Cham­ber hon­ors Malvern ed­u­ca­tor, more at ban­quet

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - TRI-LAKES EDITION - BY CAROL ROLF Con­tribut­ing Writer

MALVERN — The an­nual Malvern/Hot Spring County Cham­ber of Com­merce Awards Ban­quet on Jan. 24 once again drew a good crowd to the Malvern Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. Folks came to en­joy a good meal, hear a guest speaker and find out who had won awards.

“The ban­quet went very well,” said Lance How­ell, cham­ber ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “At­ten­dance was great, as al­ways. It’s re­ally neat to rec­og­nize peo­ple and busi­nesses in our com­mu­nity for what they do. All cham­bers are dif­fer­ent, but for us, our large driv­ing forces are awards and com­mu­nity recog­ni­tion.

“Danny Games, di­rec­tor of busi­ness and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment for En­tergy Arkansas, was our guest speaker,” How­ell said. “He ref­er­enced the AP&L (Arkansas Power and Light Co., now known as En­tergy) his­tory to Hot Spring County, which was a nice touch. He also talked about things to be care­ful of in your busi­ness. He did a great job. We had lots of feed­back, which was good for us to hear.”

How­ell said Malvern and Hot Spring County had a lot of new busi­nesses in 2018.

“The big­gest an­nounce­ment we had came in the sum­mer of last year, when Ve­randa Lux­ury Pon­toons an­nounced they had

bought the old Gen­eral Ca­ble fac­tory at Jones Mill and would be mov­ing their en­tire op­er­a­tion there,” How­ell said.

“Ve­randa is a sis­ter com­pany to Xpress Boats (based in Hot Springs). That an­nounce­ment got a good bit of at­ten­tion. We’ve also had sev­eral smaller busi­nesses open,” he said. “That’s en­cour­ag­ing. It’s neat to hold ground­break­ing cer­e­monies for these busi­nesses, then rib­bon-cut­ting

cer­e­monies, then see them at each other’s events. It’s great to see busi­nesses sup­port­ing one an­other.

“An­other good thing hap­pen­ing this month in Malvern is the grand-re­open­ing of Food Cen­ter, our lo­cally owned gro­cery store that had a fire months and months ago and had to re­build. They are sched­uled to re­open Feb. 20.”

Charlesa Black nor­mally at­tends the an­nual cham­ber

awards ban­quet and did so this year. How­ever, she found a sur­prise await­ing her. … She re­ceived the Ed­u­ca­tor of the Year Award, spon­sored by Farm­ers Bank & Trust.

“I sup­port the cham­ber, so I al­ways go to the ban­quet,” she said.

When it came time for the win­ner of the Ed­u­ca­tor of the Year award to be an­nounced, Black said, she started lis­ten­ing to the in­tro­duc­tion and

won­dered who might be the win­ner.

“There are sev­eral schools in the county, but when they started talk­ing about this teacher be­ing in­ter­ested in dys­lexia and spe­cial needs, I started look­ing around, won­der­ing, ‘Who else is in­ter­ested in this be­sides me?’ And then they an­nounced my name,” Black said, laugh­ing.

“I had no idea. … My fam­ily knew, but they were able to keep it a se­cret,” she said.

“I am hon­ored and hum­bled by this award — hum­bled be­ing the most im­por­tant word,” said Black, who teaches fourth­grade English lan­guage arts at Malvern El­e­men­tary School. “I’ve been here 15 years and love my job.”

She said she has taken a spe­cial in­ter­est in stu­dents with dys­lexia and sen­sory pro­cess­ing deficit. She has done re­search and taken spe­cial cour­ses to help iden­tify stu­dents with these spe­cial needs and de­velop teach­ing tech­niques to ad­dress their unique needs. She said her pas­sion is for all stu­dents to read and be lit­er­ate.

Meredith McCor­mack, prin­ci­pal of Malvern El­e­men­tary School, said Black “is so very de­serv­ing of this award.”

“One of the things we love about Mrs. Black is that she doesn’t mind be­ing silly and dra­matic to keep her stu­dents en­gaged,” McCor­mack said. “Also, she spends a great deal of time re­search­ing to make sure she knows the lat­est and great­est way to teach a cer­tain skill.

“The stu­dents love her, and so does her fac­ulty.”

Black was born in Car­roll­ton, Ge­or­gia, into a mil­i­tary fam­ily.

“My dad was in the Army,” she said. “I mar­ried a mil­i­tary man — Kin­ney Black — who was also in the Army. I was a stay-at-home mom with our

two chil­dren for 12 years un­til they started school. I went to col­lege later in life … while work­ing as a wife, mom, mil­i­tary spouse and a [phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion] aide.

“I al­ways knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Charlesa Black said.

She re­ceived a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Ed­u­ca­tion de­gree in 1991 from Christo­pher New­port Univer­sity at New­port News, Vir­ginia.

“Since my hus­band was in the mil­i­tary, we trav­eled around a lot,” she said. “I have taught in Vir­ginia, Ger­many, New Jersey and, now, Arkansas. I have taught kinder­garten through fifth grade.”

Black has taken grad­u­ate cour­ses in self-es­teem for ed­u­ca­tors, teach­ing math­e­mat­ics for un­der­stand­ing and dys­lexia screen­ing, and she at­tended the [English as a Sec­ond Lan­guage] Academy in Arkansas.

The Blacks moved to Malvern af­ter her hus­band, who is from Malvern, re­tired from the Army. The cham­ber hon­ored Kin­ney Black in 2016 with the Kristi Parker Nor­ris Lead­er­ship Award.

“We moved here about 20 years ago,” Charlesa Black said. “I taught in Hot Springs four years be­fore com­ing here. I am con­tem­plat­ing re­tire­ment but have not made any def­i­nite plans yet.”

The Blacks have two adult chil­dren. Their son, Ger­ald, and his wife, Katie, live in Malvern with their son, Davis, 10, who is in his grand­mother’s fourth-grade class, and daugh­ter, Taryn, 8, who also at­tends Malvern El­e­men­tary School. The Blacks’ daugh­ter, Leslie, and her hus­band, Gabe Fisher, live in Hot Springs with their 4-year-old daugh­ter, Cora.

“We spend as much time with our grand­chil­dren as we can,” Charlesa Black said, smil­ing.

Oth­ers rec­og­nized at the cham­ber of com­merce awards ban­quet in­clude the fol­low­ing:

• Lt. Glen Pye of the Hot Spring County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice re­ceived the Law Of­fi­cer of the Year Award, spon­sored by the Malvern Li­ons Club. Pye has had a life­time ca­reer in law en­force­ment but has been serv­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity for two years.

• Capt. Jonathan Far­ber of the Malvern Fire Depart­ment re­ceived the Fire­fighter of the Year Award, spon­sored by Bill Scrimshire. Far­ber has been a fire­fighter for 16 years and has served as a train­ing of­fi­cer for the depart­ment.

• Sh­eryln Davis re­ceived the Health­care Worker of the Year Award, spon­sored by McClure Real Es­tate. A phar­ma­cist since

1990, Davis opened her own busi­ness in 2018.

• Asi­jah “Asia” Yar­brough, a se­nior at Malvern High School, re­ceived the Young Per­son of the Year Award, spon­sored by Bank OZK. She also re­ceived a $250 schol­ar­ship from the Cham­ber of Com­merce Schol­ar­ship Fund. Yar­brough is the se­nior class sec­re­tary and is a mem­ber of the Stu­dent Coun­cil. She was a Girls State del­e­gate in 2018. She is also in­volved in choir and is a praise dancer, a youth-group sec­re­tary and youth-group su­per­in­ten­dent of Sun­day School at her church. She re­ceived a full schol­ar­ship to Lin­coln Univer­sity in Jef­fer­son City, Mis­souri, and plans to be­come a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist.

• Danny Rig­gan of Malvern re­ceived the Life­time Achieve­ment Award, spon­sored by the Di­a­mond Lakes Fed­eral Credit Union. Rig­gan is a for­mer chair­man of the Malvern/ Hot Spring County Cham­ber of Com­merce Board of Di­rec­tors and has served on the board of di­rec­tors of the Bap­tist Health Med­i­cal Cen­ter-Hot Spring County Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion, the Hot Spring County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Corp., the Hot Spring County 4-H and the Hot Spring County Fair As­so­ci­a­tion. He is a mem­ber of the Malvern Round-up Club and the Li­ons Club and served on the HSC Con­ver­sa­tions Malvern Steer­ing Com­mit­tee and the Brick­fest Plan­ning Com­mit­tee.

• Von Michael, food ser­vices man­ager at Col­lege of the Oua­chi­tas, re­ceived the Man­ager of the Year Award, spon­sored by South­ern Ban­corp. Her com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude vol­un­teer­ing at the an­nual Malvern Brick­fest and serv­ing as fes­ti­val chair­woman for the past sev­eral years.

• Fam­ily Farm at Glen Rose, owned and op­er­ated by Stan and Donna May, re­ceived the Busi­ness of the Year Award, spon­sored by Malvern Na­tional Bank. This busi­ness has been lo­cally owned and op­er­ated for 33 years and pro­vides sum­mer

camp to hun­dreds of chil­dren each year.

• Ger­ald Wil­liams of Malvern, pas­tor at Glen Rose Assem­bly of God and ed­i­tor of

The Her­itage pub­li­ca­tion for the Hot Spring County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, re­ceived the Kristi Parker Nor­ris Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Award, spon­sored by the Malvern Daily Record.

Wil­liams is a for­mer board mem­ber of the Hot Spring County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and re­tired af­ter 29 years with the Malvern School Dis­trict. He has pa­s­tored four churches in the area.


Charlesa Black, a fourth-grade teacher at Malvern El­e­men­tary School, re­ceived the Ed­u­ca­tor of the Year Award at the an­nual Malvern/ Hot Spring County Cham­ber of Com­merce Awards Ban­quet. She has taught at the school for 15 years.


Capt. Jonathan Far­ber of the Malvern Fire Depart­ment ac­cepts the Fire­fighter of the Year Award from Jen­nifer Eubanks, ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant at the Malvern/Hot Spring County Area Cham­ber of Com­merce. Far­ber has been a fire­fighter for 16 years.

Danny Rig­gan presents the Health­care Worker of the Year Award to She­lyn Davis, who is a phar­ma­cist and just opened her own busi­ness in 2018. Rig­gan, a for­mer chair­man of the Malvern/Hot Spring County Cham­ber of Com­merce Board of Di­rec­tors, re­ceived the 2018 Life­time Achieve­ment Award at the re­cent cham­ber awards ban­quet.

Jackie Law­son, left, rep­re­sent­ing Bank OZK, presents the Young Per­son of the Year Award to Asi­jah Yar­brough, a se­nior at Malvern High School.

Kathy Ram­sey, left, rep­re­sent­ing South­ern Ban­corp, presents the Man­ager of the Year Award to Von Michael, food-ser­vices man­ager at Col­lege of the Oua­chi­tas.

Malvern Daily Record.

Ger­ald Wil­liams, left, ac­cepts the Kristi Parker Nor­ris Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Award from Kelly Freuden­sprung, rep­re­sent­ing the

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