11/16/07 — Pizza Anyone?

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Pizza Anyone?

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on November 16, 2007 2:09 PM

Cheese, sauce and dough are not usually part of a superintendent's repertoire.

But for Dr. Steven Taylor, Thursday night was a little out of the ordinary.

The Wayne County Public Schools superintendent was not in his office on Royall Avenue doing paperwork.

He was not at home making dinner.

But he did have an apron on, and he was ready to jump in and help the United Way raise funds at Pizza Inn.

For two hours, he and members of the Junior Leadership Team helped the waiters and waitresses serve pizza, fill drinks and hopefully bring in more tips -- money that would go to the United Way.

But Taylor's job was primarily being a host, seating people and giving them menus.

He admits he was not quite up to Pizza Inn's par.

"They're going to fire me the first night," he said, on his way back to the host stand after seating a family.

But as the night went on, he got used to his job. He wasn't stressed as much as he was just having a good time.

"This is fun," he said. "It really is."

A few minutes later, he was trying to find an open booth for a bigger family.

"Six, whew! Where am I going to sit six?"

By 8:30 p.m., being a host was old hat.

He saw some familiar faces coming through the door, old friends that he hadn't seen in a while and ones he worked with just that day.

When Mayor Al King came through the door, he expected to see Taylor standing at the host stand.

He didn't expect to have him cook for him.

Taylor told the mayor that he would soon be in the kitchen making a pizza.

King didn't particularly like the idea.

"That won't be the one I'm eating," he joked.

The leadership team members were also laughing at their superintendent.

"I think he's hilarious," Amber Bowden, a junior at Southern Wayne High School, said. "Most of the time superintendents are boring, but he is definitely not."

Other members felt the same way and were just as happy to help out a good cause.

"I like to help people out whenever I can," Ms. Bowden added.

Jessica Waller, a junior at Eastern Wayne High School, found the night was a helpful one, for her and for United Way.

"I've never really had a job," Ms. Waller said. "I think it's a great idea to have us out here to help, and it's a great opportunity for me to learn how to waitress."

Leadership team members Haley Best of Eastern Wayne High School, Ashley Jones of Charles B. Aycock High School, Jordan McIntyre of Goldsboro High School, Caroline Keen of Rosewood High School, Michael Jennings of Charles B. Aycock High School and Michelle Peeden of Charles B. Aycock High School also lent their hands by serving orders and refilling drinks.

Most of the Pizza Inn patrons were happy with their service.

Some, like the mayor, said they wanted to see a manager when Taylor came over to their table.

Others would try to give him a hard time.

But at the end of the night, they went home with full stomachs and smiles, and their dollars were dropped into the United Way canister to help better the lives of fellow Wayne County residents.

This event was the first of the "The Final Lap" challenges that will wrap-up the community campaign.

Resident "Elf" Senator John Kerr will be assisted by an unnamed "Grinch" as well as Santa Claus on Nov. 23 from 2 to 3 p.m. at Berkeley Mall for the second challenge.

The third is on Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m. when the Greater Wayne County Golf Classic, or "Politicians Putt'in People First," will be held at the All Stars Miniature Golf Course, at the corner of Berkeley Boulevard and Cashwell Drive.

Other plans for the wrap-up include a challenge from the N.C. Community Federal Credit Union-sponsored softball team against a United Way team. The United Way team will be coached by Jerry Narron and George Whitfield, with the game to be played Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club on Royall Avenue.

Mount Olive College is challenging any group to a round of Frisbee golf at the college on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m.

The Tuscarora Council of the Boy Scouts will conduct a Dutch Oven Cook-off at Old Waynesborough Park, with the date to be announced once the governor's burning ban has been lifted.

But the grand finale will be the checkered flag event, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Goldsboro Chrysler Dodge Jeep when the fair share car give-away is held.