Around Town: A must-read in Boyle County

December 14, 2003|ANNABEL GIRARD

Start finding a comfortable chair and a good reading light.

An effort has started to ask everyone in Boyle County to read the same book next spring. That book, "Buffalo Dance: York," was written by Danville native Frank X Walker.

The book of poetry is about York, a slave. He accompanied William Clark as a member of the Corps of Discovery, the expedition commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson that set out 200 years ago to find a route to the Pacific Ocean.

James Atkins of Centre College is pulling together individuals and groups to help organize and coordinate the event. Atkins, associate professor of education, said the event has no title yet; however, he opens his conversation about the project by asking this question: "What if all of Danville-Boyle County read the same book?"


If this event is successful, he would like to see a similar "read" each year.

There is even a Danville connection with Clark and York. Clark, accompanied by York, stopped in Danville to visit his two nephews who were attending school here. Clark was on his way to the District of Columbia to make a final report to Jefferson.

Atkins, a former Danville history teacher who had Walker as a student, just likes the idea of everyone in the county reading the book. So far, Danville schools, Boyle County schools, Kentucky School for the Deaf, the Boyle County Public Library, Centre College, Community Education, University of Kentucky Press, Kentucky Historical Society and KET have agreed to be part of the planning.

Walker will be making several visits to Boyle County to discuss the book and autograph copies, Atkins said. The UK Press is offering the book at half price to local residents who participate in the project.

At this point, Atkins is looking for any groups - book or otherwise - in the county who want to participate or for individuals who might want to take part.

To get more information or to sign up yourself or a group, call 238-5343. Complete details about the event will be released early in 2004.

Schaefer helping young people stay in school

Steve Schaefer, son of Rae and Judy Schaefer of Danville, is part of group in Minneapolis that has started a program to help young people at risk stay in school and go on to college.

The connection started with Schaefer and three other men who coached youth basketball teams. As Schaefer said in a letter raising money for Minneapolis Next, "Looking back it's interesting to see how coaching basketball can lead to so much, but then, I'm from Kentucky, so I knew that!"

Not only does the program target basketball players, it also provides about 25 scholarships a year to a school of dance, helps 40 basketball teams and provides 25 scholarships to college preparatory schools.

One of the success stories is a young man who is a student member of the board. Romone Penny's neighborhood high school wasn't a possibility because an older brother was hated by a known gang and Romone feared for his safety. A scholarship from Next made it possible for him to attend another high school and graduate. After a year in a preparatory school, he is now in his first year at Florida State University, where he is an invited walk-on for the basketball team.

Other students have been accepted at such colleges as North Dakota State, St. Olaf, and Drake.

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