Bodyworks Youniversity Wellness Studio Has a New Home

After 6 years of trying to build a commercial space in Sewanee, Bodyworks Youniversity Wellness Studio is moving to a new location, just a little bit different than expected.

In early September of 2021, Bodyworks owner Kim Butters found herself not only looking for a permanent personal residence for herself, her husband and two dogs but a business location as well. Butters said “Our building project seemed to stay just out of reach due to skyrocketing costs and other obstacles. Our lease at the American Legion Hall was up in November. Other arrangements were not working out, and I was feeling a bit desperate to find a place for my growing business and five contract employees. I have always seen my business as a ministry of wellness that God has gifted me with, so naturally I turned to God in prayer and said ‘Help! What now?’”

Butters and her husband Bob had often walked past the house at 293 Ball Park Rd., and admired it, but when it went up for sale, thought it out of their price range for a personal home. It soon came under contract and Butters did not give it another thought until after her prayer. “I kept feeling impressed to go look at that house. I ignored it for a few days but finally gave in and told Bob that we should just go look in the windows.” When they did, Butters was amazed at the size of the rooms and it began to dawn on her that it was large enough to be both a personal residence and a studio, as well as space for her husband’s landscaping and environmental writing work.

The house was already under contract to another party but Bob and Kim put in a back-up bid thinking that if it was God’s will, it would happen for them. Two weeks later, on Kim’s birthday, their friends at Sewanee Realty called to say they had become the primary contract on the house. Things quickly fell into place and they closed on the house at the end of November. The American Legion Hall generously extended the Bodyworks lease until the end of February to allow Butters time to do necessary repairs and remodeling so the business could open at the new location.

The house was built in 1948 by Carl Reid, a stone mason for the University and later head of Plant Services for many years. The home is a beautiful “time capsule” full of recycled and repurposed materials from older University buildings. The unique surroundings will be the perfect setting for the restorative work that Kim, her fitness instructors, and massage therapist will offer and hopefully a “tiny vacation” from clients’ busy lives where they can de-stress and unwind. A healthy body, mind, and soul is the goal.

There are two large rooms in the house — one will become the classroom (for Pilates mat work, fitness classes, and yoga) and the second room will be set up with the Pilates equipment (for private, duet, and trio sessions). Matthew Sias, LMT, has remodeled the garage into a cozy but much larger space for his massage therapy work. The driveway has been reworked to allow for six or more parking spaces for clients and additional room for instructors’ parking.

Bodyworks Youniversity plans to move their classes and sessions to the new location at 293 Ball Park Rd., on Monday, Feb. 28. Stay tuned for the announcement of a Grand Opening date to welcome the community to the permanent home of the Bodyworks Youniversity Wellness Studio.

Lone Rock Stockade: ‘A Worse Slavery’

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

From 1871 to 1896, the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company (TCI) leased state prisoners to labor in the Tracy City area coke ovens and mines. The practice, common in Southern states following the Civil War, is being mined from history into the present by University researcher Camille Westmont and University students. The convict lease system solved two problems: the expense of housing prisoners and the labor shortage following the abolition of slavery. Frederick Douglass called the practice “a worse slavery” for African Americans. Unlike slave owners, the coal bosses “had no incentive to keep the workers alive,” Westmont said. Her research into and excavation of the Lone Rock Stockade built to confine the Tracy City area convict laborers sheds light on why.

Westmont came to the University in 2019 as a post doctorate fellow. Her study of mining communities’ experiences led her to the Grundy County Historical Society. When she inquired about local coal mining communities, the docent told her a lot of the mining was done by prisoners. “I’d never heard of the convict lease system,” Westmont admits.

TCI ended an 1871 miners’ strike by bringing in convict laborers, according to an unidentified source cited by Grundy County historian Jackie Layne Partin. Westmont said state records show Arthur St. Clair Colyar, representing TCI, leased 100 prisoners in February 1871, to work in the Tracy City area mines, the first use of convict labor in Tennessee. Colyar initially confined the prisoners at a stockade built by the Union army to house troops. Soon after, TCI built the Lone Rock Stockade in the vicinity of Grundy Lakes, needing a larger facility more suitable for detaining prisoners.

Prisoners were in ample supply. Although built for 400 prisoners, the seven wooden structures at Lone Rock at times accommodated as many as 500 convicts, upwards of 95 percent of them African Americans. The Black Codes, post-Civil-War laws, made it easy for African Americans to get arrested for petty crimes. Westmont cites records showing a mixed-race couple at Lone Rock arrested for miscegenation, a man arrested for stealing a fence post, and children as young as 12. Guards beat prisoners who failed to meet their mining quotas with a leather lash. The annual death rate approached 10 percent. Prisoners died from malnutrition, tuberculosis, typhoid, and diarrhea. Injury, amputation and fatality from mining accidents were common. “They weren’t trained miners,” Westmont pointed out. Records cite a prisoner shot for “running off at the mouth” — i.e., trying to escape while leaving the mines. The state charged lessees a $25 bounty for each prisoner who escaped. Escapees cost the coal bosses money. “From their point of view, it was better to shoot them,” Westmont said. The state would send a replacement for prisoners who died.

According to Partin, in 1892 local white miners rebelled, burned the Lone Rock Stockade, loaded the prisoners on a coal car, and sent them back to Nashville. “The state sent them back to Tracy City,” Westmont said. The prisoners rebuilt the stockade. Researcher and historian Karin A. Shapiro writes, “In 1896 the prisoners were at last removed from the mines.” In 1897 the Zebra Law authorizing the convict lease system was repealed.

Recently Westmont enlisted the help of researchers from the University of Arkansas to conduct LiDAR and thermal imaging with drones to detect the footprint of additional features at the Lone Rock excavation site, possibly a cemetery or a morgue. She conducts frequent tours and encourages people who want to get involved and learn more about the prisoners to participate in the records transcription process by visiting <>; (“Convict Leasing Project-Tracy City”). “I want to raise awareness about the Lone Rock Stockade and the role it played in local culture,” Westmont stressed. She suspects, as once was true of her, many people are unaware the convict lease system ever existed.

SCA Learns about Undoing ‘Symbolic Annihilation’

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Feb. 22 Zoom meeting, Sewanee Civic Association members and guests heard from Woody Register, Roberson Project director, about the projects work to undo the “symbolic annihilation” of African Americans with Sewanee roots who are notably “absent” and “unrepresented” in the archival history of the University and town. In the business portion of the meeting, SCA Co-President Kiki Beavers introduced a new project to collect nonfood donations to supplement the services provided by the Community Action Committee food pantry.

Illustrating the meaning of “symbolic annihilation,” Register showed photograph’s from Sewanee’s “white” archives in which “black people are present in their non-presence.” A 1914 student photo of four African American University employees gives no names, just the caption “Help.” In a 1903 football team photo, the caption names all the players and coaches, but not the single black face in the photo, believed to be the trainer.

The task of the Save Sewanee Black History Project is “to build an enduring archive and active program of public education,” Register said. “To recover, preserve, and publicly share the 160 year record…of African Americans who helped shape its [Sewanee’s] history.”

To that end, two years ago the project began work archiving by hosting “digitization” fairs inviting African Americans with Sewanee roots to bring photos and documents to be scanned and to give oral histories. The website <> showcases the collected memories. An initiative led by student Bonner scholars will post historical markers memorializing five locations dear to the African American community: the site of the Kennerly School, St. Mark’s Mission Church, the black cemetery, the black swimming pool, and Willie Six field and playground. The markers will feature CRT code links to more information. A heritage trail travelling through the historic African American neighborhood will serve as a “walking classroom.” A film, “Making Our Way,” created by Memphis filmmaker Zaire Love, gives voice to African Americans with Sewanee roots and students of color. Reaching into the valley, the project plans archival work documenting the black Asia Elementary School and Townsend High School, Franklin County’s segregated high school for African Americans until 1966.

Highlighting the significance of the African American community, Register said, “Black people added value and sweat…Sewanee is enlarged by seeing the connections [to African Americans] both beyond Sewanee and within.”

Introducing the “March for the Supply Drive,” the first project of the SCA Treasures for the Chest initiative, Beavers explained, “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits cannot be used to purchase nonfood items.” The drive hopes to fill the gap of unmet needs the CAC food bank and SNAP benefits cannot satisfy by collecting cleaning supplies, paper products, household supplies, detergent, menstrual products, diapers, other personal care items, and pet food. Contributions can be taken to donation sites March 21-30 in downtown Sewanee and on campus (locations to be announced soon) or dropped off at the CAC office from 1–3 p.m., Thursday, March 31. All monetary donations made March 21–30 at specific Sewanee businesses (TBA) will be designated for the CAC. To help with the project, contact Beavers at <>. Lauren Goodpaster with the Office of Civic Engagement is coordinating on campus efforts.

Updating members on other business, Beavers said the Community Chest fund drive was just 2 percent from reaching its goal, pending the receipt of outstanding pledged donations. The SCA invites nomination for the 2022 Community Service Awards, deadline March 4. Send nominations to <>.

The SCA will announce community service award recipients at an in-person meeting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 26, in Kennerly Hall. The membership will also hold a vote to approve the budget and elect the following slate of officers: President, Kiki Beavers; Vice President, Ken Taylor; Secretary, Millicent Foreman; Treasurer, Husnain Ahmad; Member at large, Carl Hill; and Member at large, David Michaels. Bentley Cook has agreed to continue as Director of Classifieds, an appointed position.

Heritage Center Garden and Luncheon

There are six restaurants in close proximity to the Heritage Center in Tracy City. The Heritage Center is developing a garden within its outdoor exhibit area that will include provisions for outdoor dining. The facility will enable patrons of the Heritage Center to bring lunches from one or more of the restaurants and enjoy eating in a relaxed atmosphere surrounded with the many exhibits and markers on display.

The centerpiece of the garden is a cast iron fountain six to seven feet in height set in an above ground steel basin filled with water that will be pumped into the fountain, sprayed upward and flow downward over the fountain back into the basin for recirculation through the fountain. The fountain is an antique, made by J.W. Fiske Co. of New York circa 1900.

The fountain has been installed. Around March 1, 2022 a stone facing around the circumference of the basin will begin to be built along with a sandstone seating area beyond the basin and fountain. Leading to the sandstone seating area will be four pea-gravel walkways from a perimeter pea-gravel walkway that will encircle the garden area and a fifth pea-gravel walkway from existing stone steps through a stone wall on Depot Street. Along the walkways, markers will be displayed that depict historical and natural amenities on the Plateau.

The Grundy County Historical Society midyear luncheon meeting will be held at noon, Wednesday, March 23, at Dutch Maid Restaurant on Main Street in Tracy City. The speaker at the meeting will be Camille Westmont, professor of archeology at The University of the South. She will address archeological studies she and her students have conducted of the prison stockade site at Grundy Lakes and an ongoing analysis of the archeological findings. Seating will be limited so reservations should be made as soon as possible. Reservations may be made at the Heritage Center, 465 Railroad Avenue, Tracy City, TN 37387 or by telephone (931) 592-6008 or by email <>.

Annual MLK Day Celebration

Sewanee’s annual MLK Day Celebration will be at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 28, in Cravens Hall. The public is invitied to commemorate the life, legacy, and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Vice-Chancellor pro tem Nancy Berner will have opening remarks. The university’s Chief Diversity Officer, Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, and several student leaders will share uplifting messages reflective of this year’s national theme, “It Starts with Me: Shifting Priorities to Create the Beloved Community.” There will also be song selections from a number of the university choirs and a special performance by the Sewanee Step team.

Food will be provided by the University to best adhere to safety the precautions of COVID-19. There will not be a potluck this year.

All attendees are asked to wear masks and take the necessary measures to remain safe in the event that they are feeling unwell.

The program is sponsored by the Division of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the School of Theology, and the Black Student Union.

Mountain Goat Trail Race Set for April 16

The Mountain Goat Trail Race, sponsored by Mountain Outfitters, will return in-person on Saturday, April 16.

The day features the Seventh Annual Mountain Goat Trail Run & Walk, featuring a 5-mile run and a 2-mile walk, and the Third Annual Mountain Goat Trail Half Marathon. All proceeds will go to the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance (MGTA) #ShovelReadyMGT campaign, to prepare the entire Mountain Goat railbed for construction.

“After the last two years, we’re thrilled to be putting on this event live and in-person. We’re also really glad to be working once more with our longstanding sponsor, Mountain Outfitters,” said Patrick Dean, executive director of the MGTA.

The 5-mile run will begin at 10 a.m. in downtown Sewanee; the 2-mile walk will begin at 10 a.m. at La Bella Pearl’s Fine Dining. Both will finish at Mountain Outfitters in Monteagle. Prizes will be awarded for fastest men’s and women’s 5-mile finisher. Drawings for outdoor gear from Mountain Outfitters and presentation of awards are planned after the finish of the run & walk.

The half-marathon (13.1 miles) will begin at 8 a.m. in downtown Tracy City and follow the Mountain Goat Trail and approximately two miles of public roads before finishing at Mountain Outfitters. Drawings for outdoor gear from Mountain Outfitters and presentation of awards are planned after the finish.

To learn more or to register go to


Trails & Trilliums Set for April 8–10

Trails & Trilliums, a weekend-long outdoor event featuring hikes, workshops and children’s programs, is set for April 8-10 in Monteagle.

The annual event is sponsored by the Friends of South Cumberland State Park (FSC), and is the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser. The naturalist rally will be headquartered at the DuBose Conference Center in Monteagle, with hikes and workshops taking place throughout South Cumberland State Park. Early-bird registration for Friends members opens Feb. 18, with registration opening to the general public on March 1.

A highlight of the weekend will be David Haskell, who will kick off the Wine & Wildflowers event with a discussion of his books, “The Forest Unseen” and “The Song of Trees.” His newest book, “Sounds Wild and Unbroken,” will be published in March, and will be available at the Friday evening reception at Cravens Hall at the University of the South campus in Sewanee.

Expert state-certified Naturalists will provide three days of guided hikes, workshops and slide presentations, with opportunities to focus on key “Naturalist tracks,” including geology, wildflowers, gardening with native plants, trees, nature journaling, astronomy and more.

Other events include a native plant sale from Overhill Gardens; and family outdoor activities, including pioneering, fairy house building, hands-on wildlife, family hikes, an owl program and a “nature night” family camping event at the DuBose Conference Center.

Early-bird registration for FSC members opens Feb. 18, with open registration set for March 1. To register or learn more, go to

https://www.trailsandtrilliums.... At the site you’ll also find additional information on events and locations of hotel rooms, cabins and camping in the area.

The Friends of South Cumberland is a group of volunteer citizens dedicated to supporting the South Cumberland State Park, which, at 30,837 acres, is the state’s second largest park. To learn more visit

SUD Swears in Commissioners, Elects Officers

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Feb. 16 meeting of the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners, new commissioners Johnny Hughes and Donnie McBee were sworn in to serve a four-year term. The board elected incumbents Charlie Smith and Doug Cameron to serve as president and vice-president for 2022 and Ronnie Hoosier to serve as secretary. To orient the new commissioners, manager Ben Beavers provided an overview of operations and the issues confronting SUD.

“Unaccounted-for water is water that left the water plant and didn’t go through a meter somewhere,” Beavers explained. SUD recorded unaccounted-for water loss of almost 29 percent for December. In 2013, SUD replaced all meters and unaccounted-for water loss dropped down to 19 percent, but has been coming back up, Beavers said. He attributed much of the rise to “failure” of the new meters after only eight years, when they were supposed to last 12-18 years. SUD is replacing faulty meters with a different brand. Unaccounted-for water loss costs SUD approximately a half hour of water plant operations per day, 8 percent of the utility’s operating budget. Beavers hopes to cut that amount in half. He stressed, by industry standards, a certain amount of unaccounted-for water loss was unavoidable.

Updating commissioners on the TDOT project to narrow Highway 41A, Beavers said by law the cost of relocating water and sewer lines fell to SUD, and SUD was required to hold money in escrow to pay for the relocation. Relocating water lines was complete and cost $24,000 over the initial estimate, Beavers said. The unfinished sewer portion of the project was expected to cost $600,000 but will likely cost less, $275,000-$300,000. “When we get the final bill, I’m assuming the board will want to approach the University about honoring their verbal commitment to share some of the cost,” Beavers said. According to Beavers, in conversation in 2020 with Frank Gladu, who then headed up the Sewanee Village project, and Doug Williams, University treasurer, Beavers asked the University to assume the entire expense. Gladu said the typical arrangement was for the University to pay for 80 percent, with the other entity to assume 20 percent of the cost. The University declined to put anything in writing. Narrowing the highway was an initiative of the Sewanee Village Development project. The water and sewer lines dug up and removed in conjunction with narrowing the highway were “perfectly fine,” Beavers said.

Hoosier introduced a discussion about possible personnel shortage. Beavers said SUD had 12 employees when he became manager and now had eight, with four people trained and licensed to operate the water plant and three trained and licensed to operate the sewer plant. SUD now operated with fewer employees because much of the rehab work requiring a full crew was done in 2004-2008. Beavers puts money aside to hire out big jobs to private contractors. Beavers said, ideally, SUD needed another half person. He had two good applicants, but not enough work to employ someone full time. “It’s not the most glamorous job,” Beavers said, “but it’s decent pay with good benefits.” He acknowledged losing an employee would impact SUD’s customer service, which was very good compared to other districts. SUD usually responds to a call about a problem within an hour.

The SUD board meets next at 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 15.

The Phantom is Coming

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

The Phantom is coming to Sewanee — “The Phantom of the Opera,” that is. At 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, David Briggs will perform an impromptu accompaniment alongside a showing of the silent film classic, “Phantom of the Opera.”

Briggs will also perform the Eucharist at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27.

Briggs is an English organist and composer and started his career as a cathedral organist. His film repertoire is ever-expanding, as he has accompanied films such as Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Lodger” and short films by both Charlie Chaplain and Buster Keaton.

Briggs is also currently the artist in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

“He was last here in 2008 as a sabbatical replacement for Dr. Robert Delcamp. This will be the 287th time that he has improvised [The Phantom], and I feel that experiencing the film in this way breathes new life into the silent film genre as a whole,” said Geoffrey Ward, University organist and choirmaster.

Ward spoke to Briggs’ brilliance at the organ, noting that it takes an innovative mind to continuously improvise, matching both the tone and the pacing of a film, for multiple hours on end. “The community is going to experience a movie in the most beautiful and spacious building on campus — All Saints’ Chapel, where we host worship services, academic services and recitals.

This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy beautiful music and film in an inspiring space,” Ward said. “The mystery of the phantom is ever-present, and we hope to see students, staff, faculty and families come to enjoy this unique experience.”

Popcorn will be served to accompany the performance, which is free and open to the public. To read more about Briggs go to <>.

‘The Revolutionists’ Takes the Stage, Feb. 24

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Emily K. Harrison is preparing Sewanee for The Revolution — Marie Antionette style.

Harrison, who is an artist, educator, and producer of theater based in Boulder, Colorado, currently serves as a visiting professor of theater at the University.

For her latest production, Harrison wanted to focus on the role of women in theater, and that led her to “The Revolutionists.”

“The four-person cast is all female — all of the roles are fantastic — and the play focuses largely on the power of story, on what we, as artists, can do to shift the narrative and to tell the stories that desperately need to be told in order to get to the heart of what matters most in the world. My hope is that the women in the cast, who are playing characters based on real women from history, are able to share this remarkable and tender story to sold out houses for the five performances we have, and that our audiences will be receptive to the themes and ideas in the play,” Harrison said.

“The Revolutionists” takes place during the Reign of Terror, which occurred at the height of the French Revolution, just as the Haitian Revolution was taking place a world away. In two acts spanning 100 minutes, historical female figures lend inspiration to the retelling of a story about violence, art, feminism, activism, chosen sisters, the legacy they left behind and how one might actually go about changing the world.

“The play is mostly a comedy and is based on very real women. Three of the characters share the names of their real-life inspirations: the playwright Olympe de Gouges, deposed queen Marie Antoinette and assassin Charlotte Corday. Marianne Angelle, the spy, is a composite character based on women who were integral to the success of the Haitian Revolution, women such as Cécile Fatiman, Sanité Bélair and Marie-Jeanne Lamartinière whose stories were not as well documented as their white counterparts,” Harrison said.

Playing Olympe de Gouges is freshman Emme Hendrix alongside freshman Emi Grace Oaks as Marie Antoinette. Seniors Taela Bland, playing Marianne Angelle, and Mary Emily Morris, playing Charlotte Corday, round out the four-person cast.

Harrison added that the quartet has become a close team of actors as they’ve endeavored to tell a story set years in the past and also with a finger on the pulse of today.

“The play feels incredibly relevant, especially considering the events at our own capital just last year, and the ways in which different factions invent and twist facets of the narrative in order to suit their own, varied agendas. It has become increasingly difficult in our own country to discern misinformation from fact, which makes for a reality that at times feels very tenuous,” Harrison said. “The legions of people who are willing to unquestioningly believe whatever version of the story brings them comfort without making any effort to seek out alternative perspectives is both terrifying and dangerous. Similarly to the time in history represented in the play, we are at a turning-point — one that could easily turn increasingly violent as misinformation continues to spread like wildfire. The play also speaks to the desire so many of us in the artist community have to reflect on our own experience of living in this tumultuous time — to make work that challenges dominant narratives and speaks to both the beauty and horror of what it means to be a human being in the world.”

The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m.,Thursday, Feb. 24 through Saturday, Feb. 26, and at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 26 and Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Proctor Hill Theatre. For more information about the show or to reserve free tickets to the performances, visit <;.

Community Chest Spotlight: MARC

The 2021-22 Sewanee Community Chest Fund Drive is underway. Sponsored by the Sewanee Civic Association, the Sewanee Community Chest raises money yearly for local charitable organizations serving the area. This year’s goal of $102,291 will help 20 organizations that have requested basic needs funding for quality of life, community aid, children’s programs, and those who are beyond Sewanee but still serve our entire community.

This week we shine the spotlight on the Marion Animal Resource Connection, MARC.

MARC’s mission is to improve the lives of animals through spay/neuter, humane education, and rescue/rehoming. Through its directors and volunteers, MARC provides education for children and adults about humane care and treatment of animals. MARC connects people with affordable spay/neuter procedures to begin decreasing the number of unwanted and costly litters. MARC works with county and town governments to prevent needless killing of impounded dogs and cats. MARC works with individuals and other animal groups to try to find good homes for unwanted dogs and cats.

MARC responds to requests for help from people in Marion and its surrounding counties of Grundy, bordering areas of Franklin, Sequatchie, and bordering areas of Georgia and Alabama. Clients include those that find, help, or are concerned about the many animals dumped, abused, or neglected. Animals in need do not know boundaries and move from one area to another on their own, or are dumped by people. In 2020, MARC served approximately 1,354 dogs and cats; more than 2,080 animals were spayed or neutered; 953 rescued animals were matched with families and rehomed; and 2,355 students were taught about humane care of animals.

MARC will receive $7,000 in general operating support in the Beyond Sewanee funding area. MARC’s goal for the grant is to spay and neuter more dogs and cats (average $70 per animal), to get them ready for adoption, or to help people keep their pets without contributing to the proliferation of unwanted animals. In addition, the money will be used to pay for some of the heartworm treatments (estimate $300–$500 for each animal) and necessary surgeries (estimate $300–$1,500 for each animal.) MARC is not a shelter. They can only save the number of animals for which they have foster homes. MARC is a resource to help residents find safe places for stray, dumped, and unwanted animals. Residents who call MARC for help are encouraged to foster the animals, while MARC works to find adoptive and loving homes.

Since 1908, the goal of the Sewanee Community Chest has been to help citizens by funding the community. With Community Chest donations, local organizations provide for basic needs such as books, food, animal care, housing, scholarships, recreational spaces, elder care, children’s educational needs and more. The Sewanee Community Chest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Send your donation to Sewanee Community Chest, P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375. Go to <>; for more information or to donate online.

‘Unrivaled’ Covers Dramatic Story of the 1899 Sewanee Football Team

A new documentary film, “Unrivaled,” which chronicles the compelling and dramatic story of Sewanee’s 1899 football team, officially premiered on Jan. 29. The film explores the gritty reality of football in that era.

The documentary, which focuses on what some historians consider the rarest achievement in college football history, premiered in Nashville this weekend. The film chronicles when Sewanee’s 1899 football team went 12-0 when most southern teams played only four or five games in a season. Sewanee embarked on the most unprecedented road trip in football history, playing five major teams on the road in six days, traveling 2,500 miles by steam locomotive. The film includes interviews with national championship football coaches, historians, analysts, and team descendants. The music is by Bobby Horton, a nationally-known documentary music composer, and the film features over a dozen original paintings by artist Ernie Eldridge. David Crews from Oxford, Miss., and Norman Jetmundsen from Birmingham, Ala. produced and directed the film.

“The story of the 1899 Sewanee team is unmatched, and what that team accomplished that year will never be repeated or forgotten,” remarked Jetmundsen. “This labor of love includes over 40 interviews of coaches, descendants, analysts and historians who helped us retell what happened that epic season. We are thrilled to finally share the film with those who love Sewanee and anyone who loves a story of grit, determination and accomplishing the unthinkable.”

At one time, the premier rivalry in the South was the Sewanee vs. Vanderbilt game played every Thanksgiving Day. The film explores why these teams didn’t play each other in 1899. Moreover, Luke Lea, the student team manager, who was the pivotal force behind the season, went on to own the Nashville Tennessean, donated the land for Percy Warner Park and became one of the youngest U.S. Senators in American history. Significantly, the most remarkable road trip in football history started and ended in Tennessee. Among theTennessee teams that Sewanee played in that 12-0 season were the University of Tennessee, Cumberland and Rhodes College, known as Southwestern Presbyterian at that time.

A trailer of the film is available at <

;. For more information about the team and this film and to order a copy of the DVD and prints of the original painting, visit

Special screenings for groups can be arranged by emailing <>.

Free Income Tax Prep Available

Beginning Thursday, Feb. 17, the IRS-certified Sewanee Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program will begin processing and filing qualifying residents’ income taxes.

Any resident of Franklin, Grundy, or Marion counties who makes less than $58,000 a year qualifies for a free tax return.

Each resident interested in filing must bring proof of identification (a photo ID), social security cards (if filing jointly with another person then bring both social security cards and both individuals must be present), wage and earning statements (W-2, 1099, etc.), dividend and interest statements (if this applies to the resident filing), birth dates of the resident(s) and dependent(s), and banking account and routing numbers for direct deposit (found on a blank check).

If a resident filing does not have a social security card, then he/she must bring an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter.

Please visit <; to sign up for your appointment or for more information.

Tax assistance will be available at the following:

2:30-5 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17, Franklin County TCAT

1–3 p.m., Friday, Feb. 18, May Justus Memorial Library

10 a.m.–1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 26, Mountain T.O.P

1–3 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, McClurg Dining Hall

10 a.m.–1 p.m., Saturday, March 26, Sewanee Senior Center

For more information email <>.

TDOE Announces 68 Best for All Districts and #BestForAllDay to Recognize Strategic Spending on Student Achievement

Friday, February 11, 2022 | 07:00am

Districts Celebrated During Statewide Livestream Event for ESSER

Investments that Benefit Students

Nashville, TN- Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the 68 districts that have received statewide recognition as Best for All Districts for significantly investing federal COVID-19 stimulus funding to drive student achievement and improving academic outcomes. The department is celebrating these districts today for #BestforAllDay through a statewide livestream event from 9-10:30 a.m. CT, accessible here.

Best for All Districts will receive financial, operational, celebratory, and resource benefits in appreciation for districts' planned investments to spend their share of the $3.58 billion in federal COVID-19 relief and stimulus funding directly on services, resources and supports that will help students achieve academically. Governor Bill Lee announced a Day of Recognition in honor of Best for All Districts on Friday, February 11, 2022. Additionally, each Best for All district was awarded grant funds from the department’s ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) funds, with the full grant funding for Best for All Districts totaling more than $15 million.

Access the full list of Best for All Districts here and the list of individual grant allocations here.

“Tennessee’s ‘Best For All’ districts have gone above and beyond to invest strategically in student achievement, address learning loss, and drive positive outcomes,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “As we continue to prioritize students, I commend each of these high-performing districts for their hard work and thank our teachers and administrators for their commitment to providing high-quality education across Tennessee.”

“Tennessee’s Best for All districts are truly deserving of this recognition for their strong commitment to strategically investing in their students at a time when there were literally billions of other opportunities to spend,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Our kids deserve the best possible education we can provide them, and I am proud to honor our Best for All districts for their leadership in putting a clear focus on academic achievement to help them succeed.”

Beginning in 2020, the U.S. Congress responded to the global COVID-19 health pandemic by passing several pieces of legislation, and as a result Tennessee is benefitting from over $4.5 billion for K-12 education to be spent between spring 2020 and fall 2024. Through three rounds of funding referred to as ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 funds, over $3.58 billion will flow directly to local school districts to decide how to spend.

The department understands the importance of rewarding investments in mission-critical initiatives that are most likely to benefit students. Best for All Districts are those entities that have strategically planned for and invested in ways that are likely to accelerate student achievement. To qualify for the Best for All recognition program, a district must have planned to spend an amount equal to or more than 50% of its ESSER 3.0 award amount on strategies to raise student academic achievement, as well as opted to participate in the state’s high-dosage, low-ratio tutoring program, TN ALL Corps.

Sewanee Community Council Election: Meet the Candidates

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Three candidates have stepped forward to vie for a District 4 seat on the Sewanee Community Council, which became open when council representative Mary Priestley moved to a different district. Registered District 4 voters can vote in the special election through Friday, Feb. 25, during business hours at the Office of Leases and Community Relations (Blue House). The recently expanded District 4 boundaries include Tennessee Avenue, University Avenue, Texas Avenue, and down Alto Road/Roarks Cove Road. The victorious candidate will serve until the next regular election in November 2022. Read on to meet the candidates.

Jay Fisher has lived in Sewanee since 2000, serving the University in a variety of leadership capacities in the alumni office, marketing and communications, the advancement office and the executive office. He has also served on the vestry at St. Mark and St. Paul. He is currently on the Board of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School and the Secretary to the University’s Board of Trustees.

Pointing to the University’s focus on economic and sustainable development of the village and the domain, Fisher said, “There must be a strong partnership and good communication between the Community Council and the University so that the growth and development of the town and domain moves forward in a positive, collaborative and transparent way.” His involvement with the many constituencies that make up the University would bring “breadth and depth of experience” and “perspective” to the council. “I have enjoyed living in Sewanee since 2000,” Fisher said. He wants to serve on the council as a way “to give back.”

Greg Maynard moved to Sewanee with his wife Susan Holmes in 1996. His wide and varied career includes serving as a statistical analyst and Director of Planning and Research for three state agencies and as trade book manager at the University Book and Supply store. Since retiring from teaching history and social science at Baylor School, he has managed the couples’ B&B. “Sewanee is both an easy and challenging place to live,” Maynard observed. “It is beautiful, quiet (for the most part), and intellectually stimulating.” But Maynard added, “Everyone feels the weight of the University. Sometimes it’s benevolent, and sometimes less so.” Maynard sees a role for the council in matters both large and small, ranging from implementation of the Village Development Plan, enforcing parking regulations, slowing traffic in residential areas, and requiring fraternities to keep their lots tidy. “Sewanee is a wonderful place to live,” Maynard said. “I look forward to continuing to give back to a place I have come to call home.”

Marilyn Phelps and her husband Tom moved to Sewanee in 2012. Quick to become an active community member, she has served on the board of Folks at Home and with her husband as the Community Chest cochair. She decided to run for the council because she wants “to know more about the interactions between the University and the community…to have firsthand knowledge about who makes decisions and how those decisions are made.” She acknowledges questioning some decisions and wondering “whether or not they were beneficial to the community.” Phelps counts housing needs and caring for the elderly among the community’s most pressing concerns. “So many of our most wonderful citizens have had to leave Sewanee because of a lack of services,” Phelps said. From serving on the Folks at Home board, she learned “the community’s strengths and weaknesses.” With 30 years’ experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Phelps would bring to the council a well-honed skill for understanding community “issues from both a micro and macro level.”

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