Published 10:01 am Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Principle Elisa Falco addressed those gathered on Rosalynn Carter. “I admired her work throughout my life and consider her personally a role model and a woman very much ahead of her time.”

JoAnna Arnold, language and literature coordinator, recounted hearing a Sunday school lesson taught by Rosalynn Carter.

“I don’t remember the Sunday School lesson. I wish I could say I did. But I learned another remarkable lesson, that she showed me that leadership is often most powerful in its simplest form, when it is one person, taking the time to speak, and to get to know someone else, in search of a way to help, or just to listen.”

Arnold stated that they were there to honor Rosalynn Carter but wanted to also recognize the efforts of the service learners from Furlow Charter School who put together the display honoring Rosalynn Carter.

“Last April, Furlow began working with the National Museum and Center for Service in Washington D.C. I had the pleasure of meeting former Congressman Bryan Baird, and he put out this call for communities around the United States to create a pop-up museum of sorts, but to focus on the people in the community who are leading through their servant leadership.”

Arnold thanked global graphics for working with student and service learner Addie Drinnon to design the exhibit, consisting of a banner highlighting Rosalynn Carter’s life and achievements. She also thanked Rotary for sponsoring the service learners.

Afterward Drinnon addressed those gathered.

“The former first lady was a writer, activist, and a humanitarian. Rosalynn Smith Carter was born in Plains Georgia on August 18th, 1927, and passed away on November 19th, 2023. She advocated for human rights, mental health, caregiving and peace through the Carter Center in Atlanta Georgia and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving in Americus Georgia. A life long environmentalist, she created the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail to protect Monarch butterflies.”

She spoke of Rosalyn Carter’s decades of service leadership, and her decision to incorporate Rosalynn Carter’s love for the Monarch Butterfly into her project. “For my service learning project at Furlow, I have created a Monarch garden inside of our peace garden, to be a part of her trail. I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to everyone who helped and supported the garden. Your willingness to lend a hand truly made a difference, and I’m so thankful for your help in honoring Rosalynn Carter.”

Student and service learner Julia Walker also spoke of Rosalynn Carter’s servant leadership, advocacy, and grace.

Student and service learner Elizabeth Arizmendi talked about meeting Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter. She told how the Carter’s asked for her to be their waitress when she was working at a restaurant in Plains. “They actually came and talked with me and invited me to their church.”

Natalie English’s third grade class, led by Music Advisor Judy Parks, sang “A Song of Peace” expressing their desire to bring peace and reconciliation through music.

Singer-song writer Andrew Greer also sang a song he wrote to commemorate Rosalynn Carter titled “Butterfly, fly.” He described the value of following the example of Rosalynn Carter’s gentle strength. “What an example for our lives today to model ourselves after that, because it’s a strength that doesn’t dominate or overpower, but it uplifts.”

Mayor Lee Kinnamon gave an address. He told how to fully appreciate something; you have to imagine a world without it, speaking on the service of Rosalynn Carter. “Volunteering without the desire to receive financial compensation. Volunteering without the desire to receive any reward of recognition, simply doing it because it’s the right thing to do. And what better model do we have in our own community than the life and legacy of Rosalynn Carter.”

He left the students with the question as to what the community would be like without Rosalynn Carter’s service and sacrifice. Afterward, Mayor of Plains Kim Fuller and niece of Jimmy Carter spoke.

“She was the first lady of the United States, she was the first lady of Georgia, she was Rosie, she was Mom to her children and her grandchildren, she was Aunt Rosalynn to all of us.”

Fuller talked of Rosalynn Carter’s love of children and youth, and how the display by the students was probably one of the best honors she could have received. Fuller ended by thanking them for their efforts.