Monday, October 18, 2010

From Sea to Shining Sea!

Note: I returned Sunday afternoon from the NSDAR 2010 Schools Tour. I blogged daily about the trip on the KSDAR website, and decided to cross-post them here, too, just in case any non-KSDAR folks were interested in hearing about the trip. Read all of the posts in chronological order here, here, here, here, here, here, and here!

Day 8, October 15, 2010--Tamassee DAR School


Today we visited our fifth and final school of the 2010 NSDAR Schools Tour (the sixth DAR School—The Hillside—is located in New England, and is not on the tour). While the stories and backgrounds of the Crossnore students tugged my heart, and the KDS children completely charmed me with their affection for the DAR, it is the Tamassee students with whom I have fallen in love.

We arrived at Tamassee to a series of yellow, red, and blue balloons (the symbol of the DAR Schools committee during the Wright administration). We immediately collected a bag lunch and went to assigned cottages to eat our lunches and tour the cottages with the children. There are currently 40 students in pre-K through high school living in five cottages at Tamassee. I went to the California-Pouch Cottage, which is home to eight little boys aged 5-13. The oldest was away from a home visit, but the others were eager to talk and share their home (and “pet” lizard) with me.

For the last two years, the National Junior Committee has provided Wal-Mart Gift Cards to each child at Tamassee as a part of our gift to the schools through the Helen Pouch Memorial Fund. I was entrusted with the gift cards for the boys at California-Pouch, and enjoyed visiting with each boy, talking about Helen Pouch and the DAR, and then of course, seeing the excitement when they opened the cards! Some of the little boys lived in the cottage last year and remembered their trip to Wal-Mart. They eagerly shared their memories with the newer boys, and I loved watching their reactions!

After I left the boys cottage, I visited two other cottages—the New York Cottage for little girls and the Florida Cottage for middle school aged girls. I met the high school aged children later in the day as they served as Pages and Flag Bearers during the Dedication Ceremony. The entire Tamassee campus reminded me of a small village reminiscent of Norman Rockwell. Given their backgrounds, I am happy that we as DAR members can provide this experience for these children.

During the Dedication ceremony, we heard from two graduates of the program. These young women were truly amazing, having drawn on their positive experience at Tamassee to attend college and find careers in helping industries—one is an elementary school teacher and the other is a social worker for the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

After a wonderful barbecue dinner catered by an area restaurant, and a brief musical program conducted by two students, we called it an “early” night and traveled to Clemson, SC for the evening. In the morning, we will leave for Asheville, North Carolina, and a tour of the Biltmore!

Title: America, the Beautiful

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