Piedmont Online 3–14–2022

Gill Clopton
13 min readMar 13, 2022


MAKO Donates To Education

MAKO Medical has donated $10,000 to the Vance County Public School Foundation for the 2022–23 school year to support Learning that Extends Actual Performance (LEAP) grants. They will also match any additional 2022 donations up to another $10,000.
Superintendent Dr. Cindy Bennett said “We are so grateful for the financial support and the confidence that MAKO has in the work we are doing in Vance County Schools”.
LEAP Grants support Vance County School teachers by providing resources, enriching innovative experiences, enhancing classroom opportunities and expanding instruction to engage students.
In issuing a challenge to the community, MAKO Chief Operations Officer Josh Arant said ““The past two years have been hard on students, teachers and their families. We want to help support our educators and inspire innovation in Vance County. I hope other individuals and companies will join us.”
To donate toward the MAKO Match Challenge, you can do so at Vance County Public School Foundation, PO Box 2956, Henderson, NC 27536.
Please note in the Memo line: MAKO Match.
For more information on the foundation and how to donate, please visit
(photo of MAKO and Dr. Cindy Bennett courtesy of Vance County Schools)

Spring Is Coming

The cold weekend reminded us that spring isn’t quite here yet, but there are signs everywhere… like the trees at Elmwood Cemetery that are in full bloom.
In next week’s edition of Piedmont Online, we’ll have a Spring Photo Gallery. You can submit your pictures to gillclopton@outlook.com (photo by Lynn Menikos)

Piedmont Online contributor Kezia Iqbal captured this unusual view of the sky recently.

Remember When

Main Street, Oxford; 1961 (JB Clay photo/Richard H Thornton Library)

Dr. Stephen Pearson Honored

The parking lot at the corner of Garnett and Orange Streets in Henderson was re-named this week of honor of Dr. Stephen F. Pearson.
Pearson played a major role in revitalizing the area. As owner and operator of Sadie’s Coffee Corner, he completely restored the former Norwich’s building and recruited art students from Vance County High School to create a mural recognizing Vance County’s past.
Dr. Pearson and his wife Amanda moved to Henderson in 2019 and opened Sadie’s shortly thereafter. He passed away in 2021. Amanda said “Steve would be so happy to see the way the community embraced us and Sadie’s”.
In years past, Stanley Norwich operated a men’s store where Sadie’s in now located. His granddaughter Lisa, who now lives in Greensboro, has kept up with the progress over the past few years. She said her grandfather would be delighted with the work Stephen and Amanda have done on the corner that he kept up for so many years. She said “I wish he were here to see it”.

Rights: an early morning photo of Sadie’s.
Left: Part of the mural on the Sadie’s building shows the Capitol Cafe which was located where the Dr. Stephen F Pearson Parking lot is now.

Student Spotlight: Sam Huff

I had seen Sam Huff on the basketball and volleyball courts. I felt like she was one of the most underrated volleyball players in the area, if not the state. But as I got to know Sam, I saw a young lady that sports at it’s finest can’t reveal: firm but gentle, direct but humorous, strong but emotional. The only thing she wasn’t able to be was ‘mean’… it’s not in her nature.
It was Sam the volleyball player that got my attention. But my favorite memory of Sam is a video her mom posted on social media of her singing “What A Beautiful Name”. That was when I really became a fan of Sam. A beautiful voice singing a beautiful song that glorifies God: there’s nothing more I could hope for from the young people I photograph.
There’s nothing fake about Sam; she’s exactly who she appears to be. We’re taught by ministry that we are supposed to present ourselves as who we are, and she has always left me with the impression that she is the same charming Christian girl that I saw sing on the church stage.
Recently, I spent a few minutes talking with Sam in a more serious situation. I was able to see an emotional young girl who puts a premium on friendship and sportsmanship. Quite frankly, I expected nothing less.
My pet peeve has long been so-called adults who senselessly use social media to criticize young people as being lazy and disrespectful. I work with teenagers every day and I know that nothing could be further from the truth. They are the most intelligent, most caring and most Christ-like generation ever. And if I could introduce only one person to prove the dissenters wrong, that person would be Samantha Huff.
Sam is a junior at Oxford Prep. She is a key player on a volleyball team that is part of a historical rivalry that few girls will ever realize. She also plays for Granville Volleyball Club. Sam is undecided on where she’ll attend college; she is leaning toward a career in speech communication.


This year’s Vance Charter softball team is loaded.
After rolling through last season before making a sudden and painful exit at the hands of eventual champion Camden, the Knights appear ready to make a title run this year.
Gone are Harley Newman and Jordan Dunn, but the return of pitcher Logan Privette and a talented freshman class headed by Aubrey Puryear add punch to an already potent team.
VCS started the season this past week with an impressive 11–1 win over Falls Lake Academy.

Logan Privette and Aubrey Puryear

East Wake Academy scored nine runs in the second inning to bust the game open en route to a win over Granville Central.
In the photo, freshman Alexa Riley puts the ball into play.
The Panthers will wait until the coming week to return to action after their game against Oxford Prep was postponed because of weather.

The Vance Vipers girls’ soccer team poses with their brand new uniforms. Pictured below are some highlights from the week featuring both the old and new uniforms. Despite their 1–2 start, the Vipers are a much improved team featuring some players to keep an eye on.

Warriors Top Vance County 10–4 in Baseball

Because of weather delays and other cancellations, both Oxford Prep softball teams are still waiting to take the field for the first time this season.
In the photo, middle school pitcher Addyson Faucette takes a few practice throws. Addyson has kept busy with travel ball this year and is sure to have a huge impact on behalf of the Griffins this year.

Salute To The Military

The following are some pictures, many submitted by readers, that take a look at our military over the years.

The US Flag at JF Webb’s baseball field.

USS Helena (courtesy of Connie Morse)

Frank Wrenn Sr. who served in the Navy during World War II. He was in the Pacific.

Charles Franklin (left) US Army Reserve

Louis Hernandez with Faith Orr

Frank Thomas (F.T.) Wrenn, Jr ; served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany.

George Clark, US Army

Gary Fisher, US Navy

Carlton Aycock (right) US Navy. Aycock is shown boxing on the USS Helena, the ship President Eisenhower used to meet with cabinet members.

Jasper D Pulley who was killed in April 1945 off the coast of New England, when his boat, the USS Eagle, was torpedoed by a German U-boat.

Harold Fisher, US Navy

James Lewis Reavis Jr,; National Guard

JC Roberts and JD Waters; US Navy

James Hunt at Fort Sill

Lewis Millard Paschall, Senior, entered the United States Army on 7 November 1917 at Warrenton, North Carolina. He was 22 years of age and a farmer by trade from Warren County. After training, he was stationed with the American European Forces in France. He was in Company I. 125th Infantry, (1st B. & S. Det. D.G.) from 12 March 1918 to 18 May 1919. Battles/engagements participated in included Alsace, Aisne-Marne, Oise Aisne in France, Belgium, and Germany. Lewis was appointed Corporal on 11 August 1918.

Lewis received a shrapnel wound in the right arm on 31 August 1918. He received the Purple Heart Medal.

Corporal Paschall received an honorable discharge from the Army on 26 May 1919 at Camp Lee, Virginia.

Anita Hendrick; USS Prarie AD15

Stephen Pearson, US Army E6 retired

AT Clopton, National Guard

Faces In The Crowd

There She Is….
Evan O’Geary
Miss Durham

On Saturday night, Evan O’Geary earned the title of Miss Durham 2022. She will compete at Miss North Carolina June 23–25 in High Point, NC.

O’Geary is the daughter of Jonathan and Amy O’Geary of Henderson. For Evan, the Miss North Carolina and Miss America Organizations are a family tradition. She and her mother made Miss North Carolina history in 2017 when she was crowned Miss Henderson. “My mom and I are the only mother and daughter in Miss North Carolina history to ever hold the same title. My mom was Miss Henderson in 1990 and I earned the same title in 2017” Evan said. During her trip to Miss North Carolina in 2017, she was a Top Ten finalist.

When speaking about why pageantry is exciting for her, she talked about her love of musical theater, working with kids, and the ability to obtain multiple degrees with very little debt. “I love the talent portion of competition.” On Saturday night, she sang “In His Eyes” from the musical, Jekyll and Hyde. “I fell in love with musical theater by doing shows with the Henderson Rec Players. It was there that I met my Carolina Princess, Eva Hopper.” Hopper and O’Geary have been in four preliminary competitions this year before winning Saturday night. “Seeing how much she has grown and gained confidence through this mentoring program has been so much fun. She reminds me so much of myself as a kid.”

Evan will spend the year discussing her social impact initiative called “Go CC!” to increase funding and enrollment of North Carolina’s Community College system. “Because of the Miss NC organization and the NC Promise Grant, I have an Associates and Bachelors degree for $5000!” O’Geary will graduate from Western Carolina University in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in Birth through Kindergarten Education. She is currently student teaching Kindergarten at Aycock Elementary School.

If you would like to book Evan for an event, please reach out to her through her social media channels at @MissDurham_NC

Photos by PageantPics

Why Bishop McGuinness?

For me, the story begins 12 years ago when I suffered a massive asthma attack that left me hospitalized for several weeks. The doctors warned my parents that if I lived, there would be brain damage and I probably wouldn’t walk again.
At that time, none of my work had ever been published.
I’m hard-headed, so I didn’t pay much attention to what the doctors said. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that God had something for me to do. So I set out on a long journey to publish columns and photo blogs; some from the “Remember When” series, and some from a series titled “Little Girls Dream Too”.
For someone who focuses on high school sports, the state championships are the pinnacle. After 12 years, I was there.
But why Bishop McGuinness? I’m not going to bore you here with the whole story; this is their section and I’m as anxious as they are to get to the pictures. So here’s the short version:
I saw Bishop McGuinness at North Raleigh Christian earlier this year. The JV game was running late and the varsity girls were in the hallway. I went out and offered to take a team picture and I met a group of girls who were extremely nice and appreciative, not even knowing if they’d ever see the picture.
During the game, I was very impressed by a young freshman named Adelaide Jernigan. Since then, I’ve kept up with Adelaide on social media, and Claire Aufrance would often contribute pictures to Piedmont Online of her daughter Anna’s games for Bishop McGuinness. Before long, I was a fan.
Most of you have read the stories about the local kids. You’ve read about Maci Taylor’s challenge, Allie Bliss’ encouragement and Kadence Woodlief’s friendship….. and yes, I’d like to be writing about one of them winning a state title. But in my heart I am convinced that it was God’s will that Bishop McGuinness be the first team I see celebrate the grand prize. They’re Catholic and I’m Christian, but we both serve the same God. And He is the reason I was there.
So do I retire now that I’ve reached my milestone? No way.
Congratulations Bishop McGuinness; I hope you all will stay in touch and I wish you God’s blessings wherever life takes you. These next three pages are for you. If God’s willing, I’ll see you again. Meanwhile, I’m headed back home where there are girls on the playgrounds and in the gyms hoping someone will take their picture and maybe write a story about them. As long as God allows me to do those things, I will…. because little girls dream too.

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Gill Clopton