ESU Atlanta Branch

President's Corner

March 22, 2023

There have been a number of interesting and important developments in our Branch over the past fiscal year. It is a privilege to present a number of these, in no particular order.

Our Tlab committee, chaired by Johnnie Zarzeka, selected Pierce Bauer a teacher from Druid Hills high school. He will attend Oxford this summer for a 2-3 week course in the English Literature Program.  Our past winners report that the Tlab experience has been a great help to them in their classrooms.

David Robichaud chairs the Grants Committee, and this year we again provided 2 Manning Pattillo scholarships to Oglethorpe students for summer study in England, We provided one grant for a 2 week visit to London for a teacher and 5 students from Spelman College. This is in conjunction with the IES Abroad program. We also provided a grant to the Atlanta Shakespeare Company to offset costs for teacher interns for their summer program for school children. We provided a grant to the Shakespeare Company to assist the Shakespeare Company professionals who spend time in the Boyce Ansley School teaching Shakespeare to homeless children, ages 4-7.

Our annual Shakespeare Competition did not have the usual number of contestants this year. We held the competition on a Saturday afternoon rather than the usual Sunday afternoon. It appears that the Saturday date conflicts with many high school programs. We will find a way to get back to a Sunday competition. However, the participants did a great job, and we are confident that our Branch winner, Logan Yates from St. Pius X High School, will represent us well next month at the National Competition. Our past 2 Branch winners have been in the top 10 at the National Competition.  Diane and Randy Brannen do a great job organizing this for our Branch. 

It has been great to see an ever-increasing number of Members and guests at our Branch meetings. As usual, Fay Selvage has organized wonderful speakers for us. If you did not attend the brunch this past Friday, you missed an opportunity to hear our Evelyn Wrench speaker, Prof. James Raven, speak about his research on famous writings – some in the B.C. era. His opening remarks, however, were about the influence that the ESU had on his life. As a high school student, he not only entered the local Shakespeare Competition, but he won the national competition. He continues to be involved with the ESU.

Our next program will be on April 27 at 4 PM in the Gould Room at the Cathedral of St. Philip. Preceding the presentation by Diane and Randy Brannen on the Shakespeare Competition, will be a short Branch Annual General Meeting at which time we will vote on the Branch Board for 2023-2024.  Our Nominating Committee Chair, Gloria Norris, has worked diligently to get new Members for our Board.

On Sunday, May 21, we will have our annual Garden Party hosted by the British Consulate General, Rachel Galloway.  She gave a wonderful talk at our Branch Meeting last fall. No doubt that John Selvage will have a Pimm's Cup beverage for us!

I am happy to report that Adam Ogburn will take over as our Treasurer as Edna Berkshire's 3-year term expires at the AGM. Our thanks to his bride, Kimberly Scholes Ogburn, for introducing Adam to our Branch and to our Board as Assistant Treasurer.

At the Branch Board meeting on the 11th, there was lengthy discussion on ways to increase our Membership. It is a top priority for the Board. Don Pattillo, our Past President, has agreed to take on the task of updating our Branch Directory.

I look forward to seeing you at the April 27 meeting.

Charles H. Maddrey, Chairman & President
ESU, Atlanta Branch
3747 Peachtree Rd. NE #1618
Atlanta, GA 30319-1389

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News And Events

2023 Annual Garden Party


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2022 General Membership Meeting


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Grants Activity Report

ESU Atlanta recently funded two additional $6,500 Dr. Manning Pattillo, Jr. Scholarships at Oglethorpe University  Oglethorpe will award the two Scholarships later this year to two Oglethorpe students in good academic standing, who demonstrate how studying abroad will contribute to their academic, professional, and personal aspirations.  


Kharynton Beggs is the most recent recipient of a Dr. Manning Pattillo, Jr., Scholarship; Kharynton recently completed her studies at the University of Oxford and returned to Atlanta earlier this year. Attached below is a news article about Kharynton. Kharynton will be invited to speak at an upcoming ESU Atlanta Membership Meeting about her studies at the University of Oxford.


At the end of 2021 ESU Atlanta made a $2000 grant to the Atlanta Shakespeare Company to help support Atlanta Shakespeare's program at the Boyce L. Ansley School.   Atlanta Shakespeare's program at the Ansley School focuses on the learning and development needs of the Atlanta area's homeless young children.


ESU Atlanta is currently considering creating a scholarship at an Atlanta area HBCU to assist an HBCU student to study abroad. It is expected that more information will be available later this year about this potential scholarship.

Kharynton Beggs '23 was the 2021 recipient of the Manning Pattillo Jr. Scholarship, presented annually by the Atlanta chapter of the English Speaking Union in honor of former Oglethorpe University President Dr. Manning Pattillo.

The scholarship is awarded to an Oglethorpe student in good academic standing, who demonstrates how studying abroad will contribute their academic, professional, and personal aspirations.

Founded in 1920, the ESU is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, which utilizes English as a catalyst to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational opportunities and cultural exchange. 

Beggs has been studying at the University of Oxford in England during the fall semester and will return to Oglethorpe in the spring to complete her junior year. But, she has been planning her study abroad experience for years.

"On my very first visit to Oglethorpe, my tour guide discussed all of the partner schools we had around the world – and from the very first mention of Oxford, I knew that I wanted to go," said Beggs, a psychology major from Charleston, SC, who is a member of the women's golf team and serves as an admission ambassador, peer academic advisor, and development assistant.

Utilizing Oglethorpe's extensive resources, Beggs took every opportunity to learn more about studying abroad.

"I attended information sessions held by the global education office, reached out to previous students who had studied at Oxford, and did my own research about the program and the university itself. While I decided very early on in the process that I wanted to study abroad, it was not without the support of the global education office, my advisor, and my family, that I was able to make this dream a reality."

She encourages other students to also explore studying abroad.

"Oglethorpe offers so many different options, there is a program for everyone. Additionally, there are so many resources out there to help fund your trip, and if money is the biggest concern, look into the cost of living of your desired program and look for external scholarships because there are so many out there."

"Being here in Oxford has been one of the greatest experiences, and I would recommend it to everyone. So, if this is something you really want to do, there are so many ways of getting there and Oglethorpe is extremely supportive in helping you reach your goals!"


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Danielle Reed Branch 2022 TLab Scholar

Danielle Reed is the recipient of our Branch TLab scholarship this year and will apply for a creative writing course at either Oxford or Edinburgh to enhance the writing classes she teaches at the Galloway School in Atlanta. 

She was a winner once before when she taught in Florida and studied at the Globe in London and had an amazing time.  She is a mid-career teacher with many years to influence her students, colleagues and community.


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2020 National Shakespeare Competition

This year's competition was held as usual at the Shakespeare Playhouse on Peachtree St in downtown Atlanta.  There were 24 students from 14 schools. (We accept up to two students per school.)

Click here to view the gallery with more pictures. 

Click here to download Shakespeare Competition Newsletter

1st Place – Arden Adams of Mount Vernon School, teacher Clark Taylor.
2nd Place – Dayan Todd of Tri-Cities High School, teacher Jade Lambert-Smith.
3rd Place – Anne Marie Alsobrook of Westminster High School, teacher Kate Morgens.

Honorable Mention – Veronica Else of DeKalb School of the Arts, teacher Candace Lambert

This is the year of the COVID pandemic, so the national competition did not take place in NYC.  Instead, the wonderfully resilient staff at ESU HQ quickly arranged for students from 49 ESU Branches to submit video of their performances.  These may be seen on ESU's YouTube channel:  2020 Shakespeare Competition Performances  (The competitor from our Atlanta Branch is student #9.)

From these submissions, the judges picked ten finalists.  On April 27 these ten students live-streamed their performances, and the resulting hour-long program may be seen here:  2020 Shakespeare Competition Finalists. The winner was Ava Blum, student of Jim Mahady, at Georgetown Day School.

Preparations for the 2021 competition are already underway.  The Atlanta Shakespeare Playhouse has penciled us in on their calendar for February 21, 2021. Please put it on your calendars too!


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The English-Speaking Union

Atlanta Branch

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