Zone 33 Rotary Peace Symposium Includes Anti-Bullying Message from Beaufort High Students

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Apr 142013

Beaufort High students’ anti-bullying show invited to Rotary Zone meeting

BHS StudentsA troupe of drama students from Beaufort High School is attracting growing numbers of fans who support the group’s anti-bullying show, and local Rotarians think so much of the students’ work that they bankrolled a trip to a regional Rotary conference in North Carolina.

“If You See Something, Say Something,” is a collection of dramatic sketches aimed at getting students to intervene or contact responsible adults when they witness their fellow students being bullied.

“It’s a very positive message delivered in a very powerful way,” said Bill Evans, chairman of the Beaufort County School Board and a member of the Rotary Club of the Lowcountry.  “And it’s exciting to see the production’s creativity and energy gaining a wider audience.”

The Zone 33 Rotary Peace Symposium April 5 in Chapel Hill, N.C. attracted Rotarians from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia.  The Beaufort High group performed last month at an Eastern South Carolina Rotary conference in Myrtle Beach, where the students also participated in a question-and-answer session and discussed ways in which the show might serve as a model for statewide Rotary programs.

Seven Rotary clubs in Beaufort County – Hilton Head, Van Landingham, Sunset, Bluffton, Beaufort, Sea Island and Lowcountry – contributed to defraying the drama students’ traveling expenses to Chapel Hill, and the school district is covering their transportation costs.

Beaufort High Drama Director LaRaine Fess and her students performed their show to sixth-graders across Beaufort County earlier this year.  Rotary Club of the Lowcountry members distributed anti-bullying activity books and bookmarkers to students as they left the assemblies, and both contained the school district’s toll-free anti-bullying hotline numbers (843-322-2435 or 866-611-1102) and e-mail address (

“Rotary’s partnership with this performance – and the club’s broader partnership with the school district to help prevent bullying – is what schools and communities should be all about,” said Chief Student Services Officer Gregory McCord.  “We continue to receive messages from middle-schoolers throughout the district who talk about how the show has helped to change their attitudes and perceptions, either as an active participant in bullying or as an observer.

“At the end of the day, we have students and the community fully engaged in support of a unified message”, McCord added.


Columbia East Rotarian Jim Hudson Honored with Order of The Palmetto, SC’s Highest Civilian Honor

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Feb 022013

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA (January 28, 2013) – Jim Hudson, founder and principal of Jim Hudson Automotive Group, and Charter Member (1981) of the Columbia East Rotary Club was recently presented with the coveted Order of the Palmetto by South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley.

Hudsons and Haley

Pictured from L – R:  Governor Nikki R. Haley with Sybil & Jim Hudson (Photo credit – Clark Berry Photography)

“On behalf of the people of South Carolina, I am pleased to award Jim Hudson the Order of the Palmetto – our state’s highest civilian honor.  This award is in recognition of his extraordinary work and dedication to the citizens of our state,” said Governor Nikki R. Haley.

The Order of the Palmetto is considered to be the highest civilian honor first awarded in 1971 to recognize a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina.  Past recipients of the Order of the Palmetto include singer James Brown, author Pat Conroy, tap dancer Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, Civil Rights activist Septima Clark, among many others including past governors.

A native of Turkey, North Carolina, Hudson moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1961, where through hard work and experience, he successfully built a portfolio of automotive dealerships known today as Jim Hudson Automotive Group.

Hudson’s dedication to customer satisfaction is indisputable.  For ten consecutive years, 2001-2010, his Columbia Lexus dealership ranked number one or two in the nation for customer satisfaction.  Hudson’s consistently high customer service rating was a major factor in Toyota’s selection process when it came time to award another dealership in Columbia.

Hudson’s dealerships have received many awards, including the Lexus Elite highest honors for the past ten years, the President’s Award highest honors for Toyota, and Cadillac Buick GMC highest award for Excellence.

Among the most important things in Hudson’s life is his family.  He and Sybil, his wife of 49 years, have two sons, Ken and Keith, and six grandchildren.

Hudson believes it is important to monitor laws and proposed legislation that might affect the many employees of the automotive industry and their families.  “We must be one voice on the local and national level to protect our free enterprise system and the small business people of America,” he says.  Backing up his beliefs with action, Hudson has been active in industry organizations and has been an automobile dealer spokesman for political issues in South Carolina and in Washington, DC.  In 2008, he was the Chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association and lobbied in Washington, DC for import dealers throughout the United States.  Hudson continues to be involved in lobbying Washington, D.C. on the behalf of small businesses not only in South Carolina, but nationwide.

Hudson has served on several dealer council boards for his franchises, advertising boards, SCADA (past president) and other state associations.  He has received the Rotary Foundation President’s Award and is a Paul Harris Fellow.  In 30 years of membership, he has perfect attendance.

Hudson works with the state’s community colleges on automotive training and funds scholarships for high school seniors.  He has been awarded #1 new car dealer in South Carolina and voted #1 by the State newspaper for the past 10 years.  He has been featured in Time Magazine three different times and most recently in the September 2008 issue as the Time Magazine Quality Dealer of the Year.  He has been awarded Motor Trend Quality Dealer of the Year and is listed in the Automotive Hall of Fame.

He has served the Columbia community in many ways, including as member of the Chamber of Commerce board, Cultural Council board and Rotary Club.  He has also served as a sponsor for such charities as Sunshine for Children, the Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, the Salvation Army and Woodyard Fund, the Oliver Gospel Mission, Meals on Wheels, Harvest Hope, and the Boy Scouts of America Indian Waters Council.

Hudson’s commitment to his community has been demonstrated through acts of kindness in providing numerous cars and trucks to countless of families in need.

As a devoted Christian businessman, Hudson is keenly aware of life’s trials and tribulations.  That’s why Hudson Automotive Group has partnered with Corporate Chaplains of America to administer to the needs and fellowship on a voluntary basis to more than 500 employees.

At all his stores – over 500 employees have access to a minister on a moment’s notice, a service that will always remain personal and confidential.

As a result of Hudson’s leadership and the talented individuals that comprise his team, Automotive News Recognized Jim Hudson Automotive Group as one of the top 125 dealership groups in The United States.

Historic Rotary Club of Charleston Recognizes Erika Lerro and Bryce Jones as January Teacher and Student of the Month

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Feb 022013

The January 2013 Teacher of the Month is first grade teacher, Ms. Erika Lerro. Here is what staff members had to say about her: “Ms. Lerro is always willing to help and does an awesome job with her students. She contributes so much of her personal time to the James Simons family and always maintains professionalism and courtesy … and what a fabulous smile!”

Bryce Jones is a fourth grader at James Simons Elementary School and is the January Student of the Month. His teacher, Ms. Lentz, says, “Bryce is a very bright young man who is always trying his hardest in class. He earns his PBIS points every day and I enjoy having him in my class.” PBIS points are positive behavior points that students receive each day for following procedures and expectations correctly. A student can earn a maximum of 20 points per day and Bryce always earns the total!

Each month, the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston is proud to choose from their partner school, James Simons, a teacher and a student who are exemplary and to honor them for their contributions to their educational environment.

Past President Dan Ravenel Erika Lerro, Barbara Kelley-Duncan

Past President Dan Ravenel Erika Lerro, Barbara Kelley-Duncan

Bryce Jones, Past President Dan Ravenel, Barbara Kelley-Duncan

Bryce Jones, Past President Dan Ravenel, Barbara Kelley-Duncan

Univ. of SC President Visits St. Andrews Rotary Club in Columbia

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Aug 262012

St. Andrews Rotary President MISTY GOLDINER (far left), Past President KEN CORBETT (left), DR. HARRIS PASTIDES (right), and Program Chair PETE SERCER (far right).

On 21 Aug 2012, Dr. Harris Pastides spoke to the St. Andrews Rotary Club about events that will shape the coming school year.  Dr. Pastides is the 28th president of the University of South Carolina (USC), elected by the University’s Board of Trustees on August 1, 2008. His election marks the first internal candidate for the presidency of the University in over a half century. Previously, Dr. Pastides served as vice president for research and health sciences and dean of the Arnold School of Public Health. He and his wife, Patricia, first came to the University in 1998. Leading by example, Dr. Pastides expects students, faculty, and staff to set and exceed high expectations, push boundaries, and embrace innovation. He is an advocate for student engagement beyond the classroom through leadership, service learning, international experience, internships, and undergraduate research.

Under his leadership, Carolina’s student population has grown to record levels among the system’s eight universities on 12 campuses. Knowing that degree attainment significantly impacts the quality of life in South Carolina, Dr. Pastides continues to spearhead non-traditional programs such as Palmetto College, Back to Carolina, Gamecock Gateway and Gamecock Guarantee to increase university access and affordability. In addition, he leads an unprecedented capital campaign to fund essential needs for knowledge, research, discovery and development. USC is the only university in South Carolina with the Carnegie top-tier designation for very high research activity. In addition, incoming freshman at the research university are the brightest to date with average SAT scores breaking barriers. The Honors College is ranked No. 1 in the nation and Carolina offers the No.1 electrical engineering program in the South as well as the top undergraduate international business program.

In athletics, men’s and women’s teams throughout the university system have enjoyed historic success across an array of sports including Gamecock football’s first 11-win season and Capital One Bowl victory. USC’s women’s basketball team made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament and Carolina’s back-to-back World Series baseball champions made their third consecutive trip to the College World Series. As important, 121 of Carolina’s student-athletes made the SEC’s Spring Academic Honor Roll. Dr. Pastides currently serves as the Southeastern Conference representative on the NCAA Board of Directors.

Before joining the university’s faculty, he was a professor of epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his masters of public health and his Ph.D. in epidemiology from Yale University.

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