August 26, 2005

Avery Institute for African American History
Interpreting the African American Experience

August 23, 2005 - Rotarians enjoyed a history lesson by Dr. Marvin Dulaney, Executive Director of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston. Besides being the Executive Director of Avery for 11 years and the former Chair of the History Department, Dr. Dulaney is currently writing a book on the history of African Americans in Dallas, Texas. He also was a former Rotarian, and many pleas were made for him to return to the Club.

Dr. Dulaney showed a video of the history of the Avery Research Center and its mission, which is to "collect, preserve and document the history and culture of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry". The video, Preserving the African American Experience, showed how slaves who once struggled for emancipation were merely struggling for survival at the end of the Civil War. The Avery Research Center emanated from the Avery Normal Institute, which was founded in 1865 as the first accredited secondary school for African Americans in Charleston. Avery Normal Institute became Palmer College in the 1950s, but eventually the building fell into disrepair. The building was finally purchased by the State under the auspices of the College of Charleston, who joined the Avery Institute for Afro American History and Culture to become the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture.

According to Dr. Dulaney, the heart of the center is its archive collection. Avery boasts many books, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts that carefully document the African American experience in the Lowcountry. Avery is also proud of its outreach programs, such as the Avery Scholars Program, which offers tours and lecture series with an emphasis on the SC Lowcountry. We are very proud of this resource to continue to interpret the African American experience and teach generations, black and white, for years to come.

August 21, 2005

Dress for Success
Fall Fashion Show

August 16, 2005- Ellen Berlin and Bob Prenner presented an excellent program that featured both men's and women's fashions. We saw the latest in fall wear featuring our own Rotarians as live models and a high-tech presentation.

The colors of brown, grey, and black continue to be popular among women for the Fall. Men are moving towards brighter colors for Fall fashion with an emphasis on comfortable, wearable fashions. Fabrics are natural and a great deal of corduroy is featured for both men and women. For the gentlemen, tweed is modernized, but still great. Corduroy continues to be big and the name means ribbed cloth of Kings. Easy-to-wear, fitted, and comfortable are the watch words this year.

Some exciting women's fashions come in "one size fits all" and fit very well. We saw a beautiful creation for evening for women that "one size truly fits all."

Bob Prenner treated us to a number of fashion sayings; the most dramatic was "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society", according to Mark Twain. Ellen and Bob showed us that a great fashion is timeless and also how we can step into fall with our best foot forward.

August 11, 2005

Update on Charleston County Schools
Encouraging news from the Superintendent

August 9, 2005 - Our very own Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Superintendent of the Charleston County School District (CCSD), updated Rotarians about the Charleston Plan of Excellence and the progress the District has made in the past two years since she has taken over the responsibility of making our schools work. Goodloe-Johnson stated she was the "Mom" of 43,000 kids, and that her #1 goal was to make us proud of our Charleston County schools, no matter where you sent your kids to school.

Goodloe-Johnson likened the District to a "half-billion dollar business," and how important it is to have that business be accountable to all its stakeholders, namely Charleston County taxpayers. We all have much at stake, even if you do not send your children to public school. She stated that the two most important things to remember are that we are property owners in Charleston County, and that our kids do grow up and become a part of the community. In other words, an investment in Charleston County schools is an investment in the community as a whole.

In terms of finances, it is important for the District to be accountable and be good stewards of the taxpayer's money. Although small, the District is one of the largest in the nation (ranked 104 out of 16,000 districts nationally), and is also one of the largest employers in Charleston County with more than 7,000 employees. The District identified two major problems with their finances: inadequacy of information and separate "silos" of activity, leading to an unclear financial picture.

In order to straighten out the District's financial issues, the District hired a new CFO and established a financial advisory committee to make critical financial decisions. Six new policies and procedures were also implemented, including implementation of a cost control program, revision of cash flow spreadsheets, and ensuring the budget process is "open, collaborative and transparent." The District also needed to ensure that resources were identified and money was budgeted for the Charleston Plan of Excellence (Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's plan for the District) as well as other goals that have been set in order to make CCSD the best District by 2010.

Other measures of success include PACT testing scores, which do not currently meet proficiency levels, the "coherent curriculum" which includes English, Language Arts, Reading and Math, and others. But the budget is probably the most measurable and must drive the Plan of Excellence ("blueprint for success") to make it a reality.

What can we do as concerned citizens for CCSD? Dr. Goodloe-Johnson encouraged everyone to mentor a child, purchase school supplies and books to donate, adopt a classroom or a school, or become a business partner, which is a desire of the Superintendent's for all schools. Whatever we do, she assures us we will be proud of our Charleston County schools!

Reported by Amy Riley, Keyway Committee

August 5, 2005

Citadel Selects a Winner
Coach Fresh from the NFL

August 2, 2005 - Coach Kevin Higgins graduated from West Chester University in Pennsylvania in 1977 and proceeded to make a career for himself in college and professional football. He served as assistant football coach at Gettysburg College, University of Richmond and then spent 13 years at Lehigh University, seven of these as head coach. Next he became an NFL coach with the Detroit Lions, serving four years as quarterback and wide receiver coach. His wife is a former collegiate coach and his son currently plays football for the University of Florida.

In his first few days at The Citadel he quickly realized how much more gratifying it is to work with young students who respond with a "yes, Sir" after several years of million dollar players challenging every direction given to them. The challenge he faces at The Citadel is to provide a sense of stability and continuity that has been disrupted by a parade of coaches in the past few years and to broaden the geographic area of recruitment. He does not feel that the program can find enough outstanding players in this state alone. He feels that there are teachable, potentially great players "out there" who can both profit from The Citadel education and make a contribution to the school.

Higgin's primary goal is to keep the students in school and enable them to develop. He sees the college as a leadership laboratory where pride, leadership and discipline are the rules of the day. He looks to four broad areas of concentration for each player to have as his goal:

1. Every player must be results-oriented and seek to win. He will continually focus on winning the Southern Conference Championship.

2. Every player must be passionate about playing college football and truly love the game. Otherwise success will be difficult in an environment that stresses military drill, academics and leadership.

3. Every player must handle adversity for life has trials. The military mode of The Citadel will strengthen this ability.

4. Leaders (players) care about the people around them. Far too many people today care primarily about themselves.

Coach Higgins decried the trend in many communities for parents to wear pins with huge pin pictures of their sports playing children. "Not in my family", he says. "It is not about me." The Citadel has a long tradition of looking at the world as a big picture. He will strive to insure that his football players and students learn to see this concept. If they do, success in football and in the world will follow.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee