The number of outstanding alumni in the Conway High School Educational Foundation’s Hall of Fame rose to 41 this past week with induction of three new members, and the Hall of Fame now has 32 outstanding educators.
At its annual banquet, the group, whose purpose is to support education and help teachers get the equipment they need, applauded Dr. Charles Sasser, LaRue Galloway, S.C. Senator Luke Rankin and Marjorie McIver.
The Peanut Warehouse was filled with friends, family and supporters for the dinner and induction ceremony.
Buddy Sasser, 1997's outstanding educator, led off the inductions paying tribute to his first cousin Dr. Charles Sasser, a Conway native who has received acclaim for his efforts working with hospice and palliative care.
Buddy Sasser said his cousin grew up in Conway the youngest of four boys. He said Sasser enjoys writing and has written much for medical magazines about palliative care.
As Dr. Sasser received his award, he reflected on his high school days and his father who was also a doctor.
Kelvin Galloway introduced his father, who was the second of nine children, a Vietnam veteran, successful businessman and avid supporter of Conway High School athletics.
The younger Galloway said his dad always put an emphasis on education and is a strong believer that children need to know their history.
LaRue Galloway wasted no time in pointing out that he appreciated the honor, but he didn’t graduate from Conway High School. He graduated from Whittemore High School, and he even wore purple and gold to the Thursday’s banquet to pay tribute to his school.
He said at Whittemore High School he learned four things led to his success: education, common sense, hard work and good manners.
Galloway was the son of a sharecropper, which he believes put him at a disadvantage in the 1950s and ‘60s. He said one of the things he’s proudest of in life is being a member of the WHS Alumni Association.
“We loved Whittemore,” he said.
He encouraged the banquet-goers to help someone along the way with their education.
David Singleton, a lifelong friend of S.C. Sen. Luke Rankin of Myrtle Beach, said he met his friend when they were both 5-years-old attending the Lad and Lassie Kindergarten in Conway.
They went all the way through high school, college and law school together and now live only about 10 minutes apart.
Singleton said someone once asked him when he began to realize that Rankin might choose to enter politics.
“Luke was born a politician; he didn’t become one.”
He said Rankin has some contradictions in his personality. He can squeeze a dime until the eagle on it screams, but he’s tremendously generous; and he never met a stranger, but he can’t remember anybody’s name. He also said Rankin just can’t get anywhere on time.
He called his friend a devoted son, doting father, loving husband and absolutely loyal, unwavering friend.
He said Rankin has accomplished a lot on the Senate floor, but he always puts his family above everything else.
Rankin called the event an exciting time in an exciting place with an exciting field of honorees.
He attributed much of his personality and success to his mother and father.
He said he admired his father’s toughness and Job-like patience and is thankful for his Christian heritage.
He pointed out that South Carolina athletic teams have been doing very well on the national stage this year, but said public and higher education are also shining in this state.
Former Conway High School guidance counselor Jerrlyn Gaghum and the Foundation’s 2009 Outstanding Educator introduced and applauded her friend Marjorie McIver. Gaghum said McIver is generous with her time, filled with energy and has an unselfish commitment to children, plus she is a 200+ bowler.
According to Gaghum, McIver has long sponsored three scholarships and she added a fourth this year.
She said she feels a special connection with McIver, who had a 48-year career in education with jobs ranging from teacher to counselor and administrator.
She described her friend as a strong Christian lady, who participates, works, inspires, gives generously, enriches, grows and more.
McIver told Thursday’s guests that her father had only an eighth-grade education, but he was determined for his children to get good educations.
There were 10 children in her family, with nine of them being girls. All nine graduated from college, she said, due to her father’s willingness to work three jobs to help them get their diplomas.
McIver said she spent all of her education career in Horry County and after she retired the school district called her back to work.
One of her sisters, 59-year-old Myra Thompson, was in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston when a shooter opened fire killing her sister and others. After the shooting, McIver remained in Charleston for two weeks because she saw the tragedy as a teachable moment, she said.
McIver pointed out that seven of the nine people gunned down in the church that night were college graduates, five were ministers and one was a state senator.
The shooter, on the other hand, did not graduate from high school and his friend who withheld information was also not a high school graduate.
McIver’s sister was a middle school teacher and counselor, who had taught Bible school that night.
She referred to the Book of Mark and the parable of the sower as she said she doesn’t want the seed of hope for children to land on stony ground.
She wants Horry County students to have the best and most successful experience that Horry County can give them.
“We have a big challenge facing us and I challenge each person to teach our children and to teach them well,” she said. “There should not be one young person in Horry County who does not graduate from high school and when they go off to college, I don’t want them to come back to Horry County unless they come back with a degree.”
The foundation’s board also took the opportunity to thank its outgoing board members. They are William Goldfinch, Marshall Sasser and Ann Long. The group also remembered Mary Ann Stalvey, who was one of the founders of the CHS Educational Foundation.
Since its creation in 1984, the CHSEF has donated more than $100,000 to the needs of school and its staff and is now offering scholarships.