May 27, 2010

Honoring Charleston County Teacher of the Year and Honor Roll Teachers

May 25, 2010: Dr. McGinley noted that five teachers would be honored. She thanked the Rotary Club of Charleston and spoke briefly about the five teachers who she referred to at "the cream of the crop" of all Charleston County teachers.

1. Meike McDonald, a math teacher from Clarke Academy, accompanied by her principal, Andrew Halevi, and her guest, Allen Porter.

2. Bill Smyth, a social studies teacher from Charleston School of the Arts, accompanied by his principal, Jim Reinhart.

3. Jarrett Vella, a social studies teacher from Military Magnet Academy, accompanied by his principal, Andy Townsend, and his wife, Lou Ellen Vella.

4. Sarah Earle (Runner-Up), a French teacher from Stall High School, accompanied by her principal, Dan Connor, and her husband, Kevin Earle.

5. Maisha Rounds (Teacher of the Year), a third grade elementary school teacher from Sanders Clyde Elementary, accompanied by her principal, Melvin Middleton, and her mother, Sandra Grant.

Maisha then spoke to the assembly, thanking Rotarians for their commitment to teachers, schools, students and the community. She mentioned how impressed she was with our website. Maisha spoke about teaching as an act of service, service above self. She carried this theme throughout her presentation. She stated that "teachers are role models and heroes." One of her hero's is her own husband, who is currently serving our country through the military in Afghanistan. She stated that "service above self is what drives our communities." Maisha said that "we need to take the necessary steps to take our children to the next level in their lives and education; that the most significant investment we can make is in the future of our children." She said that "by touching the lives of others and giving back to the community we can improve the quality of life for other people." She also said that "students will rise or fall to our expectations… we should expect more of them."

When asked who the most inspirational and influential person was in her life, she responded by saying: "my mother." Her mother was given a resounding applause. When asked what she thought the biggest challenge was in education today, her response was: "literacy." She said that "literacy is tied to the success or failure of students today." Upon the completion of her presentation, she was given a standing ovation and lengthy applause.

Submitted by Bill Christian, Keyway Committee

May 24, 2010

Music During the Civil War

May 18, 2010: During the speaker introduction, former Rotary President Andy Brack explained that in honor of the approaching 150th Civil War anniversary, the Rotary Club of Charleston has included programs to inform us how life was during the mid eighteenth century. Our speaker, Dr. Nic Butler did more than just inform us; his fascinating presentation included musical audio, photos and a captivating history of music during the Civil War.

Dr. Butler divided his presentation into three topics: Commercial Market for Music, Caucasian and African American Bands and Slave Songs ("Spirituals").

Rotary Club Charleston Civil War Music on Vimeo.
(Thanks to Willis Cantey for helping to get this online.)

The Civil War was the first event in U.S. history when there was a commercial market for music. Music evolved as an industry as profits were made mass producing sheet music. The majority of the sheet music was anthems of the North and South. Dr. Butler gave southern examples such as "God Save the South" and "Bonnie Blue Flag." After a short brass band audio of "Bonnie Blue Flag" was played, Dr. Butler explained that is was actually composed by Irishman, Harry McCarthy of Arkansas. Similarly, another Irishman by the name of Dan Emmet, composed one of the most famous and controversial Civil War anthems, "Dixie Land."

In addition to Civil War anthems, Dr. Butler gave a short history lesson on the importance of Civil War bands. He explained that their drums, fifes and bugles were responsible for specific cadence signals during battle. Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Butler noted that the majority of bands were comprised of skilled musicians, not just teenage boys. Towards the end of the war, the Union Army recruited African American slaves to join their bands. Civil War "black musicians" were also a part of our local Charleston history.

"Major" Peter Brown was born a "free man of color" in 1803 and is considered one of Charleston's most famous musicians. Mr. Brown's 50 year musical career includes his role as the leader of John C. Calhoun's funeral band. "Black musicians" continued to have a place in Lowcountry history, as post Civil War bands are credited for the beginnings of Jazz. Most well known, is the Jenkins Orphanage Band.

In addition to Civil War "Black musicians" and their role in the jazz movement, Dr. Butler discussed slave songs and their often unrecognized role in modern music. Popular slave songs such as "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" originated in the Lowcountry. These "call and response" songs are also known as "black spiritual" songs and are an important part of our Charleston legacy.

Dr. Butler ended his presentation with his three topic conclusions: commercialism encouraged uniformity, the legacy of "black bands" is often overlooked and Lowcountry "Spirituals" are world-renowned.

Submitted by Teal Van Saun, Keyway Committee

May 16, 2010

Four Seniors Win Rotary Scholarships

May 11, 2010: Four top Charleston high school seniors received $1,000 scholarships from the Rotary Club of Charleston for their commitment to serving the community.

"Today we will honor students from Ashley Hall, Burke, First Baptist and Porter-Gaud who have not only excelled academically, but who through their service have demonstrated that they are already acting on the ideals of Rotary," said Rotarian Jeremy Cook, who heads the club's scholarship committee.

Winners of the scholarship were:

Marjorie Hanger, Ashley Hall. Principal Mary Schweers, who introduced Hanger, said the student once said, "With education comes opportunity and responsibility, and she has taken that message to heart." Hanger developed a volunteer program in Charleston, Dining with Women, to raise money and awareness of global issues. She said she learned through the project to try to make a difference in small ways - and that if a lot of people did that, there would be bigger change. She plans on attending DePaul University in Chicago.

Kimberly Bowman, Burke High School. Guidance Counselor Debra Woods outlined scholarship and other achievements by Bowman at the local school, including earning scholarship offers totaling $700,000. Bowman said in recent years she has valued working in the community in after school and programs to help the elderly. "I consider my time spent in the community my most significant experiences," she said. "Devoting time to others' lives is the most amazing contribution." She will attend Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

Allie Hiott, First Baptist School. After counselor Sheree Bridges highlighted Hiott's service as senior class president and design editor for the school yearbook, Hiott shared how she volunteered on two trips to a depressed West Virginia coal-mining town to help rebuild homes and learn new skills. Through the group projects, she said she learned that helping families made a big impact. "Serving others blesses me more than the people I help," she said. Hiott will attend Wofford College in Spartanburg.

Katherine Smith, Porter-Gaud School. School coordinator Gretchen Tate introduced Smith as "one of the most dedicated and selfless student volunteers I have ever been associated with." Over the past four years, Smith gave more than 120 hours of volunteer service with an emphasis on helping sick and elderly people. She said she planned to continue to volunteer, particularly in the Relay for Life program. She will attend the European Business School, an international college in Germany.

Cook summed up the scholarship presentation with a quote from Muhammad Ali: "Don't count the days. Make the days count," which it was obvious that all four students have done.

Submitted by Andy Brack, Keyway Committee

May 7, 2010


May 5, 2010: David Dunlap, CEO of the Roper St Frances Hospital, spoke about Health Care Reform. The Roper system has 5000 employees in 90 locations in 7 counties. Locally, the company includes Roper Hospital, St. Frances in West Ashley and the soon to be completed hospital in Mt. Pleasant.

While no one ever asks for the cheapest services when faced with a cancer operation, those same people will dub the hospital bill "outrageous". The system is broken, but the opinions on how to fix it are varied. Currently, health care in SC is provided in three ways: 2.2 million people receive it by employer based plans, which came into being during WWII when employers could not raise wages so they offered health benefits instead; 1.2 million get government sponsored plans through Medicare, Medicaid, Tri-Care or VA [military retirees]; 178,000 people buy private plans in the market. This leaves 760,000 in SC with no coverage: 557,000 are working taxpayers who have no job benefits and cannot afford plans, 357,000 people at the poverty level and the remainder who are poor single folks without children who are not eligible for anything.

The final group are covered by the EMTALA act of 1986 by the Federal government which forbids hospitals to deny medical services to those in need. In the last year SC hospitals spent 1 billion dollars on those people who paid nothing for their care. This cost is simply passed on to the bills of those who do pay. In 1999 the premiums for those with work related plans cost about $1500, with the employer share being $4200. In 2009 the employee share had gone to $3500 with the employer now paying $9800 per policy. This astronomical escalation of costs in simply not sustainable. The system as we know it, though medically superior, is broken.

This brings us to the new Federal Health Care Law of 2010. First David discussed the myths, which are false: there will be no choice in providers, there will be death panels, illegal immigrants will get free health care, there will be federal funds for abortion, health care will be rationed, according to Mr. Dunlap the above statements are simply not correct. Here are the facts:
coverage will not be denied due to pre-existing conditions; children can stay on parents' policy until age 26; no higher premiums based upon gender or past medical history; no annual or lifetime limits to coverage; ability to shop among private carriers for policies [no public option]; there is an individual mandate, i.e. all must participate and not just wait until sick to start paying for medical costs; tax credits for employers with small businesses; state's share of Medicaid paid for by the Federal government starting in 2014, with a declining assistance after 2016. There are other changes associated with the new plan for employers, physicians and patients. Employers will pay less for their share of an employees coverage, hospitals should have less debt, doctors will be paid for performance not volume of tests, see an increase in volume, and receive less compensation on specialty care. Patients and tax payers should see an increase in the populations coverage and perhaps a tax increase down the road.

Mr. Dunlap's predictions - There will be continuing evolving changes. Many people will still delay getting medical care when they need it. Mental Health care is still not receiving improvements in coverage. Doctors may receive less reimbursement per patient. Intermediate medical service personnel such as nurse practitioners and physicians assistants will increase in number.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee