Public Education Foundation to Honor Three
The Public Education Foundation of Moore County (MCPEF) will sponsor its third annual "Graduates' Hall of Fame" dinner at 6 p.m. Nov. 18 in the Carolina Hotel's Grand Ballroom.
Three of Moore County's finest graduates - the late Clifton H. Blue, Dr. John L. Monroe and coach Felton Capel Jr. - have been chosen as the honorees for this special celebration of education in the Sandhills.
This year's inductees have been chosen for the MCPEF Hall of Fame as a result of a lifetime of accomplishments in their chosen professions.
The Public Education Foundation created this annual celebration in 2007 to commemorate its silver anniversary of service to the county's schools, and chose the third week in November for the Hall of Fame dinner in order to dovetail with the National Education Association's annual recognition of National Education Week.
This year will mark the 89th National Education Week, originally designed to call attention to the urgent need for improved education in order to help America grow and prosper.
This year's inductees are indicative of the incredibly wide range of capabilities that Moore County graduates possess, Foundation President Andrew Lyons said.
Blue graduated from the Vass-Lakeview High School and was accepted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but because of the ravages of the Great Depression, he was unable to attend. He eventually got a job on a local newspaper that paid him $5 a week.
He used his entrepreneurial skills to eventually become the owner of several newspapers. He later served in the N.C. legislature for 18 years and was elected speaker of the House in 1963. While in the legislature, he was a big promoter and supporter of the community college system and higher education in general.
The community college system became a reality, and he pushed hard to ensure that one of the community colleges would be located in Moore County. He was appointed the first chairman of the board of trustees of Sandhills Community College and held that position for many years.
Capel fell in love with basketball as a small boy, and his passion eventually led him into coaching. Capel spent 12 years as a head coach at three colleges - Fayetteville State, North Carolina A&T and Old Dominion, where he led his teams to two NCAA Tournament and one NIT postseason berths.
He coached the Fayetteville Patriots of the NBA Development League for two seasons, and he has served as an assistant coach for North Carolina's only NBA franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats, since its inaugural season.
Capel and his wife, Jerry, are the parents of two former ACC collegiate basketball players, Jeff Capel III (Duke) and Jason Capel (UNC). Both are now coaches in the college ranks - Jeff III at Oklahoma, and Jason at Appalachian State University.
Following his graduation from UNC's School of Medicine, Monroe spent his 32-year career in medicine as an Air Force flight surgeon and as the area's first otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon) with Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and Moore Regional Hospital.
Monroe served as president of the hospital medical staff and president of the Pinehurst Surgical Clinic. He also spearheaded the first radiation therapy unit. Toward the end of his career, he chaired the FirstHealth Foundation's "In Love and Service" campaign to raise $10 million to build a comprehensive cancer center, patient tower and new emergency facilities - the most ambitious expansion in the hospital's history.
All of these individuals will be introduced by family members and colleagues, a fitting tribute to those outstanding individuals who have spent their lives giving their intellect, their compassion and their steadfast desire to help make Moore County a better place to live, Lyons said.
Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce, will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, and Dr. Susan Purser, superintendent of the Moore County school system, will introduce the nine Moore County teachers who this year have developed winning creative programs designed to enhance the education of their students.
Each of these teachers has taken their own time to develop a concept, write a detailed grant request and then present their ideas in person to a committee of the MCPEF board, after which the entire board chooses whether or not to fund the program.
The MCPEF's mission is closely aligned to the work of the National Education Association. During the more than quarter-century of MCPEF's existence, volunteers who are passionate about education have raised and awarded more than $250,000 to recognize and facilitate teachers' creative classroom projects that provide additional learning for Moore County's children.
Without the support that MCPEF provides, these creative projects would otherwise go unfunded, the organization said in a news release.
Lyons said the actual "Hall of Fame" concept was developed not only to celebrate education in Moore County during this historic week, but also to build awareness of MCPEF to raise money for future projects and recognize county graduates who have gone on to achieve significant prominence after attending Moore County schools.
Tickets to the 2010 Hall of Fame dinner can be obtained by calling Lyons at the First Bank office in Southern Pines at (910) 692-6222. Tickets are $50 per person and are tax deductible.
Anyone who wants to help further public education in Moore County and would be interested in serving on the board of directors can visit the MCPEF's website (www.mcpef.org) and send a letter of interest to the Public Education Foundation of Moore County, P.O. Box 1992, Southern Pines, NC 28388. Donations to the foundation may also be sent to the post office box.
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