June 26, 2000
00-143

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Valdosta State University News Now

VSU helps high school teachers explore industry

Valdosta State University's School to Career effort has launched a "Teachers in Industry Summer Program" for high school educators.

Twenty-four teachers from area school systems including Lowndes County, Valdosta, Echols County and Lanier County are working with local businesses and governmental offices.

The goal is to give the teachers workplace exposure that they will take back and share with students in the fall, according to Bill Tillman, VSU School to Career coordinator. Teachers work two days during June or July in a variety of locales, including businesses like Wild Adventures and Griffin Corp. and governmental agencies like the City of Valdosta engineering department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab.

The effort is part of a larger School to Career program. In January, VSU's Office of Cooperative Education won a $74,420 federal grant to help better prepare students for workplace challenges of the 21st Century.

Sommers wins new folklife grants

Dr. Laurie Sommers, director of Valdosta State University's South Georgia Folklife Project, recently won two grants totaling $13,500. The money will fund traveling educational exhibits that highlight regional culture.

The first grant, which totals $6,000 and was awarded by the Georgia Council for the Arts Folklife Program, will pay to build an exhibit titled "Let Us Sing: Southeast Georgia Sacred Harp." It will include photographs and audio clips from a previous survey Sommers conducted of the Okefenokee's music traditions. Sacred Harp, or shape-note singing, is an unaccompanied singing style where participants read specially shaped notes. This Southeast Georgia style of singing dates back to the Civil War, according to Sommers. The exhibit will be unveiled in April 2001 at the Okefenokee Heritage Center in Waycross.

The second grant, which totals $7,500 and was awarded by the Georgia Humanities Council, will be used to renovate and expand the "Folklife in Wiregrass Georgia" educational exhibit originally developed a decade ago by the ABAC Arts Experiment Station. The display focuses on South Georgia heritage. Sommers said new photos and text will be added to show changes in regional traditions during the past 20 years. Beginning in January 2001, the "Folklife in Wiregrass Georgia" exhibit tours Cordele, Valdosta and Waycross. Local teachers in this summer's South Georgia Writing Project at VSU are helping to write lesson plans that will be used to tie the exhibit into curriculum.

"There's a real identity to Wiregrass Georgia, and that's something to be proud of," Sommers said. "We want to spark interest amongst schools and other organizations in the region."

Russian students study in South Georgia

Two Russian students are coming to South Georgia this fall to study government and politics at Valdosta State University.

Svetlana Ivchenko of Novosibirsk and Ilya Platonov of Yakutsk are coming to the U.S. through an agreement between VSU's Office of International Programs and the Russian-U.S. Young Leadership Fellows for Public Service Program. The U.S. State Department initiative funds Russian graduate students for one year of study. Participants are young leaders who plan to return to Russia and play roles in the economic, political and social development of the country.
Ivchenko will study Public Administration and wants to establish a consulting center in Siberia for non-governmental organizations. Platonov will study Political Science and wants to pursue a political career.

South Georgia Writing Project hosts Invitational Summer Institute

Valdosta State University's South Georgia Writing Project is now hosting its Invitational Summer Institute through July 20.

The ongoing experience is a five-week program bringing together 15 fellows, including educators from eight Georgia school districts and beyond to tackle writing issues. Special guests include Simone Gers, an educator from Tucson, Az., and participant in the Southern Arizona Writing Project, and Carla Alvarez, a teacher from Belize City, Belize.

This is the sixth South Georgia Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute hosted by VSU. Diane Howard, director of the South Georgia Writing Project and an instructor in the VSU English Department, coordinates the experience.

Blazer football season tickets on sale

The Valdosta State University Athletic Department is now taking orders for Blazer football season tickets. Regular reserved seat tickets are $40, faculty, staff and senior citizen tickets are $30 and tickets for youths ages 5-16 are $15.

The home opener is Sept. 2 at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium against Fort Valley State. For more information, call Bill England at 229-333-5890.