THIS IS SURRATTS FOUNDATION E-NOTICE 2012-10 OF OCTOBER 1, 2012
Here are some items that might be of interest:
1. 2012 ANNUAL CAMPAIGN KICK-OFF. With this e-Notice, the Foundation is commencing this year's annual campaign. We're hoping that many of you who might have been inspired to contribute in the past, but have not done so, might consider making a contribution to this year's campaign.
Contributions can be made on-line at the Foundation' web site at www.surrattsville.org. Just look for the "Donate" button at the bottom right of the home page. And of course contributions are welcome by mail, and a donor form is pasted below.
Remember: the Foundation has no overhead, so every contribution dollar goes directly to supporting the great kids at Surratts. And no contribution is too small (or too large) to make a difference.
(Of course, the Foundation does not share any information about its donors -- or its e-Notice subscribers -- with anyone for any purpose, nor does the Foundation do any solicitations of any kind other than these e-Notice announcements about these annual campaigns.)
Many thanks to those very generous early 2012 annual campaign donors listed below, and thanks to all of our readers for considering participating in this year's campaign!
2. FOUNDATION MAKES GRANT TO NURSE'S OFFICE. Last month, the Foundation was proud to provide a grant to the nurse's office at the School to supplement the rather limited County budget for various medical supplies. (In past years, the nurse's office routinely ran-out of important supplies before the end of each school year.) The Foundation thanks school nurse Qiana Monts, RN, BSW for bringing this need to the attention of the Foundation.
3. REPORT ON CLASS OF 82 REUNION AND RELATED SMALL WORLD STORY. We received this interesting report from Renee Mills DeLuca (82): "Just wanted to let you know the Class of 82 had a very nice reunion in Washington D.C. in June this year. Following the Class event, my high school best friends and I went to the beach to recreate our graduation trip boardwalk photo! We spent a couple of days in Rehobeth catching up--and decided we need to do it more than once every 30 years! Our kids were highly amused by our photo. (That photo is now on the Foundation's web site at www.surrattsville.org, and features, left to right: Shelley Miley Miller, Lynn Ball DiGiovine, Michelle Merchant Brown, Lisa Grace Stoudt, and Renee Mills DeLuca.)
In other news, my daughter, Alienna Arnold, recently started her freshman year at Tulane University in New Orleans, where she was greeted by Hurricane Isaac! What a start for her! One of my best friends from Clinton, Beth Brown Grandt, lives in Baton Rouge and offered to shelter her if needed. Fortunately Ali was safe in the dorms. Beth didn't graduate from SHS, but did go to Surrattsville Elementary and Junior High schools. What a wonderful thing, to have someone from my hometown offer to help out this many years later! It's a testament to the friendships we made in our wonderful town! Beth and I did get to have dinner together last May when we were there for orientation--she looks wonderful, still has her beautiful red hair, and now two lively young sons! Beth reports that her mom, and older siblings, sister Tracy and brother Kevin, are all doing well. Renee"
4. ANOTHER CLASS RING FINDS ITS WAY HOME. This topic just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. Specifically, in what is getting to be a pattern even too weird for a quantum physics explanation, lost Surrattsville class rings – most all of them from the Class of 71 – continue to wander back home to their owners. The latest example occurred when a very nice person googled "Surrattsville" and somehow found her way to Darlene Monaco (71). Darlene confirmed that we were the Surrattsville in question, and that the "James Spradling" inscription on the Class of 71 ring found by that nice googler indeed described Darlene's Class of 71 classmate (and Foundation Board member) Jim "Butch" Spradling.
Darlene connected the ring finder with Butch, and we soon received this report from Butch: "I talked to Donnie Ashford (husband of Jan Ashford, the ring finder) today. The found ring is on its way back to me! Donnie's mother-in-law was a housekeeper at the Tradewinds Hotel in Tulsa in 1972 and found the ring there at that time. I was there for an OU/TU football game in 1972 and stayed at the Tradewinds. She gave it to the management, who returned it to her after 90 days since nobody claimed it. Jan's mother gave her the ring, and she had been trying to find its owner since 1986. Jan did a web search on "Surrattsville" a few months back and somehow came up with Darlene's name. She contacted her and, well, all I can say is there is something to say about the internet age. Thanks to you all! This is amazing. Butch"
[Ed note: If anyone's counting, it has been 40 years since that ring started its slow road back to Butch. And this is something like the fourth or fifth Class of 71 ring to come home after many years, one recent one from the sand of a beach in Florida! And the Foundation still has one returned, unclaimed Class of 71 ring in inventory, a girl's ring with the initials "DMT" inside.]
5. MORE SURRATTSVILLE HISTORY. Our latest item in our continuing series of Surrattsville history items is the following fascinating undated article that provides some insight into the segregated education system that prevailed in Prince George's County before the civil rights movement. (This article is likely to be of particular interest to those of us who spent (or began) our school careers in this segregated environment and have always felt that this important, local historical topic received insufficient emphasis in our formal history curriculum.)
"Historic School Site Now Legion Home. It was on June 14, 1955 when representatives of Clinton American Legion Post 259 submitted the highest bid of $4,300 for a surplus school being auctioned by the Board of Education on the courthouse steps in Upper Marlboro. The two room building, with a temporary metal addition, was built on one acre of land that the Board of Education had acquired from the Surratt Farm on August 10, 1878 for the sum of $100. The school had been using the site for several years prior to its acquisition by the board.
Herein is woven a tale of quiet History in Clinton – an early site for a Negro school in conjunction with a small Negro church, whose congregation had received permission to build just west of the school. The boundaries of the school site were described partially as from the "center of the main road from Robeystown to Surrattsville" which today is known as Piscataway Road.
Unfortunately, the church congregation did not acquire its site and eventually, after the building had been abandoned, the structure was demolished when the new Post Office was erected. The abutting properties enabled the patrons to utilize the entire area for functions and for the children. Until after World War II, the Negro Church of Methodist Persuasion, the Episcopal Church, and the Catholic Church were the three churches in the heart of Clinton. After the Clinton Grove School was built and opened in 1955, the children were sent there for classes.
… The Legion site was on the extreme west boundary of the Surratt 287-acre farm. Of historic significance, it had been part of the grant of 7,000 acres made by Charles Calvert, Third Lord Baltimore, to Colonel Henry Darnoll and patented in 1701 under the name of "His Lordship's Kindness." In fact, much of the heart of "Old Clinton" was included in the 7,000-acre grant.
Robeystown, located just east of the estate of more than 900 acres owned by Pliney Bryan, paternal relative of Senator Thomas V. Miller, Sr. and on which the library and Cosca Park exists today, ceased as of October 10, 1878 when the U.S. Post Office Department changed the name Clinton and returned its office to the former crossroads at Surrattsville. Yet, it had its moment, as on the deed of August 10, 1878 for the school site, Robeystown had been mentioned as a point of reference.
Historically, in the turmoil of social and racial problems of the Civil War era, it is refreshing to know that a school site had been provided from the Surratt farm and later, the owner, Ms. Elizabeth Addison, sold the site for school purposes. This school was demolished in 1926 when local funds were raised, matched by philanthropist Julius Rosenwald's funds, and the two-room school resulted. The building was added to by the Board of Education in 1950 and then auctioned off in 1955.
Oh yes, the water for the early school was obtained from the Surratt House pump and reached by a right-of-way legally provided in the deed by Mrs. Addison. The right-of-way was officially expunged once the school had its own well.
This is a rich history of a small Negro school that got started unofficially in the sixties of the nineteenth century, officially recognized after 1878, to now become the active Post of the dynamic community organization, the American Legion Post #259. Past Commander, Thomas S. Gwynn, Jr."
[Ed. Note: Has anyone seen a comprehensive history of the pre-civil rights movement/pre-Brown v. Board of Ed segregated school system in Prince George's County? If none exists, that likely would be a fascinating senior research topic for a current Surratts student.]
6. INFORMATION ON "THE PRAYER". Following-up on items in previous e-Notices about the song routinely sung by Surratts choirs in the 1970s (and perhaps beyond), we received this interesting musical email from Jackie Toth McPeake (76): "Hope this finds you well and enjoying some crisp, fall weather. I am terribly late with this, but waking up on September 11 alive and safe moved me to get myself in gear. "The Prayer" resonates with me on this day in history. Others might be humming it this morning, as well. So, here it is:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3782206549788.2140359.1115696164&type=1&l=b72dfb97a5. Would you be kind enough to distribute this in however manner you see fit? It was through the hard work and diligence of Evan Vutsinas (76) that we have a copy of "The Prayer" at all. With warmest regards, Jackie"
7. HORNET APPEARS AT STRATHMORE. Marcia Norcia Phillips (70) passed along this article from the Gazette newspaper: "Prince George’s Native Set for Strathmore Concert - Singer, songwriter and longtime bass guitarist Eric Scott will perform some of the songs from his latest albums at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Mansion at Strathmore in Bethesda. A Clinton native, Scott released his fourth CD, “Where the Water Runs Deepest,” on May 22 at a sold-out show at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis. One of the songs he will sing from the album is “Take Me Home,” which he describes as a “playful, flirty, tongue-in-cheek tune” that has “quickly become a crowd favorite.” Also on the list is “Break Me Open,” a song about the opening of old wounds and facing the ghosts of the past in order to heal, along with “Mama Let Yo Hair Down,” with its reggae-inspired beat. Playing with Scott on bass will be John Thomakos on drums and Dan Leonard and Bennett Scher on guitars. Scott says he will also sing songs from his three other CDs, including “Red,” which he released in 2007. Scott has performed in five Bandhouse Gig tributes, including the most recent, a Stevie Wonder concert at the Fillmore Silver Spring in July.
He also has worked as a session and touring bassist for more than 10 years, performing with artists such as B.B. King, Ray Charles and Jimmy Buffett. Scott graduated from Surrattsville High School in 1981 and currently lives in North Beach in Calvert County."
Congratulations to Eric on his Strathmore concert, his many recent musical successes, and this very nice press!
[Ed. note: Yet another musical star from the fertile launching grounds of SHS!]
8. CLASS OF 64 GETS EARLY START ON 50 YEAR REUNION. And we received this announcement about the Class of 64's upcoming golden event: "The Class of 1964 is planning a 50th reunion in Ocean City for late September 2014. It might seem a long way off, but we all know how fast time goes by. We need to firm up a place, reserve a block of rooms to set aside, and determine how much space we will need. Please email Ginger Trapanotto, email@example.com or Phil Foster, firstname.lastname@example.org if you (alone or with a guest) are interested in attending. Also, if you know the whereabouts of any former classmate, please ask him/her to email one of us or you can forward the information to us. We appreciate any help you can provide and the "committee" is looking forward to re-visiting the 60s with everyone."
9. "CLASS OF 71 TURNS 60" EVENT. The Class of 71 is planning a "Class of 71 Turns 60" gathering for July 25-July 29, 2013. If you are a Class of 71 member and would like to be placed on the list for information about this gathering, please send me an email at email@example.com.
10. FOUNDATION FACEBOOK PRESENCE CONTINUES TO GROW. The Foundation's Facebook Group – called "Surrattsville Alumni" – continues to grow, and now has almost 1420 members. This is a great, and free, way for folks to stay in touch. Similarly, the Class-specific Facebook Groups – that have names like "Surrattsville 1979" and the like -- continue to grow. I've noticed that these Facebook Groups are becoming an increasingly active way for folks to share memories and news updates of interest to the Surrattsville community. Please consider joining the Surrattsville Alumni Group, and your own Class-specific Group.
Here's hoping your Fall season is off to a great start! Henry Smith (71)
DEBORAH ANNE BRIDGETT (69) of Crofton Maryland died on Friday, August 31, 2012 at her home. She was 60. After leaving Surrattsville, Debi continued her education at Prince George’s Community College, and she graduated in 1973. She began a career in nursing and worked 37 years at Prince George’s Hospital Center. On August 10, 1974 she married James W. Bridgett. They had two daughters Katherine and Megan. In addition to her husband, Debi is survived by her daughters; Katherine Litwin her husband Aaron Litwin and Megan Bango and her husband David Bango; Grandchildren, Ryan and Ian Litwin; Adam Bango; Parents, John and Audrey Smalley; Brothers, Robert W. Ehrhardt Jr. and John Smalley Jr.; and Sister; Patricia Douglass. She was preceded in death by her father Robert W. Ehrhardt. Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718 Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718 and/or Wounded Warrior Project Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517 Topeka, Kansas 66675.
Nancy Miller (67)
Nancy Miller (67)