Harriet Bucy always contended that a community partnership was more than just a financial contribution. A real partnership involved families, business and industry, clubs, the faith community and organizations.
Bucy, who died Thursday at the age of 69, proved how important such a partnership could be during her 23 years as the Rock Hill school district's first community leadership director. That partnership has endured.
The Rock Hill school district was among the first in the state to fully embrace mandates in the 1984 Education Improvement Act to involve parents, businesses and the community more in schools. But the EIA did not provide a blueprint for how to do that and, when Bucy signed on, she practically had to invent her own job.
Fortunately, she was not at all reluctant to do that. One goal was to bring in donations, and she was particularly adept at the business end of the job, soliciting millions of dollars worth of donations and volunteer hours each year.
But she also had taught private art classes while her three sons were growing up and had taught art and history at Rawlinson Road Middle School from 1982 to 1985 when the school was a junior high school. So, she brought both a love of art and a passion for educating children to the job.
She worked with Rock Hill Clean & Green to create an environmental education and recycling program. She worked with what then was the Rock Hill Chamber of Commerce to sponsor an education initiative. She enlisted teachers and parents to create the Rock Hill Reads program.
Much of this came under the umbrella of CLASP, the district's Community Leadership and Support Program. Bucy also worked closely with the district's Dropout Prevention Network, New Teacher Institute and America's Promise project, and was active in civic work such as supporting the York County Museum.
Bucy soon was being consulted by other school districts in the state. Rock Hill's program became a model not only for school districts in the state but also nationwide.
Her overarching talent was an ability to bring together people from all parts of the community, from different backgrounds and different lifestyles, all for the purpose of furthering the quality of education. That good work has provided the foundation for programs that will continue to serve the needs of children for generations to come.
A grateful community joins her family and many friends in mourning her loss.