Tidbits - June 16, 2022

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


DOUBLE TAKE
  Many comedians of my generations were masters of the double take.
  I can think of Jackie Gleason, Don Knotts, Red Skelton, and Johnny Carson, just to name a few.
  In case you don’t know, a double take is when you look at something, turn away, then quickly turn because what you saw initially  was unbelievable.
  I’ve been in this business since 1973 and I’ve seen many of those big checks for publicity purposes only.
  Some have been in the hundreds of dollars, some on the thousands, some in the hundred thousands. I’ve even seen one for a couple of millions dollars, before the educational complex was built.
  District One Supt. Dr. Harvey Livingston invited me to a press conference last Thursday morning in front of what is now Saluda Elementary School, featuring State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
  “It’s going to be big,” Harvey said.
  There was a nice sized crowd, including many local dignitaries, when I arrived Thursday morning.
  “This must really be big,” I thought to myself.
  I spotted one of my fellow Saluda Player members, Dr. Abbey Duggins across the way, and as I walked toward her, I noticed the big, publicity check, leaning against the podium, and did the proverbial double take.
  It didn’t say $38,000, it didn’t say $380,000, it didn’t say $3,800.000, IT SAID $38,000,000!!!!
  The first thing I said to Abbey, “Is that right?” She shook her head, “Yes.”
  Wow. That was a record for me, and all of Saluda County, I guess.
  If you read the front page story, you noticed this check was made possible by a special budgetary item in the 2022-23 State budget to aid the  poorer districts in building and infrastructure improvements.
  Because Saluda County Schools is the sixth poorest district in the state, our district was eligible for the funding. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that Molly Spearman got her public school education in the district at Hollywood.
  The money will go toward making building improvements at all five schools in the district. The biggest project will be combining Saluda Primary and Saluda Elementary schools into one new school, which will built on the old football practice field and track on Wise Road.
  The Primary School is currently in the old Saluda Elementary School I attended, beginning in 1957. The current Elementary School is in the old high school building I attended until 1969. This building was constructed in 1950.
  When I posted a picture of the check presentation on Facebook, my classmate, Cynthia Smith Forrest, posted the following:
  “My dad, Ivy Smith, was the Saluda Elementary principal in 1957 when  my Class of 1969 members were first graders! My dad planted many of the shrubs and trees around the school. He would mow the grass with the bush hog. He took great pride in ensuring the maintenance team knew how important their work was to creating a positive, healthy school environment for students and teachers.
  I remember the old school on South Jefferson Street, replaced later by Sue and Lewis Givens’ Piggly Wiggly. My dad would stand in the hall with a handbell and ring for class time changes. It was so exciting to have an electronic bell system in the new school!
  I am so happy for the needed investment to build a new school for Saluda County students and teachers! They will experience what we did back in 1957!! Thank you Molly Spearman and the Saluda County Legislative Delegation for investing in the Saluda County school system that has forged countless numbers of outstanding citizens and leaders for decades! I am so grateful for my outstanding education that has allowed me many opportunities to serve in colleges and universities over my professional career.”
  Yes, Dr. Cynthia, is a product of Saluda and Carolina has been a college administrator in several locations around the country.
  Our District may bee the sixth poorest in the state, but we’ve turned out some outstanding citizens.
  I don’t know the fate of the old elementary and high schools. I spent 10 years of my public education in those two buildings, and they mean a great deal to me. The other two years were spent at what we called the Annex, or Administration Building, but my mother called Saluda High School.
  It’s gone, and I am among many who miss it, particularly the auditorium.
  Those who went to Hollywood High lost their school to a fire. Those who went to Riverside High lost their high school to integration, and later the middle school to the new education complex.
  Old-timers have experienced loss of our schools through tragedy or progress, but they still tug at our hearts strings.
  I look forward, however, to the great things this $38,000,000 is going to bring to our schools. Thursday was a great day for a new day