Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Asheville School recognizes 50 years of racial integration

2017 marks a major milestone in Asheville School’s history—the 50th year since Gil Prince, Al McDonald and Frank DuPree became the first black students enrolled at Asheville School.

In recognition of the school's 50th anniversary of racial integration, Asheville School will host three dynamic speakers who will discuss multicultural issues of today with our students, faculty members and alumni.

The first of those speakers will be Gil Prince, who will talk about his time as a student and the meaning of this milestone during a convocation honoring his, McDonald’s, and DuPree’s contributions to Asheville School.

In 1967, the three young men enrolled in the ninth-grade. They came to Asheville School through the Stouffer Foundation, founded by Anne Forsyth with the mission to racially integrate elite southern preparatory schools. The Stouffer Foundation operated from 1967 to 1975 and helped 142 students gain admission to prep schools across the southeast.

Prince recalls being a part of the Stouffer Foundation’s first class of students. “We were part of a group of 20 kids selected by the foundation to make a difference in race relations in the country through admission to these segregated schools,” he said. “We were carrying a huge burden, representing ourselves and our family and an entire race of people. That is big when you are 13 years old.”

DuPree ultimately left the school before his graduation, but all three young men left their mark on the school and paved the way to make Asheville School the place it is today.

By graduation in 1971, McDonald had served as captain of the varsity basketball team, served as a student leader, earned several of Asheville School’s top academic honors and was a Commended National Achievement Scholar.

Prince was elected captain of the varsity football team and earned All-Conference and All-Buncombe County honors in football, served as a student leader and the president of Asheville School’s student council, earned several of Asheville School’s top academic honors, was a National Achievement Scholarship Program Semifinalist, and graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1971.

These accolades were hard earned. It was through these students’ persistence and dedication that the way was paved for future generations of a more diverse and inclusive culture at the school.

 “As I reflect on what happened over the past 50 years, it seems to me it was the start of what we have seen grow into an inclusive culture,” Prince says, “not just racially but also in terms of gender and nationality as well. [Asheville School’s] inclusive culture has made us a stronger institution and has increased both the vibrancy of our community and the breadth of learning capacity of the student. We are more culturally intelligent, and that all started 50 years ago.”

Prince has gone on to serve several terms on the Asheville School Board of Trustees. On the Board since 1994, he continues to serve today. He was the chair of the Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2014 and received the Heedy Award in 2015 for his outstanding contributions to the school.

Asheville School will also host Dr. Christine Darden and Richard Blanco later in the year. Both will address the school community about varying multicultural issues of today.

On January 15, 2018, Asheville School will host Dr. Christine Darden, who retired as a member of The Senior Executive Service from NASA Langley Research Center after nearly 40 years of service. In her talk, “From Monroe, NC to NASA,” Dr. Darden will share her life story and career.

She was recently included in the book “Hidden Figures” by Margot Shetterly as one who stood on the shoulders of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, who were featured in the 20th Century Fox movie of the same name.  Dr. Darden has been recognized with dozens of awards and honors, including two NASA Medals—one for her work and leadership of the Sonic Boom Program, and the other for her active involvement in working with and encouraging students to pursue careers in math and science. In addition, she received the Black Engineer of the Year Outstanding Achievement in Government Award and the Women in Science & Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award.

On April 26, 2018, Asheville School will host Richard Blanco for the annual Asheville School Founders’ Day Convocation. Blanco is the fifth poet to read his work at a United States presidential inauguration. He is the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban-exiled parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work.

He is the author of three poetry collections: “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” “Directions to the Beach of the Dead,” and “City of a Hundred Fires;” and two memoirs: “The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood” and “For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey.” The University of Pittsburgh Press has published the commemorative chapbooks “One Today,” “Boston Strong,” and “Matters of the Sea,” the last of which Blanco read at the historic reopening of the US Embassy in Havana. In 2015, the inaugural poem “One Today” was released as a children’s book, in collaboration with the renowned illustrator, Dav Pilkey.

Asheville School is a nationally acclaimed co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12. The 288 students enrolled at Asheville School represent 21 states and 14 countries. Recent graduates have been accepted to Amherst, Columbia, Davidson, Duke, Elon, Emory, Furman, Georgetown, Harvard, NC State, Rhodes, Sewanee, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, William & Mary, WashU, Wofford, and Yale among others.

Platinum Group offers human capital management webinar series

Attracting and Engaging Talent: A Strategy to Win presented by Drew Pollick, Craft HR Solutions on Wednesday, September 27th from 11:45AM – 12:30PM.

In this webinar we will:
  • Review the causes of turnover
  • Identify elements of a talent acquisition strategy to attract and hire the best talent for your organization
  • Highlight tactics that can support your engagement strategy
  • Outline a framework that can help you improve your organization's success at winning the war for talent
Don't miss out on our exciting Human Capital Management and Business Enrichment Webinar Series! Platinum Group’s webinar series will feature local and statewide professional experts offering valuable insight into successful business practices.  These free webinars are designed to identify organizational strengths, attract and hire the best talent for your organization, enhance the employee experience and protect your business against fraud.

Platinum Group’s Upcoming Webinars
Wednesday, October 25th
11:45AM – 12:30PM
·         Stop Fraud In Its Tracks
Wednesday, November 15th
11:45AM – 12:30PM

Sign up for an upcoming webinar or visit our webinar series page to learn more about our schedule of upcoming events!

Platinum Group
200 Swannanoa River Road, Asheville, NC 28805

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

16th Annual Empty Bowls benefit for MANNA FoodBank - Sept. 25th

It is no secret: Asheville has some of the best food, crafts, and music in the country. Asheville shows up on national “Best Of” lists consistently because of these thriving local industries, and MANNA FoodBank’s annual Empty Bowls Benefit takes advantage of all three. In fact, for the last 15 years, local restaurants, crafters, and musicians have donated their food, artwork, time and resources to help make each of these events a success. Last year alone, Empty Bowls raised enough money for MANNA to provide translating into over 220,000 meals that MANNA has been able to provide to WNC residents in 16 counties.

“Asheville has one of the largest Empty Bowl events in the nation and, considering the size of Asheville, this makes quite a statement about its importance in the community,” says Alisa Hixson, Director of Corporate Engagement and Signature Events for MANNA. “The pottery donated is among the highest quality of any event in the nation. These are not seconds; they are tangible commitments of the artists here to helping solve the problem of hunger.”

Empty Bowls: Who Makes It Happen
This year marks the 16th year of MANNA’s Empty Bowls fundraiser – a fundraiser that brings the issue of hunger in our region right to the forefront. Local potters and artisans work throughout the year to create the 1,000 bowls that are the feature of the event, and area restaurants donate the incredible soups that are the heart.

"From the first year we were asked even before Corner Kitchen came along, we felt that Empty Bowls was both useful and fun,” said Joe Scully, founder and chef of Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village and Chestnut in downtown Asheville. “The combination of soups and bowls and potters and cooks is really a match made in heaven...kind of like MANNA."

The connection to the issue of hunger isn’t lost on the many people that come together to make Empty Bowls a yearly success. In fact, many bowl makers use Empty Bowls as an opportunity to connect to their immediate community, and to make an impact in the larger WNC community.
“I love making bowls with my studio mates, Tisha and Paul, throughout the year. It reinforces our friendship as friends and fellow potters,” says Brian McCarthy, owner of Highwater Clays and Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts. “Giving the bowls to MANNA is icing on the cake. It puts us in touch with the community beyond the walls of our studio.”

Empty Bowls happens once a year, but thousands of families across Western North Carolina struggle every day to get the food they need. Last year, in response to an ongoing increase in the need for emergency food support, MANNA distributed a record 16.4 million pounds of food, which equates to 13.6 million meals. In WNC, one in six people and one in four children is experiencing hunger.
“It’s satisfying to know each bowl we make can help provide meals for fellow community members,” says McCarthy.

With each ticket sold, MANNA can provide the food for 140 meals. Tickets are available for purchase at, or by calling MANNA at (828) 299-FOOD (3663).
Empty Bowls is made possible by the following sponsors:

12 Bones
Annie’s Bakery
Baked Pie Company
Biscuit Head
Corner Kitchen
Deerfield Episcopal
DoubleTree by Hilton
Givens Estate
Ivory Road Café
Mountain City Coffee Roasters
Red Stag Grill
Twisted Laurel
Well Bread Bakery

Better Business Bureau urges checking security breach

Credit Monitoring Equifax announced Thursday that approximately 143 million Americans have had their personal information exposed due to an attack on their system between May and June of this year. The theft obtained consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers.

BBB offers the following suggestions for consumers concerned that their personal information has been stolen:
  • Do not take a “wait and see” approach. You must act quickly. Breaches involving Social Security numbers have the potential to be far more detrimental to victims, and the damage can be difficult to repair.
  • Consider taking a preemptive strike by freezing your credit reports. This will not impact existing credit cards and financial accounts, but will create a roadblock for thieves seeking to create fraudulent accounts using your personal information.
  • At a minimum, if you know your Social Security number has been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit reports. While less effective than a freeze, this will provide an extra layer of protection. 
  • Take advantage of any free credit monitoring services being offered by the company to breach victims. While this is not a preventative measure, this will alert you to new accounts or inquiries using your Social Security number so that you can act quickly to repair the damage.
  • Vigilance is key. Regularly check your credit reports at for unauthorized charges or other signs of fraud. (NOTE: This is the only free credit report option authorized by the Federal Trade Commission.)

When a data breach happens, companies often set up separate websites with information for customers, but BBB recommends that consumers always go to a company’s main website first and follow links from there. Scammers often take advantage of data breaches and subsequent confusion to set up spoof websites and send phishing emails. Expect that scammers will take advantage of this data breach to send out phishing emails and other messages that appear to be from a credit bureau or other legitimate companies. Do not click on links from any email, text or social media messages about this or any other data breach.