Our reporters go pick up a loose end from a couple installments back.
Earlier installments in this series:
“MARTA is offering free rides to anyone returning from the Volunteer Fair, going on this weekend at the Georgia World Congress Center. Just show your ticket at the Centennial Olympic Park station to ride for free, and you’ll be given a voucher for your next trip as well. If you’re looking for an organization to help out, representatives will be there to let you know what you can do.
“Not every group that needs help is in metro Atlanta, though. Sean McKinzie is ‘On the Georgia Road,’ returning to Cherokee County, to spotlight one of them. Sean?”
Cut to: Sean, exterior, brick buildings in the background. “Reinhardt was established in 1884 as an all-ages school, training students for teaching and ministry. Both the student body and educational diversity grew over the years, until Reinhardt College became Reinhardt University in 2010.”
Cut to: stock exterior, students on campus. “When the Emergency Services Preservation Act designated all of Cherokee County as an Unincorporated Area, in 2015…” Fade to: empty campus. “enrollment rapidly dried up. The few students that remained, nearly all from Unincorporated Areas themselves, were not enough to maintain a viable college program in Waleska.”
Cut to: interior, cafeteria. People gathered. “But that wasn’t the end of Reinhardt. The college was originally founded by what was then called the Methodist Episcopal Church, now the United Methodist Church. Reinhardt called Cherokee County home from its inception, and the church answered the call. Rev. Steve Pollen tells us about it.”
Cut to: interior, office. Man speaking. Title: Rev. Steve Pollen. “The county needed assistance with educational facilities, especially north of Canton. Furthermore, the college has a long history of excellence in performing arts, with wonderful facilities. Many professors, both active and retired, chose to stay and help us.”
Cut to: Sean, interior, classroom. “The school has had several names over its nearly 150 year history: Reinhardt Academy, Reinhardt College, then Reinhardt University. Now, it is Reinhardt Mission School, reflecting a partial return to its roots as an all-ages educational facility. Full-time enrollment is much smaller than it once was — roughly 300 students — but that doesn’t mean the other buildings are going to waste. Far from it.”
Cut to: interior, office, Rev. Pollen. “Many people have difficulty coping with the loss of technological props that once seemed like their birthright. We’re uniquely positioned to help them: for one, we’re close enough for them to reach us, and vice versa. We use dormitories to house those in need, and devote classroom space to teaching them how to cope. Cut to: exterior, log cabins. The Funk Heritage Center is also here on campus, and we’ve turned it into a hands-on learning center. Many people in this area lived without electricity and cars not a hundred years ago. We show them first that it’s possible, then show them how to do it themselves.”
Cut to: exterior, campus. Rev. Pollen voiceover. “Many ‘graduates’ from the self-sufficiency program return to their local homes and even teach their families and neighbors the skills they have learned. Those who are physically or mentally unable to cope with the hardships either make their home here on campus, or are put into the relocation program.”
Cut to: Sean, interior, stage. “Performing arts are a major draw for many students. Television is a luxury when electricity is scarce, so live music and drama are becoming popular in Unincorporated Areas. When the school puts on a concert or play, locals pack the seats in the Falany Performing Arts Center. Popular performances can draw busloads from Canton or even Cartersville. The school requires its full-time students to participate in one of band, chorus, or drama, and are graded on their performance. Those who aren’t suited for the stage can nearly always excel backstage in some capacity.”
Zoom out. Performers enter stage from both sides, singing a capella. “Rev. Pollen tells me that a Reinhardt representative will indeed be at the World Congress Center this weekend. The school needs instructors, counselors, and support staff, and can provide housing assistance for those willing to relocate to Waleska. On the Georgia Road, I’m Sean McKinzie.”
Cut to: anchordesk, Marcia. “Thanks, Sean. If you’d like to view earlier segments of Sean’s travels, or listen to more of the performance, check out our website.”