It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, Cuz!


As the chill of winter bears down, and snow and ice make the South appear as frozen as the land of our northern cousins, I dream of summer on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  The days, now gone, were long and warm.  The food and drink were always creative.  And the fellowship sustained us for the remainder of each year.  For ten wonderful summers, my family vacationed with my aunt, uncle, and cousins.  We gathered from various parts of the country to experience sun and surf on Hatteras Island.

Avon, North Carolina

Avon, North Carolina

But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.  My cousin went to Heaven soon after the summer ended last year.  Her place on our beach perch cannot be filled.  Yet, she abides in our hearts.  When we gather again this summer, I will hear her laughter when we call for happy hour and visualize her smile when we cry: “its five o’clock somewhere,” cuz!


PTK chapter garners 14 awards at regional conference


by Sandy Wall

The awards keep coming for Craven Community College‘s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society.

The group brought home an amazing 14 individual and group awards from the recent Carolinas Regional Phi Theta Kappa Convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Students from Craven Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter join faculty members and administrators to show off the 14 awards the group brought back from a PTK regional conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Photo by Nancy Childs)

This year’s strong showing comes just a year after the chapter garnered 10 awards at the regional convention.

Chapter leaders say they are proud of the strong performance and of the work that PTK members are doing on campus and in the community.

“Phi Theta Kappa is focused on community involvement and service,” said Marlena Brokob, chapter president. “It shows our college’s commitment to academic success and excellence, both in and out of the classroom.”

Phi Theta Kappa is an international organization that recognizes the academic achievements of students at two-year colleges. To be eligible, a student must complete a minimum of 12 hours of curriculum course work at Craven and earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.

Craven’s chapter has been extremely busy in recent years. It has grown its membership and has worked hard to increase its profile on campus and in the community.

The chapter helped to commemorate New Bern‘s 300th anniversary by researching and recording a series of historical “minutes” that were broadcast on Public Radio East and by creating a popular video documentary titled “Voices of New Bern.”

Chapter members have helped out with campus and community volunteer projects, and several members have received individual recognitions in the form of scholarships and other honors.

Seven chapter members joined chapter advisors Kathryn “Kate” Amerson and Pamela Baldwin at this year’s PTK regional conference. The 14 awards earned by the group, known officially as the Alpha Phi Nu chapter, were:

  • Carolinas Superstar Award (for distinguished achievement)
  • Hall of Honor (for former PTK member Jimmy Fulcher Jr.)
  • Hall of Honor (for former PTK member Antonio Bryant)
  • Honors in Action Regional Project Award (regional recognition for the chapter Foreign Language Study)
  • Hand in Hand Regional Service Award (for its community involvement after Hurricane Irene)
  • Carolinas Region Distinguished College Project (for hosting a Scholarship Fair on Nov. 15, 2011, at the New Bern Campus)
  • Horizon Award (for chapter Advisor Kathryn Amerson)
  • Distinguished Chapter Officer (for former PTK President Jimmy Fulcher Jr.)
  • Distinguished Chapter Officer (for former PTK Secretary Antonio Bryant)
  • Distinguished Honors in Action Project (for the “Voices of New Bern” documentary)
  • Distinguished Achievements in Regional Programs of the Two-Year Colleges (for its community service and leadership achievements)
  • Five Star Chapter Development Plan (for reaching and maintaining its status as a Five Star chapter)
  • Distinguished Chapter (for combined scores of the College Project and Honors in Action project)
  • Most Distinguished Chapter in the Carolinas Region, First Runner Up

Brokob said chapter members are staying busy. The group is involved in a number of activities, and there are plans for PTK leaders and members who are traveling to South America in May to create a “Voices of Peru” documentary as the 2012 Honors in Action project.

Brokob said she is happy the chapter has remained strong, even as many of its most active members have moved on to four-year universities or other endeavors.

“In recent years, the chapter has been very active,” she said. “I’m proud that we’ve been able to keep the momentum strong and build on their work.”

Sandy Wall is the public information officer at Craven Community College. He can be reached at

Phi Theta Kappa Chapter wins MLKjr Trailblazer Award for “Voices of New Bern” Documentary


The Craven Community College Alpha Phi Nu chapter of  Phi Theta Kappa was honored during the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend celebrations.  The chapter was invited to march in the MLKjr Parade on Saturday January 14 and to attend the MLKjr Scholarship and Awards Banquet held at The Flame Restaurant on Sunday January 15, 2012.  During the event, Phi Theta Kappa received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Trailblazer Award.  The award was given for the chapter’s 2011  Honors in Action project, a documentary titled “Voices of New Bern“.

Phi Theta Kappa wins MLKjr Trailblazer Award for "Voices of New Bern". MLKjr Parade photo by Sandy Wall, Craven Community College Public Information Officer

As Phi Theta Kappa students researched significant individuals for New Bern’s 300th Celebration in 2010, many New Bern voices were uncovered.  Abraham Galloway, Sarah Dudley Pettey, and William Henry Singleton, among others, were rediscovered as trailblazers in New Bern.  When the chapter began its research, voices such as Mrs. Blanche Rivers were fading.  Students wanted to capture her voice as well as others and dreamt of creating a documentary titled, “Voices of New Bern”.  Many people around New Bern and the country offered to help.  Students interviewed:  Allene Dudley Bundy, Dr. David Cecelski of Duke University, Dr. Glenda Gilmore of Yale University, Nelson McDaniel, Barbara Rivers Morgan, Mary Peterkin, Mary Randolph, Steve Shaffer and Helen Smaw.  Dr. Bruce Waugh, Valerie Kite, and the Craven Community College administration/faculty/staff willingly assisted with talent, time, space and equipment. Students used the resources of the Kellenberger Room, Godwin Memorial Library, New Bern Historical Society, New Bern Civil War Battlefield, Tryon Palace, the Pepsi Store, and the Fireman’s Museum.  Student researchers and filmmakers were: Samantha Abrante, Pamela Baldwin, Tony Bryant, Caleb Cobb, Karen Crump, Annette Cuthrell, Lori Anne Franklin, Jimmy Fulcher, Jr., Kayla Jones, Tim Kiley, Margaret Lamb, Wade Lamb, Suzanne Lee, Timothy Lee, Joe Nevels, II, Jo Shoemaker, and Shannon Wahl.  The project received grants from the Richard Chapman Cleve Fund, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation and The Walmart Foundation Community Grant awarded by the Walmart Supercenter of New Bern.  Mrs. Blanche Rivers died on December 28, 2010.  “Voices of New Bern” was dedicated to her memory.

Accepting the MLKjr Trailblazer Award for the chapter were:  Jimmy Fulcher, Jr.—Director and past  President; Marlena Brokob—current Chapter President; Chris Howe—Vice-President of Service; Toney Johnson—Vice President of Information; Margaret Lamb—Essayist and Honorary Phi Theta Kappa member; Helen Smaw—Composer and performer of the musical score; Pamela Baldwin—Researcher and chapter Co-Advisor; and Kathryn Amerson—Chapter Faculty Advisor.

The public is invited to the encore presentation of “Voices of New Bern” on March 31 at 1:00 PM in Cullman Hall in the new North Carolina History Center.  Tony Bryant, past chapter Secretary and alumnus, will also premiere two documentaries:  “Baptism by Fire—The Battle for New Berne” and “For Liberty and Union”.  The event is sponsored by the  Family History Society of Eastern North Carolina.  For more information visit the Family History Society of ENC.

Packed house greets ‘Voices of New Bern’ premier

June 24, 2011 6:38 PM

Jimmy Fulcher Jr., director of a Craven Community College documentary “Voices of New Bern,” admits he and the other student film-makers weren’t sure what to expect at Thursday night’s premier. 

Jimmy Fulcher Jr. is the director of the Craven Community College documentary 'Voices of New Bern.'

After nearly a year of filming, interviewing local people about New Bern history and editing, he said the crew contemplated possibilities — a good turn-out or just a few family members and faculty. 

The answer came when the film started late — a full house audience at Orringer Auditorium was still filing in.

By the end of the evening, the film — concentrating on a period from the Civil War’s Battle of New Bern to the Great Fire of 1922 — received grand reviews.

Carole Graham, a Rhode Island native and a New Bernien of four years, is always eager to learn more about her new hometown.

“It was amazing. It was impressive,” she said. “They covered a lot of information in a short period of time. I am sure we all learned something new here tonight.”

The film was a project of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, led by advisor Kate Amerson, and members of the Humanities 160 class. It was inspired, Fulcher said, by a visit to the college by then 300th Anniversary Chairman Nelson McDaniel. He was looking for participation by the college in the city’s year-long celebration. The students did research and produced a “historical minutes” series for Public Radio East. From there, the documentary evolved.

The short film was the product of more than 12 hours of taped footage.

People in the community assisted, including McDaniel, Duffyfield historian Mary Randolph, Great Fire historian Mary Peterkin and New Bern Battlefield guide Steve Shaffer.

Fulcher said the gem of the interviews was with the late Blanche Rivers, who was born in 1905 and was a teenager at the time of the devastating 1922 blaze that leveled much of the city. The film was dedicated in memory of Rivers, who died in 2010.

Maria Fraser-Molina is another newcomer, moving to New Bern from Durham last August to become the college’s vice president of academic affairs. Most of her time has been dedicated to her job, so the film provided her with new insights.

“Especially the role of African-Americans and the Jewish community, and how dynamic they have been,” she said. “I learned a lot tonight.”

Aside from the final film product, she was impressed with the accomplishment by the student film-makers.

“It is the core of what we (college) are all about,” she added. 

A full house watched the Craven Community College documentary 'Voices of New Bern.'

Elista Sumner, an RN at CarolinaEast Medical Center, grew up in Fort Barnwell, and has been soaking up New Bern history since she moved to town 14 years ago.

“I love history. I go to the ‘Lunch and Learn’ programs and this is another great opportunity to learn history,” she said. She has some experience of her own in recording history. Sumner gave her aunt, Ida  Brown, a tape recorder to document 100-plus years of memories.

As the film ended, Sumner was glad she came.  

“I loved it. I was touched,” she said. “I had heard of the Great Fire and I had heard of Pepsi being invented here, but now I know more.”

She and others in the audience were eager to buy a copy of the film, but it is not yet available for distribution.

Charlie Hall can be reached at 252-635-5667 or

Historical documentary premieres Thursday at Orringer


 New Bern Sun Journal, June 18, 2011 11:30 PM 

Students in Craven Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society and members of the Humanities 160 class are inviting the public to the premiere of their documentary film titled “Voices of New Bern.”

The screening is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. at Orringer Auditorium on the New Bern campus. The event will include the screening of a short film on the Battle of New Bern, as well as a question-and-answer session with the students.

The students spent nearly a year conducting interviews for “Voices of New Bern,” which has a running time of approximately 40 minutes.

The student-produced documentary film ‘Voices of New Bern' will be shown Thursday at 7 p.m. at Orringer Auditorium on Craven Community College's New Bern campus.

The film focuses on an often-overlooked period in the city’s history: the time between the Battle of New Bern in March 1862 to the Great Fire of 1922.

“People who attend the premiere are going to get to see how exciting New Bern’s history was,” said Phi Theta Kappa chapter President Jimmy Fulcher Jr., who directed the documentary. “That was an extremely fascinating time in New Bern’s existence.”

Highlights of the documentary include:

n The story of two Civil War era spies from New Bern – Confederate spy Emeline Piggott and former slave Abraham Galloway, who spied for the Union.

n The push for Women’s Suffrage by New Bern residents.

n The important role that religious institutions and groups, including the AME Zion Church and New Bern’s Jewish community, played in the city’s past.

n The Great Fire of 1922 and the forces that shaped the city as it exists today.

The documentary mixes the recollections of longtime New Bern residents such as Nelson McDaniel, Mary Peterkin, Steve Shaffer and others with the scholarly research of Dr. David Cecelski and Dr. Glenda Gilmore.

It also features an extended interview with the late Blanche Sparrow Rivers, who died in 2010 at age 105. The film is dedicated to her memory.

The idea for a documentary developed after members of Phi Theta Kappa researched and wrote a series of well-received historical “minutes” to help commemorate New Bern’s 300th anniversary in 2010.

The informative minutes were broadcast on Public Radio East, and the material in them was used to develop posters and placards that highlighted significant figures and events in the city’s history.

Assisting the students with the documentary were faculty members and staffers from the college, as well as a number of area residents, said Kate Amerson, who serves as advisor to Craven’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter.

All of the music in the documentary was written by Helen Sims Smaw of New Bern.

The project received funding from the Richard Chapman Cleve Fund of the N.C. Community Foundation, as well as a Walmart Community Grant.

Admission to the June 23 premiere is free. For more information, please contact Amerson at or 252-638-7306.

Sandy Wall is the public information officer at Craven Community College. He can be reached at

Voices of New Bern Premieres on June 23


Voices of New Bern, a documentary by members of Phi Theta Kappa and students in Humanities 160, will première on Thursday June 23, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.    The event will take place in Orringer Auditorium on the campus of Craven Community College.    This film is supported by the Richard Chapman Cleve Fund, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation, and the Walmart Community Grant.   

Voices of New Bern captures some of the city’s history from the Reconstruction period following the American Civil War to the Great Fire of New Bern in 1922.  Prominent figures such as Abraham Galloway, Emeline Pigott, Sarah Dudley Pettey, Oscar Marks, Bayard Wooten, Caleb Bradham, and Blanche Rivers are discussed.  Interviews with Dr. David Cecelski, Dr. Glenda Gilmore, Mr. Nelson McDaniel, Mrs. Mary Peterkin, Mrs. Mary Randolph, and Mrs. Blanche Rivers were conducted to reveal voices from New Bern’s history.  Music for the piece was composed and performed by Helen Sims Smaw.

The première is open to the public.   A question and answer session will follow.