The heat is on as social season cools down a little
I know the calendar just flipped to July, but I swear it feels more like the middle of August these days. So, I hope you found some way to stay cool for the Fourth of July — a pool or something involving water, ice cream, nice cold watermelon maybe?
For the arts
Prior to the celebration of our nation’s independence, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge held its annual meeting and reception at Ann Connelly Fine Art on June 28. Topping the evening’s agenda was the election of officers and board members.
Taking over for outgoing Chairman Mark Drennen was Cheri Ausberry. Her fellow officers include Vice Chairman Ralph Stephens, Treasurer Michael Loveless, Secretary Rachel DiResto, Community Fund for the Arts committee Chairwoman Emelie Alton, development committee Chairwoman Yolanda Dixon and nomination and board development committee Chairman Julio Melara.
Newly tapped board members include Jim Baronet, Trey Godfrey, Rose Hudson, Michael Lang, Randy Roussel and Bret Talbot.
Before handing over the gavel, Drennen reported that the council allocated $750,000 in grants through the Louisiana Division of Arts during 2011. He also thanked retiring board members Scott Berg and Matt Saurage for their service and announced that Community Fund for the Arts Director Fairleigh Cook Jackson is leaving to take another job. I checked with her after the official meeting and learned she’s the new development director for the LSU Museum of Art. One of her last official acts was recognizing outgoing CFA Cabinet Chairman Jim Brandt for his dedicated leadership, which saw an increase in CFA’s workplace giving campaign.
Arts Council Deputy Director Kathy Scherer recognized the Junior League, which founded the council in 1973, for its continued support. Accepting the award on behalf of the league was President Leslie Campbell.
From the Arts Council to-do, I headed to the Governor’s Mansion, where the National Black Home Educators was hosting its annual fundraising gala. NBHE is a nationwide organization founded by Joyce and Eric Burges in 2000 to provide resources and networking to parents seeking to home school their children. Featured speaker for the evening was Mike Smith, of Purcellville, Va. Smith is the president and co-founder of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, a nonprofit advocacy organization “established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.” Attendees also heard from Malcolm Myer with the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund.
The evening’s agenda also recognized 2012 home-school graduates Miracle Bey, daughter of Yvonne and Umar Bey; Felecia Carney, daughter of Kenna and Marvin Carney; Jophiel LeBrane , daughter of Sharita and Warren LeBrane; and Victoria Burges, daughter of Joyce and Eric Burges.
Speaking of education — did you know how to spell “hierarchy” when you were in the second grade or even the third grade? That was one of the words second- and third-graders from the Dufrocq School, Lanier Charter School and St. Francis Xavier had to spell in the eighth annual Big Buddy Spelling Bee at McKinley High School on June 26. Once again, I had the privilege of emceeing the event while Ochsner’s Kristie Genzer, WAFB news anchor André Moreau and East Baton Rouge Parish School Board President Barbara Freiberg served as judges.
Ten second-graders and nine third-graders represented their respective Big Buddy sites in the competition. Lenayah Hollins from Dufrocq took first place in the second-grade competition by correctly spelling “raccoon,” and Destiny West from St. Francis Xavier won first place in the third-grade competition by correctly spelling “obey.” Second-place honors went to second-grader Laila Guillory and third-grader Koran Duncan, both from the Dufrocq School; third place went to second-grader DaJaughn Thomas from St. Francis Xavier and third-grader Kenyce Jenkins from Lanier Charter.
Other super spellers included Alexis Bendaw, Alana Buckley, Raven Gamble, Dynasty Thomas and Maleah Smith, St. Francis Xavier; Christiana Benton, Jayden Thigpen and Jakairick Young, Dufrocq; and Dyllon Carr, Kyren Henderson, Kiyasha Kenny, Emilio Pena and Tyran White, Lanier.
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