The Due West Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) recognized 32 outstanding young women from Erskine College and Abbeville County high schools March 10 at the 55th Annual Student Recognition Dinner in the Bell Conference Room of Watkins Student Center on the Erskine campus.
The Due West Branch celebrated its 55th anniversary at the banquet, which featured as speaker the Rev. Dr. Carol Strickland, pastor of Abbeville Presbyterian Church, with AAUW State President Ann Scott Terry attending in honor of the Due West Branch’s anniversary.
Special recognition was given to Erskine honoree Rachel Whitmire, recipient of a 2013 scholarship to AAUW’s National Conference of College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). Scheduled to speak at the annual meeting of AAUW of South Carolina this month, Rachel has led a seminar at Erskine on leadership style based on what she learned at NCCWSL.
Vice President for Student Services Dr. Robyn Agnew welcomed the young women and other guests on behalf of Erskine College; Professor Emerita of Biology Dr. Janice Haldeman gave a brief history of the Due West Branch, noting that the group hosted its first Student Recognition Dinner in 1959; Susan Beverly offered a blessing before the meal; and Sarah Kennerly introduced the speaker.
Strickland alluded to the importance of wisdom and noted that her teenage children “might say I don’t know a thing.” As she began preparing her remarks for the Student Recognition Dinner, she decided not to draw on her own wisdom, but to turn to folktales, recalling her girlhood experience with the Junior Great Books program.
In lieu of a traditional address to the honorees, Strickland, who said she had attended a professional storytelling conference, told a series of folktales representing various cultures and traditions and stressing the significance of generosity, honesty, and love in human life.
The stories included a Jewish folktale, “The Two Brothers”; two of Aesop’s fables, “The Peacock and the Crane” and “The Dog and the Bone”; a story from India, “The Two Pebbles”; and several others.
Pam Showalter presented certificates to students from Abbeville High School, Calhoun Falls Charter School and Dixie High School; Haldeman presented certificates to the Erskine College students.
Erskine seniors honored and their subject areas were Nicole Shannon, accounting; Brock Sherrod, art; Rebecca Hornby Duran, Bible; Casey Hughes, biology; Rachel Whitmire, chemistry; Ashlyn Hicks, elementary education; Hannah Timms, English; Amanda Richmond, history; Holly Anderson, Alex Davenport, Paris Hanvey, and Tiffany Mills, mathematics; Hannah Timms, music; Sarah Tibbits, physical education; Christine Dumouchel, psychology; Sarah DeVos, special education; and Katie Busbee and Kelly Dalziel, sports management.
Abbeville High School seniors recognized were Elizabeth Anderson, English; Haley McDade foreign language; Shaley Rice, math; Lindsay Costner, science; and Amber Horton, social studies.
Calhoun Falls Charter School seniors honored were Alayjah Davis, English; Paige Garrett, foreign language; Brittany Unkle, math; Deshawna Patterson, science; and Briannan Brown, social studies.
Dixie High School seniors receiving awards were Rachel Dragosavac, English; Kensley Carwile, foreign language; Kala Collins, math; Caitlyn Brady, science; and Elizabeth Harper, social studies.