The people of the Sikeston area have something they can be very proud of. The Sikeston Area Higher Education Center, known to those who and love and appreciate it as SAHEC.
When SAHEC first began in the old First National Bank building in 1997, everyone at that time projected a student population of almost 1,000 within five years. The student population now stand at 1,455 and it is continuing to grow.
If you have not had the opportunity to visit the new SAHEC campus in the Business, education and Industrial Park, please take time to stop by and see first hand what has been done. In the late afternoon and evenings, SAHEC classrooms and technical labs are filled with students of all ages, each one taking advantage of the opportunity to improve their education and career prospects. During the day, the center is busy with community groups and area businesses taking advantage of the state of the art facility. SAHEC Director Judy Buck and her staff believe in quality customer service. They really take care of the students and go out of their way to help everyone who uses the center.
The voters of Sikeston placed their faith in SAHEC when they approved a quarter-cent sales tax by a whopping 78 percent in 1998. Southeast and Three Rivers are living up to their end of the bargain by providing quality educational programming for students and quality certificate programming to area industries. The eight-member Bootheel Regional training Group utilizes the center for leadership and technical training.
Now, everyone has the opportunity to celebrate with price the accomplishments of SAHEC and help students with scholarship needs at the same time.
The second annual SAHEC Scholarship fund-raising dinner and auction will begin at 6 p.m. Friday night, Feb. 7 at the Elks Lodge. Businesses or individuals can become a sponsor for $1,000 by buying a table of 10 for $350 or a single ticket for $35. Monies raised from ticket sales and the auction will be strictly used for scholarships at the center.
Four students who attend SAHEC will tell the audience what the center means to them and their future, and that by itself will be worth the price of admission. There will be good food, auction items and music from the Jerry Ford Orchestra.
Most importantly, it will be a celebration of what the folks in the Sikeston area have done to come together and meet a need for our community's future. It just shows what people can do when they work together.
Nothing worthwhile is easy, but when it comes together and meets needs like SAHEC does, it makes you feel good about calling the Sikeston area home.
Please join us Friday night, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Elk's in Sikeston and help raise money for student scholarships to the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center. For tickets, call the center at 472-3210.
Hope to see you there.
Steve McPheeters SAHEC Advisory Committee member Chairman, Bootheel Regional Training Group
I read with disbelief last Tuesday that the Confederate Battle Flag had been removed from the cemetery at Higginsville and the memorial at Pilot Knob. The Post later stated on its editorial page that the flag was evil and a symbol of hate.
As anyone who has read more than a high school textbook is aware, that flag has stood for more than 140 years, not as a symbol of hate but as one of civil and political rights as guaranteed by the ninth and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Although various groups have co-opted that banner for their own agendas, the brave men resting in Higginsville had no part in these later atrocities.
They followed that flag at the request of the governor of Missouri, Clairborne Fox Jackson, after his attempt to forge a neutrality agreement with the commander of federal forces, General Lyon, was met with a declaration of war.
Had that flag been a symbol of pro-slavery sentiment, why was it not flown by General Grant? He held slaves at the end of the War Between the States. General Lee, conversely, freed his slaves when hostilities began. He was at that time the commandant at West Point and had been offered the command of all federal forces, which he declined, resigning his post as commandant to offer his services to his state. He left his home never to return, as the government in Washington seized his property and used it as a national cemetery. Perhaps you have heard of Arlington.
Lee felt compelled to follow Virginia as his father, Henry "Lighthouse" Lee had when he was a Revolutionary War hero.
General Lee answered to his governor's call to arms because of his unfailing belief in the Constitution and the ninth and 10th amendments on which the peoples' and the states' rights were guaranteed.
The brave men resting at Higginsville and Pilot Knob more than earned the right to rest under that flag for eternity. They were, after all, veterans who received pensions for war service from the government in Washington.
To strop them now of their flag by saying it is divisive and a symbol of hate is either an outright lie or a telling commentary on the education level of our elected representatives. When next we go to the polls, let us remember who took which side on this issue and vote accordingly.
David C. Maddex