‘Keep Hope Alive’ hosted by retired educators

Zeta Phi Beta member and event organizer Paulette Lunn recites the poem “The Children “. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

Participants in the “Keep Hope Alive” program. PICTURED HERE (front row): Jerline Lowry, Bryce Williams, Mahogany Smith, Paulette Lunn, Linda Gilliard Johson. (Back Row): Audrey Robinson, Dorothy Spencer and Rev. Reginal Lee. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

By Stephan Drew, Editor


On Wednesday, February 15, 2023, from 1pm to 3pm, a group of approximately 100 people gathered to celebrate history and faith through poetry, prose, monologues and songs. The Darlington County Retired Educators No. 2 hosted “Keep Hope Alive”, a celebration of survival and prosperity as well as an opportunity to provide advice for building a better future. The event took place at St. Johns United Methodist Church on West Seven Pines St., in Lamar. 

Darlington County Retired Educators Association No. 2 is a group that understands that “teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions.” This instruction encompasses all other personnel who have contributed to the success of the learning experience. As they close one chapter, and begin another, their goal is to provide opportunities for support and fellowship with retired educators and friends, as well as providing information with benefits of membership in the local unit and state organization. They would further like to enhance community awareness through meetings and special events on special occasions. One member stated, “Just because we may be retired, that doesn’t mean we’re gone. There’s still much we can do.” Members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority helped to organize and present the program.

After a welcome by Audrey Robinson, the audience was treated to excerpts of speeches made famous by Jesse Jackson (by Bryce Williams), Barbara Jordan (by Doroty Spencer) and Former President Barack Obama (by Rev. Reginald Lee). Mahogany Smith sang “No Longer Slaves” and “The Goodness of God” beautifully, accompanying herself on piano.

Paulette Lunn, member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority and one of the organizers of the event, recited “Keep Hope Alive” and “The Children”, two very inspirational poems. Reiterating her message of compassion, Lunn stated, “Love is the richest word in our vocabulary.” Remarking on the importance of history, no matter how problematic, Lunn said, “Children need to know how hard the struggle was and is. History is for everyone, remember that.”

Linda Gilliard-Johnson sang “If I Can Help Somebody”, Jerline Lowry read the scripture and the audience joined for the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before Rev. Lee gave the closing prayer and blessing. The crowd was provided a delicious meal at the end of the program. 

Author: Stephan Drew

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