Young people, we salute you
I consider Feb. 22, 2012, my starting day at The Clinton Chronicle. That’s the first issue to which I contributed articles. I can always tell when my anniversary is rolling around by Horizons, the first project that Larry Franklin had me working on even while I was still on board in Manning.
In that relatively short (compared to Larry’s) time with The Chronicle, I have met so many great people. Some come from the outside, like most of the speakers for the just-held YMCA Prayer Breakfast; many more from “inside” our community. Many of them are tied somehow to Clinton High School and Presbyterian College.
So it was with more than passing interest that I surveyed the Dean’s List and the President’s List of PC when the lists pointed out the Laurens County students earning honors. These are not all of them, and I don’t know all of them (my loss), but a few.
All true Red Devil sports fans recognize the names MK Kelly and Cassie Nichols, they’re on the PC honors lists. Blue Hose publications and our own Horizons carried an article about Clay Wright - we remember him as the trophy-holding junior scientist of the Team Clinton SC Science Olympiad champions. Now, he’s working on research for NASA.
My wife Pat knows Sela Vaughn from Sela’s time working at Bailey Manor, and we know Sela from an exemplary career at Clinton High School. We have done theater with Abigail Crisp’s family; she is a PC honor student and a senior psychology major from Laurens. We have shared the stage with Bryce Karlek, a senior English and theatre major from Clinton.
We have been entranced by the Davidsons’ music - on the PC honors list is Hannah Joy Davidson, a junior business administration major from Clinton. We know that Brooke Tallman was a Clinton High School Homecoming Queen, and there she is on the PC honors list. And then, there is Victoria Fleck.
She is an honor student, and PC highlighted her in an article about her future. It says, in part:
“Since being at PC, Fleck has found out that she specifically wants to work with students with autism. And Fleck is well on her way: She was recently accepted to the special education program at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. According to US News and World Report, it’s the highest-ranked special education program in the country.
“Fleck first worked with autistic children in the fall semester of her sophomore year. As part of her education major, she observed and assisted the teacher in an autistic 4K classroom at M. S. Bailey Child Development Center three days a week. ‘I knew within moments that is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,’ Fleck said. ‘During instructional time, you could see the amount of effort these students put into learning regardless of the obstacles that they face on a daily basis. I wanted to be that person who would help these students be successful and not looked over in their educational pursuits and also in their everyday lives outside of the classroom. I wanted to be that difference.’” ...
“Last April, Fleck took the initiative to raise awareness for autism in honor of Autism Awareness Month. She hosted a walk on the PC campus and turned the fountain in the middle of the campus blue to make the campus community aware of issues affecting children with autism. In addition, she invited those from the Laurens County community to a ceremony to learn more about autism.”
Victoria is a President’s List student at Presbyterian College. She is a senior early childhood education major from Laurens.
Now, as with any appreciation list, somebody is going to get left out, and that’s not fair. We have previously published the full Laurens County President’s List and Dean’s List of Presbyterian College, and other colleges. The plain fact is, there are remarkable young people all through our community, and we are blessed to see them excel at Presbyterian College, the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy, Clinton High School, Laurens Academy and Laurens District High School. Many more are in the military and in manufacturing. Many more are husbands and wives, young fathers and mothers, business owners and business-dreamers. And, we have to remember - without those who came before us to establish Presbyterian College, to build Clinton High School, to set up music, drama, art, industry, science, medicine, and public service in our Laurens County community, these young people would not have their outlets for talents and dreams.
I guess I’m just in a reflective mood after a week of prayer breakfasts. Just thank you, thank you - everyone, thank you.
(Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle, and the father of three young people of whom he is immensely proud. His column appears monthly in The Chronicle and in Blogs at MyClintonChronicle.com Reach him at 833-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org)