As Bill Sams points out in a letter today, the wrong Talmadge got credit in my column last Sunday in which I noted the original name of the Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
University Hospital once provided the teaching hospital for the Medical College, but in 1956 the institution built its own facility and named it after the governor: Eugene Talmadge.
Speaking of names, the Columbia County Board of Education continues to study a new policy on naming schools. At issue is the 30-year-old rule against naming schools after individuals. In its place, the school system would establish strict criteria for granting names, including a possible rule that the person to receive the honor be either dead or long-retired.
Trustee Wayne Bridges disagrees with the dead restriction. We might be able to tweak that a little. I think there are people who live to ripe old ages who might deserve this credit, adding that screening of the names is most important.
Currently, there are at least three names proposed for school facilities:
Greenbrier Highs athletic boosters want to name their baseball field for legendary - and living - former coach Terry Holder. Current policy already allows that.
Rosa Lee Owens wants Grovetown Middle School named for Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau.
Retired Gen. Perry Smith wants a facility named for the late Jimmy Dyess, the war hero whose name adorns part of Belair Road.
hen the new policy is in place, more names are sure to come out. Ive already made the case for restoring the names of John Pierce Blanchard, George T. White and Warren C. Gibbs to places of honor on school buildings. All are long-departed, and all three had schools named after them, only to lose the honor when the school system integrated in 1970 and the no-name rule was adopted. After those names are restored, here are other people who deserve school-name honors:
Jabez Hardin. Before Blanchard had a prayer of becoming superintendent, he was the protg of former superintendent Jabez Hardin. Making the honor more deserving, Hardins son, 90-year-old J.B. Hardin Jr., set up an endowment that provides $1,000 scholarships to as many as 20 Columbia County students every year.
David Bushnell. Nearly 100 years before the Hunley became the first submarine to sink a ship during combat, David Bushnells Turtle was the first submarine to try. This Connecticut-born Revolutionary War soldier and inventor retired after the war to Columbia County, where he opened a school and lived in obscurity as David Bush.
Mary Sanders. Fitting Bridges category of older citizens deserving the honor, Mary Sanders is an important transitional figure in Columbia County education. Serving as a teacher and principal in segregated schools, Sanders became a true educational leader after integration. Years later, the Harlem resident was elected and served one term on the school board, becoming the countys first black trustee.
There are many others: poet Paul Hamilton Hayne, Revolutionary War soldier Basil Neal and founding father William Few are among the older ones. From modern times, there is the late Guy Fleming Jr., another long-time leader in education, who was one of the first elected school board members. The late Lindsey Yeomans was a shining example of community involvement in education. State Regent J. Timothy Shelnuts generosity to the school system is legendary.
However this all shakes out, I hope school officials not only take the wishes of those who propose such honors into account, but also call on the expertise of the countys historical society in evaluating the long-term importance of any name put on display at our schools.
Then, please, lets teach children in those schools what those names mean before another generation forgets.
(Barry L. Paschal is opinions editor of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barrypaschal@ yahoo.com.)
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