‘Unrivaled: Sewanee 1899’ Regional Emmy Contender

by Beth Riner, Messenger Staff Writer

“Unrivaled: Sewanee 1899,” a documentary detailing the exploits of Sewanee’s legendary 1899 football team, is now a regional Emmy contender.

Entered by Alabama Public Television (APT) in the historical documentary category, the team behind the film includes Director David Crews, Editor Matthew Graves, and Producer Norman Jetmundsen. Nominations will be announced April 30 followed by an awards show June 17 in Atlanta.

“It’s really a fantastic film—not just for the story of the football team but the culture in the South and how the sport of football changed over time,” said Mike McKenzie, director of programming and public information for APT. “Everything behind the production is top-notch.”

Winning an Emmy wasn’t on the radar for co-creator Jetmundsen, a 1976 University of the South graduate, who said he and Crews, also a Sewanee alum, did the film for two reasons. “It was a story that needed to be told, and we thought it would be great for the university.”

Jetmundsen, a self-described football lover, first heard about the 1899 team as an undergraduate studying English literature. “Everybody who goes here hears the story within the first week. It’s part of the DNA of Sewanee.”

The 1899 Sewanee Tigers took a 2,500-mile railroad journey to win five games in six days against some of the South’s biggest teams without allowing a single point and ended up with a perfect 12-0 season—only 10 points were scored against the team in the entire season.

The story of these Sewanee Iron Men became campus folklore; even today, dorm and office posters proclaim: “In 6 days, Sewanee beat Texas, Texas A&M, Tulane, LSU, and Ole Miss. On the 7th day they rested.”

The story so resonated with Jetmundsen that nearly 40 years later in 2014 he would pitch it to ESPN. When nothing came of it, he turned to his lifelong friend, David Crews, an award-winning documentary film maker, who agreed to take on the project provided Jetmundsen helped. It would turn into a five-plus year collaboration, which included raising more than $300,000 in funding and doing more than 40 interviews.

Jetmundsen relied on his experience as a trial lawyer in Birmingham, Ala., to conduct interviews. “That part came naturally to me,” he said. “I’d taken hundreds and hundreds of depositions.” He used the skills honed from writing legal briefs to tell a compelling story mixed with moments of humor.

“We thought we knew the story,” Jetmundsen added. “We only knew half of it. It was much richer than we’d imagined.”

He said one of the most gratifying things about the project was that “we preserved a story that was about to be lost and now it’s preserved forever.” He noted that some of the folks he’d interviewed were in their nineties and had since passed.

The documentary contains interviews with legendary football coaches Bobby Bowden, Johnny Majors, Vince Dooley, and Nick Saban. “I still can’t believe we got Nick Saban,” Jetmundsen said. “All these people who were nationally known and so willing to help—it was just incredible.”

A big coup for the project was getting fellow Birmingham resident Bobby Horton, who has done music for the Ken Burns’ documentaries, on board. Horton used vintage songs to fit music into the scenes. “He’s a musical genius,” Jetmundsen said.

Another local friend and Episcopal priest, Gates Shaw, lent his melodious Southern voice to narrate the documentary.

Birmingham artist Ernie Eldridge contributed 14 original paintings to the documentary since there were no moving pictures in 1899 and only a handful of photos of the team. Artist Jim Trusilo also did a couple of original paintings. Their work greatly enhanced the documentary, Jetmundsen said.

Their remarkable artwork will be the basis for a coffee-table book that Jetmundsen is now working on with Karin Fecteau. “Our hope is to launch the book in the fall of 2024,” he said. The book will feature old photos, letters, telegrams, and other archival information.

Although no one has picked up the story yet for a motion picture, Jetmundsen said he and Crews remain hopeful. “We just think it would be a great movie.”

“Unrivaled: Sewanee 1899” will be shown at the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly at 7:45 p.m., July 1.

“We’re really excited that the Assembly asked us to show it on that particular weekend,” Jetmundsen said, explaining that there is nothing quite like the Fourth of July Weekend on the mountain. “It’s just old-time America and so much fun.”

For more information about the documentary, go to <https://sewanee1899.org/;.

St. Mark’s Community Association: Black Sewanee’s Lodestar Rising

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“With the Black school, the church, the swimming pool, and most of the neighborhood and old houses gone now, the St. Mark’s Community Center is the only remaining monument to Sewanee’s dwindling Black community,” said Evelyn Patton, chair of the St. Mark’s Community Association Board. “With the help of Housing Sewanee, the Roberson Project, and volunteers, we’re revamping the center for use as an event-venue rental. We hope to get people to come back.” The Save Sewanee Black History Heritage Trail has St. Mark’s Community Center and Stirling’s as its terminus points. Summing up the Heritage Trail project and rebirth of St. Mark’s, Roberson Project Director Woody Register said, “It’s about restoring the community’s imagination.”

The basketball goal on the St. Mark’s lot shouts to passersby, “Remember us!” The Alabama Avenue lot was once the site of Willie Six Field where the Sewanee Black baseball league hosted games, Patton said. When the Shedd family left, the house situated on the lot became an unofficial gathering spot. The leasehold is now the property of the St. Mark’s Community Association. In 1995, with materials supplied by the University, the community erected the St. Mark’s Community Center building. A four-member St. Mark’s Community Association Board formed. Original board member James Burnett, a tireless and generous volunteer, still serves in that capacity.

“This is the only structural marker we have left,” said Patton, a Sewanee native who has lived and worked on the mountain most of her life. Recent inside and outside work on the building includes painting, lighting, and a new HVAC system, with a special “shout out” thank you to Housing Sewanee, as well as the Sewanee Community Council Funding Project and the South Cumberland Community Fund. St. Mark’s Community Center also receives funding from the Sewanee Community Chest. Looking to the future, Patton envisions picnic tables, grills, a fire pit, a footpath through the woods to the Mountain Goat Trail, and a redo of the basketball court with funding from a University alum.

Register stressed the importance of “reinvesting energy and time” in the project. “There are still people here with strong roots,” Register said. Patton hopes to reach out to those who have moved off the Plateau, as well. She pointed out many people in the Black community were elderly, and she plans to partner with Folk at Home to help them enroll in Medicare, find transportation to medical appointments, and understand insurance.

Looking to the immediate future, a Juneteenth gala at 1 p.m., Sunday, June 18, will feature vendors, face painting, children’s games, and the official dedication of the Heritage Trail. Later in the month, the community will have the opportunity to participate in an archeological dig at the sites of the Black Kennerly School, St. Mark’s Church, and social club.

The St. Mark’s Community Center area was once called “The Bottoms,” Patton said, low land not especially desirable for building homes. “It’s a little bit ironic,” she commented, pointing to several new residences under construction. “We’re really at a beginning,” Register said. “Things are changing rapidly. We want the heritage trail and the community center to be part of the vitality of the neighborhood.”

The St. Mark’s Community Association welcomes new members. The $20 membership fee can be paid at Regions Bank or by sending a check, made out to the association, to Evelyn Patton, 157 Palmetto Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37375.

The community association board meets at 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 2. Patton encourages those who want to get involved in spearheading the St. Mark’s Community’s future to attend.

Help Wanted: Fourth of July Children’s Games & Parade

The Fourth of July Committee requests your help to make the children’s games happen for this year’s celebration. We need help with set up, breakdown, and during the event. We were unable to host this event last year due to a lack of volunteers, so let’s rally and make it a great day for the kids!

We also need volunteers for the parade. There are many ways to play a part in making the parade a success, and we would love to have your help.

Contact Dylan McClure at <jdmcclur@sewanee.edu> for more information or to volunteer.

‘Due Cause’ Key Consideration in Hideaway Decision

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At an April 20 special-called joint workshop of the Monteagle Planning Commission and Council, Monteagle attorney Sam Elliott stressed, “Anything the planning commission does that effects property rights has to have due cause.” Elliott was responding to Alderman Nate Wilson’s question about the planning commission being advised at the April 4 meeting they had “exceeded their authority by restricting the [proposed Hideaway subdivision] Wren’s Nest entrance to emergency vehicle action only.” Elaborating, Elliott said “if the determination was traffic was going to be too much in that intersection, the courts generally are going to accept that as a due cause.”

Elliott said the subdivision, as proposed, would be in compliance with the law by having two entrances that could be used by emergency vehicles, but he expressed concern about “enforcing” emergency-only use at the restricted entrance. A resident pointed out fire code allowed for a gate.

Commissioner Dan Sargent expressed concern about subdivision residents with emergency medical issues exiting the subdivision with only one entrance. Alderman Greg Rollins said the original site plan proposed three entrances and the developers could return to that plan, giving subdivision residents two egress points. Echoing the position of current Monteagle residents at previous planning commission meetings, a resident insisted, “The Wren’s Nest intersection is already a mess.”

In the special-called meeting following the workshop, none of the commissioners present proposed the commission reconsider the decision to restrict the Hideaway Wren’s Next entrance to emergency access. The commission held to their March 7 vote which supported residents’ concerns about traffic.

Elliott also took up questions about zoning. He said without a general plan “it was unadvisable to do spontaneous rezoning changes” based on anticipated growth. He also said spot zoning, zoning a property different from adjoining properties, potentially violated the constitutional right to “equal protection” by treating one property different from another “even though they share the same characteristics.”

A resident asked how the planning commission was to be guided in decisions about rezoning since the town had no general plan and the council had revoked Ordinance 1207C which established five criteria rezoning needed to meet.

Elliott acknowledged he advised the council to revoke the ordinance since the rule was not typical in other towns, and the first criterion said rezoning must conform to the general plan, when Monteagle had no plan.

Mayor Greg Maloof said Ordinance 1207C may have been removed improperly because, according to records, a public hearing was not held to discuss the issue.

Trail of Tears: the Cherokee Who Stayed

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

In his April 20 talk, historical archeologist and anthropologist Dr. Lance Green offered glimpses into the story of 400 Cherokee who avoided the Trail of Tears forced removal by hiding in the North Carolina mountains. Why and what became of these people is the subject of Green’s new book, “Their Determination to Remain: A Cherokee Communities’ Resistance to the Trail of Tears.” Green’s previous research mined the story of escaped slaves who hid in the North Carolina swamp, a Confederate POW camp, paleolithic cave excavation in France, and many projects involving North American indigenous communities. A North Carolina plantation owned by a Cherokee man, John Welch, and his white wife Betty, frames the tale recounted in “Their Determination to Remain.”

John Welch owned a 640-acre plantation, land acquired following an 1819 treaty. The federal government had seized 5,000-6000 acres of Cherokee land, but offered the Cherokee who wanted to stay 640-acre tracts. The government did not expect the Cherokee to respond to the offer, since traditionally Cherokee held land in common. To the government’s surprise, many Cherokee chose to stay and chose tracts neighboring one another, maintaining the tribal character of the Cherokee community. The forced removal spawned by the 1830 Indian Removal Act “happened just as cotton was becoming king,” Green said. “That made land in the southeast native Americans occupied very valuable. So they had to go.” The roundup of Cherokees under the provisions of the Indian Removal Act and Treaty of Echota began in the late spring and early summer of 1838.

Because he married a white woman, John Welch was exempt from the Trail of Tears forced removal of 16,000 Cherokee from the southeastern United States to Oklahoma, although Welch’s property was seized and mapped to be given to white settlers. Seven hundred Cherokee residents of the nearby Qualla towns, the site of present-day Cherokee, N.C., were also exempt from removal thanks to the intervention of businessman William Thomas who had dealings with the Cherokee there. The Cherokee had two years to prepare for leaving, but most did not. “Many Cherokee believed it would never actually happen,” Green said. Federal soldiers rounded up Cherokee at gunpoint and imprisoned them at Fort Cass until the actual march west began. When John Welch demanded compensation for his land, he was imprisoned, as well. The mountainous region of western North Carolina offered seclusion and places to hide. With the threat of removal imminent throughout the 1830s, the area became a stronghold of traditional Cherokee who resisted “Westernization.” Some 400 Cherokee who lived in the area of the Qualla towns, but lacked exemptions, fled to the mountains when the federal troops came.

When the federal troops left, the Cherokee came out of hiding. Over 100 had died in the winter of 1838-1839 and only two children survived. John Welch had been released, but was blind and disabled. As a Cherokee, John Welch could not own land, but Betty as a white woman could. The Welch family began to repurchase the family plantation. The family also purchased an additional 800 acres where the Cherokee who returned from the mountains established a community known as Welch Town. By 1840 the enterprising Welch Town Cherokee had erected a council house and held regular ballgames, dances, and ceremonies. The government of North Carolina eventually gave up on the Cherokee who remained and allowed them to purchase land. By 1854 Welch Town had been abandoned. While the federal government counted the seizure of Cherokee land and forced removal of the Cherokee as a “success” from the government’s perspective, the perseverance and determination of the 400 Cherokee who remained behind tells a different success story. Their descendants form the nucleus of the several thousand Cherokee who continue to live in western North Carolina today.

Green’s talk was sponsored by a grant from the University Lectures Committee, The Departments of Anthropology, History, Earth and Environmental Systems and the Roberson Project.

National Cornbread Festival

The National Cornbread Festival is back. Join us April 29-30, 2023, for a weekend-long celebration. Play games, ride carnival rides, and enjoy wandering through the booths that line the streets of historic downtown South Pittsburg, Tenn. Enjoy piping hot cornbread, handmade arts & crafts, and live music. The festival is packed with great family fun – including a Kid’s Corner with games, face painting, and inflatables!

Events include the Lodge Cast Iron Cornbread Cook-Off; Cornbread Alley; musical performances from Dillon Carmichael and more; tours of the Lodge Museum of Cast Iron and Foundry; 5K Race through South Pittsburg; Cornbread Fondo; tours of Historic South Pittsburg; Classic Cars Cruise-In; and Cornbread Eating Contests.

Hours are Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, April 30, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 per day or $15 for a weekend pass.

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online and a schedule of events is available on our website: https://nationalcornbread.com/

Sewanee Theatre & Dance Presents ‘Big Love’

by Beth Riner, Messenger Staff Writer

Imagine performing an outdoor play in Sewanee’s Angel Park where 50 bridegrooms helicopter in to ambush 50 reluctant brides — that’s just one challenge facing the director, cast, and crew of “Big Love.”

Sewanee’s Department of Theater and Dance will present “Big Love” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 26, through Saturday, April 29, outdoors at Angel Park, weather permitting.

Written by Charles Mee, “Big Love” is about 50 brides who flee to an Italian manor to avoid marrying their cousins. It’s based on Aeschylus’s “The Suppliants,” one of the earliest plays in the Western world.

“Mee’s become very well-known for doing contemporary adaptations of Greek plays,” said Sewanee Theater Department Chair Jim Crawford. “The play deals with serious topics, but it has a real fun side to it — an exuberance.”

Crawford taught acting to Guest Director Chris McCreary when McCreary was an undergraduate at Southern Methodist University. McCreary has a master of fine arts in directing.

“The play is a larger-than-life piece,” McCreary said. “We wanted to think of things that would engage the audience. It’s a fun story — it’s intentional chaos. The front row is going to be the splash zone — fair warning.”

Writer Mee encourages changes to the script to make the play different for each cast.

“It will very much be Sewanee’s production of ‘Big Love,’” McCreary said. “It’s a really fun, messy, active investigation of who you are. It’s about the pursuit of happiness, and what every single character in the play wants just happens to be in conflict with everyone else.”

One of the driving forces behind the production is the park itself.

“What I really like about doing this play in this setting is the limitations,” said Guest Director Chris McCreary. “I love limitations in theater. It breeds freedom and creativity. The play gives us seemingly impossible things to do with light and sound and music. It really forces you to solve important problems.”

Working closely with McCreary is Stage Manager Olivia Millwood, a junior theater major, and Mac Walker, a senior theater major, who is in charge of costumes.

“Chris is wonderful — very collaborative and also open to ideas from everyone. It’s very refreshing,” Millwood said, who most recently was stage manager for Sewanee’s production of the musical “Urinetown.”

“He’s been a big hit with the students,” Crawford noted.

Walker, whose newfound love of costume design has inspired graduate school specialization in it, praised McCreary for creating a space where students were encouraged to go bigger and look into their ideas.

“I like working with people who are passionate, and the students are really great,” McCreary said. “I can’t wait to see all the work they’re going to do. Everyone in the cast and crew has really shown up. It’s become an ensemble. It’s been a really generative and generous group.”

Cast members include Sofia Tripoli, Ivy Francis Moore, Grace Hurt, Will Johannsson, William Cunningham, David Durden, Emma Dillinger, Jai Manacsa, and Kenzie Donald.

Chorus members include Mac Walker, David Mohrmann, Abbie Holloway, Ellanna Swope, Gracie McGelroy, Anna Stone, Colin Rice, Keegan Congleton, and Patrick Eikenhorst.

According to Crawford, the tradition of doing plays in Angel Park started about three years ago during COVID. He added that because Sewanee is in such an isolated area that people — students, faculty, staff, and the community — tend to come out for the entertainment.

“It really feels like we’re in conversation with the community here,” Crawford said. “The community really shows up for it, and it’s a great experience for our students.”

Crawford noted that “Big Love” is not suitable for children under 12.

“It’s PG-13 — not as family friendly as some of the ones we’ve done,” he said.

“It’s true to the human experience,” Millwood expounded, “but sometimes the human condition is not appropriate for young children.”

The 80 minute play is BYOC: bring your own chair — or blanket. Although there is no intermission, McCreary hopes to have some sort of post-show wedding-type reception in a nod to the production’s matrimonial theme.

“We’d love to be able to talk to the community about the show they just saw,” he said.

To reserve free tickets, go to <https://www.eventbrite.com/e/big-love-tickets-615801477797;.

SCA Annual Membership Meeting

The Sewanee Civic Association is scheduled to meet Monday, May 1, in Kennerly Hall. Social time with wine begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6 p.m. Reservations for dinner are due by Monday, April 24, by emailing <sewaneecommunitychest@gmail.com>.

The agenda includes voting on the SCA budget, officers for 2023-24, Community Chest update and the presentation of the 40th Community Service Award.

The Sewanee Civic Association brings together community members for social and service opportunities. Any adult who resides in the area and shares the concerns of the community is invited to attend and become a member.

SUD Considers Switching from Spray Fields to Dripline

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the April 18 meeting, the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners decided to investigate switching from a spray field to dripline dispersion system at the wastewater treatment plant. The board also discussed making technology and accounting changes this year.

SUD manager Ben Beavers said dripline could be either inground or above ground and offered the benefit of requiring smaller buffer zones, meaning SUD’s usable land area would increase by 25 percent. Increasing the usable land area could be critical if sewer customers increased due to University development or due to state law changes on required public sewer connection. With driplines, there was also less potential for runoff and ponding, according to state research. Beavers cited possible maintenance concerns since dripline systems required filters to keep the emitters from getting clogged. There were very few large dripline systems in the state, Beavers said.

Lightning strike damage will necessitate replacing the spray head system in one section of the spray fields, and Beavers suggested SUD could switch to dripline in that section as a test. Board President Charlie Smith said a SUD switch to a dripline would offer a good opportunity to do a timber harvest in the spray fields. Beavers said the timber harvest done over 10 years ago improved soil conditions and paid for itself, in addition to yielding a small amount of revenue.

Turning to technology and accounting issues, Beavers said the accounting software SUD used would cease to be supported by the end of the year. He had not been pleased with the customer service of the provider and said other providers offered the same package at the same cost, $20,000, with better customer service. SUD also needed to decide whether to use cloud-based or server provided data storage. Beavers said according to SUD’s IT advisor, cloud-based was just as secure and offered the advantage of not needing to be regularly updated.

Another technology issue confronting SUD is replacing its 10-year-old computer hardware, which does not support Windows 11. Beavers noted part of the American Recovery Plan (ARP) grant money SUD anticipated receiving was for computers, and SUD might be able to pay for new hardware with the grant money.

In a related area, the board discussed switching auditors once the 2022 audit was completed. Commissioner Doug Cameron pointed out it was good practice to change auditors every five years. Beavers said the cost of local auditors was about the same. “In the past it has served us well to stay local.”

Beavers’ report on operations showed unaccounted-for-water loss at just 15.3 percent. (Unaccounted-for-water loss is water produced at the plant that does not register on customer meters.) Smith said, when he joined the board in 2017, unaccounted-for-water loss was around 30 percent. “Unaccounted-for-water loss has been down for a solid three months,” Beavers said. “It’s encouraging.” He attributed the decrease to locating and repairing a leak in Deepwoods. Looking to the future, Beavers wants to replace failing pressure regulators and make sure pressure regulators are in optimal locations. “Controlling leaks is controlling pressure,” Beavers insisted. He hopes some of the ARP grant money can be used for pressure regulation, as well.

Commissioner Clay Yeatman raised questions about the rate SUD charged the University and stormwater control. Although SUD could charge institutional customers more, the decision was made “a long time ago” to charge the University the same rate as other customers, Beavers said. Taking up the stormwater control question, Beavers said SUD did not own the stormwater drainage system. The infrastructure belonged to the county and state and was located primarily along state and county roads.

Yeatman and Trails & Trilliums Award Winners Named

The Friends of South Cumberland State Parks are pleased to honor Latham Davis and Kathleen Williams with the Harry Yeatman Environmental Education and Trails & Trilliums Tribute Awards, respectively. The awards will be presented at Wine and Wildflowers, the Saturday night event at the Friends’ annual Trails & Trilliums spring festival, which will be held in Beersheba Springs April 21-23.

Enjoying a varied career as journalist, newspaper and magazine editor, book publisher, and book designer, Latham Davis has contributed generously to the Friends of South Cumberland’s efforts over the years. Since joining the Friends in 1998, he served several years on the board, including two terms as president: 2004-2006 and 2015-2017. In addition, he co-chaired the organization’s first Cumberland Wild conservation awareness event and the Saving Great Spaces fundraiser, in which the Friends surpassed their $500,000 goal by $100,000. The success of the campaign led directly to federal and state appropriations totaling more than $3 million. These monies resulted in the acquisition of key bluff tracts in Savage Gulf and then thousands of acres in Fiery Gizzard. Saving Great Spaces certainly brought the friends conservation efforts to the attention of state and federal officials.

The Yeatman Award, however, is for Davis’s latest achievement on behalf of the Friends: South Cumberland and its Friends, a history of the park and those who worked over the years to make the parks — South Cumberland and the new Savage Gulf State Park – true jewels among the state park lands, preserved for all for posterity. Beautifully put together and written in Davis’ clear and light style, the book introduces readers to the geology and ecology of the area, the early settlers, the eras of natural resource extraction, and stories of the preservation of the land and its current recreational and economic value to this part of the country. In Davis’ words, “Here’s to all who love nature and the wilderness.” And Latham, here’s to you!

Kathleen Williams served as President and Executive Director of TennGreen Land Conservancy, formerly Tennessee Parks & Greenways Foundation, from its inception in 1998 until her retirement in 2015. Her work through TennGreen conserved several thousand acres that have protected Tennessee’s natural treasures across the state. Some crowning achievements during her tenure have been the establishment of Cummins Falls as Tennessee’s 54th State Park, securing the permanent ownership of Virgin Falls SNA by the State, securing lands along the Cumberland Trail, including the mountains that surround Grassy Cove and sacred Devilstep Hollow, protecting wetlands in west Tennessee, and securing lands along the Mississippi River.

For her work, Kathleen received the 2004 Mack S. Prichard Award from the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, was named the 1996 Land Conservationist of the Year, and received the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from Greenways for Nashville. In 2011 Kathleen was named the Conservationist of the Year by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

Electronics Recycling Event

The Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace (CCJP) will be hosting an electronics recycling event in honor of Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the old Hair Depot on Highway 41, Sewanee.

All electronic items will be accepted with the exception of old televisions that use tube technology and/or are built into wooden cabinets.

For more information email <cumberlandjusticeandpeace@gmail.com>.

Knoll Community Clean-up Scheduled for April 29

Grab your work gloves and meet at the Mountain Goat Trailhead (across the bypass from Taylor’s) for Sewanee’s annual Arthur Knoll Community Clean-up, Saturday, April 29. The University’s Facilities Management office will supply garbage bags and trash grabbers. Participants will fan out to pick up roadside and streamside litter, 9—11 a.m. At 11 a.m., head to the Blue Chair for free coffee and pastry, courtesy of the Office of Leases and Community Relations. Treats in hand, gather, along with Mother Nature, at Angel Park for a short celebration and the third annual awarding of the Platinum Beauty Ring for exceptional participation in the clean-up. The event will be held even in drizzly weather, but in case of a deluge it will take place the following day, Sunday, April 30, 1-3 p.m. Named in honor of the late Arthur Knoll, the annual clean-up is sponsored by the Sewanee Community Council, in partnership with the University’s offices of Facilities Management and Leases & Community Relations.

Help Wanted: Fourth of July Children’s Games & Parade

The Fourth of July Committee requests your help to make the children’s games happen for this year’s celebration. We need help with set up, breakdown, and to help during the event. We were unable to host this event last year due to a lack of volunteers, so let’s rally and make it a great day for the kids!

We also need volunteers for the parade. There are many ways to play a part in making the parade a success, and we would love to have your help.

Contact Dylan McClure at <jdmcclur@sewanee.edu> for more information or to volunteer.

2023 Sewanee Community-Wide Yard Sales

The Sewanee Community Center is sponsoring the community-wide yard sale from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 6. Registration is required by April 27, and the fee is $15.

You can participate by either having a sale at your home (feel free to combine your efforts with a friend) or join up with others at the Community Center. Space is limited in the Community Center. All participants will be listed on the official map that will be distributed that day. Advertising will be in local papers in the surrounding areas, and an official yard sign will be available.

Franklin County Schools: Corporal Punishment and Trauma

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“Corporal punishment, suspension, and expulsion have the potential to retraumatize students,” said Franklin County School board member Sara Liechty at the April 10 board meeting introducing a discussion about eliminating corporal punishment. “Corporal punishment is a detriment to children. We didn’t know this 20 years ago, but we know it today. When we know better, we need to do better.” Liechty cited the Trauma-Informed Discipline Practices recommended by the Tennessee Department of Education in support of her argument for abolishing corporal punishment in the schools. All Franklin County Schools are currently engaged in Trauma-Informed Discipline training. Two have nearly completed the program and one anticipates being certified before the end of the year.

“All our schools are actively working on implementing trauma informed practices [TID], and if they’re working on this, they’re not using [corporal punishment] as a strategy or part of their discipline policy.” Liechty said when corporal punishment was used to attempt to “extinguish a behavior,” the behavior would “resurface” in the future. Conversely, trauma informed analysis and restorative practices “reach the child” on a different level and change behavior. Liechty pointed out if corporal punishment was eliminated, the Code of Conduct would also need to be modified to reflect the policy change.

Board Chair Cleijo Walker said the board needed to seek input from the school principals on eliminating corporal punishment before initiating a policy change. Board member Linda Jones recommended asking school principals, “What procedures would you follow if you don’t follow what we have in place now … if we take away some of the discipline practices like suspension and corporal punishment, what would take their place? It needs to be proactive and preventative. We need to let the principals know we’re looking for those kinds of suggestions.”

Liechty said she was not proposing the district eliminate suspension and expulsion. “Expulsion is in state law,” she said.

“Discipline is to teach. Most of what we have here is to punish,” Liechty insisted. “If we have a trauma informed discipline program, we are working with the children to teach them strategies to function within their world. This is a pro-child plea from me to please consider with principal input this cumbersome policy be eliminated and changed to say we will not use corporal punishment.”

Director of Schools Stanley Bean will meet with school principals on May 4 to discuss eliminating corporal punishment as a disciplinary practice. The board will revisit the issue at their regular meeting May 8.

The board will hold a workshop at 6 p.m., April 18, to discuss the proposed 2023-2024 budget. Bean said the draft budget incorporated data from the state’s new funding formula Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement.

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