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Sunday, July 21, 2024


Learn to ‘Read’ the People


By Al Campbell

Learn to ‘Read’ the People
WHITESBORO — B. Lefra Williams Young came home Sept. 1 to speak to the community about the importance of really learning to “read” the community and its people.
“Feed the spirit and you feed the mind,” Young said.
Her animated address was a true crowd pleaser at the 19th annual Whitesboro Reunion Festival on the grounds of the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center. on
Her address focused on what she learned on East Main Street in the Whitesboro Elementary School, and the work ethic and other attributes instilled by her mother, Laura Williams. She sat proudly, attired in a white suit and listened attentively from the second row beneath the large tent.
Young, recently named school superintendent of the City of Camden, is 57, and the oldest of 12 siblings. That mix of personalities in her formative years also helped her understand that not everyone is motivated on the same level.
Steadfast in the belief of hard work and always giving back, Young said she was dazzled by the salary her newest job pays, but said she has little to show for it, since she was raised to give back and give away to those in need.
Her speech concluded, and Young was accorded a standing ovation by the crowd. That honor was followed shortly thereafter by a plaque presented by Bernie Blanks, president of Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro, Inc.
Stedman Graham, executive director of Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro, Inc., which has sponsored the reunion since its inception, introduced Young and said he, like many others who went to school with her and knew her from years ago in the community knew her best as Betsy Williams.
Soloist Rebecca Johnson Brown sang a stirring hymn.
Melvin Williams, chaplain, offered a prayer for the people and future of the community.
Shirley Becki Wilson was master of ceremonies. Middle Township Mayor F. Nathan Doughty represented the municipality and spoke briefly about changes in the community that are improving life for its residents, such as sewer and water, and the upgrades being done at the Whitesboro Elementary School on East Main Street.
This year’s reunion festival book was dedicated to the memory of Fatima Ruth White, who passed on at age 83. She was remembered as a tireless worker for the good of the community by Blanks.
Gloria Hodges, recently retired director of guidance at Middle Township High School, and founder of the district’s Alternative High School program, was awarded the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award.
Acting Postmaster Melissa Lomax, with help from Alice Jones Roberson, whose father was Whitesboro postmaster from 1940-1945, unveiled a local postal artifact, a wooden sign from the Whitesboro Post Office.
The unveiling kicked off a month-long contest sponsored by the local post office to promote Whitesboro history. The contest, “HisStory…HerStory…OurStory” is being held to attract leads. Stories, contact and pictures behind the Whitesboro Post Office sign. Submissions will be accepted at the post office until Sept. 29 at noon. The winner will be drawn at 2 p.m. that day and the winner will be notified by phone.

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