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CCCC math program honors legacy of Audrey James

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Click to enlarge,  Family and friends of Audrey Lee James celebrate the naming of Central Carolina Community College's Audrey Lee James School of Mathematics.

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Family and friends of Audrey Lee James celebrate the naming of Central Carolina Community College's ... (more)

08.09.2015College & CommunityCollege GeneralCurriculum Programs

SANFORD -- Central Carolina Community College has named its mathematics program the Audrey Lee James School of Mathematics.

Audrey Lee James shared her love of math to many of Sanford's young people for more than 40 years. She was a teacher at Sanford Junior High and Sanford Central High School before her retirement in 1978. She passed away in 1986.

Emily Hare, Executive Director of the CCCC Foundation, offered these words of thanks to the James family during the recent ceremony recognizing the naming of the Audrey Lee James School of Mathematics.

"To the James family, the love of your sweet aunt is apparent in the way you speak about her and her love for education. From myself, CCCC President Dr. T.E. Marchant, the faculty and staff of CCCC, but most importantly, the students of this college, we want to say thank you," said Hare. "Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for helping us change lives. Thank you for helping us make Lee County a better place to live. We just can't say thank you enough for all you have done for this college. You are making dreams come true."

George Lucier, a CCCC Trustee and former chairman of the CCCC Foundation, added his thanks. "A special thanks to the James family for all you've done for Central Carolina Community College," he said. "Audrey James was an extraordinary woman. We're so pleased to name the School of Mathematics after her. We appreciate greatly the generosity of the James family."

David James, a nephew of Audrey Lee James, spoke lovingly of his aunt. "Our Aunt Audrey was dear to us as helping us grow up properly in Sanford," he said. "Of course, she taught many generations of Sanford citizens and math education meant so much to her we felt like starting a scholarship in her name was an appropriate thing to do.

"We're just so pleased that naming the math department after her will continue her legacy in math education and our family hopes to stand by and support the math department for years to come. So thank you for bestowing this honor on our beloved Aunt Audrey."

Among those attending the ceremony was CCCC Math Instructor Fred Fritz, who has been at the college for 17 years. "This is a tremendous opportunity for the mathematics department," he said. "The longer I teach, the more I appreciate those who have gone before me and have paved the path for us to dedicate to the mathematics curriculum."

Audrey Lee James was born in Laurinburg in 1913 to Arthur A. James and Hattie McCauley James. She graduated from Women's College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) in 1934 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. She taught in Chesterfield and Gastonia briefly before moving, in the late 1930s, to Sanford, where her parents had retired. From then until her retirement, she dedicated her life to helping youth learn to do and love mathematics.

Among Audrey Lee James' former students is Sanfordian Wayne Staton, who has been a long-time friend of the James family. Staton said that Ms. James was a great teacher. "I got a good basic higher math education," Staton said of his instruction from Ms. James.

Another of her former students is Ed Underwood, husband of CCCC Trustee Martha Underwood. "Audrey James was a wonderful high school math teacher. She loved math and encouraged her students to enthusiastically embrace the concepts of higher mathematics," said Underwood. "I have fond memories of being in her class back in the early 1950s, which inspired me to pursue a research engineering career at Bell Laboratories based on the mathematics I learned in Sanford."

CCCC Trustee Norman "Chip" Post Jr. says that both he and his father, Norman Post Sr., had Ms. James as a math teacher. Norman Post Sr. left high school to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He returned at the end of the war and went on to finish Sanford High School. "My recollection is that he had very fond memories of the younger Ms. James as a teacher," said Chip Post.

Chip Post had Ms. James as his Algebra teacher during his junior year at Sanford Central High School. "She was famous by then, having taught since the '40s, and she definitely knew her subject matter," said Post. "I remember so well Ms. James teaching, writing on the chalkboard, and erasing with such enthusiasm that chalk dust would be flying everywhere and would end up on her hands, her face, and her clothes.

"She had a true passion for her profession," said Post. "She was a great teacher and she was always very pleasant."

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