Maher, Director of the Charleston Civic Design Center (CCDC), explained what the Design Center is all about, and elaborated on some of the vision that is going into the City’s East Side neighborhood, which was bifurcated by the approaches to the Cooper River Bridges.

The Civic Design Center is part of the City’s Department of Design, Develop- ment and Preservation, and focuses on the mission of promoting the future vision of the City. As the spouse of a Rotarian, Maher likened the Center’s 3- pronged mission to the Rotary 4-Way Test. The Center promotes education, collaboration, and innovation as a means for enhancing
the quality of life in Charleston through good design.

Education includes activities for citizens that educate us in urban design and how it affects the City. The activities include workshops, exhibits, and lecture series, among many other opportunities for the public to be involved in urban design issues. Collaboration refers to bringing people interested in development with those who practice in this field. The Center was designed to be a collaborative design resource, so that urban design issues can be discussed by those who are affected by them, and not just City staff.

Finally, innovation refers to such initiatives as the Urban Design Studio where the Center serves as an advocate for the public realm. This promotes creative responses to rising urban design challenges and fosters a dialogue
on today’s urban design issues.

Current initiatives undertaken by the CCDC include sidewalk dining, MUSC zoning regulations, promoting a green axis through the spine of the City, City/ FEMA height regulations, the Charleston Neck Redevelopment Plan, and the areas under the Cooper River Bridge approaches in the East Side neighborhood. This effort is one of the most ambitious being undertaken by
CCDC because it not only involves removing the existing bridge structure, but also involves “reknitting” the East Side neighborhood back together to help mend physical and psychological barriers that were imposed on this neighborhood when the Silas Pear- man Bridge was built in the 1960s.

Besides removing the old structures, the Plan includes reconnecting certain north/south streets, such as Nassau and America Streets, as well as creating an east/west connection between East Bay/Morrison and Meeting Street. Improvements are also planned for existing pub- lic space (and creating new space), drainage, street frontages, and pe- destrian access,
including bike lanes. A new connection to Meeting Street is also important to make a “grand entrance” into the City.

CCDC has held a series of public workshops to identify issues from the perspective of the citizens who live there, which has developed into a guiding set of principles. These principles are important to make sure the needs of this neighborhood are being met. The types of uses are still being determined with the help of the citizens, including housing mix, retail and neighborhood services.

Working with the CCDC, Charleston citizens now have a venue to ex- press concerns or ideas about the future of our City, so that the City can truly plan with the public in mind. For more information on the Civic Design Center, please visit .

In other business. . .

Conrad Zimmerman gave the invocation and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Lisa Thomas welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests. Doug Donehue of- fered Health & Happiness, and Cooper Coker announced the next Adopt-A- Highway. Jim Geffert announced the Alzheimer’s volunteer opportunity. Joan Ustin introduced our speaker Michael Maher.

May 3, 2005

Charleston County's Finest Teachers
Teacher of the Year and Honor Roll teachers honored

April 26, 2005 -- Rotarians were introduced to a group of Charleston County's Honor Roll Teachers, which included Charleston County School District's Teacher of the Year Bridgette Marques. Ms. Marques is a National Board Certified Teacher at Pinckney Elementary School and prides herself on being a mentor to her kids. Along with Ms. Marques, Honor Roll teachers honored were Dianne O’Neill, Anne Halter, Jane Windham, and Melissa Cario Parrish.

Ms. Marques grew up in Fort Mill, South Carolina, in a family that she says wasn’t “privileged.” She credits the family’s economic status to making her who she is, which she now believes is a good thing. Her brother was very smart, but that wasn’t very “cool” in her school at that time. In fact, he went out of his way not to make his grades, so a family friend stepped in as a mentor. The friend later witnessed her brother's graduation from West Point. Marques firmly believes her brother would not have been so successful without a mentor, even given his natural talents. To this day, Marques is a firm believer in the value of mentoring, and encourages everyone to help our schools by mentoring or volunteering at a school.

Ms. Marques believes in three tenets of learning which have made her a successful teacher:

1) students must feel respected,

2) learning must build on prior experience, and

3) students must be active participants in their learning.

Marques believes that teachers are special in the eyes of their students, and teachers are responsible for creating and shaping young minds, but she knows

In other business. . .

Robin Freer gave the invocation and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Chris Kerrigan welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests. Dan Ravenel offered Health & Happiness, and Andy Brack announced our new Club history book. Cooper Coker inducted new member Erin England, and Carol Collins an- nounced a volunteer opportunity for Alzheimer's. Honor Roll Teachers Diane O’Neill, Anne Halter, Jane Windham, Melissa Cario Parrish, and Bridgette Marques were honored. Maria Goodloe-Johnson introduced our speaker Bridgette Marques.

-- Amy Riley