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Berry Global launches expansion at its Benson plant Clayton small business owners innovate in the face of COVID Hospice volunteer coordinator named Ambassador of the Month Triangle East Chamber announces Flame For Learning semifinalists Longtime teacher, coach retires after 35 years in the Princeton ‘family’ Junior Women’s League presents $12,000 grant Clayton Youth Council brings home honors Chad Jewett named Thanksgiving Elementary Principal Town of Smithfield public utilities honored High school announces Principal’s List, Honor Roll recipients


Paula Wooten is retiring after 35 years as a teacher and coach in Princeton. Photos courtesy of Kai Jones/We Journal Great Sports.

[PUBLISHER] column


When you’re a kid, owning a swimming pool is a dream come true. It’s instant relief from the relentless sun so omnipresent on Southern summer days, and it’s a great way to quickly become the most popular guy in the neighborhood. I never had one of my own as a child, but I imagine that most young pool owners are shielded from the massive responsibilities of keeping one going from the start of the swim season until the end. We got one a few years ago, and while I have enjoyed many wonderful moments in it with my wife and son, it is a neverending project. There isn’t enough space here for the entire list of woes, but I’ll give you the highlights from the past three years. This year (so far), the pump motor was seized up, which caused the breaker box to trip out by the control box. Last year, our liner had to be cut out and replaced. I



Volume 5, Number 6

A Shandy Communications, LLC publication

didn’t completely shield Ethan from that experience, since he had just turned 18. The year before that, the salt cell, which runs a small electric current into our salt water to produce chlorine, had to be replaced for the third time and the handle on top of the pump that allows for backwashing and rinsing had to be retired as well. Every year, we entertain the notion of not opening it. Last month, when confronted with 11,000 gallons of green, pine straw-infused water, I was tempted again.

Publisher Randy Capps

But then, I thought back to last summer. When the world was going mad with COVID restrictions and daily protests, the pool was our sanctuary. We didn’t need a mask to get in, and it’s not really big enough to allow for six feet of social distancing. We spent time there together, and for those moments in time, everything was OK. So, that made me smile — even as I was adding 400 pounds of salt to pool. It’s a great place to make memories, but you do have to work for them first.

General Manager Shanna Capps

Creative Consultant Ethan Capps Office Managers

Advertising Manager Irene Brooks

Marketing Representative Wanda Sasser

Terri Atkinson

Katie Crowder

919-980-5522 • • • 1300 W. Market Street, Smithfield, N.C. 27577 • Johnston Now Magazine is a monthly publication of Shandy Communications, LLC for our Johnston County neighbors. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written consent by the publisher. Advertisers take sole responsibility for the validity of their advertisement. ©2021 Johnston Now. All rights reserved.




Berry Global launches expansion at its Benson plant Submitted by JOHNSTON COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

BENSON — Berry Global, the Fortune 500 global maker and marketer of non-woven fabrics and plastic packaging products, will invest more than $70 million to expand its Benson manufacturing plant. The company will add approximately 60 jobs to its existing 217-person Johnston County workforce. County Commissioners joined the town of Benson’s Board of Commissioners in a joint meeting recently to approve performance-based incentives as part of Berry Global’s national search for a location to house its expansion. “Congratulations to this longtime corporate resident on the success that has led to this major expansion,” said


Chad Stewart, chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “Berry Global has been in the trenches in the fight against COVID-19, providing highquality personal protective equipment, and we’re proud they’ve selected Johnston County for this exciting expansion.” Headquartered in Evansville, Ind., Berry Global Group, Inc. maintains 295 facilities across the globe and employs a worldwide workforce of more than 47,000. The company, founded in 1967, creates innovative products for consumer and commercial markets by leveraging unparalleled global reach, the latest sustainability principles and a rich legacy of innovation. Berry Global’s Benson expansion is being driven by growth in its wipes business. The company’s products are used

by the world’s leading wipe brands for infection prevention. From 2014 to 2019, demand for disinfectant wipes grew at 6% per year before surging during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Happi, an industry media company specializing in the global personal care, household and industrial and institutional cleaning markets. The industry anticipates demand remaining high after the pandemic subsides. “The investment by Berry in this state of the art, high speed proprietary technology at our Benson facility allows us to support both the ongoing demand and future innovation of cleaning and

hygiene solutions to meet the global needs of our customers,” said Mark Siebert, executive vice president and general manager for healthcare and specialties at the company. “We are extremely appreciative of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners and local Benson officials for their joint support of this initiative.” Berry Global’s Benson site on Chicopee Road dates from the late 1960s. It previously operated under the names PGI, AVINTIV and Berry Plastics. In addition to its Johnston County presence, Berry Global also has facilities in Ahoskie, Charlotte, Matthews, Mooresville, Rocky Mount and Statesville, collectively employing more than 1,200 North Carolina workers. Once operational, the company’s Benson expansion is expected to add nearly $21.5 million in annual output to Johnston County’s economy, according to an

analysis by Michael Walden, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University. The facility will add $71,116 and $160,872 in annual tax revenues for the Town of Benson and Johnston County, respectively. “Berry Global has been an indispensable partner to the town of Benson for many years, and the benefits of its presence here cannot be measured in dollar terms alone,” said Benson Mayor Jerry Medlin. “They are part of Benson’s social and community fabric, in addition to the obvious economic role they play. We are proud and we are grateful to be the site of this great company’s next phase of growth.”

[ MAY 2021 ] | 7

Clayton small business owners innovate in the face of COVID By ROBIN KOPPEN

The Market at Three Little Birds on Main Street in Clayton has become synonymous with local and community, hosting goods from 70 vendors, most of them from Johnston County. With the first anniversary of COVID-19 upon us, Christi Burwell Thompson, shop owner, said, “It’s a good time,” in her seemingly effortless calm, cool and collected vibe. When asked why, she praised the community support over the last year. Before the pandemic, the shop was strictly brick and mortar and had never shipped a box, much less had any type of online business. What Christi had done since opening her shop on Main Street in 2015 was built a strong social media presence and anchored herself in downtown Clayton as not just a shop owner, but as a small business and community advocate. January and February are the slowest months in retail, so foot traffic was already down. With buzz of the virus and people afraid to go out in public, it became nearly nonexistent. “Staffing was also an issue,” she said. On March 17, she made the decision to shut the doors to Three Little Birds before the governor’s orders required it. The thought 8 | [ JOHNSTON NOW ]

process was that if this was serious enough to close bars and restaurants, it was serious enough. That was a Tuesday. On Thursday she and Erin Nenni, owner of Real Neighbors, and also a vendor, hosted the first live sale with about 30 people watching. “It blew up from there,” Thompson said. When it was obvious this

Erin Nenni, owner of Real Neighbors (left) and Christi Burwell Thompson, owner of The Market at Three Little Birds (right) pose for a photo in Clayton.

wasn’t coming to an end any time soon, they decided to make it a weekly event. Now 300 to 450 Birdwatchers, as they are known, tune in every Thursday night to see Christi and Erin show their latest goods and wares. There is even a group of ladies in Alaska, who became Birdwatchers via a friend in Wake Forest. These gals watched together, separately, as a COVID-style ladies’ night. The huge outpouring from the community gave Christi a sense of responsibility. “We made them feel normal and made them laugh,” she said. This powerhouse didn’t stop there.

In the middle of a global pandemic, Three Little Birds also gave back to the community through fundraisers. When Clayton Fire Department was ravaged by COVID, the shop matched donations of miscellaneous items totaling $1,500 for the families of the firefighters.

They also raised about $500 for a local business owner whose young daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. For Christmas, Christi and her team partnered with With Love From Jesus and held a toy drive for children in need collecting nearly $3,000 in new toys. Where does that energy come from? “I’m passionate about what I do,” she said. “It’s not work to me.” One year — and a lot of blood, sweat and tears — later The Market at Three Little Birds has a strong e-commerce business shipping 60-90 packages a week. They also launched a shopping app and have a YouTube channel in the works called “The Nest,” with which Christi plans to cultivate and educate others on the culture of the South. To the Birdwatchers, never fear, the Thursday night live sales will continue. “There’s no going back now,” she said.

Hospice doesn’t mean giving up hope. 919.877.9959

[ MAY 2021 ] | 9

Hospice volunteer coordinator named


SMITHFIELD — Johnston Health has recognized Wanda Johnson of Kenly as Ambassador of the Month. She is the volunteer coordinator at the SECU Hospice House. During a recent presentation, CEO Tom Williams said Johnson always wears a friendly smile when assisting patients, families and staff with needs. “She is also the go-to person for getting things done correctly and quickly,” he said. “And her compassion,


integrity and commitment is admirable and inspiring.” Johnson was a hospice volunteer for three years before she took on her current role five years ago. Her introduction to hospice was visiting her grandmother when she was admitted to the hospice house in December 2010. Johnson was so impressed with the care for her family that she later took the hospice class to become a volunteer. Johnson says she loves her job because it gives her purpose. “I love the teamwork among volunteers and co-workers,” she said. “Every day is different. You never know what you will encounter or who you will help.” Among other things, Johnson helped start a special program at the hospice house to honor veterans. In addition, during the pandemic, she facilitated the purchase of tents and chairs to make the families’ window visits with patients more comfortable. Through the ambassador program, Johnston Health recognizes employees who go above and beyond the call of duty.

They deliver quality care, foster teamwork and offer excellent service. In addition to a designated month-long parking space, Johnson will receive eight hours of paid time off.

CEO Tom Williams congratulates Wanda Johnson on being named Johnston Health Ambassador of the Month. Also pictured from left are: Ruth Marler, CNO/COO; Kyle Mobley, clinical manager of hospice services and Dennis Koffer, MD, medical director of hospice services.

[ MAY 2021 ] | 11

Triangle East Chamber announces

Flame For Learning semifinalists Submitted by TRIANGLE EAST CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

SMITHFIELD — Because of the importance of teachers in developing and educating children, the Triangle East Chamber of Commerce has adopted the Flame For Learning Award. In so doing, the goal is to support and elevate the teaching profession in the public schools. This award recognizes outstanding creativity and innovation in the classroom and nominees are selected strictly on merit, without regard to school or residence. Johnston County’s Teacher of the Year will be named at the 27th Annual Triangle East Flame for Learning Award Ceremony on May 6.


The Flame for Learning Award is presented by Chick-fil-A of Smithfield. Through a nomination process, teachers in Johnston County were invited to submit a “best idea or practice” used by that teacher. The winner of the Flame for Learning award will represent Johnston County in the regional competition. The 2021 Flame for Learning semifinalists represent 14 schools, showcasing great educators from all over Johnston County. THE 20 SEMIFINALISTS ARE: Carolyn Benner (Cleveland Middle), Heather Best (River Dell Elementary), Amanda Dauphinais (Innovation

Academy), Amanda Everette (Four Oaks Middle), Crystal Hardison (Clayton High), Catherine Hoyt (South Smithfield Elementary), Elisabeth Jones (Selma Elementary), Bethany Jones (SmithfieldSelma High), Kimberlie Jones (Riverwood Elementary), Brian Jones (Smithfield-Selma High), Kimberly Jorett (Clayton Middle), Rachel Langdon (Clayton High), LaChandle Nowling (West Clayton Elementary), Allie Parrish (South Smithfield Elementary), Janna Rogerson (Princeton Elementary), Deborah Roll (Clayton Middle), Madison Simerson (Four Oaks Elementary), Shannon Smithies (Selma Elementary), Mary Beth Thompson (Four Oaks Middle) and Jennifer Vogel (Riverwood Middle).

Longtime teacher, c 35 years in the Pr By RANDY CAPPS Photos by KAI JONES/WE JOURNAL GREAT SPORTS

PRINCETON — On May 28, the Class of 2021 will graduate from Princeton High School. Sometime that day, Paula Wooten will walk out of her office, just behind the Deacon Jones Gymnasium, head down the hall, out the front doors and into the parking lot. It will be the last time she makes that walk as a full-time Johnston County Public Schools employee. Wooten is retiring after a 35-year career teaching physical education and weightlifting while coaching basketball, volleyball and softball — all of which happened in Princeton. “I really haven’t got a whole lot of plans now,” she said. “Whatever comes

I just loved basketball. I always have. I learned a lot playing under him, but I also learned that playing basketball in college is a job. It’s not like high school. PAULA WOOTEN, Retiring Princeton coach

up, I guess. We have a place at the lake, Smith Mountain Lake, and I hope to spend some time there. Spend some time with my mom. She’s older, and I’d like to spend some time with her. I’ve got a few things I can do to keep me busy.” She’s not planning to completely vanish from the hallways, however. “But I’ll probably come back and sub some,” she said. Wooten grew up in Kenly, was a 1980 graduate of North Johnston High School and played for Paul Sanderford’s Louisburg Junior College basketball team that captured a national championship in 1981. “When I was in high school, that was the sport that was my favorite,” she said. “I just loved basketball. I always have. I learned a lot playing under him, but I also learned that playing basketball in college is a job. It’s not like high school.” After college at Louisburg and Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College), she came to Princeton to start her career. It was a path, she believes, that was chosen for her. “You can see that God has his hand everywhere,” she said. “Everything I’ve ever done, you look back and you see it. I’ve just been so blessed to have some of the kids I’ve had here. Some of my best friends are people that I’ve met here. I met (my Wooten, and her husband) here. It’s just been an daughter, Meredith, pose after the awesome, awesome trip. Bulldogs won the 1A “I don’t want to start naming Eastern title.


names, but this has just been a great place to work. I started out with Mr. (Fred) Bartholomew. He hired me. Then Mr. (Kirk) Denning came and then Mr. (Jarvis) Ellis. All three of them have been so very supportive. Not only of athletics, but also of me as a person. With our athletic directors and coaches, we’re just a family. To me, that’s what it’s all about. Like this year, Coach (Travis) Gaster would travel to the volleyball games and Facebook Live them, so our parents could see it — because they couldn’t go to away games.” “Coach Wooten is a class act who has dedicated her professional career to serving others,” Gaster, Princeton’s football coach and athletic director, said. “She is a positive role model for every student-athlete she coaches. There is no secret to her overwhelming success as a coach. She is a hard worker who is always willing to put others before herself. “In small schools, coaches must take on many different roles. Coach Wooten has coached all three seasons every year since I have been here. She truly has no offseason. Despite her workload, she finds a way to be successful in each sport she coaches. Although her legacy as a coach will reign for a long time at Princeton High School, the positive impact she has had on countless student-athletes during her career is even more impressive.” Wooten’s final year on the sidelines was marred by a host of challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a shuffling of the sports calendar, shifting fall sports

, coach retires after Princeton ‘family’ into spring, and also required players to compete while wearing face coverings. Wooten says her players endured without complaint. “It’s been very odd,” she said. “But I think we just did it without really thinking about it. These kids get up at 6 a.m., and if we had a basketball game (later that day), we’d practice volleyball and vice-versa. So they had a lot going on, and I had a lot going on. But it’s been a different year, no doubt. One that we definitely won’t forget for many reasons.” The basketball season, in particular, was memorable in its own right. Wooten’s last team finished the season with a perfect regular season record and a Carolina 1A Conference title. The team advanced all the way to the state championship game before finally falling to Murphy. “You can’t write it any better, except to win the state championship,” she said. “Sometimes, when you look at a state championship, you think, ‘Will I ever get there',” she said. “And then for me to get there in the last year, it meant everything. Especially having the opportunity to coach Meredith and spend time with her like that, it was just a blessing. I could just sit there and see it orchestrating out. We got a good draw, the first- and secondplace teams lost out, so we played every game at home. It was just unreal, really.” Meredith is her youngest and will be

one of the students getting a diploma at graduation. Her oldest, Michael, is studying nursing at Campbell after playing football there. And she’s been married to their father, Mike, for nearly 32 years. They all got a heads-up, of course, on her retirement plans. “I told (Michael and Meredith), ‘You realize how many years I’ve been in school,’” she said. “I’ve been in school 53 years. Counting kindergarten, high school, college and teaching. It’s definitely going to be a change. I’m going to miss it. There’s no Wooten and her doubt about that. daughter celebrate after the 1A Anytime you do Eastern final win. something that long and love it like

Wooten draws up a play during Princeton's win over Pinetown Northside in the 1A Eastern Championship.

I do, you’re going to miss it. But you know, it’s time to get out. Let somebody else come in and take over. I’ve loved every minute of it.” If Ellis needs anyone to talk up the virtues of the school or the town to potential applicants, Wooten would be a good choice. “This is a special place,” she said. “I would have never wanted to leave. It’s a real close-knit community with a lot of community support. Most of the time, when we go to an away game, we have more fans there than they do. ... I probably could have left a couple of times, but I would have never even thought about leaving. My kids grew up here, too. It’s just a family. A big family.” As it turns out, she might not be the last Wooten who decides to follow a path that leads to teaching. “My daughter said she wants to teach elementary school,” she said. “People say, ‘Don’t let her do that.’ How could I tell her not to do that when it’s been my life? This is my home. This is what I love.”

[ MAY 2021 ] | 15

Junior Women’s League presents $12,000 grant to Partnership for Children of Johnston County Submitted by JWL OF SMITHFIELD

SMITHFIELD — Recently the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield presented a Community Impact Grant award to Partnership for Children of Johnston County for $12,000. Funds were raised during JWL’s Diaper Drive in the fall of 2020. Due to a quick pivot from the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield’s TouchA-Truck Committee, the hard work of members and the incredible support of the community (and beyond), JWL was also able to donate more than 31,000 diapers, as well as wipes and diaper creams, to help establish a Diaper


Closet at PFCJC, the first in Johnston County. The county and the towns of Benson, Clayton, Four Oaks, Princeton, Smithfield and Wilson’s Mills issued proclamations declaring October Diaper Need Awareness month, bringing further attention to an issue that many people in Johnston County struggle with. “The Partnership for Children of Johnston County needed our help with filling their diaper closet and although our original plans were altered this year, we still had a goal of collecting as many items as we could to help as many families as possible in Johnston

County,” said Dana Satterfield and Destiny Savage, the committee cochairs. “Our members and our community pulled together to make our Touch-A-Truck Diaper Drive a success despite the odds

Junior Women’s League Board Members, Touch-A-Truck Committee members and Partnership for Children of Johnston County Representatives are pictured: Front row, left to right, Sarah Edwards (JWL president), Destiny Savage (TAT committee co-chair), Karen Mills (program manager of PFCJC), Christina Peterson (community outreach coordinator of PFCJC) and Dana Satterfield (TAT committee co-chair). Back row: Heather Bryant, Laura Hill, Dana Peterson, Carol Anne Oakes, Kristen Wagner, Jennifer Adams, Hunter Misensis, Meredith Fordham, Kelly Blanchard, Dawn Willcox and Lisa Bland.

[ MAY 2021 ] | 17

being against us. We are so thankful for the incredible support. We had help from all over Johnston County, and, with the help of others and the hard work of our JWL members, we were able to surpass our goals for this year.” The Partnership for Children of Johnston County is a non-profit organization that helps improve the safety, health and emotional well-being of young children by enhancing the quality of childcare, supporting strong families and reaching out to at-risk kids. They work collaboratively with likeminded organizations and strive toward early childhood education and school readiness for all of Johnston County’s children. For more information about activities and events hosted by Partnership for Children of Johnston County please visit their website, The Junior Women’s League of Smithfield is a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote voluntarism, develop the potential of women and improve the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. JWL’s impact has been significant. To date, the JWL has presented $112,000 in community donations and completed over 10,600 hours of community service. Visit www. to learn more.




Clayton Youth Council wins top honors at Spring Convention Submitted by TOWN OF CLAYTON

CLAYTON — Clayton Parks and Recreation’s Clayton Youth Council (CYC) earned two top honors at this year’s State Youth Council Spring Convention. The CYC is a teen-run volunteer organization for high school students in Clayton. The council is made up of 56 members and was recognized at a virtual state convention recently. According to Recreation Program Coordinator and CYC Adviser Joni HubbleZeneberg, the CYC won the “Most Helpful Senior Award” and the “Most Creative/ Innovative Council Project

Award.” The Most Helpful Senior Award was presented to Kadence Baumgardner. She was recognized for demonstrating uncompromising dedication to her council and community. “Even with balancing school, work and CYC, Kadence has demonstrated time after time her passion for serving others in the community,” said Hubble-Zeneberg. “We are all so very proud of her accomplishment. She is truly deserving of this honor.” For the past two years, Baumgardner served as the council’s Vice President and has been instrumental in helping to grow its membership. The CYC was presented

Clayton Youth Council member James Ashely (second from left) stands with members of the Clayton Fire Department after presenting the department with gift baskets as part of a CYC project. Members of the CFD from left are Firefighter Monica Joyner, Firefighter Alan Johnson, and Engineer Anthony Venero.

with the Most Creative/ Innovative Council Project Award for its First Responders Appreciation Baskets project. The goal of the project was to bring awareness to the hardships that first responders have faced during the

pandemic and then give back to them for their service. Twenty-one members of the CYC worked together to create gift baskets to benefit the Clayton Fire Department, Clayton Police Department and Johnston County EMS.

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[ MAY 2021 ] | 19

Chad Jewett named Thanksgiving Elementary Principal Submitted by JOHNSTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Chad Jewett was named the principal of Thanksgiving Elementary at the March Johnston County Board of Education meeting. Jewett has an extensive background in education, serving as an administrator since 2008. He has more than 20 years of experience in education. “I am honored to be named the principal of Johnston


County Public Schools’ newest elementary school,” he said. “I look forward to building relationships with the students and families in the Thanksgiving community.” The school, located off of Lynch Road in Selma, will serve families in the Thanksgiving area once construction is complete. “We look forward to Mr. Jewett bringing his expertise to the students and staff at Thanksgiving Elementary,” Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy said. “Our school system is fortunate to have exemplary leadership in place, and I am confident that he will serve the families in this community well.” The school is scheduled to open in the fall.



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Town of Smithfield Public Utilities honored with national award for outstanding safety practices Submitted by TOWN OF SMITHFIELD

SMITHFIELD — The Town of Smithfield Public Utilities Department has earned the American Public Power Association’s Safety Award of Excellence for safe operating practices in 2020. Smithfield earned first place in the category for utilities with less than 15,000 worker-hours of annual worker exposure. “Utilities that receive an APPA Safety Award have demonstrated that they have made the health and safety of their employees a core value,” said Brandon

Wylie, Chair of APPA’s Safety Committee and director of training and safety at Electric Cities of Georgia. “Designing and maintaining a top-notch utility safety program takes a lot of hard work and commitment. These utilities and their communities should be very proud.” A total of 329 utilities from across the country that entered the annual Safety Awards. Entrants were placed in categories according to their number of worker-hours and ranked based on the most incident-free records during 2020. The incidence rate, used to judge entries, is based on the number of work-related reportable injuries or illnesses and the

number of worker-hours during 2020, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). “Smithfield Public Utilities, while providing outstanding customer service to our community, values employee safety above all else,” said Ted Credle, Smithfield Public Utilities director. “We all recognize the importance of going home to our families each day; this is what drives our dedication to safety.” The Safety Awards have been held annually for more than 65 years. APPA is the voice of not-for-profit, communityowned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide.

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Smithfield-Selma High School announces principal’s list, honor roll recipients Submitted by SMITHFIELDSELMA HIGH SCHOOL

To earn a spot on the principal’s list, a student must have A's (or B's for AP/Honors/IB courses) for all courses with no negative conduct. For honor roll distinction, a student must have A's and/or B's (or C's for AP/Honors/IB courses) for all courses with no negative conduct.

Principal’s list Adams, Cameron Lee Adeshina, Abimifoluwa Esther Peyisayo Ajanel-Arreaga, Dayeli Apolinar-Avina, Kevin Oswaldo Augustyn, Thomas Baker, Samuel Amari Oneil Bass, Anne Kathryn Blue, Amauri Mehki Bouchard, Gavin Suthard Bredin, Gabrielle Amelia Carroll, Brady Hinton

9th Grade

[ MAY 2021 ] | 27

9th Grade Casper, Haley Grace Cavanaugh, Allene Elizabeth Chavez-Lopez, Juliana Chen, Kevin Chopski, Jordyn Marie Claros-Garcia, Luis Ariel

Dailey, Aaron Nicholas Diaz Coyt, Karina Dixon, Denasia Ayanna Earnest, Aleksander Daniel Ellis, Chloe Rose Falzarano, Madison Mary

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Farrell, Teagan Judith Garcia Ulloa, Jackeline Damaris Garcia-Aguilar, Alex Garcia-Tapia, Betsybel Gibson, Madison Paige Hernandez, Adriana Espino Herrling, Hannah Elizabeth Holland, Megan Nicole Jaen Atencio, Veckan Eliel Jimenez Arreaga, Paola Johnson, Dymel Jirell Kennedy, Silas Christopher King, Elizabeth Beryl Lawrence, Vance Yates Lemons, Davis Michael Liberto-Crispin, Luz Clarita Mancini, Sydney Cora Martinez-Galindo, Carmen Issamar McDaniel, Sherelle Rena' Mercier, Maya Gilliam Monroe, Kaziah Rena Morales-Aquino, Kiara Mutchler, Keilana Lily Napier, Kai Nikolaus Michael Nguyen, Chase Truong Son Pate, Abigail Mackenzie Perry, William Taejon Pinault, Chloe Mae Ramirez-Franco, Arely Reed, Jacob Russell Richardson, Dalvin Rayquan Rivas-Hernandez, Valeria Santiago, Adriana Josefine Santiago-Olmedo, Magali Sherlin Snead, Justin Arrington Stephens, Hailey Lynn Swain, Wade Talley Torres Zamarripa, Jose Rodolfo Tropnas, Elodie Elisabeth Valdivia-Ibarra, Jesuette Vaughan, Corbin Joseph White, Dylan Michael Wilson, Abigail Dawn

Honor roll Aguilar-Guzman, Alondra Altman, Nityla Nicole Atkinson, Jinaya Nashelle Barts, Ella Grace Battle, Stefaun Samuel Brantley, Tobriyah Nikole Brice, Avery Lee Brown, Dsyre Dajanarie Bullock, Sarah Elizabeth Camacho, Bryan Rodrigo Casey, Gabrielle Sofia Chestnut, Gabrielle Audoria Chong, Elizabeth Joy Cobb, Kyla Jade Colindres-Castro, Crystal Carolina Duran, Mara Taylor Ferreyra, Fernanda Flannery, Connor Brian Garcia-Melchor, Yudid Hall, Marlo Elizabeth Hercules, Daniel Higgins, Nicholas Hunter Jaramillo Piedra, Erick Kent, Redick Harrison Lopez Sontay, Jennifer Rosemary Lucas, Nevaeh S Manley, Taniyah Princess McKoy, Josalyn Danielle Mendes-Morales, Angelica Menjivar-Reyes, Samantha Nicole O’Donnell, Joshua Jaden Perez-Aguilar, Yanely Price, Nicole Francine Purvis Corbin, Sydney Alexis Ramirez Garcia, Cesar Ramirez Padilla, Paulett Reyes-Lopez, Anthony Rojas Hernandez, Thomas Alexander Ruiz, Sarai Sebastian, Anayelli Nicole Werner, Samantha Wilson, Maya Elizabeth Yac, Rocky Roldino

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[ MAY 2021 ] | 29

Principal’s list Agnas, Allhane Alexa Wage Allen, Macy Lexington Antonio Olguin, Valeria Arana Alberto, Britney Sarai Arellano Rojas, Dayana Atkisson, James David Avalos-Hernandez, Jennifer Barbosa-Fonseca, Vanessa Bonilla, Brisa Burger, Sadie Jean Estelle Cepin, Catherine Elizabeth Clever, Carter Edward Cook, Tatyana Anayalease Deravil, Dalaicia Lopearl Evans, Joseph Bryant Fenwick, Victoria Simone Fulcher, Christopher Kevin Galindo-Martinez, Miranda Garcia, Esteisy Dayana Garrett, Shelby Lee Gonzalez-Barrios, Alan Miguel Gonzalez-Salazar, Jonathan Grimmick, Gillian MargaretHope Grindstaff, Alanna Denise Helmer, Robert Jackson Holder, Nahkya Leigh Johnson, Jane Ivey Johnson, Lilly Faith Jones, Matthew Hayden Kerstetter, Sara Marie Lassiter, Courtney Mira Lynn, Jayson Matthew Maradiaga Gutierrez, Yaremi Markowski, Caleb Thomas Martinez-Tejeda, Javier May, Daniel Dejourne McCraw, Madison Leigh Melinsky, Charlene Ruth Mitchell, Nickolas Bryant Morataya, Christy Johanna Munoz-Vazquez, Kathryne Murray, Darian Malik Nava-Mayo, Moises Neri Cruz, Hezier Nichols, Marquis Isaiah Nutt, Priscilla Ruth

O’Brien, Connor Patrick Pena Esteban, Heidi Perez Juarez, Astrid Gissele Pinion, Amber Rennae Ramirez-Santiago, Alondra Yanet Rayworth, Skylar Amelia Reece, Jude McCullers Renfrow, John Ross Reynoso-Diaz, Edith Richardson, Alyssa DAvon Rico Baca, Ruby Rodriguez Gomez, Samantha Rodriguez, Jaquelyn Sanders, Anaya Simerman, Brianne Katherine Stuckey, Emily Caroline Taiwo, Erioluwa Atandaolu Whaley, Lillian Caroline Williams, Dakota Destiny Williams, Mariah Elaine Woodall, Luke Parrish Honor roll Agramonte, Natalie Sky Atkinson, Taylor Nicole Barojas, Melanie Michelle Barron-Mendez, Rebeca Booker, Lillian Grace Carcamo, Helen Anahi Cerrato, Cristy Giselle Coyt-Ayala, Alejandro Denny, Megan Jocelyn Evans, James Burton Flores-Morales, Emily Frazier, Moriah Imani Gallego Aguilar, Denis Javier Granados, Kimberly Jasuri Harris, Jackson Braswell Hernandez-Rios, Jesus Angel Jeffries, Jaleel Xavier McGill, De’Ja Ayana Mejia Ventura, Graciela Melvin, Dedrick K. Morales-Barcenas, Monserrat Murray, Tanner Jeff Owens, Robert Darden Parrish, Zackary James Perez-Melchor, Bryan

10th Grade Kenneth Perry, Marcellus Benjamin Pierce, Chelsea Marie Ramirez Jr, Oscar Ruiz, Eric Sanchez-Solis, Daniel Sanders, Gerard L Satey-Gomez, Rubi Stancil, Jaylen Daveon Urzi, Sophia Rosalie

VazquezLinares, German Velasquez-Barcenas, Eduardo Vinson, Samaria Sade Willard, Caleb Dean Williams, Calvonna Jeannette Willis, Gabriel Scott

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11th Grade


Principal’s list Anthony, Leyla Nicole Bararmna-Datchah, Bahomdi Lumena Elsy Barbosa Meza, Jordi Emanuel Barboza-Garcia, Jacqueline Barefoot, Camryn Elizabeth Boothe, Zachary James Brasier-Taylor, Tiahna Amber Brewer, George Martin Bruns, Colin Sean Michael Calloway, Mia Grace Carroll, Lindsay Cervantes Gutierrez, Jaret Alejandro Chen, Michelle Fernandez-Organista, Lizette Gallego, Angie Paola Garcia, Adrian Garcia, Sitlaly Garvey, Olivia Rose Grimes, Lydia Claire Guerrero-Hernandez, Bryan Guzman-Hernandez, Andrea Perly Hernandez, Ashley Jones, James Ashton Vann Lopez Calles, Gerson Nahun Lopez-Ibarra, Sharon A Martin, Janayia Anyce Martinez-Rivera, Sandra Mohamed, Eman Ali Molina, Janeth Angelica Olguin, Joel Antonio PerezPerez, Eliel Hisain Rogers, Karlen Hope Sevigny, Aidan Thomas Shaw, Jaelyn Santana Montae Strickland, Sara Courtney Suggs, Jaime Elizabeth

Sykes, Jamylah Deon Topoly, Alex Worth, Kyra Martin Yang, Jenny Liu Honor roll Aguilar-Villagran, Manuel Alkanshaly, Adam Sulayman M Battle, Nyzier D Beliveau, Nathaniel Edward Contreras Coyt, Vanesa Cruz-Alvarez, Verenice Ebert, Prestyn Haleigh Eklund, Violet Christine Evans, Sammira Hope Forte’, Akysha Aaliyah Gipson, Sanii Kimbraya Hinton, Jalen Maurice Ingram, JaSonya Alani Jackson, Luke Zachary Jenkins, Rebekah Mae Jones, Aniya Shanell Lopez Villanueva, Christopher Jason Martinez, Jacqueline Martinez-Trejo, Yobani Niswonger, Mary Kathleen Pagan Figueroa, Isis Gabriela Pastor-Raudales, Jarol Josue Peralta Mejia, Erick Zaday Reyes, Leslie Verenice Reyes, Roni Rios Cruz, Ana Abigail Rodriguez, Daniel Michael Sauls, Kaylee Alyssa Thomas Otero, Daniel Turcios-Gutierrez, Sarahi Walker, Tia Aniyah White, Jaylen Antoine

Principal’s list Aguilar-Delgado, Jacqueline Aguilar-Ramires, Magali Aleman, Kamila Abigail Arowojobe-Taiwo, Michael Ayomide Becton, Maelee Taylor Bell, Davis Lockamy Bishop, Takyia Blue, Keondra VaNesha Boone, Kaili Maryn Byers, Kyleigh Nicole Canales, William Chandler, Kaitlyn Celeste Crumpler, Adam Dale, William H Evans, Hannah Elizabeth Figueroa-Bernal, Jennifer Fulcher, Michael Furr, John Dolan Garcia, Lorena Gardner, Owen Christopher


12th Grade

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Guerrero, Luis Miguel Harder, Kelly Rose Hellis, Katelyn Yukina Hercules, Joshua Allen Howcroft, Zoe Constance Hughes, Rachel Kelly Ketcham, Reagan Isabel Lawrence, Dolmecha ZydiahMarie Lewis, Tyler Annise Lopez Vazquez, Ian Jeri Lorenzo-Sanchez, Erwin Yhayr Martinez, Anthony Esteban Martinez, Brandon Martinez, Ryan McQueen, Myshiah Danaja Menjivar-Hernandez, Jason Ivan Miller, Sara Ann Moore, Henry Griffin Partida-Arias, Evelyn Rubi Patino Ramirez, Luis Fernando


Perales Olalde, Maria Del Carmen Porfirio Ayon, Perla Crystal Putney, Lauren Elizabeth Ramirez, Alyssa Janalynn Rice, Brandon Lee Roesch, Devon Jaylyn Loyal Ruffin, Ralph Zechariah Siquina-Gomez, Susi Jasmine Smith, Kiairah Louise Smith, Thomas Andrew Stell, Taylor Saranne Strong, Courtland Nicholas Thaggard, Zniah Na-Lonnie Waters, Cooper E. Whitley, Sydni Meshell Wilson, Carlee June Honor roll Alvares-Herrera, B J Barbeau, Alycen Grace Blake, Kionna N. Cervantes Perez, Sayuri Davis, Kiersten Aalyiah

12th Grade Eason, Kyle Jason English, Christian Robert Faulk, Darius Lorenzo Galindo, Jacqueline Gottuso, Dylan Cole Guerrero Thomas, Esly DaNeiry Hamilton, Jocelyn Paige Mitchell, Kasia Lanise Motley Jr, Jason Randall Muniz Padilla, Flor Saraid

Niewoehner, Emily Jane Partin, Matthew Addison Ramirez Mendoza, Britney Rayo-Mendoza, Junior Rubio, Angel Saenz, Esmeralda Jennifer Stewart, Alisha Vann, Jalen Chea Will, Mitchell Caleb

Add your organization’s events to the community calendar at or email us at For the full community calendar with hundreds of area events, visit

CALENDAR of events

NAMI Support Groups and Classes


The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers free weekly support groups throughout Johnston County for both those who are in recovery with mental illness (NAMI Connection) and for their caregivers, loved ones and friends as well (NAMI Family Support). For more information on the support groups and educational classes of NAMI Johnston County, NC, visit, email or call 919-980-5277.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, 6 p.m.

Smithfield Running Club Join the Smithfield Running Club each week to meet new people, get back in shape, train for races and explore the growing downtown area of Smithfield. For more information, find them on Facebook by searching for Smithfield Running Club or email

Second and Fourth Tuesdays, 7 a.m.

Cleveland School Rotary Club Cleveland Draft House, Garner Cleveland School Rotary Club meets bi-weekly and serves the citizens of the 40/42 area of Johnston County and Garner.

Every Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Smithfield Kiwanis Club Meeting Golden Corral, Smithfield Come for dinner and learn about this volunteer service club with a focus on actively supporting children’s programs. Learn about Smithfield and neighboring communities from weekly presenters. Community and social opportunities are open as well. Visit to learn more.

First and third Tuesdays, Noon

Clayton Rotary Mid-day Club Virtual meeting via Zoom This small group of service-minded individuals is very dedicated to community betterment in Clayton and Johnston County. Visit to learn more.

First and third Thursdays, 6:45 p.m.

Clayton Civitan Club meeting Clayton Civitan Building, McCullers St., Clayton Join the Clayton Civitan Club for its monthly meetings. Call 919-550-0694 for more information.

First and third Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.

Fellowship Masonic Lodge #84 meeting Fellowship Masonic Lodge #84, S. Brightleaf Blvd., Smithfield Fellowship Masonic Lodge #84 meets the first and third Thursday of each month. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., and visitors are welcome. The lodge will open at 7:30 p.m. For more information, email Grover Dees at

Second Monday, 6 p.m.

PACT meeting Virtual Meeting via Google Meet Parents of Adult Children in Transition meets the second Monday of each month. To learn more about this program which benefits families coping with special needs, contact Jeff Holland at

Second Wednesday, noon

The Woman’s Club of Clayton meeting Virtual via Zoom The Woman’s Club of Clayton (TWCC) is a nonprofit philanthropic organization made up of professional women who share a common goal: to work together to improve the local community, socially, physically, culturally and educationally. Please consider joining to help serve those in need of assistance. TWCC meets at Noon the second Wednesday of each month (except June, July and August).

Second Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Johnston County Writers Group Virtual meeting via Zoom Join a hard-working group of local writers and poets, beginner to advanced, who network, critique each other’s work, listen to guest authors and organize open mics and write-ins around the county. It’s free and open to the public. For more information, email facilitator Cindy Brookshire at

Every other Monday, 6 p.m.

Kiwanis Club of Clayton Virtual meeting The Kiwanis Club of Clayton, serves the community with emphasis on school youth Kiwanis programs. It advises two local high school KEY (Kiwanis Educating Youth) clubs and one elementary school club and meets each month. Visit to learn more.

Third Monday

Vietnam Veterans of America Smithfield American Legion Post 132 The Smithfield Chapter 990 meeting of the Vietnam Veterans of America is every third Monday of the month at 7 p.m.

Third Tuesday

Widowed Persons Fellowship Group Parkside Cafe, Pine Level The Widowed Persons Fellowship Group, Johnston County, cordially invites widowed males and females to join them at their monthly self-pay dinner meeting. There is no charge to join their group. Come and see what they’re all about. Call 919-965-3865 with any questions.

Fourth Monday

Disabled American Veterans meeting Smithfield DAV, Buffalo Road Smithfield Chapter 44 of the Disabled American Veterans meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

Every Thursday, 6:45 a.m.

Clayton Rotary Morning Club Virtual meeting via Zoom Every Thursday morning, 70 service-minded people, representing all ages, genders and races meet. Learn more at

Every Thursday, 6 p.m.

Clayton Area Toastmasters meetings Virtual meeting via Zoom Clayton Area Toastmasters is a public speaking club in affiliation with Toastmasters International. For more, visit

First Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Four Oaks American Legion meeting American Legion Building, Hwy. 301, Four Oaks All veterans are encouraged to attend the monthly meeting of Four Oaks American Legion Post 346 on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 1, 10 a.m.

2021 City Nature Challenge Howell Woods, Four Oaks The 2021 City Nature Challenge is here! Participate in this great event to document the most wildlife observations out of any city in the world. Please wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. This program is for all ages, however, children must be accompanied by an adult. This program is $5 per participant. Visit to register.

Sunday, May 2, 1-4 p.m. Opening receptions for two new exhibits

Artmosphere Community Arts Center, Raleigh Road, Clayton Check out the opening reception for “We Wondered if We Could Ever Reach Its End,” an immersive kinetic installation by Jane Cheek and “Colorful Accumulation,” an exhibit featuring the work of Creek, Kelly Sheppard Murray, Susie Silver and Tonya Solley Thornton. Admission is free!

Sunday, May 2, 1-4 p.m.

Afternoon Market at Artmosphere Artmosphere Community Arts Center, Raleigh Road, Clayton Enjoy a socially distanced outdoor market, craft tent and food vendor while enjoying the spring weather! Visit for more details.

Friday, May 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

BBQ Chicken Plate Sale Lanwood Chapel FWB Church, Buffalo Road, Smithfield Plates are $10 and will include 1/2 chicken, potatoes, green beans, roll and dessert. Drinks are available for dine-in only. Delivery is also available. Call 919-802-8228 to learn more.

Saturday, May 8, 9 a.m.

JoCo Men of Business Blood Drive 11385 U.S. 70 West, Clayton All donors will receive a $10 gift card and a $10 charitable donation will be made for every donor. Visit to learn more.

Saturday, May 8, 9 a.m.

Selma Saturdays Arts and Crafts Market Gather with friends, enjoy live entertainment and browse local artisans and businesses for hand-crafted, local items. Selma Saturdays is held on North Raiford Street between Anderson and Waddell Streets in Downtown Selma. For more information, please call Selma Parks and Recreation at 919-975-1411 or email Melissa at

Thursday, May 13, 6 p.m.

Sundown in Downtown - The Embers Featuring Craig Woolard The Benson Area Chamber of Commerce presents its annual Sundown in Downtown concert schedule. Concerts will be held in the Benson Singing Grove, if possible. If not, they will be aired live from The Clayton Center on YouTube and Facebook Live. Visit to learn more.

Thursday, May 13, 6 p.m.

Clayton Chamber of Commerce 2021 reverse raffle Join CCOC for its fifth annual reverse raffle for a chance to win $10,000 at this signature event. This is a fundraiser benefiting the Clayton Chamber of Commerce’s work in the community (business advocacy, economic development and education). Tickets with a chance to win $10,000 are only $100. On the evening of the event, Deep River will be open for normal business, but CCOC will also be streaming the event virtually so that everyone can join in on the fun from home. Even as a hybrid event, each $100 ticket gets you the chance to win $10,000. You do not need to be present to win. To purchase a ticket call the CCOC office at 919-553-6352.

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Saturday, May 15, 10 a.m.

Town of Archer Lodge Shredding Event Archer Lodge Town Hall Don’t miss the Town of Archer Lodge’s Shredding Event, set for May 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit to learn more.

Saturday, May 15, 5 p.m.

Children’s Art Fundraiser Wilson’s Mills Baptist Church, Swift Creek Road, Smithfield Check out this children’s art fundraiser, featuring live and silent auctions, refreshments and drinks. Childcare available for $5 per child, which includes dinner and a movie. For more information, email

Friday, May 21, noon

C.W. Pleasant Memorial Golf Tournament Riverwood Golf Club Cost is $75 per player and proceeds will benefit the Johnston County Special Olympics. To learn more, visit www.


Saturday, May 22, 10 a.m.

Signs of Wildlife Howell Woods, Four Oaks Discuss different signs of local wildlife: including a variety of tracks, furs and skulls. After searching for signs along the trails, create track molds to take home. Please wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. This program is for all ages, however, children must be accompanied by an adult. This program is $5 per participant. Visit www. to sign up.

Saturday, May 22, 7:30 p.m.

Spring Movie in the Park Barbour’s Grove Park, Four Oaks Bring lawn chairs and enjoy a free family-friendly event, sponsored by the Town of Four Oaks, Four Oaks Fire Department and the Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce. Contact the Chamber at 919-963-4004 or the Town of Four Oaks at 919-963-3112 to learn more.