06/15/06 — Like fathers, like daughters for Mount Olive roommates

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Like fathers, like daughters for Mount Olive roommates

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 15, 2006 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A friendship forged while two young men were roommates at Mount Olive College 30 years ago has been passed along to their daughters, now carrying on the tradition at the school.

Barry Whitley of Florida and James Cahoon of Columbia came to Mount Olive College in 1973, when it was a two-year school. Assigned to share the same dormitory room, they would become more than classmates. The two were also members of New Creations, a traveling student gospel group.

Whitley said he chose the school because his uncle had served on its Board of Trustees. But it was the personal attention and cozy atmosphere he found there that proved most memorable, he said.

Cahoon also has fond memories of his days at MOC, where he served as president of his freshmen class and the Student Government Association.

"I am eternally grateful for my Mount Olive College experience and for the opportunities I received while there, not to mention all of the wonderful friendships I developed," he said.

"These friendships continue on even today and I am happy to be married for over 27 years to one of my college classmates, Kathy Brickhouse Cahoon."

Cahoon called the two years he spent at the college "the most fulfilling years of my life. My time spent there allowed me to redirect my life in such way that I was able to discover a purpose for my life beyond me as an individual."

Although separated by time and distance over the years, Whitley lives in Osteen, Fla., and owns Whitley Cabinet Works while Cahoon is assistant superintendent of Tyrrell County Schools -- the two families kept in touch.

And now their daughters have gone on to share a college dorm room as well as similar sentiments about the college where their fathers met.

Katherine Cahoon, a rising sophomore, says the school atmosphere allows her to be herself.

"Having teachers that actually care and having true friends around really makes a difference," she said. At the college, she is active in the Ambassador program, the Trojan softball team, Resident Hall Association, and the Free Will Baptist Club.

Rebekah Whitley is a rising senior psychology major. She is historian/public relations officer for Psi Chi, the national psychology honor society, and a member of the concert choir.

The second of five children, Ms. Whitley said she is appreciative that her parents have supported her college pursuit at her father's alma mater.

Several months ago, the two families took advantage of alumni weekend on the campus to reminisce about the past and look ahead to the future.

"It was neat to see our fathers together," Rebekah said. "I remember all the stories Dad used to tell me about when he and Mr. Cahoon were rooming together. He shared some of them that weekend. We got lots of good laughs."