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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) A New Hanover County School Board member received a prestigious, national award for public service. Elizabeth Redenbaugh was awarded the JFK Profile in Courage Award this morning at a ceremony in Boston.

Redenbaugh joined the school board in 2008. Since then, she has repeatedly voted against proposed redistricting plans to form neighborhood schools.

“Education really is a civil rights issue of our time, and Elizabeth showed incredible courage to stand up and remind the community of that when it’s not an easy thing to do,” Caroline Kennedy said during an interview today on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Redenbaugh received the Profile in Courage Award for her stance during the county’s middle school redistricting. She says she refused to vote in favor of any redistricting plan where the majority of students at a school qualify for a free or reduced lunch. She has also said that neighborhood schools would in most cases concentrate poor, black children, which would set them up for failure.

During her acceptance speech at the JFK Library in Boston, Redenbaugh admitted feeling humbled.

“Like Caroline said, I am an attorney, and I am an elected official, but let’s be honest, I am a school board member in the second smallest county in the state of North Carolina, which puts me really at the bottom of the political food chain,” she said.

Peggy McKan, who lives in downtown Wilmington, says Redenbaugh’s speech was inappropriate. She says she feels Redenbaugh should have talked up New Hanover County, but instead chose to cast it in a bad light.

“It doesn’t lend any credibility to her representing the folks who live here,” McKan said. “It makes us sound small. I think it’s sad that somebody who’s representing New Hanover County should kind of demean it the way she did.”

Redenbaugh joins the ranks of US presidents and Congressmen who have also been honored with the Profile in Courage Award, but fellow school board member Janice Cavenaugh seems to think Redenbaugh did not deserve such a prestigious honor.

“I don’t understand a Profile in Courage award for a board member who won’t even send her own children to inner city schools,” Cavenaugh told the StarNews last month. “Ms. Redenbaugh espouses one position but does not abide by her own position… When the computerized map based on the Wake County diversity model sent her neighborhood to an inner city school. She vigorously opposed that move. That to me is not a profile in courage.”

An Egyptian Google executive who helped start the Egyptian revolution through a Facebook page also received the award, which is named for President John F. Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Profiles in Courage.”


Comment on this Story

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    …when you wealth redistribution sob-sisters adopt an attitude of intellectual superiority.

    Look, I was willing to admit that I hate you thieving bast**ds with a passion that could move mountains. The least you could do is admit that you ARE thieving bast**ds. I have no idea how I can clarify my position any stronger for you.

    If you believe that the government’s job is to penalize some people to further advance others, then you have absolutely no concept of “equal protection of law” or the basic premise that all men are created equal.

    It has been my good fortune to know, work with, and hire several successful Blacks and I can assure you that NONE of them achieved success in school or life by being bused out to suburbia. They ALL had at least one caring parent (most had two) who got them out of the ghetto and onto a path where they could succeed. They weren’t allowed to run the streets at all hours of the night, they weren’t allowed to cut school, and there was never a doubt as to what kind of behavior was expected of them and what conduct would not be accepted.

    It’s amazing how color becomes a “non-factor” when a person is articulate, intelligent, knows how to dress, and lives within the norms of society.

    Best wishes to you, too. Hope you have a great Summer. Might I recommend climbing El Capitan or cliff-diving in Acapulco?

  • Guestsnc

    Going back and forth with you, “Commonsense” has been fun (but also kind of sad). It hasn’t really been “fair” because I’ve been using my “shiny object” syndrome approach in responding to your very interesting posts. But, by doing that it has allowed you to truly demonstrate the depths of your inability to clearly and rationally articulate your position (my opinion, of course)!

    Believe me, I’m smiling as I write this! It’s “been real” but now I gotta go.

    Best wishes to you and yours (and that I sincerely mean)!

  • Guestsnc

    Fortunately, we live in a country where everyone can express themselves on just about anything. Even better, the internet/new technology “frees” people up to say things that are truly in their heart!

  • Guest99x

    Well, Brock, ya’ caught me red handed! At least I don’t hold elected office…

  • GuestYt

    All she needs is a big red nose to go with that clown head. Stop joking with everyone Redenbaugh. Tell the truth about the dropout rate. Put up or shut up with the documents you say you have.

  • Guestsnc


    The NC curriculum includes social studies which focuses upon I believe the structure of our government and community — teaching students the foundations of our democratic society. With that teaching, wouldn’t we hope that our young people would love their country and want to support its laws, and defend it through military service if they are led to do so?

    Hopefully through school our students would learn to love as well as value, education and learning.

    Again, back to the other question — the neighborhood schools policy is the stated policy of NHC Public Schools. The policy is in force. Why so many postings with what seem to be negative tones?

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    It’s because I, for one, despise you liberals and wish you’d all be taken away in some kind of anti-rapture. (In other words, the direction you’d be going in wouldn’t be “up.”)

    Liberals only want to take, take, take from the productive members of society. The only difference between a mugger on the street corner and your average liberal is that the mugger is honest enough to admit what he is.

  • Guestsnc

    Love is at the heart of good teaching and what makes great teachers! A teacher can have strong command of their subject but students (and parents) will quickly realize that they are not passionate about teaching, and love what they’re doing. The very best teachers can connect with any student regardless of income, culture, learning abilities, etc. They obviously need support — the more the better. Even without a lot of it, teachers can still do amazing things!

    And good schooling teaches love (I believe). It teaches love of learning, love of community and its institutions, love of country, and love of self. If it was not so important why would there be so many posts here? I mentioned sharing these online posts with students because they really are full of examples that can be applied to math, reading and language arts, history, public service, and respect for others. Not to mention, the impact of technology (internet posting) upon the type of comments people are willing to make about others.

    Back to my earlier question: If neighborhood school position won, without Ms. Redenbaugh’s support, why all of these messages?

  • Brock

    I don’t even know what a real Republican is these days. According to the Tea Party they are the real republicans and had to fracture off to become a more pure entity of conservative bastionhood. Its sad that the Republican party is polarized towards partisanship that they can’t even recognize the spectrums from left-wing to left-leaning.

    So far all I’ve been able to figure out is that Republicans like guns, God, and money. They want government out of their affairs, unless it comes to a woman’s private right to abortion and a homosexual’s right to marriage.

  • Brock

    It helps if you compare boundaries uniformly. You included all the water in NHC (199 sq mi land, 129 sq mi water). If you want to include total boundaries for NYC it actually embodies about 468.9 square miles, while its metropolitan area is close to 6,720 square miles.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Love isn’t a subject for school, Sweetpea. That’s supposed to be taught at home and in church.

    School prepares you for working in real life, where it’s ALWAYS survival of the fittest.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    When are you going to realize that slavery, the Klan, Jim Crow, they’re ALL in the ancient past, and can’t be used as an excuse for failure any more?

    How is it possible that we have a Black president? A Black Associate Justice of the Supreme Court? Two former Black Secretaries of State? More Black millionaires than ever before?

    I’ll tell you how – Black people by the millions have awakened and realized that the government will give you just enough to KEEP you in the ghetto, and nothing more. If you want to make something of yourself or see your children succeed, get off your rear and get OUT of that swinepit that exists between 17th and 5th.

    You want your kids to go to better schools? Move to better neighborhoods.

    Your worst enemy isn’t the Klan, it’s your self-defeating, victimized, “woe-is-me” mentality. You THINK you can’t succeed and you then never fail to achieve that very simple goal.

    Some day you may realize that people like Ms. Redenbaugh do nothing but forge invisible chains of dependence that are just as enslaving as the real ones were.

  • Guest0516

    “I don’t understand a Profile in Courage award for a board member who won’t even send her own children to inner city schools,” Cavenaugh told the StarNews last month. “Ms. Redenbaugh espouses one position but does not abide by her own position… When the computerized map based on the Wake County diversity model sent her neighborhood to an inner city school. She vigorously opposed that move. That to me is not a profile in courage.”

    Has the uber-earnest Ms. Redenbaugh addressed this little nugget?

  • ebf

    Um, that was the NOBEL Prize.

  • Guestsnc

    Didn’t neighborhood schools policy become the NHC Schools policy? Why all these posts then, if those who supported it are the “winners”? Ms. Redenbaugh’s position lost — or did it?

    Would be great to copy and share with every child in New Hanover County Schools — each of these posts. Suburban children and inner city children. Let them read how their “elders” talk about them, about their elected officials, about their parents, schools, teachers and community.

    The teachers in each class can use these posts to cover math, history, psychology, reading, language arts and social studies. Will they learn about love?

    Better yet, send all these posts to the local places of worship and use it to frame the next sermon or lesson.

    Keep them coming! You only show others what you’re made of.

  • Guest228

    anymore, dosent mean it dont exist..and for you to state that they are no longer “needed” just affirms that you are a member..

    you are right about busing kids to holly shelter will only hurt the town business but the agenda of the BOE has always to put all the black/poverty kids in Holly Shelter and Williston..leaving Virgo open another year from last year decision only try to convince people that segregation wasnt the BOE intentions..but in fact it has only confirmed that being sneaky with the BOE delay plans shows why NHC was called out and Ms. Redenbaugh was given the award..Keep fighting for our children Ms. Redenbaugh!!

  • Guest99x

    Gee, another left-wing hissy fit! So perfect in form. Your argument is unwinnable by persuasion, so you turn to insult and invective. Just because we in New Hanover County have rejected your brand of social engineering by the election of a conservative BOE doesn’t make us backward and ignorant.

    If you and Ms. Redenbaugh REALLY believe in your cause, get to work and find support. Oh, sorry for suggesting this, you are better than the rest of us. Start campaigning, stop pontificating…

  • Guest411

    If her children attend private schools, why is she a member of the NHCBOE? If the decisions she helps to make have no effect on her family, she should no be allowed to make decisions that effect other people’s children.

  • wooduck

    thanks to all the self-less, devoted teachers who love and nurture our precious children. esp to those @ snipes, virgo and other schools extremely challenged by “haterville agendas”. instead of the boe on the bottom, though, i’m afraid that rung is occupied by our children.

  • GuestLee

    Better to be ignorant and small minded than a bigot like you. You must make a lot of people miserable.

    The reason us “older people don’t want change and refuse to let go” of our southern ways is because if you’re what change and non-southern ways are all about, no thanks!

    You sound young….hope you take your own advice and MOVE since “Wilmington is not a place where the youth are staying and bringing up a family”. People like you is one of the main reasons that Wilmington is going downhill.

  • Guest228

    She was talking about the size of New hanover County, not the population

  • Guest1984

    How sad that an award for courage goes to a real coward. Her phoniness on issues of inner city schools is blatent. Good for others but not her kids. She and davis represent what is wrong with some republicans- they stand for themselves-Davis for his actions with airlie gardens, taxes and titan and Redenbaugh for her polarizing influence in our community. She sought to exploit race not unite people. They are both pathetic.

  • Guest99x

    According to this document http://www.osbm.state.nc.us/ncosbm/facts_and_figures/socioeconomic_data/population_estimates/demog/countygrowth_bysize_2010.html New Hanover County is the ninth largest in population in this state.

    In terms of a school population actually served, we, New Hanover County are in the top ten. Ms. Redenbaugh isn’t at the bottom of a “political food chain” because of the geographic size of our county, she is at the bottom because she represents political and social engineering methods which have been proven to not work.

    Ms. Redenbaugh’s actions are repugnant for these principal reasons:

    Hypocracy–she mandates forced busing on her community while exempting her own children from it. A text book example of “do as I say, not as I do country club liberalism.

    She demeaned the constituency she was sworn to serve.

    She jeopardized the receipt of funding from the State of NC based on her unfounded political accusations.

    At a minimum she should apologize to the people of New Hanover County.

  • Guest228

    I dont know where you have been living but if I was in Boston, MA for receiving an award for bringing issue to the segregation in our public school system, the last thing I would want to bring up is how great NHC is..hence, the reason she is receiving the award is because it spotlights how ignorant and small minded this second smallest county in NC is..she would look like a hypocrite in exclaiming how we as a close knit community are so diverse yet we celebrate and welcome neigborhood schools or that we have an azalea festival every year that spotlights good ole southern confederacy..get a life lady!! In case you happen to notice, but wilmington is not a place where the youth are staying and bringing a family up..you older people dont want change and refuse to let go of your “southern” ways..

  • Guest228

    Since Ms. Cavanaugh wants to call out Ms. Redenbaugh on why her students dont attend public schools, then lets call out Ms. Cavanaugh..when was the last time any of the board members been to DC Virgo, Williston or Holly Shelter..these people make these decisions on poverty stricken children but yet when was the last time their “cadillac” was parked in the school parking lot and they visited the school..you have your own stones to throw Ms. Cavanaugh..WWAY, if you can keep up with the attendance records of NHC Commission, why cant you keep up with interaction of these board members in visiting the ACTUAL schools..sounds like they dont want to get their little white hands dirty..

  • Guest461

    Yeah..well, Obama won the Pulitzer Prize too, remember? Sort of gives us all a good inclination as to what these “Prestigious Awards” are all about right?

    I call HorseHooie!

  • dj

    I think everyone in New Hanover County knows how such a hot topic this is. let’s face it, parents work hard to be able to buy a home in a descent nieghborhood and consider the school district in thier desicision.I think it’s great to have nieghborhood schools. If the lower income families want to go to the best schools, then let thier parents get out and get an education and find a descent job. Don’t blame us because of someone’s else’s ignorance.

  • Isn’t Boston where they had to have the police guard the school buses because people were attacking them and the students on them?

  • Guest228

    I didnt think Rand Paul would be on WWAY commenting but go figure..

  • ChartersPutChildrenFirst

    “She has also said that neighborhood schools would in most cases concentrate poor, black children, which would set them up for failure.”
    Who says neighborhood school children are set for failure? Look at the explosion of successful urban charter schools that are sending poor black children to college in droves. It’s how you teach them that determines their success. Give them a chance – DC Virgo should be a charter school.

  • Guest5555555555555555555555555

    Your only the small vocal moron’s. Stick your head back in the toilet bowel. YOUR a OXYGEN THIEF! You do not represent the majority and most of all the majority of voters.

  • Guest6*6*6*6*6*

    [quote] guestnc-> And good schooling teaches love (I believe). It teaches love of learning, love of community and its institutions, love of country, and love of self. If it was not so important why would there be so many posts here?[/quote]
    Thats sounds like socialist/left/communism agenda to My Ears.

  • Guest11

    There seems to be a lot of worry about poor, black students grouped together causing them to fail. The school system is the same all over the county. I do not understand why anyone would think they wouldn’t get a good education no matter where they were. Integration/busing was NEVER intended to be the norm for ever and ever. If our schools are up to date with qualified teachers, as everyone says they are, then education is education whether on Market Street or Carolina Beach Road, Wrightsville Beach or Carolina Beach. Quit your whining.. it’s been going on for years and years and it has gotten very old, stop blaming the white people for your lack of responsibility and get out there, encourage your children to grab their education and go on with life like everyone else. Bill Cosby said it best . . stop blaming everyone else for your shortcomings.

    In today’s economy.. neighborhood schools just make good, financial sense. There is an end to the free gimmie’s, put your hand down and quit comlaining.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    You know and I know that busing inner-city kids out to the suburbs will do NOTHING but run up the bill to the taxpayers. When they return home to an imprisoned or missing father, a mother either too busy working or too whacked out on drugs to help them with their homework, and a neighborhood filled with drug dealers and gangs, which do you think will have the greater influence in their life?

    You see, there are no more “white hoods.” The Klan is obsolete….no longer needed, because the Black community is more destructive and harmful to Black families than the Klan ever hoped for.

    The government was not instituted to spend 90% of its time and resources kissing hiney on the poor. Get off your fanny and chart your own destiny. If you think the government is your savior, you’re going to be totally disappointed.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Yeah….busing was SUCH a success up there, wasn’t it? You actually had riots. There’s a Pulitzer Prize winning photo from the Boston Busing Riots.

    Okay, so now that you’ve “met us” and we have you worried, any chance you’ll move back to Boston? God knows we have enough guilt-ridden liberal saps down here already.

  • Don Britt

    The headline and much of the quote from Ms.Mckan is just wrong. Ms. Redenbaugh was being self deprecating ( tending to undervalue one’s self or one’s abilities, often in a humorous way), not criticizing our board or our county. She was saying I feel humbled to be up here with a man who helped start the Egyptian revolution much less all the prior President’s, statesmen and other notables who have won the award. The headline should be withdrawn.

  • guesty

    Our son was changed from Myrtle Grove to Willison while there is still a chunk of downtown that is bussed to Myrtle Grove. We don’t live downtown but that is where our son’s “neighborhood” school.

  • Guest99x

    The relevant fact here is the number of people served in New Hanover County, NOT its geographical size. The total size of the City of New York is only 301 square miles. New Hanover County, North Carolina is 328 square miles.

  • Rachel Holdridge

    I will keep this brief, as I could go on and on. I moved to New Hanover County, from Boston MA, four years ago. The angry, selfish, ignorant, and scared posters do not represent the great people that I have met here. They represent the group that I worried about meeting. Thankfully my coworkers at DC Virgo, friends and family do not represent the aforementioned. I was thrilled that she was recognized with such a prestigious award. I thank her for fighting for all children. With fairness and equality, everybody wins.

  • Guest228

    through your symbolic white hoods!!!


  • Guest5555555555555555555555555

    I am glad they brought the light out on Elizabeth Redenbaugh, cause I am in favor of neighborhood schools. I know now who not to vote for. I usually try to research just week or 2 before I vote to see if I want to vote for that person or not. Remember its only registered county voters who can vote. Thanks again WWAY for bringing out what the politician voted and stands for.

  • GuestRet

    Nick Rhodes, is this your post?

  • r-dawg

    Go back to Boston and take her with you. New Hanover County did great without you and without Redenbaugh on the BOE. Maybe now they will get rid of your job for commenting!

  • GuestUy

    Redenbaugh is a Democrat trying to say she is a Republican. Shame on you Redenbaugh! Step down from the BOE!

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