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LOCAL BRIEFS: Cecil Kessler scholarship, Etowah craft sale, election civility

Haley Staton Haley Staton

Scholarship winner comes home to teach

The most recent recipient of the Cecil Kessler Recruitment Grant has joined the Henderson County school system as a special education teacher at Edneyville Elementary School, the local Alpha Lambda chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International announced.
Haley Staton, who earned a master’s degree in special education in May from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduated from West Henderson High School in 2015. In July she was inducted into Alpha Lambda at a special meeting in Jackson Park.
“Receiving the Cecil Kessler Grant from the Alpha Lambda chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma greatly influenced my journey to follow my dream of becoming a teacher,” she said. “Because of the chapter’s support I was able to delve into my studies on educational pedagogy and fully focus on becoming the best teacher I can be. I have been and am continually blessed to be surrounded by such a supportive and inspirational group of educators.”

The Cecil Kessler Recruitment Grant is offered to a female graduating senior in Henderson County who plans to become an educator. Applications for the grant are issued approximately every four years. Renewable for up to four years, the grant is named for Cecil Kessler (1907-1993), a longtime librarian at Hendersonville High School who joined the Alpha Lambda chapter in 1959. Kessler was a strong supporter of recruiting outstanding young women to become educators.
“It is especially vital for Alpha Lambda to support future teachers because our members know firsthand the joys and challenges of teaching and working with children in schools,” Annabelle Hurd, chapter first vice president, said. “Giving the Cecil Kessler Recruitment Grant is a way that we can take away some of the financial burden of preparing for an education career for a young woman so that she will come out of her program ready to focus on her students with less worry about the burden of student loans.”

DKG International promotes the professional and personal growth of women educators as well as excellence in education. Organized in 1958, Alpha Lambda is the local chapter of DKG, composed of women educators in Henderson County. The one surviving charter member, Elizabeth Rogers, recently celebrated her 103rd birthday.

Churches urge civility ahead of Election Day

A partnership of churches is inviting the public to join in a new civil discourse initiative, “With Malice Toward None – Live the Golden Rule,” this weekend ahead of Election Day.

Partners in the initiative include First Congregational Church, Sacred Journey Metropolitan Community Church, Embracing Simplicity Hermitage, First United Methodist Church, Unity of the Blue Ridge, Brevard Friends Meeting, St. John’s in the Wilderness Episcopal Church and the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County.

Many faith communities, organizations and individuals are alarmed and disheartened by the rise of angry rhetoric and increased hostility that are sweeping across our country and landing in our own backyards. The effort seeks to nurture quality, mutually respectful dialogue between citizens under the banner of the Golden Rule, a principle held at the heart of many faiths and cultures.

The vision is for congregations to creatively engage in actions around this civility theme in houses of worship the weekend before Election Day. Congregations and citizens will gather together at 3 p.m. Sunday for a multi-faith, nonpartisan virtual Vigil for Civility via Zoom. To participate, visit the website and click on the virtual Vigil tab for the link. Click here for more information.

Etowah Baptist closing out its annual craft sale

ETOWAH — Etowah Baptist Church will hold its 20th and final fall craft sale next month.
In 2001, Peggy Summers, mother-in-law of then pastor Paul Noe, founded the fundraiser, which raised more than $5,000 for the Hendersonville Rescue Mission, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. It was decided to make the event an annual one, designating the second Friday and Saturday in November as the official date. Baked sweets, canned goods and lunch became part of the sale. Over 19 years, the craft and bake sale has raised around $120,000 for outreach to others in the name of Christ. 
Chaired this year by Christine Paynter and Wanda Love, the sale will be held 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there is no bake sale or on-site lunch this year. There will be canned goods, jams and jellies, a variety of handmade items and vintage linens. Temperature checks, masks and social distancing are required.