Mr  Scrooge! logo

Mr. Scrooge – Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 8:00 pm

A musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Book by Lanny Lanford and Brian Craig
Music and Lyrics by Lanny Lanford

Thursday, December 4, 2014
8:00 pm
Performance is free of charge, but reservations are required.

Marsha and Jimmy Gibbs Auditorium
Edgar G. Ellis Hall
Spartanburg Methodist College

A carved prime rib dinner will precede the show. Cost for dinner – $25
Proceeds benefit the SMC study abroad program.

Please RSVP by November 21, 2014 to Cheryl Somerset
somersetc@scmsc.edu or (864) 587-4236 for both dinner reservations and seating confirmation.

Ed Dickerson webphoto

THE VOICE

The Spartanburg Phillies minor league baseball team played in the Western Carolinas League and South Atlantic League from 1963-1994, at Duncan Park. When Ed Dickerson became the public address announcer at Duncan Park, the Voice of the Spartanburg Phillies-Traders-Spinners-Suns, the Israelis had just taken over the Gaza Strip in the Six-Day War of 1967; the Beatles were enjoying the success of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and sadly, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were living their last summer. Dickerson was finishing his second year at SJC when Joe Bowles, Dean of Men at SJC, who also served as the Duncan Park announcer, but was leaving to take a position at Brevard College, approached Dickerson outside the gym about the announcer opportunity. Bowles recommended him to Pat Williams, who was then general manager of the Phillies and the rest is history.

Dickerson went on to Clemson, often commuting to Spartanburg to broadcast games. On a Sunday evening in 1969, Dickerson announced to the fans at the park that, “The Eagle has landed,” when man landed on the moon. Through the years, Dickerson acquired a plethora of memories and saw crowds of several thousand in the stands, to crowds of less than 100. Bob Feller came through from time-to-time with home-run hitting contests. Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas, and Oscar Robertson were just a few of the celebrities who came to Spartanburg for promotions and such.

For 27 years, Dickerson’s crisp, professional voice welcomed fans to “Beautiful Duncan Park.” He had fans who rose for the playing of the national anthem. He introduced the “Singing Postmaster from the little postmaster’s office,” and his rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was sung during the seventh-inning stretch. He was the public address announcer that was not for either team—he was simply the voice.

After leaving his announcer role in 1994, Dickerson did not stay silent for long. Since 2008 he has been announcing Spartanburg High School football games, and in 2013 started announcing their baseball games, too. He has also been the voice of Spartanburg Christian Academy’s basketball for nine years and started calling their football games three years ago. Dickerson was a teacher of 8th grade American History for 31 years in the Spartanburg School District 7. He coached for the “Battle of the Brains” academic competition and is currently an active member of the SMC Alumni Council. Dickerson resides in Spartanburg with his wife Becky.

He is thrilled to see the renovations taking place at Duncan Park today and as he left our meeting, he winked and asked…“How do you keep a ballpark cool? Fill it with fans!” Words of wisdom from “The Voice.”

Ward website image

Spartanburg Methodist College presents SGA Founder’s Day Faculty Award to Professor Barry Ward

The Spartanburg Methodist College Student Government Association presented Professor Barry Ward with a Founder’s Day Faculty Award on Thursday, October 23 during the college’s annual Founder’s Day Celebration, which featured guest speaker NY Mets Hall of Famer, and SMC alumni, Mookie Wilson.

The 2014 inaugural award was presented to a faculty member who represents and embodies the spirit and vision of Dr. David English Camak, a visionary Methodist minister. SGA President, Adell Gordon, shared “the recipient of this award is one who is not afraid to try new things, puts the needs of students first, and is respected in their profession and by the student body.”

A 1979 graduate of SMC, Ward majored in Criminal Justice and earned an Associate in Arts. He continued his studies at the University of South Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Science, and his Master of Arts from Gardner Webb University, as well as pursuing additional graduate work at Lander University and Winthrop University.

Ward returned to SMC as an employee in March of 1987 and over the years has held positions as Security Guard, Director of Intramurals, Director of the Student Center, Director of Men’s Housing, Director of College Work Study, Cross Country Coach and Professor of Health & PE. He has long believed in the merits of the extended-learning-classroom concept. He teaches by day, and in the evening shares his time and talents coaching intramural sports and each January he chaperones a ski excursion for students.

“Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ‘Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on; Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another’s tears, ‘Til in Heaven the deed appears – Pass it on. ” Although Dr. Henry Burton, Clergyman and Writer, is credited for this hymn/quote, Professor Ward has lived these words this entire life.

College life has been and is good for many SMC students thanks to the kindness of this gentle man who never forgot the kindness shown to him as a child. For you see this professor grew up in the loving arms of the Epworth Children’s Home. Kindness is all he has ever known and he passes it on daily…with jokes, fist pumps, poetry and a perpetually perky persona.

Ward once shared that he was blessed to call Epworth home, “I was fortunate to be able to draw upon my experiences at Epworth and build upon that foundation to motivate me academically and professionally. Without Epworth and SMC I probably wouldn’t be as confident, prepared and excited about life as I am,” said the 60 year-old, who is known to cartwheel and do backflips spontaneously down the halls of the Walker Building where he teaches.

Ward was also selected by his peers at SMC as the recipient of the 2010-2011 SCICU Excellence in Teaching Award and used the award stipend to expand his knowledge of health issues and shared that new knowledge with his students. A quote from his nominating materials reads “He creates an atmosphere where students learn life-saving and life-long lessons.”

Daniel Foster

Gaffney High graduation coach is the ‘real deal’

By Lynne P. Shackleford
lynne.shackleford@shj.com
Published: Monday, October 20, 2014 at 5:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 20, 2014 at 5:27 p.m.

Photo:  Daniel Foster, a graduation coach at Gaffney High School, right, talks with Isaac Polanco, 15, a student at the school, on Wednesday between classes. MICHAEL JUSTUS/michael.justus@shj.com

Gaffney High School graduation coach Daniel Foster gives students two things many of them have never had: encouragement and hope.

“When I look at them, I see me,” Foster said. “I’ve been where they are. Some of them don’t think they can get a diploma. Some don’t have support at home. Some have just made a bad grade in core class, and they’re off track, but somewhere along the way, they have to get hope back.”

Fresh out of high school 20 years ago, Foster was working with a plumbing crew when the company’s owner asked him about his future plans.

Foster had just graduated from Gaffney High School and wasn’t interested in college; he just wanted to work. The company’s owner, the late Gene Wilson, then drove Foster around rural communities — Corinth, Goucher and Blacksburg — before stopping the car.

“He asked me which community I liked best, and I didn’t know where he was coming from,” Foster said. “But he told me that if I didn’t make something of myself that I would never go anywhere else — I wouldn’t even have the option of going anywhere else — and that hit home to me.”

Wilson then drove Foster to Spartanburg Methodist College and helped him enroll in a two-year program.

“That man did more for me that day because I saw that someone else saw my potential,” Foster said. “I understood then that I could be something.”

After visiting six countries during his 11 years in the Army, Foster returned home and started working as a long-term substitute at Gaffney High School before becoming the in-school suspension coordinator. He is now the school’s first graduation coach, and is tasked with coaching and mentoring at-risk students, mostly those who repeated ninth-grade and other students he calls “geographically displaced seniors.” The latter are students who should be seniors, but failed English or math classes so they are in 11th grade homerooms.

Gaffney High Principal Rashaad Fitzpatrick said the graduation coach position was created based on best practices from the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University. The center recommends using a holistic approach with individualized success plans for at-risk students and having a facilitator, or coach, monitoring students.

“Mr. Foster was a good fit because he had already built relationships with some students as the (in-school suspension) supervisor last year,” Fitzpatrick said. “He is one of those people who understands what we’re trying to accomplish and goes the extra mile to make it happen.”

Foster said he has no doubt the school’s graduation rate of 78 percent, just below the state average, will rise this year just out of will and determination. His goal is a graduation rate of 80 percent this year.

“We’re going to show everyone that we can do it,” Foster said. “No doubt in my mind that the rate will go up this year. When you lay it out for them, show them a path to success, they’ll make it.”

At the beginning of the year, Foster was assigned to 138 students at Gaffney High and the alternative school and mapped out an individualized plan for each. He meets with each of them at least twice a week and attends classes with them periodically to monitor how they take notes and to hear their concerns. Foster refers them to tutors or peer study groups and contacts their teachers to monitor progress.

If they are chronically absent, Foster and another district staffer go to their houses to find out what issues they are facing.

“Mr. Foster is stepping in as a counselor, a father, a big brother. Somewhere they’re not getting the guidance or love they need, and he’s the boots on the ground, so to speak,” said in-school suspension supervisor Tierney Rollins, who works closely with Foster. “He knows them, remembers what their goals are; he works really hard… His goal is to help them realize that ‘I can do this, and life will be different.’”

Rollins said Foster is an “encourager at every turn.”

“If we have a student who has a behavior issue, Mr. Foster finds the core issue behind the behavioral problem,” Rollins said. “He shows them discipline and love and tells them they can learn from their mistakes, and what he’s telling them comes from his heart.”

Jamie Brown, who teaches Algebra II, said students take Foster’s advice and motivation to heart.

“When he walks in the classroom, I see the faces of the students he’s trying to help,” Brown said. “They know Mr. Foster provides accountability. They know he’s watching them, and they want to take better notes. They want to listen and do the work.”

Brown said one student was a few credits off-track and was coming to class unprepared. After being referred to Foster, the student came to Brown’s class the following day with class work he had missed, prepared to take notes.

“I was shocked,” Brown said. “The parents are involved now. Mr. Foster makes it click for these students.”

Foster said all students want to succeed, but they’ve lost faith and drive somewhere along the way.

“I’ve lived their life,” Foster said. “When I was in middle school and high school, no one forced me to study.”

Isaac Polanco, 15, should be a sophomore, but is repeating ninth grade because he failed algebra with a 68 — two points shy of a D. Polanco, one of Foster’s students, has an 86 in geometry so far this semester, and he’s on track to become a sophomore in December.

“Mr. Foster is the real deal,” Polanco said. “He knows what’s going on with us because he cares enough to ask. He wants us to make it. I’m proud of the grades I’m making now, and I will get back on track, but it would’ve been a lot harder without him.”

Donna Phillips, guidance director, said just nine weeks into the school year, she’s already seen students who are making progress.  “I see they’re more motivated; they have direction,” Phillips said. “We’re so fortunate to have him. He’s pushing the kids to succeed.”