5.51 | Monday, Oct. 21, 2013
the picture of education in Charleston for 25 years
2013 -- As part of an organization dedicated to reducing high school dropout
rates in our community, Communities In Schools' staff and board members
often hear more about unmet needs - hunger, homelessness, and the lack
of basic clothing and supplies - than we do about problems solved and
and hear the personal and often difficult stories of students that our
program serves, who regularly confront a mountain of obstacles that block
their paths to success. From poverty to lack of parental engagement to
a number of other spirit-stifling conditions, these young people can seem
doomed to failure before even reaching the 3rd grade.
that the future well-being of our region depends on improving student
outcomes and high school graduation rates, we celebrate the results of
our work in a new report highlighting last year's successes, titled: "Changing
the Picture of Education in Charleston for 25 Years." Of the
approximately 1,440 students with whom we worked one-on-one in the 2012-13
school year, for example, to provide life skills training, counseling,
and other needed services -- 95.5 percent of those who were eligible seniors
in our program graduated from high school. Of those new graduates, nearly
70 percent were accepted into college and 7.5 percent planned to enter
military service. This is a testament both to the strength of our program
model and to the great resilience of our students, who consistently impress
us with their determination to create a more promising future for themselves
and their families.
In Schools affiliate in Charleston is part of a larger national entity
that is the only dropout prevention organization proven to both lower
dropout rates and increase graduation rates. What sets Communities In
Schools apart is the organization's holistic approach to addressing both
the academic and non-academic needs of students. Working with school staff,
our site coordinators within the schools identify students in danger of
dropping out, assess their needs, and coordinate with community partners
to provide them with the appropriate and much-needed resources. You may
have seen some of these students' stories featured on both network and
cable television stations or in the local newspaper in Charleston this
month, in a public awareness campaign that can also be seen on changethepicture.org.
each child's circumstances are unique, each deserves the Five Basics that
guide the work of Communities In Schools:
In Schools' on-campus site coordinators can make all the difference in
the world to an at-risk student. Through life skills lessons, service
learning opportunities, college/career readiness activities (from filling
out applications to taking college tours), and a host of other life-changing
opportunities and experiences, these young students learn to reach toward
a culture of success and gain the tools to make that a reality.
We challenge everyone who has a stake in our community and its future to help us provide students with the basics of success. It will take all of us working together - as staff, teachers, administrators, families, community organizations, businesses and volunteers - to guide and encourage these students and make high school graduation a reality for all.
challenges notion of American exceptionalism
2013 -- A good college friend took his own life this week. He was a groomsman
in my wedding. I served as his best man. During the Clinton years after
college, we were neighbors. But as often happens, we drifted apart, his
family growing up as mine began. In recent years, he battled demons a
little bigger than most of us encounter. And now he's gone.
it's sad. More than likely, you've experienced a similar, unexpected death,
a passing that made you pause and wonder. My friend's sudden death reminds
me how fleeting our time is on earth and that we should use it wisely.
however, we do not act wisely. If you want evidence, just look to Washington
and, to a lesser degree, Columbia.
government shutdown that brought the nation to the brink of defaulting
on its debts is a symptom of how America's place in the world is changing.
As Americans, we continue to believe in the notion of "American exceptionalism,"
the theory that the United States and its political and civic cultures
are qualitatively different from anywhere else. It's the notion that what
we have here in the United States is so good that everyone should want
shutdown, expected to cost more than $20 billion and cause fourth-quarter
growth to dip, seems to show the hate-government movement is having an
impact. Americans are growing tired of duplicitous, ideologically-driven
leaders just like people have had for years in scandal-plagued Italy or
cash-strapped Greece. More worrisome is the likelihood that the shutdown
and associated nonsense from Washington is causing a weariness with the
whole notion of American-style democracy as people shake their heads at
elected representatives who seem to be able to do nothing other than keep
their special Capitol Hill gyms open.
accepted that members of Congress have low overall approval ratings from
American voters. But voters have generally said they liked their own member
of Congress -- so much so that the same nimrods kept getting elected.
Now, the scent of a shift is in the air. A new Pew Research Center poll
shows almost 40 percent of voters say they don't want to see their own
legislator re-elected because they're so dissatisfied with what's happening
in Washington. Furthermore, the anti-incumbency fervor is so strong that
three in four of those polled say they want most members of Congress defeated
new mood remain? Probably, because Congress only kicked the default can
down the road for a few months and didn't solve any real problems. After
Christmas, tea partiers and a hyperactive media will inject new anti-government
fervor into what we call the United States of America. And it probably
all will devolve into more spitting matches and ubiquitous cable countdown
as if the whole country has migrated from wearing suits and ties to Dockers
and T-shirts. And the rest of the world sees it. The result? Now there's
talk about something other than the dollar being the world's standard,
solid financial base. There are serious questions about America's leadership
overseas as the Chinese continue to loan us money and now build major
projects in neighboring countries.
to this shutdown, brought on by the lack of respect for compromise among
ultra-conservative extremists, Americans are less confident in their government,
which would make our framers ashamed. Perhaps more importantly, we seem
to be itching to prove that we're no longer exceptional.
are diminished," University of South Carolina political scientist
Mark Tompkins notes, "both in international perceptions of our capacity
as a nation and, in fact, as the tangible and intangible costs of this
episode are tallied in coming weeks and months.
is a blow to the story of 'American exceptionalism.' Others will be less
receptive to the idea that they should look to the U.S. as an exemplar
of the way of the future."
tea partiers and wingnuts. Wouldn't it be better to start being wise and
not, as my college friend sadly did, throw away something important?
us your thoughts
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is the Charleston RiverDogs. The Lowcountrys leader in sports entertainment, Charleston RiverDogs baseball is an attractive, affordable medium for your group or business. The RiverDogs develop the next major league stars for the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees at one of the finest ballparks in Minor League Baseball -- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Three short words sum up the every day approach taken by the Charleston RiverDogs front office. The brainchild of club President Mike Veeck, the nine-letter phrase Fun Is Good is meant to be a guideline and daily reminder of how employees should approach their jobs and in turn capture the imagination of the fans to turn them into repeat customers.
ways for children to find local history preserved
OCT. 21, 2013 -- When it comes to learning about our rich local history, I like to find ways to visually reinforce the facts so that my children can easily recall images linked with historical details.
In Charleston, we are spoiled for choice with historic sites, local art, books and photography that can all come together as teaching aids outside of a classroom. As an extension to a lesson plan, why not take your children to the precise spot where the historical event occurred? Reading children's books tailored to the subject and studying old photographs are also ways to ingrain local history into the mind of a child and help them feel more connected to their hometown. In terms of an impressive local history, we certainly have it all here in Charleston and here are four easy ways to see it through the eyes of a child:
Construction underway at Northbridge Park
Charleston city and county officials broke ground Friday on construction of Northbridge Park in West Ashley at the west end of the North bridge across the Ashley River.
The Northbridge Park will be a "gateway" to the West Ashley area of the City of Charleston, according to a press release by the city. The park and a pier will include a pier gathering area with gangway & floating canoe/kayak launch dock; 16 parking spaces, disabled access; a pet station, which provides dog bags and waste disposal; bicycle rack; drinking fountain, tables, vehicle and pedestrian travel way under the bridge; lighting and security cameras installed under the bridge; and a pedestrian/bike path from West Ashley to the park.
"For years, this has been an unofficial gathering place for residents in the West Ashley area of our city to come and fish," said Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. "When Northbridge Park and the pier are completed next spring, it will be an attractive and safe place for residents and visitors to come enjoy the water's edge."
will cost $1,535,379. Three bids were received. Funding is coming in part
from general obligation bond monies, Charleston County Greenbelt funds
and reserves. The park and pier will open in the spring of 2014.
Anti-gay hate crime activist to speak tonight at College of Charleston
of a man who died 15 years ago after being targeted, beaten and abducted
for being gay will talk 7 p.m. tonight in the Stern Center ballroom at
the College of Charleston.
mother of the late Matthew Shepard, will present "The Meaning of
Matthew." She and her family helped turn her son's death into a crusade
for justice. It established a foundation and lobbied successfully for
passage of the Matthew Shepard Act, which expanded federal hate-crimes
legislation to include sexual orientation. The measure was signed into
law four years ago.
The College of Charleston Office of Student Life will also host two screenings of "Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine," a 2012 film made by high school friend of Shepard that helps humanize him. The screenings will be noon Tuesday and 6 p.m. Wednesday in room 206 of the Stern Center.
Dunne to speak Nov. 6 to World Affairs Council of Charleston
The World Affairs Council of Charleston will present its second speaker of its current season at 6 p.m. November 6 when Middle Eastern expert Charles Dunne discusses the deepening disaster in Syria.
In addition to serving as an adviser to the Pentagon and as a director of the National Security Council, Dunne has also spent 24 years as a U.S. Foreign Service diplomat in Cairo, Jerusalem and India. Currently, he is director of Middle east and North Africa programs at Freedom House.
The World Affairs Council of Charleston is an organization that fosters a broad knowledge of world affairs and international events. It hosts six speaking events each year featuring distinguished presenters from U.S. and foreign governments, academic organizations and the business community. Membership is open to the general public.
will begin at 6 p.m. at The Citadel Alumni Center in Charleston, with
a reception starting at 5:15 p.m. More
Family of Women: The Carolina Petigrus in Peace and War
Drawn from the letters and diaries of three generations of Petigru women, this family biography features vivid portrayals of a highly diverse group of characters. Powerful connections could not shield the descendants of noted Charleston antebellum attorney James Louis Petigru, as they experienced troubles specific to their time, as well as those common to all eras. Scandal was not unknown to the Petigru family. Whether managing slaves or dealing with deaths, fires, financial losses, bad marriages and difficult pregnancies, some Petigru women found it harder than others to meet the expected norms of Southern upper class female behavior.
James L. Petigru was a staunch Unionist in Charleston during the Civil War, but only one of his daughters shared his beliefs. The war presented economic and social challenges for all involved; and many challenges continued during the post-war world. A Family of Women is fascinating and extremely well written. This book deserves wide readership.
Located on St. Helena Island in Beaufort County, Penn Center, Inc., originated as the Penn Normal School. The school was established in 1862 on St. Helena by the northern missionaries Laura Towne and Ellen Murray. It was one of approximately thirty schools built on St. Helena as part of the Port Royal Experiment, an effort by northern missionaries to educate formerly enslaved Africans and prepare them for life after slavery. The leaders of the Port Royal Experiment were philanthropists, abolitionists, and Quaker missionaries from Pennsylvania who came to the Beaufort County area during the Civil War. They named the school in honor of their home state and for the Quaker activist William Penn.
Laura Towne arrived on St. Helena Island in April 1862 and was joined by Ellen Murray in June of the same year. The two began educating blacks in a one-room schoolhouse on the Oaks Plantation. As the number of students outgrew this space, they moved to the Brick Baptist Church. They remained there until 1864, when a prefabricated building was sent down from Pennsylvania. A fifty-acre tract of land was purchased from a freedman named Hastings Gantt so that the building could be erected.
In 1901, the school was chartered as the Penn Normal, Industrial, and Agricultural School. The Tuskegee Curriculum, developed by Booker T. Washington, was slowly incorporated into the Penn curriculum. So, in addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, Penn started teaching classes in carpentry, basket making, harness making, cobbling, shoe lasting, midwifery, teacher training, and mechanics.
In 1948, the Penn School board decided that it was no longer economically feasible to keep the Penn School open as a private boarding school since public schools were now being brought onto St. Helena Island. As a result, the Penn School class of 1953 was the last one to graduate.
After becoming Penn Community Center in 1953, the institution began to focus on social issues affecting the well-being of the native islanders. This expanded to African Americans as a whole in the 1960s, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and other civil rights organizations began coming to the island to have meetings at the Frissell Community House, one of several buildings that students and community members had built on the campus.
Penn Center, Inc.'s programs and educational partnerships included the History and Culture Program, the Program for Academic and Cultural Enrichment (PACE), the Land Use and Environmental Education Program, and the Early Childhood / At-Risk Families Initiative. In 1974 the United States Department of the Interior designated the Penn Center's buildings and grounds a National Historic Landmark District. Exhibitions that focus on the history of Penn School and its connections to the native Gullah/Geechee culture of the Sea Islands are housed in the York W. Bailey Museum, which serves as a major tourist attraction.
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Third time is charming
For the third year in a row, Charleston ranked first in the U.S. as the top travel city for readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine.
Says the magazine: "With 'sand, sun, history, good food and friendly people," Charleston is a consistent hit with the travelers who venture to this 'gracious and beautiful' city. ... Nearby beaches and impressive architecture draw visitors, but it's the 'insanely nice' locals who enhance 'magnificent' bed and breakfasts and 'amazing shopping." ... 'A bucket list city.'"
Rounding out the top 10:
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less."
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(NEW) Reggae on the Cistern: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., October 25, College of Charleston Cistern. The college will cap its fourth annual Diversity Week with this free family event featuring Charleston's Mystic Vibrations. Learn more of week-long Diversity Week events.
Colour of Music Festival: Oct. 23-27, throughout Charleston. More than 20 events -- from organ recitals and chamber music matinees to recitals and special events -- will be held throughout Charleston during the Colour of Music Festival, which will feature all-black classical musicians. Check online to learn more about the breadth and depth of this event.
Family Fright Nights: 6 p.m. October 25 and 26, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. The attraction's fifth annual Family Fright Nights will bubble up from the swamp with Halloween games, prizes, a costume contest and more. Tickets are $10 per person or $40 per car. More.
(NEW) Edisto Island Bluegrass Festival: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., October 26, Point of Pines Plantation off S.C. Highway 174, Edisto Island. This first festival will offer great Americana music to benefit preservation on the island. Cost: $30 in advance; $35 at the gate. More.
Bazaar: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 26, Christ Our King Stella Maris School, Mount Pleasant. The school's 62nd annual bazaar will offer entertainment, games, food, a cake booth, water blast, mystery bags, face painting, crafters corner, spooky wheel and much more. Free.
(NEW) Blue Jamboree 2013: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., October 26, Jenkins Institute, 3923 Azalea Dr., North Charleston. West Ashley Democrats will hold the annual political event featuring talks by U.S. Reps. James Clyburn of South Carolina and Elijah Cummings of Maryland. Lots of politics, food, music and fun. Cost is $10 per person, with children under 16 for free. More.
(NEW) rUNdead 5K: 5 p.m., October 26, Wannamaker County Park, North Charleston. Not only will you be able to participate in the rUNdead Charleston, but the Aftermath Party includes a showing of "World War Z" on a big outdoor screen. Costs: $40 for a Charleston County resident runner; $23 to be a zombie; $10 off by mentioning you got an email for a price break. More info.
Harvest Festival and Block Party: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Oct. 26, Olde Village, North Charleston. The City of North Charleston will hold this inaugural event with live musical performances, art exhibits and children's activities. More.
Oyster Roast: 1 p.m., October 27, Goldbug Island. East Cooper Meals on Wheels will have an Oyster Roast and Chili Throwdown to help raise money for the organization. Tickets are $30 each for adults and $10 for children over 2. More.
Art on Paper Fair: November 1-3, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. The weekend event will feature the sale of prints, watercolors, photos and drawings that celebrate the South. There are several events over the weekend. More.
(NEW) Fall Festival: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., November 2, Charles Towne Montessori, 56 Leinbach Drive, West Ashley. Join the school for fun games, good food, special guests and unique vendors in its annual event. There's an open house that starts at 10 a.m. More.
Harvest Festival: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., November 2, Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, 2662 Mullet Hall Road, Johns Island. The 12th annual Harvest Festival will feature a barbecue cookoff, bluegrass music from five local bands, hay rides, pumpkin decorating, lasso demonstrations and more. Cost $12 per person; kids under 12 are free. More.
Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival: Nov. 7-10, Sottile Theatre, College of Charleston, downtown Charleston. The four-day festival will celebrate Italian contemporary cinema and culture with several films and special guests. More info.
Park Day Festival: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., November 9, Daniel Island. The annual festival will offer lots of family fun with a wide range of activities, including a mobile zip line, obstacle course, climbing wall and more. Online here.
(NEW) Celebrity softball: 2:05 p.m., November 9, Joseph P. Riley Park, Charleston. Comedian Bill Murray and a bunch of national and local celebrities will meet for the third annual Slim Down the South Celebrity Softball Challenge. More.
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.
Christmas to remember
9/30: What happens when rates rise