ESU Research Triangle NC Branch Photo Gallery

Fall Fling

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Kay's 9/11 table decorations

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Our hostess Kay with Francine Roberson

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Fall Fling

On September 11, our membership gathered at the home of Kay Schoellhorn for fellowship, delicious party food and refreshments.


Everyone enjoyed catching up after the summer season in the lovely setting of Kay's home.

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Annual Meeting and Dinner with Phil Kirk

On April 28, 2022, members and guests gathered at the Woman's Club of Raleigh for the annual meeting and dinner, featuring speaker Phil Kirk, who has served as Secretary of NC Human Resources, Chair of the NC State Board of Education, and President of the NC Chamber of Commerce, among many other leadership roles in government, education, business, and community affairs. Mr. Kirk spoke on the many governors he has known and entertained us with lively insider observations.

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Presentation on Historic Halifax by Carl Burke

On March 6, 2022, members gathered at the NC State University Club in Raleigh for a buffet luncheon and a fascinating talk by Carl Burke, site manager at Historic Halifax State Historic Site. Located on the Roanoke River, the town of Halifax developed into a commercial and political center at the time of the American Revolution. North Carolina's Fourth Provincial Congress met in Halifax in the spring of 1776. On April 12 that body unanimously adopted a document later called the "Halifax Resolves," which was the first official action by an entire colony recommending independence from England.

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2022 Shakespeare Competition

On February 17, 2022, the annual ESU Student Shakespeare Competition was held at Kenan Auditorium at William Peace University in Raleigh, NC. The event was also broadcast simultaneously on Zoom.

Ten students from area high schools competed, presenting excerpts from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets, and were judged by three local judges.

The winner was Max Vincent from Research Triangle High School, the first runner up was Ruby Chambers from Enloe High School, and the second runner up was Alex Fluker from Panther Creek High School.

Laura Levine, Theater Arts Director at Apex High School, helped coordinate the event, and Betsy Moye, President, represented the Research Triangle Branch.

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Luncheon with Ira David Wood III

On Sunday, December 5, 2022, members were treated to luncheon with a wonderful talk by Ira David Wood III at the beautiful Carolina Country Club in Raleigh. Mr. Wood regaled us with the moving story of how he came to his acting career, his influences, his creation of his play "Scrooge" based on the Charles Dickens character, and his directorship of the Theatre in the Park in Raleigh.

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Beer, Bluegrass, and Barbecue

On October 31, 2021, members enjoyed a festive Halloween event of "Beer, Bluegrass, and Barbecue" at Wake County's oldest social club, the Milburnie Fishing Club in Raleigh. We were treated to a delicious buffet luncheon and toe-tapping music by Russell Johnson and the Carolina Bluegrass Band. The weather was perfect!

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Garden Party at Governor's Mansion

On September 18, 2021, members enjoyed a lovely garden party with tea and finger foods at the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh. A docent gave a guided tour of the flower and vegetable gardens. The weather was delightful!

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2021 Student Shakespeare Competition

On February 18, 2021, an at-home audience enjoyed watching high school students from the area perform in the annual ESU Student Shakespeare Competition, held online by Zoom for the first time ever due to the pandemic.

Nine students competed with their pre-recorded excerpts from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets, and were judged online by three local judges. This year's winners were:

First Place, Julia Prabel, from Research Triangle High School, who performed as Queen Elizabeth in "Richard III" and Sonnet 29

Second Place, Britannia Howard, from Garner Area Homeschoolers, who performed as King Henry in "Henry V" and Sonnet 82

Third Place, Sydney Kain, from Panther Creek High School, who performed as Helen in "All's Well That Ends Well" and Sonnet 146.

Laura Levine, Theater Arts Director at Apex High School, helped coordinate the event. Watching from their homes were parents, teachers, friends, and a number of ESU members, including Research Triangle Branch president Betsy Moye, who spoke a few words of appreciation for the terrific job all the students did.

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2020 Student Shakespeare Competition

On February 27, 2020, the audience enjoyed watching high school students from the area perform in the annual ESU Student Shakespeare Competition, held at William Peace University, Raleigh. Thirteen students competed with excerpts from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. This year's winners were: first place, Soraiah Williams, from Panther Creek High School, who performed as Cleopatra in "Antony and Cleopatra" and Sonnet 91; second place, Rebekah Walker, from Garner Area Homeschoolers, who performed as Isabella in "Measure for Measure" and Sonnet 91; and third place, Safie Anderson, from Wake Forest High School, who performed as Constance in "King John" and Sonnet 6. Bob Leak, past president of the Research Triangle Chapter, presented Ms. Williams with a beautiful crystal award, generously sponsored by long-time ESU supporter Alice Irby. Laura Levine, Theater Arts Director at Apex High School, helped coordinate the event.

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Warren Bingham Speaks on George Washington's Southern Tour of 1791

On February 16, 2020, ESU members were delighted by Warren Bingham's entertaining presentation about George Washington's tour of the South in 1791. Washington visited Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia as part of his plan to visit the 13 states during his presidential term. The event, held at the University Club in Raleigh, included a delicious buffet luncheon.

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Twelfth Night at Governor's Mansion, Raleigh

On January 5, 2020, members enjoyed a lovely buffet luncheon with an English-themed menu, and English Christmas carols performed by NC Symphony harpist Anita Burroughs-Price. The event was held at the historic Governor's Mansion in Raleigh. ESU president Betsy Moye spoke about the tradition of Twelfth Night.

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Performance of the play "The Night Before Christmas Carol"

On December 8, 2019, at the Carolina Country Club in Raleigh, members were treated to the charming one-man play "The Night Before Christmas Carol," about Charles Dickens creating his famous work. The comedy was written by Elliott Engel and starred David Zum Brunnen. Members also enjoyed a delightful afternoon tea.

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Jim Beckwith Speaks on Sir Archy, Famed Racehorse, at Hope Reins Farm

On October 19, 2019, guests enjoyed a BBQ luncheon and a talk by Jim Beckwith on the famed racehorse Sir Archy, presented at Hope Reins Ranch in Raleigh. Barbara Foulkrod, Hope Reins VP, explained how the ranch rescues abandoned horses and restores them to health, bringing in children in crisis who help care for the horses and bond with them.

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Francine Netter Roberson speaks about her father, Dr. Frank Netter

On September 22, 2019, guests enjoyed a fascinating presentation by Francine Netter Roberson about her father, Dr. Frank Netter, the esteemed medical illustrator, and her book about him, Medicine's Michelangelo. The talk, held at the Cypress Club in Raleigh, was followed with a wine and cheese reception.

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Annual Meeting and Dinner

On May 7, 2019, members were treated to a delicious meal and a fascinating talk on "English as a Global Language" by Dr. John Chilman at the Annual Meeting and Dinner at the Cypress Club in Raleigh. In addition, we enjoyed a presentation by high school student Ming-Xiao Porter, winner of the ESU regional Shakespeare competition as well as a finalist at the national competition in New York City.

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Garden Party at JC Raulston Arboretum

On April 23, 2019, members gathered to celebrate spring at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh for a tasty luncheon and a presentation by floral designer Steve Taras of Watered Garden Studio. Members also enjoyed strolling the grounds of the celebrated garden.

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Lou Johanson Speaks on Pocahontas

On March 24, 2019, at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design on NC State's campus in Raleigh, Lou Johanson regaled us at a reception with the remarkable story of Pocahontas, from Jamestown to England's Royal Court.

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Student Shakespeare Competition

On February 21, 2019, we were treated to an enjoyable evening with high school students from around the area competing in the annual ESU Student Shakespeare Competition, held at William Peace University, Raleigh. Fourteen students competed and gave remarkable performances of excerpts from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. This years winners were: first place, Xiao-Ming Porter; second place, Morgan Swales; third place, Riley Simutami. Research Triangle Chapter President Bob Leak presented Miss Porter with a beautiful crystal award, generously sponsored by long-time ESU supporter Alice Irby.

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Twelfth Night Luncheon at Governor's Mansion

On January 6, 2019, members enjoyed a wonderful English-themed buffet luncheon at the festively decorated Governor's Mansion in Raleigh, with music by harpist Anita Burroughs-Price. Apex High School drama teacher Laura Levine, winner of our branch's 2018 TLab scholarship, gave a presentation on her summer study experience at the University of Edinburgh.

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Jane Gabin speaks on Jennie Jerome Churchill

On October 21, 2018, guests were treated to a delicious buffet lunch and a delightful talk by Dr. Jane Gabin on the colorful life of socialite Jennie Jerome Churchill, Winston Churchill's mother, at the Carolina Country Club in Raleigh.

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Tom Earnhardt Speaks at Milburnie Fishing Club

On September 23, 2018, outdoorsman and conservationist Tom Earnhardt presented a delightful, enlightening historical look at North Carolina's richly diverse land. We enjoyed a buffet lunch at the Milburnie Fishing Club in Raleigh, including BBQ chicken and pulled pork, oyster casserole, and black-eyed peas.

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Annual Meeting and Dinner, with Presentation by Fred Kiger on Gettysburg

On May 1, 2018, we held our annual meeting and dinner at the Cypress Club in Raleigh. After a report on past accomplishments, a financial update, and election of officers and board members, we had an entertaining presentation by UNC Professor Fred Kiger about the Battle of Gettysburg and its historical significance, with a focus on Lincoln's address. Guests enjoyed a delicious buffet meal with a British theme of salad, green beans, mashed potatoes, chicken piccata, beef tenderloin with Yorkshire pudding, and sticky toffee trifle.

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Page-Rollins White Garden Tour and Luncheon

We welcomed spring on April 19, 2018, with a visit to the Page-Rollins White Garden at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University in Durham. The White Garden was inspired by the white-flowered cottage gardens of England. The event was hosted by Frances Rollins, who told us about how she planned the garden as a tribute to her parents.

Bill LeFevre, the Executive Director of the Gardens, and Jason Holmes, Curator of the Gardens, gave presentations, after which we toured the lovely white garden. After the tour we returned to the Doris Duke Center for a delicious catered lunch.

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David Crabtree speaks at University Club Luncheon

On March 11, 2018, David Crabtree, news anchor at NBC's WRAL-TV, spoke on "The Power of Words and the Media" at NC State's University Club in Raleigh. Guests enjoyed a delicious luncheon as they heard about David's remarkable career as a journalist. David is also an ordained Deacon in the Episcopal church. Preceding the luncheon, we were treated to a brief recitation by Morgan Swales, winner of the recent student Shakespeare Competition.

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Twelfth Night at the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh

Guests enjoyed a Twelfth Night Celebration at the North Carolina Executive Mansion on January 7. A buffet lunch with an English-themed menu was served, including Brussels sprouts, Shepherd's Pie, watercress salad, and treacle cake for dessert. Director David Robinson told us about the history of the mansion, and Anita Burroughs-Price, noted NC Symphony harpist, played English Christmas carols.

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Fall Luncheon at Midway Plantation Manor House, home of Charlie and Dena Silver, Raleigh

On November 5, we enjoyed delightful afternoon with a delicious buffet lunch at historic Midway Plantation, an 1848 Greek Revival plantation house in Raleigh, home of Charlie and Dena Silver. We were treated to a talk by Charlie about the history of this beautiful home, listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites.

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Lunch and Tour of "North Carolina and World War I" Exhibit at NC Museum of History, Raleigh

On September 24, we enjoyed a wonderful buffet lunch and a tour of the North Carolina Museum of History's fascinating exhibit, "North Carolina and World War I." The exhibit commemorates the centennial of the U.S. entry into the war in 1917, with a focus on North Carolina's role and stories of Tar Heel bravery. The 6,500-square-foot exhibit is believed to be the largest state history museum exhibit of its kind.

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2017 Annual Dinner Meeting, with Rev. Phillip Fackler speaking on "What's So Common about The Book of Common Prayer?

At the 2017 Annual Meeting, the Rev. Phillip Fackler spoke on "What's So Common about The Book of Common Prayer?  The Church of England and Its Founding Document: A Brief History" in the newly renovated Commons at historic Christ Church Episcopal, in downtown Raleigh. Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner.

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Region IV Annual Meeting, March 24-26 in Raleigh

We met old friends and made new ones from the various branches in Virginia and North Carolina, and heard presentations by Christopher Broadwell, ESU Executive Director, and Dr. Julia C. Van de Water, Regional Chair. Weekend events included: Welcome Dinner Friday night at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course Clubhouse on the Centennial Campus; Annual Meeting and Lunch Saturday morning at the Hampton Inn Crabtree; Gala Dinner Saturday evening at the Carolina Country Club featuring the always-entertaining Dr. Elliott Engel speaking on Winston Churchill; Farewell Brunch Sunday morning at the North Carolina State University Club.

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John White and the First Pictures of the New World

A talk given by Jenny Skinner on February 5, 2017, on the travels and artwork of John White, whose watercolors were the first pictures of the New World.

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Fellowship and BBQ at Milburnie Fishing Club

Event held on November 13, 2016, in Raleigh.

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First Folio Gala, May 6, 2016

On Friday, May 6, 2016, the ESU Research Triangle Branch hosted a gala exhibit preview and private cocktail reception at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. The evening was a grand celebration of the opening of the exhibit of a 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare's plays, on national tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.

All photos are by Kent Thompson from the NC Museum of History.

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2014 Shakespeare Competition
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Lord and Lady Lisvane

On April 22 Lord and Lady Lisvane visited Raleigh. Lord Lisvane is retired Clerk of the House of Commons. In the evening we hosted a dinner at the University Club in the Lisvanes honor and he entertained us with his wonderful talk on the Magna Carta. 

Pictured: Claire Bonney, Branch Vice-president; Lord Lisvane; Lady Lisvane; Francine Netter Roberson, Branch President; Ken Howard, Director North Carolina Museum of History 

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Nicole Barone Performing in the 2012 ESU National Shakespeare Competition

Nicole Barone represented the Research Triangle, NC Branch in this year's ESU National Shakespeare Competition held at Lincoln Center in New York City on April 23, 2012.

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Shakespeare at Governors' Club

An Evening Devoted to Shakespeare
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Invited by the Governor's Club Arts society, Branch president Francine Netter Roberson introduced the ESU and its mission, and the exciting visit of Shakespeare's First Folio coming in May 2016 to the North Carolina Museum of History. Michelle McGoogan, Branch winner, 2015 National Shakespeare Competition, won over the audience with a recitation of her competition performance. Dr. Mary Floyd-Wilson, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor, UNC College of Arts & Sciences provided a comparative analysis across a number of plays and speeches.
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Francine Netter Roberson, Branch President; Michelle McGoogan, 2015 Shakespeare Competition winner; Dr. Mary Floyd-Wilson, Prof. of English at UNC; Koko Marie Thornton, Theater teacher Enloe HS; Matt Arnold, Arts Society host at Governors' Club

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Milburnie Fall Outing

The Research Triangle Branch of the ESU gathered on October 23, 2022 for a Fall Outing at Milburnie Fishing Club, one of Wake County's Oldest Social Clubs, which has been hosting governors, legislators, and prominent Raleigh families for 100 years. The Fall colors were breathtaking in the wonderful rural lake setting. Members and guests enjoyed beverages including NC wines and gathered around a roaring fire in the clubhouse before enjoying a delicious traditional barbecue luncheon including Milburnie's famous oyster casserole. Following dessert, Phil Kirk entertained all present with a very informative talk on the wine industry in North Carolina and it's extensive growth in a few short years. All left planning a visit to a NC winery in the near future.

  

The English-Speaking Union

Research Triangle NC Branch