TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Bojangles' presented dozens of books to Charleston County's Teacher of the Year Maisha Rounds Thursday night at Sanders-Clyde Elementary. Rounds, a third-grade teacher, is pictured with Sanders-Clyde Interim Principle Reggie White (at left), Rounds' daughters, Faith, Hope and Charity, and her husband, Byron Rounds. "I infuse the arts - music, dance and drama - into my lessons and prepare my students for life beyond my classroom by focusing on community involvement," said Rounds, who has been teaching 11 years. In partnership with South Carolina Future Minds, the Bojangles' restaurant chain donated more than 3,000 books to school libraries across the state.
:: Stories, art, life and hope
:: On Spratt, Libya, budget
CALENDAR: This week ... and next
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MARCH 21, 2011 - The first 20 minutes hadn't been great. I stood in front of the fifth-grade class and tried my best to make pre-writing fun. Pre-writing isn't fun. Graphic organizers are boring. Webs with bubbles and phrases like "How did it feel?" and "What could I hear?" are the worst part of writing.
Most writers I know skip pre-writing altogether, but 5th-graders aren't most writers. They're 11-year-olds with a standardized test coming up.
"Close your eyes," I said. "Go to your favorite place. Pretend you're blindfolded. Listen. Listen to everything going on around you." Half of the students opened their eyes and stared, confused. One boy in the back started swaying, with a smile, Ray Charles at a piano.
"Now open your eyes. Fill in the bubbles. What did you hear?"
Volunteers sat with the students, helping them focus, to learn to paint with words, to go beyond hearing "people" and instead hear a child laughing while running from a wave, or a family ordering the buffet in a Chinese restaurant.
We were disappointed. After a lot of prodding, they heard "people talking." They tasted "hot food." Only one girl offered an over-the-top feeling of "seashells that feel like knives poking my feet until I'm about to die."
One boy, Nathan, tapped me on my arm. "I'm done," he said.
"Yeah," he nodded, holding up his paper as proof. Half of the page was filled with double-spaced lines.
I stood beside Nathan and read. It wasn't very good, but I could see that he had tried. He wrote about a buffet in West Ashley, and described the "hard plates" and "wet water." I reminded myself that for every discouraging day like this, there are three others where you can see the students improving, catching up to national standards, discovering their voice and learning to love it. We have fewer volunteers working in this class than any other we go to. It's one volunteer to five kids, and even this ratio seems impossible.
I handed his paper back to him, and smiled. "I'm proud of you. Thanks for putting in the work." I gave him a high-five.
"I wish you were my dad," he told me.
I'd never talked to Nathan before. He'd always been in another volunteer's group. It was only the second day I remember seeing him.
"Because you're nice."
"Your dad's not nice?"
"He's nice, but he's never said that."
As we left the class I thought about my dad, how he would take me to Florida every year when I was a kid to watch spring training. I thought about the times he told me he was proud of me when I was growing up, even when I struck out, or ran too slow. I thought about last Father's Day when I called home. He told me I was his hero. I had felt like a failure. I'd made less money that year than I did my junior year of high school. He had to help me pay rent one month. To him, it didn't matter. His son was his hero.
As I drove to our next school of the day, I couldn't quit thinking about Nathan, and how sad it was that it took so little to fill such a huge need in his life. A high-five. Ten words. Why do some parents leave such a gaping void in their child's heart, one so big that a high-five and 10 words can seep in and explode into a stranger becoming family?
For the next two hours, I stopped caring about national standards for writing. Instead, I looked around at the students huddled around their tables. I saw Jabril, a fifth-grader who has built such a strong bond with another volunteer that he cried when he found out she had to miss one day. Not just a tear or two, but a puddle of tears pooled on a round wooden library table.
It was my favorite two hours of SideWalk Chalk. Ever. Looking around the room, I remembered why we are here. We help students create. Stories. Art. Life.
A teacher in one class we partner with told me this morning that the mid-year test score of every student in her class had gone up. The measurable results feel good, and help us win grants and all of that stuff, but the results we're really after are the ones there are no tests for. Confidence. Hope.
A few weeks
ago, a volunteer had to come late to a session in a new school. It was
only our second week there. When she opened the door the classroom erupted
in cheers. It doesn't take much. A high-five. Ten words.
ROCK HILL, S.C. -- If Jack Spratt could eat no fat, then John Spratt could not stomach bad budgeting.
Hundreds gathered Sunday in Rock Hill to honor the 28 years of service in Congress for Spratt, the former Democratic House budget chair ousted in November in a nasty November race.
As always, Spratt was the quiet Southern gentleman who spoke to everyone, thanked them for their help as they were thanking him for his time in Washington.
A slide show of past campaigns and congressional highlights filled two corners of a room the size of a gymnasium. People brought food like they would for a Sunday dinner after church. Memorabilia -- awards, honors, bills like the one recognizing the Catawba Indian tribe -- lined a wall.
Mostly, the room was filled with two competing emotions - one of constituents who were thankful for the years that Spratt fought for them in the trenches in Washington and another of sadness that he didn't win his 15th election to the House.
Spratt said he wasn't sure what he'd do now, but that it would be part-time, maybe teaching or working with a think tank.
"I've been taking it day to day," he said in a story in The Rock Hill Herald today. "I haven't spent much time exploring my options yet. Mostly doing mundane things like moving 600 boxes to South Carolina."
John Spratt is a South Carolina hero for regular people. His bipartisan leadership, voice of reason and common sense will be missed in Washington, now a place of increasing pettiness and partisanship.
* * * * *
PERHAPS MORE CONFUSING than the United States entering a third armed conflict in another part of the world is how in the world to spell the name of Libya's odd leader:
First guy I've ever seen with three different alternatives for the first letter of his last name. Wonder what's on his driver's license? When he has to get in an alphabetical line at an international conference, which one does he get in?
* * * * *
A TIP OF THE HAT goes out to State Rep. Dan Cooper, R-Anderson, and others on the House Ways and Means Committee. When many expected the worst for the 2011-12 state budget, it wasn't as bad as it could have been, as Statehouse Report projected last week.
that occur? A Chicken Little budget strategy crafted for months by top
legislative officials to lower expectations while they prayed the economy
would turn around. Here's what happened:
In the long run, agencies will have it slightly tougher, but the S.C. Arts Commission and SCETV, for example, didn't get abolished. Doctors and hospitals won't get paid as much for Medicaid treatment, but the program got an extra $435 million in general fund revenues, which will attract additional federal matching dollars. Schools won't have $29 million for textbooks, but the average amount spent per student will rise by $171 from the General Fund. (This number is, we're told, a little tricky because the increase will be less in districts that got more stimulus money, which means poorer districts will get less of an increase.)
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In this issue, we shine the spotlight on SCRA, a global leader in applied research and commercialization services with its headquarters in North Charleston. SCRA collaborates to advance technology, providing technology-based solutions with assured outcomes to industry and government, with the help of research universities in South Carolina, the U.S. and around the world. Managing more than 100 national and international programs worth over $1.3B in applied R&D contract value, SCRA has a results-based management approach that assures delivery of technology solutions to complex client challenges. Learn more here.
The Charleston Jazz Orchestra, Charleston's own resident big band, continues its 2011 season with Swing! Swing! Swing! at 7 p.m. March 26 at the band's House of Swing, the Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St.
For the second performance of this season, maestro Charlton Singleton takes the stage to lead Charleston's finest musicians in a celebration of the swing era and the birth of big band jazz. The show will be performed in two sets with an intermission. Adults, $30 advance and $40 day of show; seniors, $25 advance, $35 day of show; students, $20 advance, $30 day of, with valid student ID.
Tickets are available online and in person, JAC Box Office, 185-C St. Philip St., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are also available by telephone, 843-641-0011.
Singleton is taking his aggregation back to its roots, swing music, for the second installment of the band's 2011 season. Swing, the melodic, hard-driving category of jazz music delivered by big bands in the 1930's and 40's, is sanctuary for CJO; and coming off the smashing success of its sold-out season opener, Jazz on the Screen, it is poised to settle into the comfort and familiarity of its signature style.
Always a crowd pleaser, the band's swing shows use vocalists, this time around with Leah Suárez, Singleton himself and a couple of surprises. Evergreens such as "Route 66," "Stompin' at the Savoy," "All of Me," "Fever" and "Birth of the Blues" will be featured. A Sammy Nestico arrangement of Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll" is also on the program. For more information visit www.TheJAC.org.
Award-winning poet to visit Charleston
Author Sandra Beasley will read excerpts from her books at 7 p.m. April 15 at Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. in Charleston. There will be an author signing after the reading.
The Charleston Friends of the Library and the Poetry Society of South Carolina are co-sponsors of this event.
Sandra Beasley is the author of "I Was the Jukebox" (W. W. Norton, 2010, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize) and "Theories of Falling" (New Issues, 2008, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize).
Other honors include the 2010 University of Mississippi Summer Poet in Residence position, a DCCAH Individual Artist Fellowship, the Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, and fellowships to the Sewanee Writer's Conference, VCCA, and the Millay Colony.
Beasley lives in Washington, D.C., where she is working on "Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life," forthcoming from Crown. For more information, visit www.sandrabeasley.com.
Lecture to reveal new information on Fort Sumter
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the Charleston Museum offers a curator lecture on new revelations about Fort Sumter as discovered in a manuscript from the museum archives.
"Very Respectfully: Letters from the Ft. Sumter Copy Book" will begin at 6:30 p.m. March 23 at the museum.
Russell Horres, a volunteer researcher at the Charleston Museum and guide for the National Park Service, will discuss the thoughts and actions of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Sumter just days before the bombardment, as well as new information on the fort's construction.
The Museum's archivist, Jennifer Scheetz, will discuss and have on display the Fort Sumter copy-letter book (a Charleston Museum Archives collection piece) upon which much of this information is based.
Another lecture on April 27 will include discussion of advancements in small arms technology during the war. All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.charlestonmuseum.org or call 722-2996 x235.
Registration opens for TryCharleston Triathlon
It's time to register for the 2nd Annual TryCharleston Triathlon, the first and only USAT-certified triathlon in the tri-county area.
The April 30 triathlon will include a half iron distance (1.2 mile swim; 56 mile bike; 13.1 mile run) and a sprint (500 meter swim; 20 km bike; 5 km run) event.
The Mount Pleasant route begins at the KOA Campground and ends in Active Park. The half-iron starts at 7 a.m. and the sprint starts at 7:30 a.m.
The 1st Annual TryCharleston attracted 700 registrants from more than 20 states, and donated $3,500 to the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy. This year's event again will support the Chaplaincy, as well as the KOA Care Camps Program, the Charleston County Disabilities Foundation and other local nonprofit organizations.
the new Irish migrants had become an integrated if not yet an assimilated
part of South Carolina society. In secession and civil war, the majority
of the Irish supported their adopted state. Irish units from Charleston
and Columbia served with distinction. Bishop Lynch became Confederate
commissioner to the Vatican. The southern defeat, particularly the destruction
in Charleston and Columbia, had a harsh impact on Irish Carolinians. New
migrants stopped coming to the state and the Irish-born population never
again reached its 1860 level. After 1865 the Irish story in South Carolina
became an increasingly Irish-American one. Opponents of Radical Reconstruction,
the Irish felt rewarded when Michael Patrick O'Connor of Charleston was
elected to Congress in 1878. In that city they remained a vital force
in local politics, helping elect one of their own, John Patrick Grace,
mayor in 1911 and again in 1919. One of South Carolina's most important
politicians, James F. Byrnes, was an altar boy at St. Patrick's Catholic
Church in the heart of Irish Charleston before becoming an Episcopalian,
United States senator, secretary of state, and governor. The Irish-American
tradition in South Carolina politics has been ably continued by leaders
such as Governor Richard Riley of Greenville and Mayor Joseph P. Riley,
Jr., of Charleston.
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Five about rescue
year, more than four million animals die in shelters, which is why it's
so important to spay and neuter your pets. Another important solution
to the problem is the role that animal rescue organizations play in finding
"furever" homes for these animals. Mary Zapatka often houses
rescue dogs at her business, Planet Bark in Mount Pleasant. We asked her
about the misconceptions people may have about rescue dogs.
Help local animal
rescue S.W.A.T. (Southern Women Animal Task Force) at the first installment
of a new giving series "Pour It Forward" on Wednesday, March
23 from 5 to 8 p.m. at The Square Onion Too! at 411 Coleman Boulevard.
A $10 donation is requested and with their donation, patrons will enjoy
libations, music, snacks and more and the proceeds will benefit S.W.A.T.
For more details, visit the Planet
Bark Facebook page.
"Be kind - remember
every one you meet is fighting a battle - everybody's lonesome."
(NEW) Wet Paint: Today, and daily this week. Artists Marc Hanson and Mary Whyte will paint Charleston en plein air beginning today on lower Church Street from 9 a.m. to noon. Other days' sites for painting include Magnolia Gardens, the Folly Beach Pier, Shem Creek, and at sponsor Coleman Fine Art, 79 Church St., with a reception March 25 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the gallery. For more information, go online.
teacher performance: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., March 22, North Charleston
City Hall Chambers. Measuring teacher performance and linking pay to performance
are hot topics. The League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area presents
a panel discussion with audience Q&A. Panel members are Dr. Janice
Poda, former S.C. Dept. of Education Deputy Superintendent; Dr. Fran Welch,
dean of the College of Charleston's School of Education; and Lucy Beckham,
principal of Wando High School. Light refreshments will be offered beforehand
at 5:30 p.m. in the Buist Room. The forum and reception are free.
Positive Union Relations: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., March 23, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. Workshop will look at the history of unions in the U.S., offering a perspective on how relations have changed over time between unions, businesses and employees. Attendees will learn how to handle collective bargaining contract negotiations, take a look at the National Labor Relations Board and discuss its impact on our economy today. Finally, a panel discussion on how to maintain positive labor relations. Cost: $95 non-member, $55 members. Register.
Pour It Forward: 5 to 8 p.m., March 23, at The Square Onion Too, 411 Coleman Blvd., Mount Pleasant. The Square Onion Too! and Earthly Artifacts will host a new monthly Pour It Forward giving event one Wednesday each month. A $10 donation is requested and patrons will enjoy libations, music, snacks and more. For the first event, patrons can enjoy a wine tasting with proceeds from the event going to S.W.A.T., Southern Women Animal Task force. For more, visit the Square Onion on Facebook.com.
Art-O-Mat: 7 p.m., March 23, Room 309 of the Simons Center for the Arts on 54 St. Philip St., Charleston. The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts will host a lecture "Tales from the Art-O-Mat" by Art-O-Mat creator Clark Whittington. Art-O-Mat machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. There are now 400 contributing artists from 10 different countries who have their artwork in over 90 active machines in various locations throughout the country. The Halsey Institute has been proudly hosting the only Art-O-Mat in South Carolina since 2000. Located directly across from the Halsey Institute entrance, it only takes five dollars and the pull of a knob to vend a unique work of art.
in Afghanistan: 6 p.m., March 24, Terrace Theatre. The Center
for Women is hosting a special event to commemorate Women's History Month
by telling the story of a group of women Peace Corps volunteers who were
instrumental in eradicating smallpox in Afghanistan. Producer Jill Vickers
and 6 of the women Peace Corps Volunteers will be attending and will conduct
a question and answer period after the film has been shown. Tickets are
Writing from memory: 6:30 p.m., March 25, the Sophia Institute, 297 East Bay St. Workshop with author Josephine Humphreys. Fiction and memoir may seem to be opposites, but there's a surprisingly thin line between the two. The essence of both is story. In this workshop participants will talk about the memory-treasury, the writer's principal resource, and how it can be accessed for effective fiction and memoir. Tuition: Friday night lecture, $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Workshop (includes lecture): $195. For more information and to register, go online.
Confederate Diplomacy: 1 p.m., March 26, St. Andrews Regional Library, 1735 North Woodmere Drive, West Ashley. Ted Rosengarten of the College of Charleston will lecture on "Diplomacy's Cruel Sword: Confederate Agents in Pursuit of Recognition." The Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust and Charleston County Public Library are co-sponsoring this free lecture.
Polaridad Complementaria: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tues.-Fri. and noon to 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun., through March 27. Polaridad Complementaria: Recent Works from Cuba, an exhibition that introduces North America to the new generation of influential artists from Cuba, is on view at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park. More than 40 works of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and installation art provide a sense of the serious aesthetic and conceptual concerns that characterizes Cuban art today. Admission free.
Cuban Exhibit: Through March 28, City Gallery at Waterfront Park. An opening reception for Polaridad Complementaria: Recent Works from Cuba, an exhibition that introduces North America to the new generation of influential artists from Cuba, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 4. The exhibit offers more than 40 works of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and installation art to provide a sense of the serious aesthetic and conceptual concerns that characterizes Cuban art today. The City Gallery, at 34 Prioleau St., is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Economic Outlook Conference: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., March 30, Charleston Area Convention Center. Keynote Randy Tinseth, vice president, marketing, Boeing. There will also be an 18 to 24 month look ahead at what's in store for the region's key economic sectors. Cost: $160 non-member, $105 member. Register.
Landscapes of the Lowcountry: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Through March 31, Charleston Area Convention Center gallery viewing area, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston. Charleston Artist Guild member Barrie Hinson will exhibit plein air landscapes in oil in this exhibit of recent works titled "Landscapes of the Lowcountry." Admission free.
(NEW) Reflections of David Stahl: 8 p.m., April 16, Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St., Charleston. A tribute to the late maestro David Stahl presented by The Charleston Symphony Chorus, Dr. Robert Taylor, conductor, as well as the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, College of Charleston Concert Choir, members of the Taylor Festival Choir and other invited singers. Tickets: $15 - $35. For more information or to purchase tickets, go online.
Summerville photo contest: submissions due by noon, May 5. Summerville D.R.E.A.M. (Downtown Restoration Enhancement and Management) is looking for a few good photographs of the downtown Summerville area. Thirteen photos will be used in the upcoming D.R.E.A.M. 2012 Calendar of Historic Downtown Summerville. This contest is open to amateur and professional photographers. Photographs must be of the historic downtown Summerville area - residential and business areas are both acceptable. Photographs may be black and white or color. For more details contact email@example.com, call (843) 821-7260 or go online.
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DOUG BOSTIC: CIVIL WAR HISTORY3/10: Student vs. instructor
2/10: War prep offsets horseracing
MARSHA GUERARD3/17: Being Irish for 1st time
3/10: Honoring givers, adventurers
3/3: Watching Charlie, selves
2/24: Oysters, pigs, chickens
2/17: Law student's brief
2/10: Simple act of beauty
1/3: Spoleto plans
12/27: Hunger, homeless
11/11: Veterans Day
10/21: Charleston: good performer
8/19: How many med schools for SC?
PETER LUCASH: BUSINESS INDIGO
GREG GARVAN: CHARLESTON GREEN
ANN THRASH: FOOD & DRINK
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