Title: Terry Helsley
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007445/00001
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Title: Terry Helsley
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Language: English
Creator: Echols, Emma ( Interviewer )
Publication Date: 1994
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This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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Interviewer: Emma Echols

Interviewee: Terry Helsley

Date: March 7, 1994


E:I am visiting with the superintendent of Rock hill school

district number three. This is March the seventh. I am

especially interested in knowing the relationship of the

schools today, to the pupils that are here, we recorded

many, many tapes of the school that used to be, but now we

will do what we are doing today. I will let you put your

name and your address on for me.

T:My name is Terry Helsley and I am the secondary social studies

coordinator for Rock Hill School District, and I live at one

North Pine Court in Columbia, South Carolina.

E:Tell us what your wife does.

T:My wife is the director of public programs at the State

Archives, and she has been there twenty-five years, working

mainly in the search room and the areas that meet the

public, and also works with the records at the state

archives, in Columbia.

E:Now, do you have any idea how many Catawba children are in your

Rock Hill Schools now?

T:I am sorry to say I do not.

E:They tell me that when they register now, that they put the

name on the registration as an Indian. Is that right?

T:They can, yes. Right--I think they do.

E:Now you have minority groups here. You have the Catawbas, of

course you have a lot of Blacks, you have Chinese, and you

have Koreans, and maybe some others. Is there any special

program for those special children that you know of?

T:Now there are special programs, but they are not there by race;

we have remedial programs for those students who do not

score well on our standardized tests, our state

standardized tests. We have gifted programs, and many other

programs, but they are not--and of course could not be

offered by race, because of the civil rights laws.

E: The Indians are so talented with certain things such as

pottery making. In the schools sometimes a potter will come

to demonstrate. The children will have little pieces of

clay to make (objects), but the Indians themselves would be

a valuable asset, if they could come and do that.

T:Well we think so, too. As a matter of fact about a year ago--a

little over a year ago, we had an in service for all of the

third grade and eighth grade history teachers in the

district, with three potters in our training room here at

the district office. Dr. Thomas Bloomer, Dr. Tom Stanley

from Winthrop (joined us). We were hoping to see potters

come in our schools in great numbers after that in service,

and I am not sure that that has happened. We were hoping

that it would.

E:Would there be any renumeration for them, if they came into

your school?

T:We could certainly arrange that, certainly.

E:They would need that because they would have to have their



E:It takes hours for them to do that. There is a limited number

(of potters). In the article that I wrote about them,

Frances Wade made the list for me, and I have twenty to

twenty-five; we did not want to leave any name off. So I

have a list of those potters; there are around twenty to

twenty-five of them. Dr. Stanley told me that there was a

kit prepared--eight or ten kits--that would have some

history, some pottery, and some pictures, things like that.

I have not found out--what happened to those kits?

T:That is a good question, I (had) heard about the kits, too. We

are going to have to find out where they went.

The idea was

that we were going to have some at the district office, some

were going to be in the schools, and they would move around

as they were needed. But I am glad you brought that up; I

do not know where they are either, but I will find out.

E:Well, one of the teachers told me (that) the one she had seen

was sort of battered and worn.

T:Is that right?

E:--usual. (laughter) You have some very dedicated teachers who

take a special interest in (those projects). I am

interested in seeing what you will be doing in the future.

You have had some famous athletes with you, and Indians who

are in your system (who are) mechanically minded. So many

of them work in Charlotte (eight or ten of them work in

Charlotte). Some of them work here, and they are

mechanically minded. Many of the Indian children of the old

school were taught to memorize. They did not have anything

in comparison (to) our schools today. The math was

difficult (for white children and Indian children) to write

down, but what they would do is come up with the correct

answer by figuring it in their head. And so they were very

cleaver about that. I am interested in the teachers in the

whole system taking a personal interest in these Indians

that come in.

T:I think it is not important only for the Indians, because we

are looking fo high interest things to put into our social

studies classes. What could be higher interest than these

people over by the river, right here, who do things like

pottery and have all these talents that you have mentioned.

I think it is a natural fit, for our (us).

E:Dr. Bloomer has a brochure, I have a copy of it on the

pottery. I am sure that a number of the schools have it,

It costs four dollars, but every school ought to have a copy

of that. There is no reason why there should not be a

brochure about the schools years ago and the schools today.

There could be a section written on the biographies of the

pottery makers, of some of their leaders. Fascinating

stories of Buck George, and Carson Blue, and the old

chieftains. The children do not know any of that. Do you

have anything in your textbook about the Catawbas, and (if

so) at what grade level?

T:I do not think (that) there are mentioned. Let me check the

Eighth grade text here.

E:Wait I will turn (the recorder) off.

(tape interruption)

E:I would like for you to tell me--we have been talking about the

possibility of stories, and biographies, and speakers to

come in the classrooms, and pottery makers, and so forth.

What is your feeling about education for every boy and girl

in your system?

T:Well we have been--no matter what we think--and I believe in

that with all my heart, that we need to provide the best

opportunity for every child in out system. We have been

mandated to do that by the state of South Carolina, and by

the tax money given to us by all the citizens of South

Carolina. So we need to make sure that every student has as

rich and varied an educational experience as we can provide.

In the social studies, particularly, we have an obligation

to bring in a lot of different experiences; especially

things, like the Catawba, that are here in our neighborhood,

that are here in our countryside.


that we can

bring into the schools. So I would love to see us--

E:--You need books for your library, and you need workbooks for

the classroom, do you not?

T:That is right. We need all of that. We need to systematically

bring in potters to bring in people to tell stories, Chief

Blue and others, who know about the stories of the Catawbas.

It just adds to the richness of our common experience in

the Rock Hill area, and our county.

E:Some (one) of these days you will have a list of the Catawba

students who are outstanding in education, or in mechanical

things, or in sports?

T:That is right. We need to know about those successes, like

the Black children need to know about the successes of their

people. So the Catawba children need to know the same about

their own fathers and grandfathers, grandmothers and


E:Well, it has been interesting to see the things that you are

showing me, and I am hoping to meet your wife one of these

days, and she will add to our information.

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