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Veterans exhort Dillard students to strive for success

Veterans James Hinnant and Clifton Brewington visited Dillard Middle School the day before Veterans Day and spoke to students about the importance of making the right choices in school and in life.

Hinnant served in the Marine Corps from 1967-1970, including the Vietnam War, and Brewington served in the Army from 1966-1968.

Before joining the military, Hinnant and Brewington went to high school at Dillard before it was transformed into a middle school.

Hinnant and Brewington, who met with students in the school library, have visited each year to help middle schoolers understand the importance of education to better prepare for the real world.

Hinnant stressed the importance of respecting others and how it would carry them a long way in life.

“The best thing that you can do for your family members is get good grades, listen to your teacher and respect those around you,” Hinnant said.

Brewington also told the students to focus on their grades and to pursue their dreams and goals.

“Make sure that you get your education,” Brewington said. “Start working on what you want to be right now.

“Respect your teachers, respect your principals, respect yourself and respect one another. That will carry you very far in life.”

The veterans, who spoke with two different groups of students at the school Wednesday, also took time to answer questions and offered details about their time in the military.

Brewington, a former Meadow Lane Elementary School teacher, said one of the reasons he first became interested in speaking to the kids at Dillard Middle was because he wanted them to know their future will be determined by the actions they take today.

This is the 19th year Hinnant and 10th year Brewington have talked with the students prior to Veterans Day.

Tondalayo Clark, seventh grade English teacher at Dillard Middle School, said she first invited Hinnant to speak to her class on the day before Veterans Day in 2002, and he has come back on that same day every year since.

“I invited Mr. Hinnant because I wanted to connect the importance of education to the future,” Clark said. “I invite veterans because then the students can see that what they learn in school can help them in the real world.

“I think it’s important for them to see people that graduated from the same school and that have gone on to become successful.”

Hinnant said he wanted to speak to the students at Dillard Middle School because his time at Dillard was an important part of his life, and it helped him develop skills he used in the future.

“I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for my school, my family, my neighbors and people in the community,” Hinnant said. “They uplifted and supported me, and I would never do anything to forsake that.”

Hinnant said another reason he feels that it is important to speak to the students is because of social and economic decline in the Goldsboro area.

“I saw a decline in Goldsboro,” Hinnant said. “I saw suffering and people falling into the hands of criminal activity.”

Miss Goldsboro joins fight against human trafficking

Taylor Stovall of Pikeville is ready to begin her reign after being named Miss Goldsboro 2022 Saturday during the pageant at the Paramount Theatre.

Madelyn Grace Evans of Lumberton, Goldsboro’s newest Miss Goldsboro’s Outstanding Teen, is ready to take her place beside Stovall.

Stovall’s platform was a halt to human trafficking. She is a dance teacher at Artistic Dance Academy.

“Winning Miss Goldsboro is the experience of a lifetime,” Stovall said. “This has been a dream of mine since I can remember. I am incredibly humbled and honored to be representing this great city.

“However, with great honor comes great responsibility. I want to hit the ground running. My platform is Halt to Human Trafficking. Most people aren’t aware of the statistics, but our state is 11th in the country for the highest rate of human trafficking cases. I am hoping to educate our rising generation on the dangers around them, specifically with social media. That tends to be how most children are targeted.”

Evans said she “would like to be known as the Miss Goldsboro Outstanding Teen who helped break the stigma surrounding mental health issues in teens.”

Judging this year’s pageant were Charles Primble, Hiawatha Jones, Ashley Such, Larry Phillips and Lisa Thompson.

Miss Goldsboro contestants were judged on interview, red carpet attire, talent and onstage question. Teens were judged on interview, physical fitness, red carpet, onstage question and talent, said Treva Howell with the Miss Goldsboro Pageant organization.

“The Miss Goldsboro pageant is held as an opportunity for young women to compete for scholarship monies and gain valuable life experience,” she said. “The process helps to develop skills that are helpful both at school and in the workplace, such as interview skills, public speaking, interpersonal communication and social interaction. There’s also the opportunity to earn significant scholarship funds for college and graduate school.

“The pageant teaches these young ladies to set goals, be motivated and positive, and improve in every stage of competition.”

Howell said the pageant process includes many hours of individual talent practice and preparation for interview questions, as well as many weekends of rehearsals.

She said Miss Goldsboro’s duties are to represent Goldsboro at the Miss North Carolina pageant and also serve the Goldsboro community throughout the year she holds the title. That includes the Raleigh Christmas parade, Downtown Lights Up and Mount Olive, Fremont, Goldsboro and Pikeville Christmas parades.

Howell said that including the newly crowned Miss Goldsboro, there have been 69 Miss Goldsboro titleholders since the pageant began in 1932.

Fremont school reports COVID cluster

Fremont Stars Elementary School is the sixth Wayne County public school to have a COVID-19 cluster since the the school year began back in August.

On Tuesday, the school reported a cluster involving five students in the fourth/fifth-grade multi-age class.

Prior to that, the Wayne School of Engineering middle school cheerleading squad reported a cluster of five students Sept. 11 bringing the total number of Wayne County public schools with COVID-19 clusters to five.

A COVID-19 cluster is a minimum of five laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiologic linkage between cases, said Ken Derksen, Wayne County Public Schools executive director for community engagement and student and family support.

The Rosewood High School football team reported a COVID-19 cluster of seven members Sept. 17.

Two other Wayne County public schools confirmed COVID-19 clusters Sept. 16.

Dillard Middle School confirmed an in-school cluster involving a staff member and eight students in eighth grade, and Southern Wayne reported a football team COVID-19 cluster involving five team members, Derksen said.

Sept 15, Norwayne Middle School also reported two separate clusters involving a total of 11 students, five in an in-school cluster and six in a football team cluster.

Derksen said as part of Wayne County Public Schools’ COVID-19 response protocols, the school system reported and confirmed the Fremont cluster with the Wayne County Health Department.

“All recommended guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are being followed,” he said.

Derksen said WCPS is closely monitoring the cluster and remains in contact with health officials.

Parents and others can learn more about the school district’s COVID-19 response protocols at www.waynecountyschools.org/NCGuidelinesforSchool Reopening.aspx.