Today’s edition of the Stanly County (NC) News & Press reports on this week’s heritage victory at South Stanly High School. After accepting public input, the Stanly County Board of Education voted 5-2 to keep the "Rebel" nickname at the school.
Contact the following school administrators and commend them for making the right decision:
– Superintendent Kenneth Edwards, Kenneth_Edwards@scs.k12.nc.us
– Board Chairman Mitchell Edwards, (704) 474-5898, firstname.lastname@example.org
– Board Vice-Chairman Melvin Poole, (704) 485-4720
– Board Member Sandee Lambert, email@example.com
REBELS REMAIN AT SOUTH STANLY
Stanly News & Press
July 25, 2004
By Jim Lisk
At the end of three hours of forthright debate Thursday night, the Stanly County Board voted 5-2 in favor of retaining "Rebels" as the nickname for South Stanly High.
The motion to retain "Rebels" came from board member Nelson Talley.
"I don’t think it’s right for me to sit up here as a board member and decide on a school nickname or mascot," Talley said.
"I like the idea of the student body deciding. Therefore, I make the motion that we keep the nickname ‘Rebels.’"
The board member Dan McSwain moved to amend the motion to retain "Rebels" but also make the school mascot a Revolutionary soldier. There was no second to McSwain’s amendment, thus the amendment was defeated.
In board discussions, David Grigg commented that we are a democracy for several reasons.
"There’s freedom of speech, that we’ve witnessed tonight. And there’s majority rule that also takes into account the rights of the minority. Sometimes the majority has to take a deep gulp and do something really important," Grigg said.
"I believe it’s best for South Stanly and all of Stanly County that we change the name and move on."
Chris Whitley opposed retaining "Rebels" simply because he doesn’t think it will go away until changed.
"I’ve agonized over this a long time. I wish the board would direct a change. If not, I think it’ll be back again," said Whitley.
In his comments, Larry Soland applauded the students that had spoken earlier and spoke to his experience with South Stanly High, stating that at no time had he witnessed the rancor expressed tonight.
Melvin Poole’s comments hit a theme that had been spoken by several of the young people of South Stanly — the generation gap.
"I don’t think this board can correct all the problems of the past. Each generation has to brak off something evil of the past. And it’s always been troubling to me that each generation passes on their hangups to the next," said Poole.
Just prior to the vote, Chairman Mitchell Edwards replayed the four- month saga that had now come to the 10 p.m. vote.
Edwards advised that he had not formed a fact finding committee earlier because students were involved with year-end testing and he did not want to do anything to upset students.
Then, setting the public hearing two weeks prior to opening school gives people a chance to re-group prior to school opening.
When the vote came, board members Talley, McSwain, Poole, Noland, and Lambert voted to keep "Rebels," while board members Grigg and Whitley voted against the motion.
Earlier in the evening, the board had heard from the eight Fact Finding Committee members individually.
Although there were differing opinions on "Rebels," there was definite unanimity on one thing — the board needed to do the best thing for the students of South Stanly.
After the Fact Finding Committee spoke, 18 of the approximately 175 people in attendance spoke.
One compelling argument that resonated through many presentations was that South Stanly High was the county’s underdog and had to fight for everything they had. Thus, in the strictest sense of the word, there were "Rebels."
Chris Faulkner, who shoots the cannon along with her husband after every South Stanly touchdown, said: "I’m proud to be a Rebel. We’ve fought hard for everything we have, including our new middle school. And I’d like to thank former board members, Vivian Pate and Jean Honeycutt, for helping us with that fight."
Candace Kelly, a black senior at South Stanly, said: "I’ve lost a lot of friends. Many wanted to keep Rebels and many want to change it. I would just like to see the pain go away and see something that we all can get behind and cheer for."
Incoming SSHS Student Body President Ricky Jackson commented, "Unity is what the school is all about. That’s what the students want. This whole issue is a regional one and should have a regional solution. Sometimes change is for the better and now is the time for change."
In his conclusion, this young man, who would within an hour be challenged by board members to lead his classmates through the coming school year, reflected on the situation at hand and quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson: "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."