Tag Archives: Christine Hall
For parents, the phrase "back to school" has its pros (a predictable schedule) and cons (outrageous shopping sprees), but what does it mean for Savannah’s youngest citizens? We teamed up with Leopold’s Ice Cream and Barnett Educational Supplies to ask kids for the straight story on education. Their thoughtful answers tickled, taught and inspired us. » Photography by Christine Halland Performing Arts I’ve learned that … a glass frog is an actual animal. It has skin that is clear and you can see all its guts. My favorite teacher is … Mrs. Lee. She is so great because when she reads poems she speaks loud and clear. I love my school because … I get to go to dance class. Our teacher teaches us lots of different moves. This year, I’m looking forward to … getting to do the fun projects I see hanging in the hall. It will be different because I will know all about how school works. My brother told me it would only be a little harder.
Jamel Fogle-Washingtonrising freshman I learned that … light can travel in 3.2 seconds around the earth completely. My favorite teacher is …. Dr. Wanda Dixon (at Garrison School for the Visual and Performing Arts). She takes the time to nourish us and teach what we need to know. She inspires me because she shows her students the right pathway to success based upon the way she carries herself. This year, I’m looking forward to … meeting new people and venturing out into the new and bigger world. I know it will be different because I am moving up to a higher level of academics. If I could change one thing about school, I would … do more outreach projects to actually extend a hand in the community. I’ve learned that … playing bocce uses all three of Newton’s laws. We played bocce at school to learn how all actions have an equal and opposite reaction. Objects at rest stay at rest and in motion stay in motion, and that force equals mass times acceleration. Plus, it was fun! My favorite teacher is … Ms. Martell. She has a lot of fun when she teaches us and that makes it fun for us, too. Plus, if we make an “A” on our spelling test on Friday, she lets us take off our shoes for an hour! Some feet stink really bad, like mine! I love my school because … we have prayer partners that we get to have activities, lunch and Mass with each week. My school is small so we get to be really good friends with our classmates. It is like having extra brothers and sisters, but you don’t want to hit them as much. I’ve learned that … each country has a different view on how wars end. My favorite teacher is … Mr. Sanders. He always makes sure the children will enjoy the way he teaches and want to keep learning. Whenever I am feeling uncomfortable he notices and talks to me and the people who bother me. He is the best kind of teacher. The kind of teacher who is a friend. I’m looking forward to … meeting new friends. I think I will enjoy switching classes. My parents say middle school will be fun but hard. If I could change one thing about school … instead of just having a middle school sports program (I would) have a combined sports program. There are some really good athletes in elementary school. I’ve learned that … people used to eat in the field where they are trying to build a highway. We found artifacts of clay bowls and other things people used for eating. My favorite teacher is … Ms. Stephanie Sasena because she helps us when we ask, even when we are annoying. She inspires me to be a better person because she corrects us in a nice way. If I could change one thing about school, I would … make field day every day.
Rebecca Brownrising eighth grader Hesse K-8 School I’ve learned that … diarrhea can kill you because of how much water (you lose). My favorite teacher is … Mrs. Ashman, my social studies teacher. She gives us extra facts about the economy and politics. How she talks about it makes it interesting. She inspires me to get more into my community and to make a change into the future, which could become other children’s history. I love my school because … sports and music are my passion. I am looking forward to … more clubs and some more fun field trips! (My) parents are kind of worried for me and are telling me to get ready for more challenging work and some drama.
Jameel Elijah Heywardrising sixth grader Georgetown K-8 school I learned that … after school, teachers have a social life. and Performing Arts My favorite teacher is … Mrs. Schubert. She teaches us cool things like the ways that crabs harden their shells. I don’t like practicing sight words, but she made it into a game of Go Fish!
A couple of “old salts” take a shine to a storied watchtower and fight for its survival. Beth Concepción sheds some light on the situation. » Photography by Christine HallLike most people, I’ve driven by the Cockspur Island Lighthouse hundreds of times on my way to Tybee Island. Quaint and pale in the vast blue expanse of water and sky, the small tower usually merits a cursory glance but not a close-up look. I’m not much of a kayaker and I don’t have my own boat, and those are the only ways to get to the beacon’s South Channel perch. Plus, I’m usually beach-bound. But today, Captain C. Harvey Ferrelle III is introducing me to the lighthouse in a proper way: via the “Sweet Lowland,” the boat that he uses for his eco tours. Trim and tan, with a laid-back demeanor typical of Tybee islanders, Ferrelle introduces dozens of tourists each week to historic coastal gems like the lighthouse and Fort Pulaski. As we wind along Lazaretto Creek, I’m struck by the beauty of the landscape. Marsh grasses bend to the will of the wind. Snowy egrets dip their beaks in to snag fish for lunch. Along the way, Ferrelle tells me about the name of the creek. In the mid-1700s, Tybee was home to a “lazaretto” or quarantine station for newcomers—a Southern version of Ellis Island. Ferrelle finishes his story and points behind me. “Well, there she is.” There she is indeed, surrounded by a carpet of jagged oyster shells. The whitewashed brick structre has been a beacon for seafarers for 165 years. The 1862 Battle of Fort Pulaski raged over its head for 30 hours. Four years later, Florence Martus, the famous “Waving Girl,” was born on Cockspur Island. Her brother was the lighthouse’s keeper from 1881 to 1886.
A Silent Cry for HelpTybee native Ferrelle knows these stories and more. He retired from the pharmaceutical industry and began conducting eco tours in 2004. He started paying attention to the Cockspur Island Lighthouse during this “second career” as a tour operator. After a few months, Ferrelle began to notice that high tide swallowed the base of the lighthouse. Low tide pulled on the foundation. When the base was exposed, it was clear that shipworms had enjoyed snacking on the ancient wood. Ferrelle says he called his longtime friend John Wylly and asked, “What are we going to do about it?” “It was the other way around,” Wylly snorts when we meet him later at AJ’s Dockside, where Ferrelle docks his boat. A local real estate agent and former Tybee Island city councilman, Wylly looks at me with his piercing blue eyes and maintains that he has always paid attention to the lighthouse, which marks his favorite fishing spot. “It’s a good place if you have someone who knows what they’re doing, and sometimes I do.” Wylly winks and offers a sly grin. First, he says, he witnessed the marsh grass disappearing—the South Channel had shifted and washed it out. Then he noticed a wake around the lighthouse itself, damaging the exterior and pulling the foundation right out from under the structure. “It had never been like that before,” he says. “I started getting concerned.”
Marshaling the TroopsNo matter which version of the story you believe, this much is true: In 2006, Wylly and Ferrelle teamed up to save the lighthouse—which was built in 1855 by architect John Norris, known for his work on the U.S. Customs House, the Green-Meldrim House and the Mercer-Wilder House. Ferrelle and Wylly approached Cullen Chambers, executive director of the Tybee Island Historical Society, in May 2006. Chambers recommended they ask the U.S. Park Service for help. “We were lucky because the Fort Pulaski superintendent (at the time), Charles Fenwick, was a historian,” Ferrelle says. It wouldn’t be the first time the Park Service was called on to save the lighthouse, which had sat unlit since 1909, when ships started using the North Channel. Since the tower no longer served navigational purposes, the U.S. Coast Guard eventually abandoned it, only to nab two salvage operators trying to tear it down in 1955. According to a Park Service report, “Ironically, the brothers claimed that the Coast Guard had given them the light, whose old Savannah Gray brick they planned to reuse.” Seeing that something must be done to preserve the building, the Coast Guard officially transferred the historic landmark to the Park Service in August 1958. Though the lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, the Park Service’s preservation efforts were limited to repainting and cleaning. Ferrelle and Wylly saw the need for structural repairs and protective measures. “We thought we’d knock and tell (the Park Service) that (the lighthouse) needs help,” Ferrelle recalls. “It didn’t work out that way. They said, ‘Why don’t you help us?’ So we did.”
Stemming the TideThe duo unofficially established Friends of Cockspur Island Lighthouse in 2006, and went on to achieve nonprofit status in 2008. They roped in dozens of family and friends, and started calling and writing government representatives such as U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston to help earmark some money for stabilization and restoration. First, they managed to fill the gaps in the foundation with concrete and rock to stop the shipworm attack. Next, they worked with the Park Service to relight the lighthouse with a solar-powered beacon in March 2007. “Then it took six more years to secure the funding to do the stabilization work necessary,” says Chambers. In March, the Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a five-month, approximately $1.5 million project to haul and place granite boulders around the lighthouse, forming a 6.5-foot barrier against the encroaching tide. “It’s been such a good relationship with the Park Service,” Ferrelle says. He is also complimentary of the Corps of Engineers. As president of the Friends of Cockspur Island Lighthouse group, he is ever the diplomat. Wylly, his vice president—and the bad cop to his good cop—growls, “I hate ‘em!” When Ferrelle gives him a warning look, he adds, “Well, when we start talking about the Corps, it brings out my frustration.” At issue is that barrier height of 6.5 feet. Wylly says he and Ferrelle would have preferred 9 feet for more protection, especially with the larger post-Panamax ships on the horizon for the Savannah River. “We don’t know how much damage they will cause,” Ferrelle says. Park Service administrative officer Tammy Herrell counters that she would have preferred a taller wall, but there are rules and regulations to follow. “It is a historic structure,” she says. “It has to be historically correct. We can’t go above what was there originally.” Ferrelle glances at Wylly and notes politely, “If it were ours, we would have done it differently.” Wylly looks at Ferrelle and grouses back, “When it falls in, they’ll sell it (to us) then.”
Staying the CourseIt’s only because they love the lighthouse so much that these friends are so outspoken about its protection. “I don’t know that anyone else is as passionate as John and I are,” Ferrelle says. “We live and breathe it because we pass it every day.” The next steps in the ongoing preservation project include repainting the structure, repairing the top railing, windows and doors, and replacing the mortar between the Savannah Gray bricks. Those projects could begin as early as this summer, but are likely to move slower because of funding issues. Ferrelle says he’d also like to see a walkway from Fort Pulaski to the lighthouse, connecting the lighthouse back to the rest of Cockspur Island as it used to be. Due to rising sea levels, it is now only accessible via boat. Herrell likes the sound of that, but she tells me it’s not on the docket yet. “We want to protect and preserve for future generations,” she says. “That’s our mission. As of right now, I can’t tell you what will or will not happen.” It all comes down to money, of course, and raising funds requires raising the awareness of locals who are invested in preservation. As the Friends of Cockspur Island Lighthouse grows, so does the hope that the little light of Lazaretto Creek will welcome the ships of the future for generations to come.
In the January/February 2013 issue on stands now, Nicole Jantze goes where other parents fear to tread—smack dab in the middle of the public versus private school debate. During her personal quest, she discovered the real priorities behind our perceptions and developed this expert guide to go from undecided to unshakable in time for school-choice deadlines.
- Make a list. Write down your priorities: values, goals, your own “best” and “worst” school memories and the experiences you want your child to have.
- Look forward. Consider your long-term education goals, not just the immediate needs. What kind of person do you want your child to become? What college prospects do you want him/her to have?
- Get selective. Choose schools with a proven track record in the priorities you’ve listed. Talk to parents. Visit the schools’ websites. Be sure to ask about class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios.
- Go visiting. Spend time at each school. Talk to teachers. Sit in during a class. Talk to parents and students. And by all means, take your child with you.
- Dig the digits. Obtain the school’s test scores and other stats online at Privateschoolreview.com, Greatschools.org, Schooldigger.com and the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools System website.
- Certify it. Ask what accreditations, awards and recognitions the school has received from outside agencies. Validate the outside agencies.
- Set the standards. Find out what type of curriculum and assessment model the school uses. How were they chosen?
- Check the tech. Ask what the school is doing to integrate technology into the learning environment.
- Grade the teachers. How many years have they taught? How many have advanced degrees? What certifications do they have?
- Review your peers. Find out how involved parents are in the school—and get honest with yourself about how much you can contribute.