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Colleton County Citadel Club annual oyster roast was a shucking good time

Saturday night brought locals and visitors from across the lowcountry to the Colleton County Museum and Farmers Market to celebrate local Citadel Cadets and veterans all while enjoying a favorite salty treat, oysters.   The Colleton County Citadel Club’s annual oyster roast did not leave guest disappointed.  The crowd of over 350 people shucked through 29 bushels of oysters almost as fast as the 300 advanced tickets sold making last year’s 19 bushels look like a small gathering.  Lee Petrolawicz, Colleton County Citadel Club President, could not be any prouder of what this annual event has become.  For him, watching the community come together to honor the Cadets and veterans is something very special.

The event takes months to plan and there are many different working parts to pulling off a successful fundraiser.  Petrolawicz said there were several different folks assigned to various parts of the fundraiser and for that he is thankful.  Cadets showed up to help set up starting around lunch time.  Inside there were tables of hors d’oeuvres set up for all to enjoy.  A 50/50 raffle was available for play allowing one lucky winner to walk away with $ 5,500 more than they came with.  DJ Debi Price played music for all to enjoy.  All of this for a simple cause, the help ease the financial burden of Colleton County Students who attend The Citadel. 

According to the scholarship chairperson, Cindy Riley, a freshman at The Citadel will be looking at tuition around $ 30,000 for their first year alone.  During the first year, Freshman must purchase their uniforms causing the cost to be more than upperclassmen.  The local club has established a scholarship program that can help offset some of the cost.  Students have until May to apply for the local scholarship and first year students do receive a little more than returning students because of the higher tuition.  The only thing that is asked of the Cadets in return is for them to maintain a GPA that has been set by the club and that they be involved in their community.  One way the students are involved locally is through the relationships they have with many veterans at the Veterans Victory House.  Not only did a few of them get to come to the oyster roast, but they also get to hang out together during the fall tailgate event at a Citadel home football game.  This past season, two buses from the Victory House delivered veterans to the tailgate and football game, allowing time for the students and veterans to connect on a very personal level.  Jennifer McMIllan, mother of a cadet and scholarship recipient, is thankful the local club has the scholarship program not only for the financial aspect but also for the support she receives as a parent of a knob, the term for a first year cadet.  “No one can understand what it is like to be a first year parent until they have been there.  I am grateful for the support system the local club promotes and for the community service they encourage the students to engage in.”

In 2016, the group was able to give 3 scholarships.  That number grew in 2017 to 8 scholarships.  The club feels confident they raised enough money to continue offering those 8 and maybe a few more.  For more information on how you can become a member of the Colleton County Citadel Club or how to apply for a scholarship contact any local club member.  The cost to join is only $ 20 and anyone can join.  The Clubs next event will be their muster formation at the Veterans Victory House.

Christie Slocum (542 Posts)