WINNSBORO — The Fairfield County School District inducted the inaugural 2014 Hall of Fame class Saturday at the Carolina Event Center in Winnsboro.
The 2014 class included Jeff Archie, Vernon Kennedy, Elizabeth Martin, Maude Rose, Carnell Murphy and Sterleita Caldwell.
Caldwell was inducted as an honorary member after receiving recognition in 2011 by the board of trustees. The award was bestowed prior to the district establishing guidelines for the Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame initiative has two primary objectives including telling the story of the phenomenal leadership of five individuals who have made significant contributions to their community and secondly, it is designed to captivate the attention of people by telling the story of the incredible individuals that has done so much for Fairfield County.
The Hall of Fame selection panel whittled the 30 plus applicants down to five inductees. Selection panel members were appointed by the Fairfield County School Board of Trustees.
Sammy Geiger, Stella Feaster, Bob Drake and Carolyn Walters served as the selection panel.
Superintendent J.R. Green began the initiative and had the vision to institute a Hall of Fame after inquiring about a Hall of Fame at Richland One School District.
Green gave credit to Richland One School District Superintendent Percy Mack.
Richland One has a Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding people in Richland County and Green believed Fairfield County had some outstanding people that deserved recognition as well.
Green decided to call Mack and inquire about the Hall of Fame initiative.
“I told him (Mack) we were going to bring one of those (Hall of Fame) to Fairfield County,” Green recollected.
Green thanked the school board for supporting the Hall of Fame endeavor.
“I thank all of you (inductees) for creating opportunity for all the children to come, we are truly grateful,” he stated. “I am so excited to see this room full of people supporting these outstanding community members.”
Archie joined SCE&G in 1978 and began his career at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station just a few miles from where he grew up in Jenkinsville. Archie has been in the nuclear industry for over 30 years.
He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Throughout his tenure at SCE&G, he has held many many managerial positions and in May 2010 was promoted to senior vice president and chief nuclear officer.
Archie serves on multiple community boards including the Fairfield County CEO Board and the Midlands Tech Quick Jobs Advisory Board.
He attended McCrorey Liston High School and believes that education provided him the foundation to succeed.
“It really provided me the fundamental values that I use to this day in executing my business,” he stated.
Archie said he is pleased to see the new director the school district is heading.
“I appreciate J.R.’s (Green) leadership and where he is taking this district. It is really transforming this county’s view of training, education and what our kids aspire to,” he said.
Kennedy born and raised in Fairfield County. He graduated from Fairfield Central High School in 1992 and from the University of South Carolina in Spartanburg in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology.
He also obtained a Master of Arts Degree in Human Resources Development from Webster University in 2005.
Kennedy has been employed at Fairfield Behavioral Health Services for 16 years and since 2006, has carried the title of executive director reporting to a nine member board of directors and managing a staff team of 10.
Kennedy said that he was grateful for the recognition.
“I am (grateful) especially in a line up of other I could have never imagined being paired with,” he noted. “I accept this honor with great humbleness because I am sure that there are others who were just as deserving. This honor and recognition is about service and sacrifice for others of your time and your talents. It’s a service I’ve learned to give.”
Martin will turn 88 on May 29 and attended the public schools of Nashville, Tenn. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Romance Languages from Fisk University in 1946. In 1984, she received a Master of Arts in Education from Winthrop University.
Martin moved to Winnsboro with her husband in 1968, the same year she was hired by the Fairfield County School District to teach English, Social Studies, French and Spanish.
She also was the director of Adult Education and was the last principal of Mount Zion Intermediate School.
Martin retired in 1991, but still serves her community by volunteering as a School Grandmother at Kelly Miller and Geiger Elementary Schools. She also volunteers for Meals on Wheels, Friends of the Fairfield County Library, Fairfield County Tree Board, Fairfield County Museum and the United Way of the Midlands.
“I want to thank the school district for this honor because it is certainly more than I deserve and I aim to be a servant,” Martin said after accepting the Hall of Fame award.
Ross recently turned 90 years old on March 12.
After 35 years as an educator in various teaching positions, Ross retired in 1982 as a Guidance Counselor from Winnsboro High School.
She received her diploma from Fairfield County Training School in Winnsboro and completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Allen University in 1945.
Ross continued her higher education by pursuing graduate studies at the University of Missouri, the University of South Carolina and Columbia University Teachers College (NY), where she completed her Masters Degree in Guidance and Personnel Administration.
Ross has served with many civic, educational and social groups including Fairfield County Friends of the Library Board and Fairfield County Council on Aging.
In 2007, she was recognized as one of the top 10 most notable African American Women in South Carolina by the USC, I. DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice.
“It is a pleasure to be here today to see such a lovely group of people who have supported us through the year,” Ross noted. “It has been a pleasure working wit the children because that is what it’s all about. The children and giving them a quality education. When I say quality, I mean quality education.”
Ross emphasized that the community needs the support of teachers just as teachers need the support of the community.
“It is not just the beautiful school and bricks and mortar that make a child,” she noted. “It is the love, the caring and how you feel about children. Our motive should be children. I have seen a lot of changes in the school system and still seeing some good changes. Let us keep up the good work because these children are going to leave their parents one day and are going to start flying and soaring in the air. Education is the key to life. Keep on flying because the sky is the limit.”
Murphy passed away in 2013, but was a lifelong resident of Fairfield County. As a student, Murphy excelled in academics and athletics. He graduated from McCrorey-Liston High School in 1965 and afterwards attended Voorhees College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science in 1969.
Murphy spent 34 years in the Fairfield County Public School System, where he served in many capacities including as a teacher, coach, athletic director, transportation supervisor and director of Adult Education.
After retirement, Murphy served 22 years on the Fairfield County Council with 14 of those years as chairman.
Some of his notable awards and recognitions include the I. Dequincey Newman Award for work in county government, chair of the Judicial Review Committee of Black Elected Officials in the State of South Carolina, Executive Committee member of the Central Carolina Economic Development Alliance Board, SC Governor’s appointment to the State Workforce Investment Board and selection to speak to the South Carolina General Assembly on Reapportionment.
His wife Elizabeth Murphy accepted the Fairfield County School District Hall of Fame award on his behalf.
“It gives me great honor to accept this award on behalf of my family and my late husband Carnell Murphy,” she stated. “He gave himself fully to any project that was laid before him. He helped his constituents whenever they called on him day or night. He loved his community and his county and worked as hard as he could to protect his community and the county.”
E. Murphy closed her speech to the assembly by affirming C. Murphy’s dedication to the school district and the county community.
“He (Carnell Murphy) gave his all to his students and staff and encouraged the to be their very best,” she stated. “I could go on and on, but let me leave you with this. Let the life that he lived speak for him.”