November 30, 2011

Local student provides big help for Indian school

November 22, 2011: Vasanth Kuppuswamy, an Academic Magnet graduate who now is a senior at Vanderbilt University, has raised more than $100,000 in recent years to help students in his family's native India.

Kuppuswamy told members of the Rotary Club of Charleston that he became interested in helping students at the school in the Tamil Nadu area of southern India after visiting as a 12-year-old and realizing how much they needed. His family is from the area. Among the challenges and accomplishments at the school:

No desks. Students once had to sit on concrete floors to learn. Through efforts of a nonprofit put together by Kuppuswamy - the Tamil Nadu India School Fund ( - the school got hundreds of desks.

No ceiling fans. Southern India is warm throughout the year with temperatures reaching 85 degrees in December. The fund helped pay for ceiling fans in each classroom to provide some relief.

School supplies needed. The fund provided notebooks, pen, paper and new textbooks.

Primitive science lab. The fund refurbished a science lab with modern equipment.

Property/facility. As conditions improved at the school, it grew from 800 to 1,200 students, causing the need for a larger facility. Not only did the fund help buy four acres adjacent to the current facility, it helped fund construction of a new eight-classroom addition.

Athletics. The fund helped to replace dilapidated basketball courts with new equipment to provide better athletic alternatives.

Electricity. Because the area has unreliable electricity, the fund paid for a small generator to keep lights on during power failures.

Scholarships. The fund also helped seed an endowment to help pay for small scholarships to help students attend college.

Kuppuswamy said the fund also partnered with Water Missions International to purchase a water system for potable water at the school. Additionally, it worked with local Rotary clubs and Rotary International to secure two matching $10,000 grants - one for medical kits for 149 schools in southern India and another for sanitary napkin vending machines at 35 high schools to encourage girls to stay in school.

Kuppuswamy, who plans to attend medical school, said starting and growing the fund has proved to him that with a good idea and drive, " You can bring about significant change."

Learn more about the fund online at: And you can read a 72-page book by Charleston author Bill Smyth about Kuppuswamy's efforts, "Everybody can be a hero," online through a link on the TNISF Web page.

Submitted by Andy Brack, Keyway Committee
Lt. Col. Edward Champberlayne, Corps of Engineers

November 15, 2011: Our speaker was LTC Edward P. Champberlayne, P.E. LTC Champberlayne is Commander and District Engineer at Charleston District, U.S Army Corps of Engineers. He is originally a native of Alexandria, Virginia. He received his PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He now resides in Mt. Pleasant with his wife and two daughters.

Currently, he is heading the Harbor Deepening Feasibility study with the Army Corps of Engineers. His agency has been maintaining the Charleston Harbor for over 130 years. Their project’s mission is to study navigation, flood risk management, ecosystem, and restoration. The motivation behind this project is the 2014 reopening of the Panama Canal and the recent manufacturing of 50ft container ships.

Charleston is currently the fourth busiest traffic container port on the east coast with 1.3 million TEUs a year. The Harbor is only 45 feet deep while the rest of the world is 52ft deep. In order to increase container traffic and keep up with trade globalization, the harbor must be deepened to 50ft. This would allow 50ft ships to pass through our harbor. These bigger ships will be able to carry 11,000 to 14,500 containers.

The goal is to have this project completed within the next 5 to 8 years or at least by year 2020. On the June 20, 2011 an agreement was signed that the cost for this project will be shared 50/50 between the South Carolina State Ports Authority and the Federal Government. The cost for this project is estimated between $18-$20 million dollars.

For more information visit:

Public Scoping Meeting will be 12/13/11 5:30p.m. Mark Clark Hall at the Citadel

Submitted by Katie McCravy, Keyway Committee

November 11, 2011

Rotary Celebrates Veterans in Honorary Program

November 8, 2011: Rotarian Steve Morse introduced our speaker, fellow Rotarian, Colonel Myron Charles Harrington, Jr. Born in Georgia and a 1960 graduate of The Citadel, Colonel Harrington was commissioned 2nd Lt. US Marine Corps in 1961. He earned a masters degree in Public Administration from Shipppensburg State College in PA in 1980. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1991 and in 1992, joined the staff of Trident Academy of Mount Pleasant as Headmaster. Upon his retirement from Trident in 2007, he was designated Headmaster Emeritus. In 2008, he was appointed Co-Chairman of the Medal of Honor Convention 2010 Committee. He is the recipient of a long list of service and campaign medals. Personal Decorations include the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" and Gold Star in lieu of second award, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star, and the Vietnamese Staff Honor Medal 1st Class.

Colonel Harrington spoke about the meaning and significance of Veterans Day. Below are excerpts of his eloquently-delivered speech.

"This week, in communities large and small, all over our great country, people will gather to honor the service and sacrifice of veterans, some who gave their all so that we may enjoy the beauty and tranquility of this glorious day in Charleston. …The many veterans here today are, no doubt, remembering their comrades who, on the field of battle, became their brothers, sisters, and their most trusted friends. But all of us are here to honor and recognize those veterans and their services that allow us to live in freedom and not in oppression."

"As we reflect over our lifetime, I know that each of you realize how truly blessed we are to live in this great nation. But we need to know that our presence as citizens of this wonderful land is not a gift from God or just our luck to be born here. We have the privilege of living in this great nation because those who preceded us had the willingness to fight, shed their blood, and yes, even die so that we may live free in a country with liberty and justice for all. …It is up to us to keep their legacy always in our memory."

"In the past 236 years of our history as a nation, from the revolutionary war to Afghanistan, we have had 11 major wars or conflicts and hundreds of smaller conflicts that have been lost in history, but nevertheless, men and women have served and died defending our freedoms. Over these years, almost 50 million of our citizens have served in time of war or conflict. Over one million died gaining and preserving our way of life. Approximately 22 million are living today."

"This Veterans Day gives us the opportunity to give thanks for and remember our heroes, ordinary men and women who did extraordinary things, warriors who went through some of the most difficult and challenging times in our history. Thinking of them and their heroic deeds and sacrifice renews our spirits, feeds our soul, makes us stand tall and proud, and validates their sacrifice and especially the ultimate sacrifice of those who fell in battle."

"So today, ladies and gentlemen, let us remember the legion upon legion of veterans who, throughout our history, have served and especially those who died for me, for you, for our country and are still dying today. …God bless you. God bless America. Thank you."

Colonel Harrington received a standing ovation.

Submitted by Loretta Wilson, Keyway Committee

November 7, 2011

Coach Wilson of the College of Charleston Lady Cougars

November 1, 2011: The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston was treated on Tuesday to a presentation by Nancy Wilson, Head Coach of Women's Basketball at the College of Charleston. With a career win-loss record of 535-342 in her 30th year of coaching overall, and her College of Charleston win-loss record of 304-192 in her 17th year, she made a powerful impression on the club.

Wilson won her 500th career game against Georgia Southern Feb. 16, 2009, and returned to take over as head women's basketball coach at the College of Charleston on March 27th, 2003. She is now in her 17th season with the Cougars. In her own words, "timing is every point in my career I happened to be in the right place at the right time," which began with her first moves in the coaching field when she became the assistant coach under the renowned Joan Cronin at University of Tennessee.

Talking about the changes that have occurred in athletics and higher education over the years, Wilson reflected on how college sports have become so increasingly competitive and challenging. She recalled how in the '70s and '80s scholarships were few and often amounted to about $100 applied toward books or other school necessities. "It was nothing like what we see today with all of the NCAA regulations governing recruiting and training rules."

"And with all of the sports camps and clinics around the country available to young people, the skills have become so much greater," she said. "I remember when I started, I was the staff, custodian and bus driver. We had a senior who drove the bus quite a bit, but for our longer trips it wasn't right to have the players do the driving, so I went out with my assistant and players and taught ourselves how to drive in parking lots. Now, of course, we have assistant coaches, strength trainers and dedicated drivers and buses. Times are very different."

She also talked about how today's athletes have many more challenges and responsibilities: "These young people are juggling so much more. They have to maintain solid GPAs, competition is tougher on the court and off, and by the time they reach college, these young athletes have been playing for 10 or more years, so it's more like a business."

On her last year leading the Cougars, she was bullish and upbeat, "As I make plans to retire this year, I am gratified as I look back over the years to see how far women's athletics has come, and I know they will only continue to advance. It's been a wonderful journey, but I won't be far away."

Go Cougars!

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee