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Roses and thorns: 5/1/16




A rose of remembrance to Eugenia Summer, a much-beloved figure at Mississippi University for Women, who died April 23 at age 92. An artist herself, the former MUW professor spent nearly four decades inspiring students with her wisdom and work while never losing her peculiar brand of humor and charm. 


She spent nearly half a century in MUW's art department. Through the years she was a student, professor, assistant dean, division head and, eventually, professor emerita. She retired in 1987. In 2002, the gallery in the Fine Arts Building was named in her honor. Three years later, the university bestowed on Summer an honorary doctorate. 


She was a dedicated professor and serious about her work, which has been shown in galleries from Arkansas to Washington, D.C. But it was her buoyant personality and her nurturing teaching style that made her a campus legend. 




A rose to another group of young people, who also received some well-deserved attention this week. Saturday at the John C. Stennis Lock & Dam, Volunteer Columbus, the United Way's volunteer organization, threw a party for its young volunteers, complete with food, music and entertainment. "Whatever they've done, it's just our way to say, 'Hey, what you're doing makes a difference and we appreciate you,'" said Renee Sanders, director of Volunteer Columbus. "This is just our way to say thank you."  


We agree. When young people are exposed to volunteering, it is often something they carry with them throughout life, enriching their communities through the "habit" of service. 




A rose to Danny Avery, a familiar face in a new position. Avery was chosen as the new executive director for the United Way of Lowndes County. The Columbus native fills the position as of this week after selection by the United Way board of directors. Avery takes over following the March departure of Patricia Brock. Avery is recently retired as pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Columbus, and later served as a hospice care consultant with Compassus Healthcare. He served on United Way's executive committee and board of directors in the past, and has more than 18 years involvement with the allocations process. Avery's long history, not only with the United Way, but with the community, should make for a seamless transition as our United Way continues its good work. 




A rose to the 31 cheerleaders who represented Columbus and the Golden Triangle this weekend at The Summit-All Star Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida. The two teams -- Senior Fire and Senior Metal -- are both based at GameTime Athletics, owned by Stevan Black. The teams are coached by Adam Davis and Katie Hayes. It's the first time a team from the area has ever qualified in the prestigious elite-level championships. The 31 girls, ages 11-to-18, both won their divisions in the Deep South Beach Nationals to qualify for this weekend's championship. While neither team was able to advance after the opening day of the competition, just reaching the event is quite a feat. The teams were two of 900 teams that qualified from among 9,000 teams throughout the country. That's quite an achievement. 




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