BSC Honors Program highlights the 60s with 2014-15 academic year

Published 6:29 pm Tuesday, June 2, 2015

By Susanne Reynolds

The Honors Program at Bainbridge State College recently finished its academic school year season, which highlighted the 1960s era.

Throughout the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters, the Honors Program held many different activities and traveled to iconic destinations related to the Sixties.
An event the Program hosted was a community-wide 1960’s Film Series. The inaugural film discussion series participants viewed films independently and gathered to discuss the films’ aspects and importance as they related to the Sixties. The films served to represent the study of the decade.

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Two educational trips were made to Dallas (Tx.) and Chicago (Ill.) One of the major highlights of Dallas included visiting The Sixth Floor Museum of Dealey Plaza where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 22, 1963. With Chicago being a “hot spot” of the 1960’s, the students visited many of the sites where the major 1960’s riots took place. They also visited the Art Institute, the Field Museum of Natural History, and several other places throughout the city.

Alea Simmons of Cairo commented on her experiences in both Dallas and Chicago with the Honors Program:

“In Dallas, we were able to see exactly where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the second and third shots. They are marked with two white “X’s” on the road,” she said. “It was great, too, because we were actually able to be at the exact location of where one of the biggest events of the Sixties took place. And Chicago was extremely cold, but a fantastic city. Our hotel was actually right across from where some of the major riots happened during the Sixties.”

In addition to the educational trips that were taken throughout the year, three Honors Students were invited to present their research papers at the Community College Humanities Association annual conference in Tampa (Fla.). Elizabeth Stewart of Donalsonville presented her work based on research on Bainbridge native and photographer Paul Kwilecki. The student retraced. Kwilicki’s footsteps and recreated his photos of “Old Bainbridge.”

Madison Helms of Bainbridge presented her work as it related to Swamp Gravy, Georgia’s Official Folk Life Play, which is housed in Cotton Hall in historic Colquitt, Ga. Her work showcased how the Folk Life Play, which tells the story of its community and people, helped Miller County economically and how it gave the community a sense of pride and unity.

Alea Simmons’ presentation was entitled “So Far Come, So Far To Go.” Her presentation followed a local newspaper editor as well as a local citizen. Simmons presented her findings on Miller County Liberal owner Terry Toole and a Cairo native known as “Miss Tammy.” The presentation highlighted how each person expressed opinions, political views, and local news in different ways.

The season concluded with a lecture by Dr. Mary Diallo, the first African American from Athens to attend the University of Georgia. Currently, she is an associate professor of French in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. She spoke to the Honors Students about her experiences of growing up in the Sixties.

The Honors Program at Bainbridge State College provides its most highly motivated students with opportunities for academic and personal development. Students who value engagement, scholarly exchange, and enriching activities can work closely with faculty and other campus leaders.

Emphasis is placed on supporting each Honors student’s personal interests and career goals. Pursuing a special theme of study each year, Honors students are educated about current national and world affairs, gaining an understanding of the pertinent issues of our time.

Simmons, this year’s Outstanding BSC Graduate, claimed the Honors Program provided her with many opportunities and proved to be highly beneficial to her while at BSC.
“I have been able to meet influential community leaders, and I have been mentally challenged to think outside of the box and get different perspectives. This program has made me more of an educationally-inclined individual because it taught me how to challenge myself and go above and beyond my expectations,” said Simmons. “I was also able to dig further into my field of study with the Honors courses I took. Doing one-on-one research with several BSC professors is such an important aspect of my college career. I had the great opportunity to get firsthand experience and present at several conferences both nationally and internationally—and it was because of the Honors Program I received these once in a lifetime opportunities.”

Next year, the Honors Program will visit France and Italy.  If you are interested in becoming a part of the Program, contact Dr. Michael Kirkland at