2013-01-23 / Columns


A key element here is to keep your amoeba intact

coDy sossAMoN PUBLISHER coDy sossAMoN PUBLISHER I first heard of the Palio in 2000 when my wife and I visited Siena, Italy. I was amazed at how long it had been held. Of course everything about Italy is rated in centuries.

The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and Aug. 16, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colors, represent ten of the 17 contrade, or city wards. A magnificent pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.

The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. The winning neighborhood is awarded a specially designed banner and they proudly display it for a year.

The first modern Palio took place in 1656, but its origins go back to the 1400s.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could have something like that in Cherokee County? After all, horse racing used to be a big deal in Gaffney.

Hang onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen, Cherokee’s answer to Il Palio is coming!

Our contrade will be the county’s 12 elementary school districts and the winner will be determined by a series of events, both athletic and academic in nature.

Campo Giorno (field day in Italian) will be held Saturday, April 27 at Gaffney High School as a project of Cherokee 2020’s Know (2) initiative.

Know (2) is the education initiative that was developed from the Community Indicators Project, now known as Cherokee 2020. Other aspects include initiatives such as healthcare, economic development and crime.

Know (2) is the brainchild of Dr. Garry Walters, retired Executive Director of Commission on Higher Education of South Carolina and consists of two parts:

1. Know that in the world of today, being highly educated is essential for economic success and a high quality of life.

2. Know that being highly educated is possible for you, your family, and community.

Mark Hazle, youth minister at Gaffney First Baptist Church, and Vance Hammond, director of the Boys and Girls Club are heading up Campo Giorno, with the full backing of the Know (2) committee, of which I am proud to be a member. The idea is to involve EVERYONE who lives in the attendance area or who ever went to the school. Some events might be geared to grandparents and some to first graders and some a combination of all age groups.

Mark and Vance are working with elementary school P.E teachers and with district staff to organize the various events of Campo Giorno.

Hopefully it will be held each year with the plan being that this friendly competition will further the goals of Know (2). Superintendent Dr. Quincie Moore and school principals are all onboard and excited about the possibilities Campo Giorno presents.

Soon, you will begin seeing more specific information about this event and how you can participate.

An example of one event is an Amoeba Race. Teams of a predetermined number, say 30. Have half of the team form a circle facing outward, with elbows joined. Instruct the rest of the team to get inside the circle. Both teams have now formed their amoeba. On the signal, the amoebas will try to race to a designated area without coming apart. The first team to reach the finish line wins. Teams that come apart must repair themselves before continuing.

Academic contests might include spelling or geography bees, history or math quiz bowls or any of a number of others.

The idea is to create a positive attitude about education and have fun doing it, all the while involving families in the process.

We all remember how much fun field days were at the schools we attended. Can you imagine how exciting it will be to have the entire county involved?

Campo Giorno. Saturday, April 27. Save the date.

Dust off those running shoes and brush up on your spelling.

I live in the Northwest attendance zone and we are going to win it all.



Cody Sossamon (cody@gaffneyledger.com) is executive editor of The Gaffney Ledger.

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