RICHLAND COUNTY SC — Richland 1 unveiled its latest list of community servants Monday when it announced the 10 people who will be inducted into the 10th Hall of Fame.
The Richland 1 Hall of Fame was created to recognize living and deceased graduates of the district’s schools and others throughout the district’s history who have made significant contributions to the district, their communities, their professions and society as a whole. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor the Richland 1 school board can award.
“I think it’s amazing that we made this announcement on Veterans Day because the day is about service, and when you look at the honorees collectively, it’s all about their service,” said Richland 1 board member Vince Ford, who was on the board when the Hall of Fame was established.
“Celebrating the contributions of the past spurs students on to higher heights,” Ford added. “It was that generation that used every avenue to make sure that we all succeeded. I think the things they have done will be able to touch students for the next century or more.”
Forty-seven people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since it was established in 2004. This year’s honorees will be formally recognized March 22 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Here’s a look at this year’s class.
Heyward Bannister, a 1969 graduate of Hopkins High, is credited with playing a key role in transforming political landscapes by managing and providing consulting services for more than 250 political campaigns, ranging from school board elections to presidential campaigns. He is president and chief executive officer of BANCO/Bannister Co., the public relations, political consulting and marketing firm he opened in 1992.
Thaddeus J. Bell, a family practitioner in North Charleston, is a 1962 graduate of C.A. Johnson High who founded Closing the Gap in Health Care, a nonprofit aimed at decreasing health disparities by providing health education for African-Americans and other underserved populations. Bell has received the National Medical Association’s 2013 Distinguished Service Award.
The late Shirley Anne Glenn Davis, a graduate of Hopkins High, served on the Richland 1 board from 1992-2000. She is credited with being a voice for special needs and underserved children and their families. She was the founder and chief executive officer of Beyond the Door Outreach Ministry. She also founded the “Why You, Why Me” support group for African-American women with breast cancer.
Naomi Hall Dreher, a 1939 graduate of Booker T. Washington High, was a teacher, principal and consultant in Richland 1 for 43 years. She was the first African-American woman to work as a personnel coordinator in the district’s human resources office where she hired teachers. Dreher retired from public education in 1987 but later led the Minority Access to Teacher Education (MATE) program at Benedict College for 18 years.
Attorney Francenia “Frannie” B. Heizer is a 1972 graduate of Dreher High, where she was captain of the state champion debate team. As Dreher’s student body president, she helped bring collaboration in the early years of desegregation in the district. In 1986 Heizer became the first woman elected to Columbia City Council and, in 1992, she was the first woman elected mayor pro tem for the city of Columbia. She served on City Council 16 years.
Bette Jamison, a 1969 graduate of A.C. Flora High, was the second woman producer-director to work for S.C. Educational Television (SCETV). Her 40-year career began there in 1973. She currently serves as a professional development consultant with the SCETV Education Team.
The late Evaretta Sims Rutherford, a native of Washington, D.C., taught English, Latin and French at Booker T. Washington High. She was later an English instructor at Benedict College and director of student teaching and chair of the education division. She later accepted a position as professor of education at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she also chaired the Department of Education.
The late Harry B. Rutherford, a 1928 graduate of Booker T. Washington High, taught math at Booker T. Washington and later served as principal of Carver Junior High, Waverly Elementary and Booker T. Washington. Under Rutherford’s leadership (1950-64), Booker T. Washington often was recognized for having the best-trained and most highly educated faculty in the state.
The late Catherine B. Davis Thomas, a native of Fairfield County, served more than 56 years as an educator. Her career began in 1951 as an English and reading teacher in Richland 1. She also taught in the Fort Alaska Dependent Schools and at Midlands Technical College and Benedict College. Through the Minority Access to Teacher Education program at Benedict, Thomas’ work is credited with having an impact on the lives of students from across the state.
The late Archie Preston Williams Jr., a 1932 graduate of Booker T. Washington High, and his mother established A.P. Williams Funeral Home in 1936. Williams helped found the Richland County Concerned Citizens Committee, which challenged segregation and racial discrimination and advocated for desegregation in schools and public transportation, equal pay for black employees, patients’ rights at the Crafts Farrow facility and the hiring of the first African-American police officers.