ESU Atlanta Branch

President's Corner

October 24, 2023

Report on Annual Meeting held in Kansas City; and Upcoming Events:  Wrench Speaker Luncheon on November 19, and Annual Christmas Party on December 16th

Dear Members,

After being swept up in a tornado this past weekend, I found that I had landed in Kansas City, not in the land of Oz, but in the land of ESU; specifically, at the Annual ESU Meeting!  All in attendance had a whirlwind tour of the ESU constellation in the United States, Great Britain and beyond.  From this experience, I am delighted to say that I have confidence that this great organization will not only survive but is on the path to flourish and expand.  

The main event was the welcome dinner during which I was honored to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Dr. Manning Pattillo of our branch.  It was clear everyone was touched by his enormous contributions over these many years. Our Chairman, Charles Maddrey, headed up the effort to submit Dr. Pattillo for this national award.   

Don Pattillo, Board Member, and past Board President of the Atlanta Branch, as well as Diane and Randy Brannen, Chairs of the Shakespeare Competition, were in attendance.  Don was a solid and loyal contributor, and I am sure will have news to report on his own.  

During the weekend, we had many structured discussion sessions; Diane and Randy were very knowledgeable about the Shakespeare competitions.  Communication with the many schools within the complicated mazes of school districts has become a chronic problem for many of the branches, and Diane and Randy were able to share their formulas for success derived from many years of experience and solid judgment in this area.  Diane and Randy are not only Chairs of our Branch Shakespeare Competition, but are also Chairs of the Savannah Branch Competition, in addition to being Co-Presidents of the Savannah Branch.

I learned a great deal from our own members in attendance, as well as the other branch leaders, and look forward to sharing some of the good ideas I was able to glean.  I was exposed to many practical ideas regarding increasing membership, and creating productive partnerships with other organizations which I will touch on at our next meeting, November 19th at the Ansley Golf Club.   

After we landed in Kansas City this weekend, not only did we have a full weekend of productive learning and discussion, but we also had a lot of fun.  Among other things, we sampled Kansas City's best BBQ, toured the World War I Memorial, and had a fascinating tour of the Hallmark Museum.  Did you know that the founder of Hallmark, Joyce C. Hall, partnered with Winston Churchill to produce some of their greeting cards featuring Churchill's paintings?  We also heard from the Poet Laureate of Missouri, Maryfrances Wagner, who spoke about her inspiring Haiku project and conducted a book signing.  

Please consider going to next year's Annual Meeting which will be held in Cleveland, Ohio on October 18-21st, 2024.  This will be partnered with the International ESU Council Meeting, so this will be an opportunity not only to meet members in other branches domestically, but also to meet your counterparts in the ESU in other countries.   

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Ansley Golf Club on November 19th featuring Wrench Speaker, Flora Fraser.  Please RSVP for this event which is sure to be of great scholarly interest! 

Lastly, please mark your calendar for our annual Christmas party which will be held on Saturday, December 16th at Lenbrook located at 3747 Peachtree Rd., NE, Atlanta, 30319.  Please bring your friends, and come eat, drink, and be merry!  Details forthcoming including RSVP instructions.  

If anyone has any ideas or questions, please call me.  My cell phone number is (678) 923-4702. 


Susan Phillips
President, Atlanta Branch ESU

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News And Events

General Membership Meeting - February 15

General Membership Meeting

Thursday, February 15, 2024 @ 4pm


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Dr. Manning Patillo Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Manning Patillo's contributions to the English Speaking Union were recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the October 2023 ESUUS National Conference. Charles Maddrey, Board Chair, presented the award to Dr. Patillo's daughter.

Dr. Manning Patillo joined the Atlanta Branch of the ESU in 1975 and served in many leadership roles over the years. As President and then Board Chairman, he led the Branch in implementing financial policies that continue to benefit us to this day, and in providing programs and community outreach that support ESU activities.


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The 2024 National Shakespeare Competition Starts Now!

News Photo

We are pleased to announce the kick-off of the ESU's National Shakespeare Competition! Schools in our region may enter now, giving students the opportunity to compete in The Atlanta Branch Competition.  The winner of the branch competition will travel to NYC to compete in the national finals at Lincoln Center!  


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2023 Teaching and Learning Abroad Scholar

Pierson Bauer
2023 Teaching and Learning Abroad Scholar

English Speaking Union Atlanta

The Atlanta branch of the English Speaking Union (ESU) is delighted to announce that Pierson Bauer has been awarded our Teaching and Learning Abroad (TLaB) Scholarship for 2023. Pierce teaches in the English Language Arts Department at Druid Hills High School in DeKalb County. He teaches British Literature and  journalism,  and sponsors the student newspaper. Pierce plans to use this scholarship to study English Literature at Exeter College, Oxford, this summer. The scholarship, for active classroom teachers, fully funds a study abroad program and provides a travel stipend.  

Pierce shares that  "In British Literature classes at Druid Hills, the majority of my students are in their final year of school, and this course, for many, is the final literature class they will ever take. If I can impart to them my knowledge from my time studying at Oxford, that would provide a unique opportunity for my students to grow as literature scholars in their final year before graduating high school."

ESU Atlanta wishes Pierce a successful summer of study as he prepares to spend July in Oxford, and that this experience enhances his connection to his students, colleagues, and community.


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2023 Annual Garden Party


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The English-Speaking Union

Atlanta Branch

Atlanta Branch Landmark Photo