GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Serving the Community Through Safety in Schools”, at Genesis Education Center, February 21, 2023

GWC members and guests enjoyed a very enlightening Quarterly Meeting on February 21, 2023 at the Genesis Education Center. Attendees were hospitably met and treated to a wide array of delicious appetizers and desserts provided by our Social Committee, capped off with a refreshing citus punch.

Mary Woodiwiss, Chair of GWC’s Advisory Board, welcomed everyone to the program portion of the meeting, Serving the Community through Safety in Schools. After giving a brief recap of GWC events and activities already held or underway in this new year, she introduced our host, Julian Gale, Greenwood School District 50 Director of Student Services. Mr. Gale spoke of the function of Genesis Education Center, an alternative school for grades 6 – 12. The building also hosts the district’s Departments of Instructional Services and Special Education.

Mamie Nicholson, Programs & Education Committee member, introduced the evening’s speakers: Ms. Natalie Talbert, who has 43 years of service in law enforcement in Greenwood County, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Department, and currently serves as District 50 Safety Manager and Lieutenant Will Stroup, School Resource Officer. Both of their remarks were simultaneously disturbing and reassuring. Attendees learned that Greenwood County ranks first in the state for opioid addiction and second in alcohol abuse. They shared information about special trainings and drills held to enhance school safety. Each brings a wealth of experience, training, and personal commitment to their roles in providing a safe environment for students, teachers, and school personnel. The topic of school safety concerns us all but the attendees left reassured that these officers, and others like them, are truly dedicated and prepared to keep students in Greenwood safe from harm.

Programs & Education Committee member, Maureen Kilburn, presented Natalie Talbert and Lieutenant Will Stroup with two books, A Seed Grows by Antoinette Portis and Outside, Inside by LeWyen Pham, each with a nameplate designed to honor them. These children’s books will be given to the Greenwood County Library in their honor.

Jan Puzar, Co-Chair of the Grants Review & Awards Committee, made a brief announcement inviting any members who would like to become involved in the granting process to contact her or any of the Grants Review & Awards Committee members.

Laura Bachinski, Vice-Chair of GWC’s Advisory Board, concluded the meeting with thanks to our host and speakers, along with recognition of the hard work of the Social Committee and the Programs & Education Committee. She also issued an invitation to our members and guests to reassemble on March 13th at the Greenwood Community Theatre for our Annual Meeting.