Tidbits - November 3, 2022

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

STILL SUPPORT
  In the 45 years I’ve worked for this newspaper, I have supported every School District One building referendum.
  I’ve always believed anything you can do to improve the lives of children is worth it.
  As a person who has filed bankruptcy twice, I know all about financial hardship, and can sympathize with those who oppose the referendum, because of the increase in taxes.
  Saluda County has many citizens who don’t have any children or grandchildren in the schools. Why should they care? As the old saying goes, “It takes a village.” They may not be your children by kin, but they are still your children by location.
  Location is Saluda County’s problem. We are poor. We don’t have the industry to supplement our tax base. Most of the tax burden falls on the property owners.
  All of my nieces and nephews graduated or will graduate from Saluda High School. My great-nieces and nephews are different stories.
  I have some that go to Saluda, some that go to King Academy, some that go to Batesburg-Leesville and some that go to Gilbert.
  Gilbert is in the district with Lexington and Pelion schools, and is well off. A few years ago, Lexington, Gilbert and Pelion High Schools all got new football stadiums. As a person from Saluda, I thought Gilbert and Pelion already had nice stadiums, but they got new ones anyway.
  Batesburg-Leesville is not in the “rich” part of Lexington County, and includes portions of “poor” Saluda County. My niece and nephew who go to B&L live in Saluda County. Despite the location, the citizens of Lexington District Three passed a building referendum recently.
  King Academy is a private school that relies on tuition and donations to pay the bills.
  The projects the Saluda referendum covers are published on the front page.
  The current Saluda Elementary (old high school) is my age. We were both “born” in 1951. The Primary School opened in 1954. It was three years old when I started first grade.
  The fact that a 71-year-old attended both those schools should tell you something.
 These two schools will be combined in the one new building that will  be paid by the $42 million the county got from the state.
  Hollywood Elementary is close to 50-years-old, and the gym is pushing 80.
  The high school and middle school are “new” at 21.
  The schools are running out of space. At Saluda High, they have literally run out of rooms.
  If a teacher has a planning period, he or she has to vacate the classroom, so that another class can come in and use the room.
  The “wants” at the schools are not exorbitant.
  At Hollywood, new classrooms will be added, and the old school and gym will be renovated. At the middle school, classrooms will be added, and the high school will get a career center classroom. The renovations will include safety and technology upgrades at all schools.
  The football stadium will get an expanded field house  with restrooms and concessions. For those who don’t know, the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Matthews Field does not have restrooms, but uses port-a-johns, or modern outhouses.
  If the referendum does not pass, I’m sure there will be more to come. The District can borrow a certain amount of money every year for building projects without having to have a referendum. It may take a quite few years, but the projects in the current referendum will possibly get done.
  Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Our kids can’t help that they live in a poor county. It takes a village.
  As Jesus said, “whatever you do unto the least of these my brethren, you also do unto me.” That’s my favorite Bible verse....


SURPRISE, SURPRISE
  Remember Gomer Pyle saying, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”
  It was irritating, but it got the point across.
  Friday night, most of the Saluda High crowd got a surprise when they saw sophomore Drew Arant start at quarterback in place of senior, three-year starter Jonah McCary.
  The Tigers had been bogged down offensively in their last two games against Strom Thurmond and Silver Bluff. The Tiger coaches shook things up, starting Arant, moving McCary to wide receiver and defensive back, and starting Tyleke Mathis, the Tigers most explosive player, at running  back.
  Against Fox Creek, Mathis broke 54-yards for a touchdown on the first play of the game. Good move, coaches.
  Arant did a good job. He is far from inexperienced. In the last two seasons, he has played the entire second half in nine games, eight Tiger blowouts and one in which the Tigers were getting crushed, Rabun County.
  His second half duties did not allow him to pass much, but hit eight of 13 passes for 94 yards last season. In his first start Friday, he completed nine of 14 passes for 111 yards, all in the first half.. The first touchdown pass of his career went to former quarterback, McCary, as did his second TD throw.
  Earlier in the year, Arant entered the game as a wide receiver and McCary threw a touchdown pass to him.
  In catching the touchdown passes, McCary joins his teammate Brayden Williams as a player who has scored by rushing, receiving and has thrown touchdown passes. If Arant scores a rushing touchdown in the remaining games, he will join them. That is very unusual.
  The Tigers played  B&L Friday for third place in the league. If the Tigers win, they’ll host a first round play-off game. If they lose, they’ll be travelling.


TROPHY COMES HOME
  I’ve been writing about the Bonham Trophy since it was created.
  As most of you know, the trophy is presented to the winner of the Texas A&M-Carolina game, and is named after Saluda County native, Alamo hero James Butler Bonham, who graduated from what was South Carolina College them.
 Since it’s inception, I have written about the trophy, and every year Texas A&M wins.
  Not this year! The Gamecocks finally won and got the Bonham Trophy, or a least a replica.
  I was floored when I read the story of the trophy being displayed at Shane Beamer’s press conference.
  The story said the trophy will  be displayed somewhere in Columbia for two weeks, then it will come for display at the SALUDA COUNTY MUSEUM! Wow!!!
  I don’t know if the display is for this year, or permanent, but either way, this is quite an honor for our county, thanks to our two native sons, Bonham and Travis.
  The actual Bonham Trophy is on permanent display at the Alamo.