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Sports , Pages 12-14
Fishing report, 16
Waccamaw Natives Nurture Community School Tradition
BY DOUG RUTTER
Waccamaw School has a special place in
Thelma Little's heart. It's where she learned
her ABCs as a young girl. It's where she re
ceived her diploma. And it's where she has taught for
the last 28 years.
Little is one of 10 Waccamaw Elementary School
teachers who grew up in the Ash community and are
now giving something back by helping carry on the
"community school" tradition.
"I graduated from Waccamaw School in 1962. went
to East Carolina for four years and came b.ick to
Waccamaw and have been here ever since. That's it in a
nutshell," Little explained last week.
"I thought I had something I could give back to the
community. I have a lot of pride for my school," she
Jill Hughes, who teaches math to seventh and eighth
graders, says she feels like she's spent her whole life at
Her mother, Muriel Bennett, taught math at the school
for 32 years and didn't retire until her daughter was
ready to take her place. Hughes has the same class
room ? and the same desk ? as her mother did.
Judy Evans, another Waccamaw High graduate, said
she's never had any desire to teach anywhere else.
"I like the closeness of the community. When some
thing happens to one of the children here you feel like
it's part of your own family," she said. "I think it's a true
community school. I think the people feel that way and
are proud of their school."
Principal Bill Shoemaker says the "home-grown"
teachers make Waccamaw unique among the Brunswick
County Schools. "This is probably one of the last of the
vanishing breed of community schools," he said.
"I think one of the biggest advantages is the teachers
know a lot of the kids and their families. They know
what might work with one child or parent that wouldn't
work with another."
The teachers agree that living and working in a small
community where everybody knows just about every
body else is an advantage when it comes to dealing with
students and parents.
Little grew up with the grandparents of some of the
children she has in her fourth grade class. "I'm now
teaching the children of some of the parents that 1 taught
when they were in school," she said.
Sixth-grade teacher Brenda Russ worked in the tobac
co fields of Longwood with some of the parents of her
"They don't give me the problems they give others
because I know where they live and I'll go to their
STAFF PHOTO BY DOUG RUTTER
WACCAMAW SCHOOL TEACHERS who grew up in the Ash community include ( seated , from left) Judy Evans, Jill Hughes, Ellen Milligan, Barbara
Evans, Thelma Little, (standing, from left) Rrenda Russ, Brenda Stanley, Leslie Stanley and Michael Stanley.
home," Russ said. "They know me and (hey know what
I stand for."
I^eslie Stanley, a student at Waccamaw School just a
few years ago, is now in her third year as a teacher. She
admits it was strange at first, working side by side with
teachers like Judy Evans and Jill Hughes who used to
grade her homework.
"When I first came here. I still wanted to refer to them
as Miss Evans and Miss Hughes," Stanley said. "Mr.
Chestnutt used to be my gym teacher and I still can't call
him by his first name. He'll always be Mr. Chestnutt."
"I have close family ties to this community," Stanley
added. "I applied for various schools in the area, but 1
held out for Waccamaw. It feels like I've come full cir
Michael Stanley worked in the restaurant business for
10 years before becoming a teacher. For the last five
years, he has taught language arts and science at
Waccamaw and coached football and baseball.
"I felt I had an obligation to myself to do something
that would make me feel good about myself while at the
same time giving something back to the community," he
Stanley was part of the first group of black students to
attend Waccamaw School after integration.
"I find that a lot of kids I deal with on a daily basis, I
went to school with their parents or know their parents.
It really benefits the school-community relationship." he
"I think being a close-knit community we can relate
to certain things and we don't have a lot of problems
that the larger schools have." Stanley said.
Barbara Evans, who graduated from the eighth grade
Waccamaw, says the school is a community in itself.
"It's my community. I'm right down the road and I
wanted to be close." said Evans, a special education
teacher who worked for six years at West Brunswick
High before transferring to Waccamaw.
Shoemaker says students seem to have more respect
for teachers if they live in the community where they
"I think that's one of the reasons we have very few
discipline problems." he said. "It's a lot easier to pick up
the phone and call somebody you know than somebody
you don't know."
Military Vehicle Display To Commemorate WW// At Ft. Fisher
Usually known for its Civil War
history. Fort Fisher State Historic
Site will he home to a program Nov.
6-7 interpreting the other war in
which the fort was used.
Approximately eight World War
U vintage military vehicles will he
on display ranging from Jeeps to
large 6X6 trucks. A special part of
the program will he a working, ful
ly-restored half track.
Staff memhers and volunteers
dressed as GI's will be on hand with
a display of World War II uniforms
and equipment. Weapons on display
will include many different types of
rifles, a flame-thrower, a hazooka
and a 30-caliber machine gun.
So that visitors may compare
what was used back then to what is
used by today's Army, about eight
soldiers from Detachment 1,
Headquarters Company of the 1/120
, N.C. Army National Guard will be
on hand. They will have with them
' several Hummers (modern-day
? Jeeps), a large 6X6 truck. M16 ri
. fles, a 50-caliber machine gun,
LAW anti-tank rockets and a TOW
| missile system.
Want To Go?
The program kicks off
about 1:30 Nov. 6 and
continues on Sunday af
ternoon, Nov. 7.
Admission to the mili
tary display is free.
Also, Kristin Szylvian, UNC
VVilmington professor and author of
Fort Fisher and Camp Davis During
World War II. will speak on the im
pact of the war effort in southeastern
North Carolina. Brigadier General
Jim Carper, commander of the 30th
Brigade, N.C. Army National
Guard, will also thank veterans for
their efforts 50 years ago.
During World War II, Fort Fisher
was used for coastal artillery, anti
aircraft and anti-armor training.
Approximately 200 buildings were
located there, and approximately
6,000 troops trained there.
The growth and activity of Fort
Fisher, Camp Davis, Camp Lejeune,
Fort Bragg, Seymour Johnson Air
Force Base and the N.C. Shipyards
made a major contribution to the
war effort. "In many ways World
War II brought southeastern North
Carolina out of the Great Depres
sion, and propelled us into the
growth and prosperity we are now
experiencing," said Leland Smith,
spokesman for the N.C. Department
of Cultural Resources Division of
Archives and History.
The event is a fitting way to get
ready for Veterans Day, Smith said.
The program will kick off at about
1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, with a
short parade of the vehicles up the
old WWII runway behind the Civil
War Museum. It will also run on
Sunday afternoon, Nov. 7. Ad
mission to the military display is
The program is part of Fort Fisher
State Historic Site's commemoration
of the 50th anniversary of World
War II. Fort Fisher is an agency of
the N.C. Department of Cultural
For more information, call the site
?*- ? * ?
MORE THAN 6,000 troops trained at Fort Fisher during World War II
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