Roses and thorns: 11-18-18




A rose to Columbus mayor Robert Smith and all the donors and volunteers for making sure the city's senior citizens got an early "taste of the holidays" during Thursday's 12th annual Senior Citizens Thanksgiving luncheon at the Trotter Center. An estimated 1,200 people turned out for the lunch, which featured traditional Thanksgiving fare. For some, it may well be their only real Thanksgiving meal. For others, it was a gesture of goodwill for senior citizens, who are often neglected in the rush of activities the holidays often produce. This was more than a meal, it was a chance for seniors to come together in a social setting and a reminder that the city of Columbus values and respects "the old folks."



A rose to area high school juniors, their teachers, support staff and parents for their performances on the annual ACT test. Columbus High School juniors increased ACT scores in spring 2018, while Starkville High School and Lowndes County School District record higher scores than the state average.



Although still three points below the state average of 17.8, CHS juniors raised their scores by 0.3 points to 15. Meanwhile, juniors in the Lowndes County School District performed above the state average with a composite 18.2 score while Starkville High juniors raised their average to 18.0 after a 17.9 showing last year. Caledonia High juniors improved by 0.1 points, to 19.3.


While much work remains to be done, certainly the gains shown in this year's testing is a positive sign. Keep it up, kids!



A rose to the Association for the Preservation of Antiquities in Columbus and Lowndes County, which on Tuesday will hold its 58th annual Country Store Bake Sale at the Stephen D. Lee Home in Columbus. It's a highlight in the community's countdown to Thanksgiving, a tradition that started after a 1959 fire destroyed Lee High School's original location on Seventh Street. The Lee Home - once the school's home economics department - was severely damaged, but immediate efforts by concerned citizens saved the structure from demolition. They were given permission to restore the former home of CSA Gen. Stephen D. Lee, first president of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Mississippi - now Mississippi State University. Over the years, the bake sale has generated thousands to preserve and enhance the home, which now serves as the site of weddings, receptions, meetings and educational events. The Lee Home serves as a reminder of how a community, working together, can turn a devastating loss into something positive for the community.



A rose to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, whose Martha Claire Kennedy Fitzner Concert Series returns today with a performance by award-winning organist Joby Bell of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Bell will play St. Paul's Aeolian Skinner pipe organ, which offers magnificent variety, "from the softest tones to the magnificent trompette en chamade above the center aisle," said visiting North Carolina organist Joby Bell.


The 17-rank organ was installed in 1953 to replace the Pilcher organ of 1885. With additions in 2007 and 2014, the impressive instrument features over 2,000 pipes and 19 ranks of digital stops, making it the equivalent of a 36-rank organ. The concert series honors the memory of longtime active St. Paul's member Martha Claire Fitzner, who died in 2015. In addition to her many leadership and service contributions to the church and St. Paul's Episcopal School, Fitzner impacted the lives of children and families throughout the community as a beloved teacher at Heritage Academy for nearly two decades.




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