Wednesday, September 18, 2013

As the New Douglass Alumni Board is Sworn In, Prez Says, Exciting 2 Years are Ahead

"We do solemly swear that we will carry out the duties and the functions of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, Incorporated, and we will strive as officers of the Executive Board to maintain decorum and to carry out the financial business of the organization for the terms we are elected to.. so help us God."

With that oath of office, the new members of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Executive Board were sworn in for two-year terms. Executive Board members are:

Douglass Releford, President
Louetta Hall, Vice-President
Vicki Smith, Recording Secretary
Andra Watterson, Financial Secretary
Sheila Leeper, Treasurer
Thelma Watterson, Correspondence Secretary
Ethel Ruth Russell, Chaplain
Alan Watterson, Sergeant-At-Arms
Van Dobbins, Permanent Executive Board member in charge of Food Service/Hospitality
Calvin Sneed, Permanent Executive Board member in charge of Marketing and the Douglass Website Webmaster
Don Hickman, Permanent Executive Board member, Resident Parlimentarian

President Releford says, the next term of the board is going to be an exciting one.

"We have a unique challenge ahead of us," President Releford says. "At our recent reunion, our alumni body delivered a mandate to us as board members to extend the hand of fellowship and bring onto our board, members of the Kingsport Ebony Club Alumni Association. They are our Sons and Daughters in reality, and they are the future Sons and Daughters of Douglass in principal. It's way past time for us to bring members of the Ebony Club into our organization, to combine what they are doing with what we are doing."

Releford says, both organizations can benefit from each other's strengths.

"We don't want Ebony Club members to lose their identity," he says. "They can offer us a younger, fresher approach to fundraising and community involvement. In turn, the Douglass Alumni Association can offer them our standing in the Kingsport community, our contacts and our connection to the legacy of Douglass High School. It's a win-win for both organizations."

He says, the board actually voted to bring in Ebony Club members in 1998.

"I was looking over some of the old board meeting minutes," he says. "During this past Reunion's business meeting, our older members, especially the out-of-town ones were adamant about getting younger people onto our board. Our numbers are dropping every year.. we are losing many of our beloved members, and pretty soon, there will be no original alumni to celebrate and carry on the tradition of Douglass. The good thing is, the Ebony Club members already know about the Douglass School heritage, they were brought up in the shadow of the school building, and they know what its legacy means. We want them to be a part of the decision-making process that keeps the organization a vital part of Riverview and the Kingsport community."

Releford also says, look for a lot of fundraising during the next two years for programs and activities that benefit residents. Designated a charitable corporation by the Tennessee Secretary of State, and a 501(c)3 charity by the Internal Revenue Service, allows any donation to the Sons and Daughters of Douglass, Inc., to be tax-deductible.

"When it comes to our fundraising, we are not the type of organization that tries to get its name in the paper all the time," he says. "We participate in Kingsport civic activities not to get recognition or praise, but we do it because we are supposed to. We were taught at Douglass, to let our talents be felt, not flaunted. We are not the type of organization that is a publicity hound.. we do what we do in Riverview and Kingsport because we want to be good corporate citizens and neighbors in Kingsport."

Other business that came before the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Board at the meeting on August 17th, besides the Executive Board members swearing in ceremony, were more alumni wanting to purchase Douglass Auditorium seats. Louetta Hall said she and her sister Kathy Stewart also plan to purchase one, and the board updated the list of purchasers (look for a web story on the auditorium seat fundraiser soon.

Ozine Bly gave the financial report for the organization. New checks have to be printed for the new Executive Board members who are authorized to sign them on behalf of the organization.