April 30, 2006

Charleston County's Teacher of the Year

April 25, 2006: Today the Rotary Club honored five very special individuals who were the Honor Roll Teachers and the Teacher of the Year for the Charleston County School District. Their comments and remarks confirmed that we're truly privileged to have individuals such as these invest their time, energy, and emotions to create a positive educational experience for our students. Dr. Marie Goodloe-Johnson, a member of our Club and Charleston County School Superintendent, introduced the individuals with many glowing accolades with a clear sense of personal pride.

Teacher of the Year
Jennifer Middleton, a Science Teacher at Military Magnet Academy, has above her door a sign that reads, "I love science, and I hope that you will too!" She supports a "hands-on" science experience which draws children into the lesson and gives them control of their learning. Her passion for teaching and getting parents involved in the school have made a tremendous difference and positive influence over children's lives.

Ms. Middleton's address to our group was her first public speaking experience. She used a technique of picturing us as sixth grade science students to calm her fears. Hopefully she realized that, even though public speaking may be listed as the #1 fear, with audiences like Rotary that fear is exaggerated. Hopefully, a warm Rotary reception paved the way for many great speaking experiences.

In her early years of teaching, Ms. Middleton realized that student difficulty in High School can be traced back to Middle School. In early years, students most often seem truly energized to learn, but somewhere in the Middle School years they lose their enthusiasm. She uses her engaging manner and ability to motivate to create an environment students want to be in and where they want to learn. Her philosophy is to encourage people and to help them feel successful. She said, "I sell my product, Learning Science, with the same zeal as others, such as McDonalds does when selling their Big Mac." She stresses that Teachers need to work smarter, rather than harder, to elicit the support of everyone and feels dedicated teachers cannot do the job alone. They must have the support of parents and even members of Rotary, which a few years ago sent members into her class to spend time and to give extra attention to the students.

Being a true Teacher she could not speak to the group without a quiz. The question she asked was, "Of the elements in the air, which is the most prevalent?" She engaged the group with that question, and not everyone knew it was Nitrogen. Her closing not only engaged us, it also encouraged us to continue learning.

Honor Roll Teachers

Millibeth Currie, a Science Teacher at Moultrie Middle School, believes that her role as a middle school teacher is to prepare the students for the future. She has done breakthrough work in helping students get out of their comfort zones and speak up in math and science classes. She has designed an after-school program for adolescent girls entitled, "Women in Charge: Women Engineering Their Lives."

Marsha Moreland, a Guidance Counselor at Buist Academy, spent her early years as a French and English Teacher. One of her priorities was to establish a rapport with her students. She offers a comprehensive developmental guidance program to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Lauren Romano, a 4th Grade Teacher at Drayton Hall, believes in differentiation of instruction to meet the needs of individual students. She has been an inclusion coach, working with seven West Ashley schools to assist teachers to work with special education students in mainstream classes. Her inclusion classroom is a model for her colleagues in the District, and has earned her an invitation to present next year at the Staff Development for Educators National Differentiation Conference.

Marshall Swindall, before becoming a Social Studies Teacher at West Ashley High School, was an Ordained Minister and has done work with the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. He believes that the key to student success in the classroom, and in adulthood lies in their learning how to think and solve problems. As a Social Studies teacher in the "trenches" with students who are not typically motivated to learn, he links classroom curriculum with real life and the workplace for a student-centered environment for learning.

We are truly blessed to have been able to honor such great individuals who give selflessly to hold the future through those they teach.

Contributed By Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Commitee

April 21, 2006

Fun in the Sun-Stay safe this summer

April 18, 2006: Today Rotarians got a dose of reality with an introduction to "Skin Cancer 101". Living in an area with such a beautiful climate, we all love to get out in the sun and work on our tans, but Dr. Marguerite Germain, a Mt. Pleasant Dermatologist, showed us why we should be very careful when we expose ourselves to the sun's harmful rays.

Dr. Germain, a former Navy fighter pilot, started the presentation with some pictures of what looked like a makeshift beach party on an aircraft carrier, a way for pilots to get some sun during their down time. But the consequences of sunning on the blacktop may be with those men and women for the rest of their lives. Dr. Germain explained that sun damage comes from the sun's UVA, UVB and UVC rays. While most sunscreens block only UVB rays, she warns us to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks UVA as well as the most harmful UVC rays from our skin. While fair-skinned people are typically most at risk for sun damage, darker skin types are also at risk. The consequences can often be deadly, as she explained when she told the Club of the many types of skin cancers and how to look for the signs.

The three types of skin cancers discussed by Dr. Germain are basal cell carcinoma (the most common), squamous cell carcinoma (typically found on the nose and lips and is scaly), and melanoma (the most deadly). Besides regular, liberal use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen, she suggests checking yourself for tell-tale moles, looking for the "ABCD" characteristics: (A)symmetrical in size, (B)orders are irregular, (C)olors variegated, and (D)iameter greater than 6mm, although some cancerous moles can be smaller. Also wear a broad (3") rimmed hat and sunglasses anytime you are out in the sun--reflections from the sun onto sand or snow can also damage your skin. Dr. Germain also encouraged us to be aware of our other skin cancer risk factors, including family history, medical conditions or x-ray exposure, especially with the statistics clearly pointing to an increase in recent years of skin cancer deaths (today it is one death every 67 minutes). Her main message: have fun in the sun but be smart and safe!

Submitted by Amy Riley, Keyway committee

April 16, 2006

Smoke Free Charleston

April 11, 2006: Before introducing our speaker, Council members Fishburne and Tinkler gave a brief history regarding efforts to pass ordinances here in Charleston which would effectively ban smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars. This issue was first raised by Former Councilman Haggerty in the mid-1990's. Councilman Haggerty knew second-hand smoke was a growing public health issue and began devoting his time and effort toward building awareness of how this practice negatively impacts residents, workers and visitors to Charleston. Although support for a ban on smoking was slow to gain momentum, understanding of, and support for, such action now seems to be growing as people begin to realize the far-reaching impact pf second hand smoke on health care costs, economic development, and particularly upon those individuals who must work in such environments.

During the past 10 years our speaker, Dan Carrigan, has volunteered to work on many issues pertaining to tobacco control. In 2003, Dan began working for Smoke Free Air, an organization whose goal is to protect the health of Charleston residents, workers and visitors by passing local ordinances banning smoking in public areas, particularly in restaurants and bars until such time as Charleston becomes fully 100% smoke free.

Dan shared some sobering statistics about second hand smoke. An average of 5,000 people in the United States die annually due to second hand smoke which causes lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness. Sadly, a disproportionate number of those deaths consist of women, African-Americans, and Latinos which represent largest populations employed in the service and restaurant industries. We now know that increasing ventilation in such environments or designating smoke free areas do very little to protect the health of those who are constantly exposed. According to surveys neither of these efforts to accommodate the smoking public have any impact on the quit smoking rate.

Interestingly, the one measure that does significantly impact the quit smoking rate is that of a total ban on smoking in a public area. Smokers are then forced to go outside, away from their convivial group to have a cigarette. The negative social acceptability of being required to remove oneself from the environment in order to practice this habit does have a positive impact on helping people want to quit. Further, studies are beginning to show that both smokers and non-smokers alike seem to support the right of a non-smoker to enjoy a smoke-free environment over the right of a smoker to practice his or her habit in public.

Mr. Carrigan concluded his comments by applauding the action of the owners of Rue de Jean and Coast restaurants who only yesterday moved to completely ban smoking in their establishments. He urged Rotarians to contact their council members to voice their opinions about this issue and to further communicate their views by supporting only those establishments which are smoke-free. For more information on this issue, you can contact Dan Carrigan at 843-402-0306 or by e-mail: dancarrigan@msn.com.

Submitted by Helen Harloe, Keyway committee

April 5, 2006

Service to Youth - A Challenge of Time

April 4, 2006: Barbara Duncan, Director of the Carolina Youth Development Center, told us that the center as it exists today was formerly the Charleston Orphan Home which was established in 1790! The original organization and its successors have continuously served the youth of our area for all of those years. The center sponsors day care centers and other activities in collaboration with the school district and MUSC. In her presentation today she brought us Latoya Vickers, Match Services Coordinator for BIG BROTHERS AND BIG SISTERS (BBBS).

Latoya reminded us that each one of us has been touched by some special mentor, be that person a parent, a friend, a teacher or even a short term acquaintance. Through visits, trips, activities, events, hobbies, club participation or just a casual conversation, we are better persons today because these events occurred.

BBBS asks all persons in our Tri-County Area to consider becoming a mentor for a disadvantaged young person. The most informal of activity, be it a walk on the new bridge, a visit to "Books-A-Million" or helping in a project in the family garden can become a bonding agent in which the young person finds out what it is like to closely associate with someone who cares. Currently 300 young persons are being served with a goal to serve 1000 by the year 2010. Even then we probably will only reach a quarter of those with needs.

The Community Based program allows one to schedule visits with the young person anytime during the week with 3 to 4 times per month preferred. The School Based Program fits person who can base volunteer during the hours of 10 to 5. You can also sponsor a group event. Becoming a volunteer is easy, requiring a brief application and interview. To join now, call the BBBS at 266-5256.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee