Bowdoin Bunch Collegiate Challenge Group
For those on a budget, Bowdoin College of Brunswick, Maine is no bargain. With tuition at $36, 370/yr., and room and board another $9,890/yr., a mom and dad might easily spend $200,000 for a son or daughters education. Still, it should be noted that Bowdoin is routinely rated among the top ten Liberal Arts colleges in the United States, which should offer some reassurance to parents that theirs is money well spent.
According to Wikipedia, an editable online encyclopedia, Bowdoin College can lay claim to several noteworthy graduates that include U.S. President Franklin Pierce, two laudable literary authors, Hawthorne and Longfellow, and Supreme Court Chief Justice, Thomas Brackett Reed. Though less famous, Hodding Carter II, founder of the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, Mississippi, is also a graduate.
For three consecutive years, a dozen students per year from Bowdoin College have participated in Habitat for Humanitys Collegiate Challenge, answering the call to serve their fellowman by volunteering to help build housing for Pontotoc County Habitat for Humanity. While none of these students have achieved national fame or recognition, I can envision it happening. Though their respective volunteer efforts may not be regarded as noteworthy on the national scale, surely their achievements are remembered here in Pontotoc, and its reasonable to assume the seeds of service sown here will one day bear fruit.
Group photographs of the Bowdoin volunteers adorn the walls of the local affiliate for Habitat for Humanity, International. Additionally, digital images of these volunteers working at various jobsites and of their enjoyment of evening meals provided by civic groups, churches, and individuals during their stay in Pontotoc roll across the monitor of the affiliates computer when in screen-saver mode. Selected photographs of each Bowdoin group can be viewed on the website of Ridge Rider News. Habitat homeowners, grateful for the work on their homes, have visual images of the volunteers that will be remembered long after the student volunteers have returned to campus.
My role with Pontotoc County Habitat for Humanity is a small one. Im "Mr. Barbara Carter," husband of the Executive Director as well as the unofficial photographer at the functions I am privileged to attend. So, in a sense, I, too, am a volunteer.
Among the functions to which Im invited to accompany my wife are the nightly feedings of the volunteer groups that travel to Pontotoc to assist in new housing construction. This spring, three college groups are lined up to help the local affiliate. The Bowdoin group was here the week of March 9. A group from Georgia Southern University arrived March 16, and a third group will be here to work the week of March 24th.
Of the dozen students from Bowdoin College, four were male and eight were female. Normally, it takes me several nights to learn the names of each volunteer, but on Sunday night, the night Barbara and I fed them, I managed to remember all the names but one. Some of them were amazed Monday night when I spoke their name as I greeted them.
I tried to have at least one conversation with each of them during the four nights I ate with the group, and I tried to remember at least one fact about each of them. Luke, who lives in New York, had accompanied the group last year. This year he and Sean were co-leaders and were the ones responsible for approving the others via a pre-application process at Bowdoin. Sean is from Massachusetts, as is Patrick. The fourth male, Jonathan, is a Mathematics/ Economics major.
Alex, a female, hails from Massachusetts. Cassie (Cassandra) is from New York. Shes majoring in Visual Arts and Neuroscience. Cassie brought along a sketchbook and made pencil drawings of fellow volunteers, as time permitted. Elizabeth, "Liz," is of Asian descent and makes her home in southern California. Emily is a senior at Bowdoin and is also from New York.
Jamilah shared that her father picked her name which means "pretty" in his homeland, India. Jamilah lives in Concord, New Hampshire. Liza, another "Elizabeth," is from Connecticut. Her major is Biology and Urban Studies. Lottie, the most petite of the group, is a 22 year-old senior at Bowdoin who could pass for sixteen. Last but not least is Wendy, a Biology major who lives in Savannah, Georgia.
On Tuesday evening, the group was fed at East Baptist Church and had the opportunity to fellowship with members of a Black church. Following the meal, the group was invited to attend a revival service in the sanctuary. It was a unique experience for all of us, but especially so for Liza, who later confided that it was the only church service shed ever attended.
We were asked to stand during the receipt of the revival offering, at which time Sean, who was on the row behind me, tapped my shoulder and remarked, "I hope you know whats going on!"
I nodded affirmatively. Starting from the rear of the church, congregants filed from each row in an orderly fashion to the outside aisles and walked to the front to deposit an offering in one of the plates held by youthful ushers and then returned to his or her seat. It was different from what I was used to, but it served the same purpose.
Wednesday was a day-off for the Bowdoin bunch, one in which they chose to spend sightseeing in Memphis. They had hoped to visit Mud Island but it was closed. They drove by Graceland and took in the sights and sounds of Beale Street, and visited the Civil Rights Museum before ending the day with dinner at Rendezvous, a restaurant renowned for its barbeque.
On Thursday evening the bunch was fed by Ecru Baptist Church. It was a treat, as most had never eaten Tennessee River catfish and many were unfamiliar with hushpuppies. The cooks shared with Liza and Luke (photo) how they had hand-grappled a forty-pound catfish, some of which was being served that evening.
Friday night is normally, Closing Ceremony Night, a night to reflect on the events and experiences of the week as well as a time to consider what might have been done to make a groups stay more pleasant or their work experience better. However, chaotic might be a more apt description of the groups last night in Pontotoc.
Dinner was to have been prepared at By Faith Baptist Church, where the bunch had stayed throughout the week, but when the volunteer arrived to begin preparing the meal, church members had the kitchen tied up for a church function, so the volunteer contacted St. Christopher Catholic Church and received permission to prepare dinner at their facility, with the understanding a service was planned there for seven oclock.
Barbara decided it best to have the closing ceremony in the Board Room of the office of Habitat for Humanity in downtown Pontotoc. About twenty minutes into the meeting, Sean announced some of the group needed to leave early in order to transport Wendy to Tupelo to meet her dad and drive to Savannah to spend week two of her spring break. Barbara quickly shortened her agenda to accommodate the request, displaying far more professionalism than perhaps those of us who like to adhere to a fixed schedule might have exhibited. Hugs and thanks by all brought the meeting to a close.
I continue to be impressed with the groups of students participating in the Collegiate Challenge program. They are bright, well mannered, and respectful. Their enthusiasm is contagious and their willingness to sacrifice personal time and expense to render service to others is exemplary. In time, Ill forget their names and the states they call home. But, I wont forget their contribution to Habitat or their efforts to finish a simple, affordable house for another Pontotoc family.
Luke stated he hopes a Pontotoc Trip becomes routine for Collegiate Challenge groups from Bowdoin College. I hope so, too.
Note: A video clip of the WTVA News interview of some of the students on the worksite can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxJJDzA-b2E
Bodock Beau New Words
The Washington Post Style Invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
Here are some winners:
Shared by Ed Dandridge
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As you may know, Geraldine Ferraro quit the Clinton campaign after all the controversy over her remark suggesting that Barack Obama wouldnt be where he is today if he werent black. Now, heres the questiondo you think people are more popular because theyre black? Think about this. I mean, look at Michael Jackson. Remember how popular he was when he was black? He was the biggest star in the world. The day he turned white, nothing!
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