May 22, 2011

Rotary Club of Charleston Honors Rotary Scholars and Teacher of the Year

May 17, 2011: This past Tuesday our Rotary Club recognized "Service Above Self" scholars from the following schools: Ashley Hall, Burke High School, Porter-Gaud and First Baptist. The Charleston County Teacher of the Year and Honor Roll Teachers were also honored.

The first "Service Above Self" Scholar Honoree was Betsy Cribb. Betsy is a senior at Ashley Hall. She was recognized for her continued efforts for always doing the right thing and helping others. Betsy is a member of National Honor Society, Head of Honor Council, Student Body Vice President, a member of Ashley Hall's Red Choir and Swing Choir, and she is an active participant in Charleston's theater community. As her senior platform, Betsy organized a fundraiser to benefit the Girl Up campaign. Girl Up is a campaign that raises awareness and funds for programs of the United Nations; that help some of the world's hardest-to-reach adolescent girls. She organized a choir concert at her school that raised over $5000 for the Girl Up Campaign.

The 2nd Honoree was senior Jasmine Campbell. Jasmine was described as being a mature and outstanding person. Jasmine is an academic scholar at Burke High School. While most kids her age are at the mall or playing video games, Jasmine dedicates her afternoons volunteering at the local community YMCA. She helps with the after-school program. Jasmine says she wears many hats while at the YMCA. She is role model, tutor, and mentor. She credits herself for always providing words of encouragement to the students. She enjoys putting smiles on their many faces.

The 3rd Recipient was Senior Meagan Miller of First Baptist School. Megan is currently SGA President, Senior Class President, and she is a Dancer with the Art Studio. To add to her accomplishments she was recently honored as Valedictorian of her senior class. As if her schedule was not busy enough, for the past five years Meagan has been volunteering every Sunday night at the Crisis Ministries Shelter, preparing meals for the homeless. Each Sunday evening Meagan's job is to roll the paper napkins at the shelter. In each napkin she writes a personal message of encouragement with the hopes of offering inspiration.

The 4th recipient was Stacy Fairey. Stacy is a senior at Porter-Gaud. Stacy was described as being dedicated and selfless. Stacy was recently awarded a scholarship to play basketball at John Hopkins University. Stacy was also inducted into the Service Society for dedication to Pet Helpers. Stacy says she enjoys working with Pet Helpers because it is a no kill program. She helps with fundraising and facilitating adoptions.

In addition, four outstanding Charleston County Teachers were also honored during Tuesday's program. Those teachers are Jason Kraeger, a 2nd Grade teacher at Pinehurst Elementary, Cynthia Smith from Buist Academy, Mary Zena White from Charles Pinckney Elementary and Braeden Kershner, a music instructor at CE Williams Middle School.

Finally, Charleston County Teacher of the Year, Eva Rutiri was recognized. Eva teaches web-design and entrepreneurship at West Ashley School. Eva has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Education and a Masters of Education from Winthrop University. Eva has taught for twenty-five years. She began her teaching career in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has also taught Southeast Asia. After teaching in six continents, Eva returned home to South Carolina to teach.

Submitted by Katie McCravy, Keyway Committee

May 13, 2011

Tecklenburg, Moryl, Friends Warm Up Rotarians for Piccolo Spoleto

MAY 10, 2011 - Rotarian John Tecklenburg's fingers tickled the keyboard Tuesday as he and a talented group of local jazz musicians tantalized club members with a preview of this year's Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

Tecklenburg, who is coordinating Piccolo Spoleto's jazz series this year, also introduced former member Ellen Dressler Moryl, head of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs and longtime Piccolo Spoleto organizer.

"Piccolo is so important because it gives the opportunity to our local artists to be showcased against the backdrop of Spoleto Festival USA," said Moryl, who launched the series for the city in 1979. "These two festivals provide a stunning economic impact which benefits the entire state of South Carolina."

A 2007 study showed that both festivals generated $85 million in business for the Charleston area, she said.

"Cultural tourism is very important to the state of South Carolina and we can also take pleasure in knowing that supporting the arts even makes good business sense."

This year's Piccolo Spoleto Festival, which runs in conjunction with the May 27 to June 12 Spoleto Festival USA, will offer 700 events throughout the community. Not only will there be outstanding and affordable opera, theater and visual arts, but the festival will have a wide array of musical shows including classical, contemporary, jazz and the blues. Other highlights include a Sunset Serenade at the Customhouse (5 p.m. to 7 p.m., May 27), the Children's Festival (daytime, May 28 at Marion Square), a Block Party (7 p.m. to 11 p.m., June 4, Marion Square) and a finale devoted to "Motown Madness" (6 p.m. to 10 p.m., June 11, Hampton Park).

"There's something at this year's program for every one of you," Moryl said.

She picked names from a hat to give door prizes. Winners included Leslie Fellabom, Edward Jackson, Jeff Perez, Andy Brack and John Bleecker.

Tecklenburg encouraged members to take Piccolo Spoleto harbor cruises during the festival for what he called "the best deal in town" -- $16 for jazz, a cruise around the harbor and the opportunity to enjoy adult beverages via a cash bar.

He and four locals - Brian Reid on bass, Lonnie Hamilton on alto saxophone, George Kenny on tenor saxophone and Steve Berry on trumpet - entertained members before, during and after the meeting with the kind of jazz they'll here at 17 different offerings during the festival.

Submitted by Andy Brack, Keyway Committee

May 8, 2011

Local Authors Visit Rotary

May 3, 2011: Rotary member, Jodie-Beth Galos introduced this week's speakers: distinguished authors, Ken Burger, Jim Livingston and Mary Alice Monroe. Before each author took the podium, Jodie-Beth thanked Rachel from Barnes and Noble Book Store for their support and generous 15% proceeds donation as well as recognizing Tom Sweeny for "organizing the whole event."

Author, Ken Burger was the first speaker introduced. Jodie-Beth's introduction recounted Mr. Burger's take on his 1998 - 2008 career as an executive sports writer, as he stated, sports writers are always the best writers...because their readers already know the news!

Joking that although he was given 10 minutes to talk but would save the majority for Mary Alice, Mr. Burger used one word to summarize each of his two novels: Swallow Savannah as "segregation" and Sister Santee as "integration." He explained that his first novel, Swallow Savannah was about the "black and white" way of life in South Carolina during the 50's and 60's and his second novel, Sister Santee was a "natural follower" as it portrays the Lowcountry lives of "many different colors and many different people." As Mr. Burger describes, "It was an interesting time to be in South Carolina: Civil rights was alive, Martin Luther King Jr. was dead, Jim Crow was holding court down at the barbershop and Uncle Tom just bought a house in the suburbs."

From one great author to the next, Major General James E. Livingston was the second speaker introduced by Jodi-Beth. During her introduction, she recounted MG Livingston's sentiment that although it's important to win on the home front, it's just as important to win on the battlefield. This attitude is evident is his novel, Noble Warrior, which "provides insight and analysis at the highest military level."

As a Medal of Honor recipient, MG Livingston personal stories of World War II battlefront experiences, including his role in the evacuation of Saigon deliver an epic novel that will forever be a testimony not only to our country but to the young men and women of our armed forces.

During the most poignant moment of his presentation, MG Livingston described the "saddest moment" of his military career as when he boarded the evacuation helicopter in Saigon, with room for only his troops, he was forced to leave behind the 20,000 Vietnamese whom he had just looked in the eye.

Transitioning from battle stories and war heroes, the next author, Mary Alice Monroe, shared the battles our environment and its inhabitants face and the heroes who protect our landscape and its voiceless creatures. Jodie-Beth's introduction reminded the audience that everyone "can make a difference preserving the world around us," a sentiment Mary Alice carries throughout her 13 novels.

When Mary Alice took the podium, she explained what an honor it was to be on stage with two patriots, especially with her own son currently serving in Quantico. Bridging patriotism and our environment, Mary Alice described her favorite line of America the Beautiful, "purple mountains majesty." She explained this visual account of our landscape as a reminder of how quickly it can disappear.

As an active environmentalist, Mary Alice's novels share a common theme, and her newest book, The Butterfly’s Daughter is no exception as it uses the monarch butterflies' "genetic memory" migration as a metaphor for the reconciliation of a mother and daughter as they follow the migratory path of the monarchs. As Mary Alice explained, the butterflies route, traveling from the far north east to Mexico, her passion for their preservation was evident. She described her own account witness experience as a "spiritual moment." Mary Alice's environmental passion is not a solitary love for monarch butterflies, but rather for all animals, as her first New York Times hit Novel, The Beach House, showcases the endangered Sea Turtle.

The author presentations were concluded with an interesting question and answer period where writing and research styles were discussed as well as the business side of writing and the topic of title selection.

Submitted by Teal Van Saun, Keyway Committee