More than 100 Shiloh Elementary fourth-graders got a taste of university life as they visited Wingate for a half-day field trip called “Visioning College: Taking Your Passions and Planning for Your Future.”
In addition to touring the campus, the four groups of students were able to establish their own paper-airplane businesses, explore majors and careers and take part in education and biology labs.
The event helped Union County Public Schools’ work on at least two focus areas within its Strategic Plan 2022: college readiness and positive learning experiences. Dr. Andrew Houlihan, superintendent of schools, has asked all of the county’s public elementary and middle schools to plan trips to colleges for fourth- and seventh-graders.
“This is to get them thinking about college and expose them to new experiences that they may not see on a daily basis,” explained Tahira Stalberte, assistant superintendent for communications and community relations. “We want the students to be able to talk to college students, talk to professors and take part in activities that college campuses have, as a way to get them excited and help them understand what they have to look forward to.”
As part of Wingate University’s involvement with the Shiloh students, Sarah Katz, a junior communications major visited the school in advance and introduced fourth-graders to vision boards to help them visualize what they want for their future.
STAGE NAMED IN MEMORIAM
“The show must go on,” may be one of the oldest clichés in theater. But that’s what will happen at Wingate University on Feb. 26, when a stage set to be named in honor of a beloved director and retired professor will be named in his memory instead.
Larry Coleman died Feb. 2 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He had retired from the University in 2016, having spent more than a quarter of a century teaching and directing there, including more than seven years at the helm of the George A. Batte, Jr. Fine Arts Center.
During the first week of January, the University announced that the Batte Center’s main stage would bear his name, 20 years after he staged Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof there, inside the then-brand new Hannah Covington McGee Theatre.
Coleman fell in love with theater when he and another student at Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, Alabama, overlooked the school’s lack of a drama department and staged their own plays. He earned his master’s in theater arts from the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama, and went on to teach at Rockmont College in Denver, Colorado; Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia; and Wingate, where he arrived in 1988.
Students in class and on the stage say he’ll be remembered for his high energy level and his ability to boost their confidence. As a director, he gave each performer a handwritten note of encouragement prior to opening night.
In 2016, the Union County Arts Council presented him with its highest honor, the HeART of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award, for outstanding contributions to advance the arts and quality of life in the county. That same year, he was awarded Wingate’s Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Former students and co-workers as well as Coleman’s friends and family will be on hand Monday, Feb. 26, to remember him and his work. The stage dedication is set for 2 p.m. A reception will follow in the Batte Center Rotunda.