Students help For the second year in a row, 15 students and advisors from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, traveled nearly 1,000 miles in mini-vans to spend their spring break in Charleston.

Their mission? To help partner Sandra Miller rehab her historic two-bedroom house in downtown Charleston.

Ambrose volunteers, working side by side with Ms. Sandra on her 100-year-old house, experienced a sense of empowerment and legacy knowing that she would soon return to her childhood home.

Under the guidance of Jeremy Rees and Dan Jones, the group removed old paint, lifted up worn flooring, installed hurricane clips, built walls and door frames. Some students conquered their fear of heights while sitting on rafters to rebuild the roof.

Led by student leader Kevin Annis, the students took time each evening for reflection. “We looked forward to hearing the ‘high-lows’ of the day,” said Annis. “It was very rewarding to hear what the students had to say and there were definitely more highs than lows.”

A special thanks to Jeremy and Dan for working with St. Ambrose again this year, to Charleston Habitat and all who provided hospitality.

Kathy Anderson Advisor St. Ambrose University

Habitat Chapter W. Locust Street

Davenport, Iowa Listen to public

As a taxpayer in Charleston County, I have been following with interest the controversy over the proposed new school on Sullivan’s Island. It appears arguments of the two camps break down as follows:

A majority of the Charleston County School District trustees want a 76,000 square foot facility that fits the pattern for new school construction across the rest of the county. Standardization of design and construction apparently saves money.

It would be built on property already acquired, and it would provide an excellent location for a marine biology magnet program.

Opponents express concern that building such a large structure on environmentally sensitive beachfront property risks future problems.

They object to the aesthetics of a discordant modern design of a huge structure towering over a community with a is more casual, residential resort character.

They are also concerned with traffic and congestion resulting from busing students from adjacent communities to fill the school.

Attempts to resolve differences by hearing from resints hrough a referendum have een rebuffed by Sullivan’s Island Town Council. CCSD trustees refuse to reconsider their decision. I believe elected officials are obligated to listen to their constituents. Town council is flat-out wrong to deny the referendum.

The school board is taking a narrow view that implies, “Don’t bother us with what taxpayers and residents think. We know better.”

I can virtually guarantee that if this were a proposal for the same design of a 76,000 square foot office building, the hue and cry would be led by town council and the school board, claiming the idea preposterous based on environmental and aesthetic issues.

Burton Tyler Bent Tree Lane

Mount Pleasant Worthy diversity

I’d like to thank an April 15 letter writer for his encouragement regarding diversity efforts at the College of Charleston.

Those of us who have been working diligently at these efforts for a number of years are pleased with our progress and look forward to implementation of the recently approved Diversity Strategic Plan.

We are particularly excited about our proposed major in African American Studies.

I would also like to allay any fears he might have about the employability of students who elect this new major.

Like any good liberal arts curriculum, the major in African American Studies will provide students with practical skills and knowledge that they can take into the workforce.

Many people who have gone on to incredible success — including First Lady Michelle Obama, the first black female astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett and celebrated curator of the Studio Museum of Harlem Thelma Golden — have found undergraduate majors and minors in African American Studies to be useful.

Our own students who have minored in African American Studies have gone on to graduate school in public health, to serve in Teach for America, to teach English abroad and to work in student affairs, among other things.

Our current minors and our future majors will graduate not only with a knowledge of African American history and culture, but also with the ability to read and write well, to think critically, to problem solve and to adapt and thrive in a diverse, increasingly global society.

In short, we feel confident about what our students will have to offer the public and private sectors as employees.

We feel even better about what they will have to offer society as thoughtful, knowledgeable, curious human beings.

Conseula Francis, Ph.D. Director

African American Studies Program

College of Charleston George Street

Charleston Get a job An April 10 story “Guilty plea in shooting” started with a young man of 16 leaving home to live on his own.

It stated, “Forced to pay his own way, he shot a young mother three times at an ATM in a robbery attempt.”

Someone forced to pay his own way (like most of us) who chooses to shoot someone three times at point blank range instead of maybe getting a job has little concern for anything. His attorney later stated, “He was trying to make money for clothes, and instead of getting a job, he took a shortcut.”

When did shooting an innocent human being become a shortcut?

No wonder we are in such a bad economic and moral situation. If this is where we are headed, someone best right the ship quickly or the United States is headed to the same place as the Titanic.

Ricky Myatt Forest Trail Isle of Palms

Support Elise I am amazed that our community has not shown more support for Elise Testone. Elise is one of our own. She lives and works in Mount Pleasant. Her friends and students are here.

Elise has made it to the Final 6 on “American Idol.”

Where is her fan base here? Elise is a very talented artist, and she needs our support. On the April 19 program one of the producers remarked that it was a shame that she did not have a fan base. The other contestants seem to have wonderful backing from their home communities with signs all over their towns and even on billboards. I have seen only one small sign for Elise, and I believe this is a bad showing for Charleston County.

A recent article in The Post and Courier stated that she was in the “bottom three” not in the Final 6. I realize this was an Associated Press article.

But where are articles that paint her in a better light and emphasize her accomplishments? We should be proud of her and encourage members of our community to make the effort to vote for her.

Our next opportunity comes tonight. If you haven’t seen her sing, watch tonight’s show. You will be entertained by a delightful, beautiful musician.

Elizabeth Hills Atlantic Stree

Mount Pleasant A good deed On April 22, I was shopping in the Publix at Park West. When I arrived at the check-out counter, I emptied my carriage.

Then I realized that I had forgotten my wallet. I placed everything (about five or six items) back in the carriage and mentioned to the customer behind me why I needed to return the merchandise.

She responded by saying that she would pay for the goods. I told her that she didn’t have to do that, but she insisted. She said that it would be her good deed for the day.

And so it was. As I write this letter, I still find it hard to believe.

I hope she is reading this and realizes how much I appreciated her kind gesture.

Bob Blumenthal Daniel Legare Place

Mount Pleasant