Women’s club members grow and give together
Lingering on the final notes of “White Christmas,” the voices of the young men and women swelled and then hushed in the chilly November air. The twenty-five students of Georgetown High School’s Show Choir “Encore!” bowed deeply to the enthusiastic applause that erupted from the watching women. The students had performed a special preview of their upcoming musical revue “A Holiday to Remember” for the monthly meeting of the Georgetown Study Club. The audience members stood to their feet and continued to cheer, wide smiles animating their faces.
“It was a delightful Christmas choral program,” remembers Dixie Wilkinson, president of the nearly seventy-five-year-old women’s organization that counts roughly forty dedicated members among its ranks and devotes time every month to learning and growing together. “Our meetings are [usually] in members’ homes, but the choral program was presented outside. The weather had a chill in the air, but it was comfortable and certainly fit the season. [After the performance], we fed the students and sent them back to school. They wanted to stay, but their teacher said no. They were so sweet and talented.”
Since chartering in the fall of 1939, the Georgetown Study Club’s commitment to learning has remained largely unchanged. That year, Mrs. Ralph Freund, one of the group’s founding members, made a phone call to a few close friends and shared her idea for a women’s club that would offer educational programs. The group embraced this vision and established thematic monthly programs.
“The purpose of the Georgetown Study Club was to give many women the opportunity to become better informed on many subjects,” explains Margie Boyd, history consultant for the club. “I have been [a member] for five years, which is a very short time compared to [how long] most of the ladies [have participated]. There is so much talent, energy, and intelligence that I consider it a privilege to belong. Our programs are interesting and informative, such as a tour of the Palace Theater and [the] library and talks from a WWII veteran, the Human Resources Director for the Georgetown Independent School District, [and] . . . a woman who flies her own plane.”
In time, club members also developed a vision for supporting young women in their educational pursuits. In the 1970s, the women decided to provide a college scholarship every year for a Georgetown High School senior.Starting with a modest $100 for the first award, the women slowly increased the scholarship amount every year. By 2009, the award equaled $1,000, and in 2012, the group was able to provide scholarships for two young women, one who became a student at the University of Texas at Austin and the other who became a journalism major at Texas Tech University.
“We are proud of our scholarship program,” Margie says. “One of our scholarship recipients worked for HEB while . . . attending college. She is now in HEB’s management program. Our recipient of four years ago will graduate from the University of Texas at Austin this spring. It is rewarding to . . . see that our future is in [the] capable hands . . . [of] these wonderful young ladies.” Longtime members Linda-Marie Rice and Mary Fink agree with the importance of the scholarship program. Mary explains, “[These] young women . . . are such an encouragement and hope for the future of our community . . . and world.”
This coming year, the Georgetown Study Club will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding. The women plan to hold a number of commemorative events, such as a 1930s-era costume tea, and they may publish a comprehensive history of the club as well. Margie says that they hope to be able to present such a history to members during the anniversary celebration in September 2014. Dixie explains, “We have a year to plan. We [want to have] past presidents present, and we may try to dress as if it were 1939. We have big plans for the 75th anniversary.”
In the meantime, the women continue to enjoy diverse educational programs—such as a presentation by Sun City geologist Don Beaumont and a performance by Georgetown composer Carlie Burdett—while deepening valued friendships. “Our monthly programs are up-to-date, informational, [and] inspiring,” says Linda-Marie. “I have found the experience to be rewarding and stimulating.” Marj Allen, who has been a member for more than a decade, agrees: “[This] continues to be the highlight of each month for me, gathering with dear, talented friends to hear interesting and challenging programs to enrich our lives.”
Interested in joining the Georgetown Study Club? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.