Piedmont Online 2–14–2022
Welcome to Piedmont Online, a weekly blog and e-paper focusing on the positive things in our community. Be sure to check out the e-paper version.
Hollander Sleep and Decor donated about 900 comforters to be given to local residents in need. The distribution was handled by Steve Spence, owner of Deep South Tattoo in Henderson.
Wayne Walker of ASAP Towing in Franklinton donated a rollback and a driver to move merchandise to Spence’s Corbitt Road establishment.
The distribution was organized by April Partin and Karen Breedlove, along with Spence and several volunteers.
Spence has been active in giving back to the local community in several ways, most notably at Christmas with a massive toy drive. Piedmont Online will try to keep everyone updated on his future projects and ways you can help.
(Jean Collins contributed to this story)
Elijah Griffin and Haley Gilleland showed their true colors (purple) when they joined their Oxford Prep Griffins in Henderson for the rematch with Vance Charter School.
We’re very grateful to CSX for repairing some of the railroad crossings in Henderson, but we can’t help but wonder why the Chavasse Ave. crossing was overlooked.
A Women Inspiring Women day conference was held at the Granville Expo Center in Oxford on Saturday. Several speakers took part in the event, covering numerous subjects. Pictured is Mikayla Taborn of Franklinton.
Attendees received information on various subjects including mental health and financial planning. The event was held by Paradise Landing 1 Inc, a non profit organization assisting women in need. (photo by Nicole Taborn)
Paula Boyd Murphy, former basketball player for Vance Sr High School who later coached at Vance Charter School. Seated just behind her is Allie Bliss, a senior on this year’s VC varsity team. In the blue jacket is Peyton Pittard. Both Bliss and Pittard were starters in the final regular season game for the Knights, who won the 2022 TNAC conference championship. Coach Murphy passed away in 2018 and several of the seniors paid tribute to her this week. (Photo courtesy of Vance Charter School)
Midnight Blue Winners
Midnight Blue Martial Arts Academy in downtown Henderson held their annual in-house karate tournament in December. The students participated in divisions of forms, flag-pull, and sparring, earning trophies and medals for their accomplishments.
The large trophies were awarded to Miranda in the younger division and Chase in the older division for receiving first place in all 3 divisions! Congratulations! (contributed by Kimberly Harris)
Just a few months ago, these sisters of different allegiances were on the court competing against each other, although I seem to recall Alexis being the taller one back then. Camryn Stancil (l) is still at Vance Charter, but chose not to play basketball this year. Alexis Moseley is a graduate of Oxford Prep and is currently a student at Meredith College. The two girls can still be seen at both schools’ games quite often, but only as fans.
The Henderson City Council will meet tonight (Monday, Feb. 14) at the City Hall Council Chambers on 134 Rose Ave. Anyone wishing to address Council must do so in person or submit their comments/questions to the City Clerk by 3:00 p.m. on the day of the Council Meeting.
Oxford Prep’s Lucas Juntunen goes in for a lay up against Voyager Academy. Voyager won the game 60–42.
One of North Carolina’s oldest rivalries was renewed Friday as Webb defeated Vance County 66–58 in front of a sold out crowd of more than 1200 at Vance County High School gym in Henderson. Javon Bullock scored 25 to lead the Warriors.
Webb also won the girls game by a score of 46–36.
The boys teams will meet again Tuesday in the first round of the conference tournament. The game will be played at Webb High in Oxford.
VCS Sweeps Oxford Prep
Vance Charter won all five games in round two of the rivalry with Oxford Prep on Thursday night.
The Knight girls won the TNAC regular season title with a record 9–1, 16–4. They will host the winner of Roxboro Community and Eno River on Tuesday in Henderson.
The boys will host Eno River Monday night, with the winner traveling to Voyager Academy in Durham on Tuesday. Henderson Collegiate is the #1 seed.
Vance Charter is the host school for this year’s tournament. Both championship games will be played in Henderson on Thursday night.
Many Cheers Later
After a lifetime of cheering which made her a part of three local high schools, Kim Hedgepeth is calling it a day… sort of.
Kim was a cheerleader for Vance Sr High School during her own school years. She later helped coach the Oxford Prep team that included her daughter Ellie. For the past four years, she has coached with Stacey Long at Vance Charter where her youngest daughter Meri is a cheerleader.
With Meri’s graduation, Kim plans to spend time helping care for her new grandchild. But don’t be surprised to see her helping out with the cheerleaders again.
Above: with Katlyn Brammer in 2021. Below left: with the Vance Vikings, front row, fourth from the left. Below right: With her daughter Meri and head coach Stacey Long on Senior Night at Vance Charter School.
The First Three Months
It’s been a little more than three months since the first issue of Piedmont Online. Someone asked this week if I’ve decided what I want this project to be. Well, that was never a doubt. The object was always to avoid what I DON’T want it to be.
First and foremost, we aren’t the New York Times. We’re not trying to be. And we’re not a newspaper. I hope I never gave anyone the impression that we think we are.
What we are is a small community e-paper and blog… nothing more. We want everything we cover to be positive, but we’re not so naive that we believe bad news doesn’t exist. I have turned down two stories that required investigating and opinion. It’s not our mission; and quite frankly, we’re not journalists.
When I say “we”, a lot of people contribute to this project, including some who have a lifetime of experience in local media. But like me, they are supporting an idea and a cause, not a journalistic adventure. With that in mind, I want to express my personal feelings about this project.
Nancy Wykle and Vanessa Shortley offered me the opportunity to do something I had long dreamed of doing… be in the newspaper. I’m not a journalist, I am just a local writer and photographer. Since I don’t profit from either, it’s never been my goal to please anyone, but instead to contribute in my own way. The columns I wrote for The Henderson Dispatch were actually my own blogs based on a series sub-titled “Remember When”, submitted with the agreement that I could also use a few stories from another series “Little Girls Dream Too”, which I feel is the most important thing I do.
I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that I was very hurt by the way my contributions to the local newspaper ended, but I do not wish them any bad. Among my greatest hopes for this town is that the they will survive and thrive, and I will always be available to help make that happen in any way I can.
Piedmont Online is not a competitor to any publication. In fact, I contribute to four newspapers, several web sites, two news organizations and at least a dozen high school yearbooks. There is plenty of room in this area for all of us. I wish we could all work together; I think it would benefit the area in many ways. In the meantime, I’ll keep going with my mission.
Make no mistake, there are some things Piedmont Online needs to improve on. Since this is a community project, we need contributions to make it work. Sports is a very important part of what we do because it is the basis of “Little Girls Dream Too”. but we don’t want it to be all we do. We need churches, charities and citizens to help us get the necessary stories out to everyone. Like I tell the coaches: I can’t cover a game I don’t know about. The same is true with other events.
The tricky part of making it all work is money. I have decided that if I ever have to sell this project as a subscription, I’ll just end it. For one thing, I don’t think it’s marketable. Yet I do believe we have the numbers and the prices to make Piedmont Online a great place to advertise. But for the time being, we need donations to stay afloat. (see details at the and of this story)
One thing we have not been able to do is cover the Wake Forest area in a way they deserve. It’s more than we can handle right now, so we’re dropping Wake County except for certain sports, but contributions from the area will be welcomed.
Contributions will also be welcome from other areas, no matter how far away. One of the most popular sports items we have is occasional games from other areas. The same is true with things like snow pictures.
Finally, I want to update everyone on how we’re doing with readers. Piedmont Online reaches people in several different formats and I don’t have statistics on them all. The blog edition averages about 250 readers a week. We believe the e-paper version is about the same. I don’t have stats for the web site; it’s mostly for promotion. The Piedmont Online Facebook group has over 700 active viewers. The local sports group is a private group with 314 viewers, and they are all active participants. Other Facebook formats reach approximately 9800 readers. Beginning this week, we will begin working in mentions of advertisers on each of these formats.
If you’d like to contribute to Piedmont Online; we accept donations through PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Cash App (cash.app/$piedmontonline).
Knights Hoping For Title Run
Above: Wake Christian’s Addy Grace Lunsford (#33 in blue) shows a look of concern as McKenna Snively is helped off the floor after injuring her knee. McKenna did not return to the game but is hoping to be available Saturday for the opening round of the NCISAA tournament.
Below: McKenna Snively’s fast break and Imani Foster’s block were all part of North Raleigh Christian Academy’s 62–15 victory over Wake Christian in the regular season finale. The Knights enter the state championship tournament with a record of 23–7 after a hectic non-conference schedule
OPS Girls Pick Up Key Victories
Oxford Prep’s girls claimed 2nd place in the TNAC with critical wins in the final week. In the top photo, Kadence Woodlief scores in an impressive 53–36 win over Voyager. In the bottom photo by Sandy Huff, Sam Huff fire a free throw in a victory at Roxboro community School.
Piedmont Sports Photo Gallery
My Old School
Everything God created was in South Henderson. We had no doubt about that, There was really no reason to have anything anywhere else. When I visit the old neighborhood now, I wonder how I survived.
No internet, no smart phones. Heck, we didn’t even have a phone in our house. If we needed an ambulance, we had to wake up a neighbor. It really served no purpose to call anyhow; we didn’t have street addresses.
But the charm of the old stomping grounds can still be found, especially at one building located back away from the main streets: LB Yancey School.
South Henderson was divided by a small patch of trees; whites lived on one side and blacks on the other in a section known as Mobile. On a small pathway barely big enough for a dirt bike to creep through, there was a large, empty ball field which belonged to LB Yancey School. LBY was the local school for black students, but kids from both sides played football or baseball there on weekends. So when desegregation was enforced as I entered fourth grade, I knew where my new school was but I didn’t know how to tell my uncle the way to get there on a car.
He took me to South Henderson first; that’s where I had attended my first three years. But I was no longer assigned there. We finally found LB Yancey (with no help from me) about 30 minutes after classes had begun. I was scared to death. My parents had assured me that it was no big deal; they had never raised me to think black kids were any different than white kids. But I was old enough to have a small sense of what was being shown on the television news every night.
But at LBY, there were no protesters, no National Guard, no governor blocking the doorway… but there was this eerie feeling of going to a new school. Am I about to find out what those people on TV are complaining about?
Let’s just say I still don’t know what they were fussing about. I stepped into the classroom that Mr McGhee led me to. I knew almost everyone in there. The tension of desegregation lasted less than 45 minutes and LB Yancey would forever be “my old school”.
At that time, LBY was L-shaped and much smaller than it is now. I know it wasn’t the case in most places, but Yancey was a much nicer school than the all white South Henderson School I was accustomed to. There were no stairwells and no hot basement cafeteria. All the classrooms (I think there were six) and the library were on the long part of the L. On the short end was a combination gym, cafeteria, election precinct, auditorium, vaccination point, and assembly hall, all rolled into one dark green and badly lit room. There were long tables and benches that folded out from the wall like a bed in a sleazy motel room. We thought that room was larger than the Astrodome and could never understand why they didn’t let us play baseball in there on rainy days.
One of my teachers was Sarah Falkner. When my dad passed away, she and Principal McGhee visited me at home. That left a big impression on me. As it turned out, she was going on maternity leave and it would be almost 30 years before I saw her again. And we still knew each other.
Another was Mrs. Pruitt, an stern but amusing lady who was a good teacher. She was so sad one morning after her cat was hit by a car, but when she told us about it she used another word in place of ‘cat’. Thirty kids almost died of laughter that day.
Thinking back, the only thing I found different about desegregation was our accents. One of the first friends I made at LBY was Walter Hicks. We were in small groups to practice spelling when Walter kept getting a word wrong, but he knew he was right. The word was “fought”, and he thought I was saying “fault”. His pronunciation was closer to “fort”. But back then, before Democrats and Republicans taught us how to hate, we laughed it off and joked about it, and we all passed the spelling test.
At some point, a teacher thought we would behave better if we were seated boy-girl-boy-girl. However, we were 11 years old and just realizing the attractiveness of the opposite sex, so we didn’t complain. Sitting in front of me was the beautiful Katie McCrary. Katie had just moved to Henderson and she was sitting right in front of little ole me. Behind me was Cheryl Null, future drummer for Vance High School who practiced on the back of my head with two pencils. Beside me was a little red haired girl named Darlene. I was mesmerized by her and she was just as shy as I was nervous.
Recently, I stopped by my old school to look around and take a picture or two. I could see everyone as plain as if they were standing there with me. But it’s bitter sweet. Walter died in a fishing accident, still a teenager. Cheryl left us far too young also, as did another classmate Nancy. The last time I saw our beloved principal, he was in his 80’s. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 91.
Katie and I are still friends, but I never saw Darlene again. About a year ago, a friend revealed that he knew Darlene… she was his sister. She smiled as she heard the story, and said thanks for the memories. But I know that in the back of her mind, she was saying “who is Gill Clopton?”
Faces In The Crowd
Faces In The Crowd has turned out to be our most popular segment. Thanks to all the students for taking part.
Senior Night Photo Gallery
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