News And Events

ESU Sandhills Branch Holds Shakespeare Competition

The annual ESU Sandhills Branch Shakespeare Competition took place on Saturday February 13 at 3 pm at the Village Chapel of Pinehurst.  
This year's competition, like most everything, required some pivoting.  It was done via a live Zoom feed. We had 3 volunteer judges, Rev. John Jacobs, Allis Rennie, and Joyce Reehling.  They were together in the Village Chapel viewing the live feed from the participating schools on a large screen with a wonderful sound system.  
We had 14 participants—3 from O'Neal, 3 from STARS, 2 from Union Pines, and 6 from Pinecrest.  Once again, the use of the Village Chapel was kindly donated by Rev. Jacobs.  We could not have done it without his wonderful facility and the help of his IT support, Steve McKenzie.
The students did not miss a beat, and all had fantastic performances.  After they each performed a Shakespeare monologue and sonnet,  the judges had the challenging task of choosing a winner.  
The first place winner was Kara Sparks from Pinecrest.  The second place winner was Savannah Telemeco from Union Pines.  The third place winner was Jillian Mann from Pinecrest.  
The competition has been recorded and can be viewed on Youtube using the following link:

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2020-2021 Season

With the health and safety of our members as a top priority, the current season is "on hold" until State guidelines indicate that it is safe to return to our normal meeting format. Until we are able to safely and comfortably gather together again, please take advantage of the Online Happy Hour Series. Further details are available at this link.


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ESU Sandhills 2019-2020 Season:
Celebrating 40 Years of Education, Entertainment & Inspiration

The ESU Sandhills Branch was founded in 1979. During the following 40 years, we welcomed a diverse group of speakers, including:  journalists, an astronaut, a number of Cabinet Secretaries, a former Governor, a TV commentator and, perhaps, a spy.

Please join us – in our 41st year – as we continue our mission of bringing topical, thought-provoking and entertaining programs to our members.  You just never know what you're going to learn!

You can download a copy of our Season booklet by clicking here.

Sep 17, 2019
Happy 40th Birthday to ESU Sandhills
Pinehurst Country Club
4:00-6:00 PM
Join us for a Garden Party with Audrey Moriarty as she describes Pinehurst's evolution over the past 40 years.
Plus, learn more about the upcoming year's programs.
Friends are welcome!

Oct 16, 2019
Pinehurst Country Club
6:00-9:00 PM
Lynne Olson - Bestselling author
Madame Fourcade's Secret War

Nov 20, 2019
Pinehurst Country Club
6:00-9:00 PM
Scott Mason - The Tar Heel Traveler from WRAL
"Stories and Back Stories of North Carolina"

Dec 18, 2019
Pinehurst Country Club
6:00-9:00 PM
Dr. Mardy Grothe - the "Quotesmith"
"Wit and Wordplay in our Mother Tongue"

Jan 15, 2020
Pinehurst Country Club
6:00-9:00 PM
Stephen R. de Angelis - Russian historian
"The Rise of Vladimir Putin and his Engagement of the Presidencies of Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump"
Click here to see pictures

 Feb 19, 2020
Pinehurst Country Club
6:00-9:00 PM
Kory Stamper - Lexicographer and author of Word by Word"
"A (Very) Brief History of the English Language"

Mar 11, 2020
Pinehurst Country Club
6:00-9:00 PM
Dr. Matt Farina - MD and Civil War Historian
"Civil War Medicine: Myth and Reality"

Apr 9, 2020 - CANCELLED
Pinehurst Country Club
6:00-9:00 PM
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - Professor of Ethics at Duke University and author
Think Again - How to Reason and Argue in a Polarized World

May 6, 2020 - CANCELLED
Pinehurst Country Club
6:00-9:00 PM
Shaun Jay - Magician
"Why the World Needs Magic Now"
(He will also perform roving illusions)


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Happy Birthday to ESU Sandhills on Its 40th Birthday By Joyce Reehling

Launching into the 40th year of the English Speaking Union Sandhills branch we should feel a tinge of excitement as we celebrate this remarkable

It is one thing for an organization to start, it is another for it to thrive. And as we move forward with new ideas, new members and a continuously renewed dedication to our Shakespeare Competition and the vital and always exciting Middle School Debate-we are anything but joining the "over the hill gang".


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Life in the White House --- ( they did not burn the house down )

Another packed house enjoyed President Madison and his wife Dolly discuss Washington D.C. in the early 1800's.    They did not "burn the house down" … it was the British.  Dolly confirmed .. she did save the red velvet drapes but the portrait of George Washington was the higher priority.

The audience was both entertained and educated.   The challenge of working to satisfy two parties with vary different views was managed by Mrs. Madison thru her social skills.   The opening of the White House for social occasions that was inclusive of all – politicians, merchants, farmers – all were welcome and all came.  Known as the weekly squeeze it helped define our country.

President Madison, whose great skill with the written word, penned positions from both parties.  This work helped him maintain the communications open and led to his effective guidance of our country through difficult times.  

Mr. Bryan Austin who played President Madison and Ms. Anna Deitel who played Dolly Madison are members of the Historic Life repertory company.   They brought the past to life for a wonderful evening.


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The English-Speaking Union

Sandhills Branch

Sandhills Branch Landmark Photo