Monday, October 7, 2013

Douglass Alumni Board Meeting 9/21/13 Odds & Ends

The topics of bringing Kingsport Ebony Club members into the Sons and Daughters of Douglass, attending the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, and an update on the Douglass auditorium seats being refinished and mounted with plaques honoring past alumni, dominated the alumni board meeting of September 21st.

After President Douglas Releford brought the meeting to order and board member Ozine Bly gave the prayer, one little bit of unfinished business was performed.. the swearing-in of Recording Secretary Vicki Smith, who was absent from the ceremony a month ago. The minutes of the last meeting were accepted with a minor change or two, and the financial report was read and accepted.

In old business, after a reminder to board members to keep thinking about fundraising ideas, discussion began on efforts to invite and incorporate members of the Kingsport Ebony Club into the Sons and Daughters of Douglass board, as voting members with full powers. President Releford recalled a meeting years ago at St. Mark's Methodist Church, when the board voted to bring Ebony Club members into the organization, but nothing was ever pursued. Calvin mentioned that, as a board, we have an obligation to honor the Douglass Alumni body's business meeting mandate to bring them into our fold, and that he had been talking with Ebony Club member Trippy Deal to come on board. Trippy's primary role would be in the area of entertainment and concerts, because he has tremendous experience in that area. Concerts would be excellent fundraisers for the alumni organization. Ebony Club member Johnnie Mae Swagerty was also mentioned, because of h/er outreach with young people involving her group New Vision Youth. Several Douglass board members mentioned the youth group's volunteer spirit in the community, and how well-behaved they are.

The Sons and Daughters of Douglass, Inc. is a member in good standing with the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. Members who attended the Chamber's annual dinner last year, and said many good things about the experience. The Board is already talking about attending next year's Chamber dinner on February 7th at Meadowview. The deadline to let the Chamber know of our intention to attend is October 25th.

Under new business, Calvin mentioned that the Kingsport Times-News had picked up the story on the Douglass website on the alumni scholarship program. The article he wrote, would be published under the "Sunday Stories" magazine in the newspaper on Sunday, September 22nd, featuring D-B graduate and football standout Brenton Leeper and how the scholarship helped him make ends meet in college.

One of the scholarships ran into a problem being credited to the appropriate school (Douglass scholarships are paid directly to the school's financial aid office in the name of the student awarded the scholarship), but Recording Secretary Vicki Smith is working to get that corrected.

Calvin told the group that, because of the tremendous response from alumni who purchased a Douglass auditorium seat to dedicate in honor of a loved alumnus, second and third sets of seats are being planned. James "Moose" Henry did a fine job of refinishing the first set, on display in the Douglass Community Room, and is being commissioned to do the additional sets of 4 seats apiece. Once those are done, the new sets, along with the current set in the Community Room, will be placed in their new home, just outside the Community Room, between the two double doors in front of the large display case. The dedication plaques are already done and are awaiting the re-finished seats.

Calvin also mentioned that talks are on-going with the city of Kingsport about access to the Douglass athletic trophies. Currently, they are housed in a beautiful display case inside the Douglass Community Room at V.O. Dobbins, but the room is usually locked to keep kids using the building's gyms from going in, and also to keep adults from using the room as a shortcut to the non-profit tower. Calvin says, V.O. Dobbins Complex building maintenance and Parks & Rec employees are extremely good about opening the doors whenever anyone wants to see the trophies, but so as not to bother the employees when they are busy, other ways of access are being discussed, especially on Saturdays when many visitors have more free time.

NEXT DOUGLASS BOARD MEETING: Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 1 PM in the Eastman Conference Room of the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex Tower.