BURGAW, NC - Six new members of the Pender County Wall of Fame were officially enshrined during the June 13, 2023 Board of Education meeting.
William Henry Jordan, June McGlohon Robbins, and Mary Lee Faison are honored educators inductees. Outstanding alumni for induction to the Wall of Fame are Jeffrey Rivenbark, John Bradley Knight, and the late Mary Louise Batts.
“Pender County Schools has been blessed with outstanding educators throughout the years. Our school system has produced many outstanding alumni who have gone on to careers that impacted our community, our state, and our nation.” said Tammie Parris, president of Pender Education Partnership. “Our honored educators are special to us because they are also alumni.” noted Parris who was one of Ms. McGlohon's students.
"If you don't think that words aren't powerful to our young people, take it from this 52 year old who was told that her eyes were beautiful and her new glasses would allow her to see what the world had in store for her," said Parris. "June McGlohon was my 5th grade teacher and on my first day of wearing glasses I cried because I was picked on and it was her kind, compassionate, words that empowered me to not only wear my glasses, but to look at what was possible and as you can see, I am still wearing glasses today."
Mary Louise Batts was born in Hampstead, NC and received her elementary and secondary education in the Pender County public schools. A 1962 graduate from Pender County Training School, Mary had attended elementary school at Sloop Point and Annadale Elementary and Middle School. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Physical Chemistry from North Carolina C. University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from approximately 600 students. She maintained a very high grade point average which allowed her to become a member of the prestigious organization Phi Beta Kappa. She is listed in Who’s Who in America. Mary was also a Delta Sigma Theta and a member of the University Chorus. After graduating, Mary was intensely sought after by many chemical companies. She chose employment with the Dupont Chemical Company in Wilmington, Delaware. She worked laboriously in chemical research. While successful in the chemical industry, Mary had a strong desire to become a pediatrician. She was accepted into Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Pediatrics. Before starting medical school Mary was diagnosed with a long-term illness. She passed away January 1968.
Mary Lee Faison, a Rocky Point native, attended Pender County Schools her entire formative years. A Pender County Training School Class of 1945, Mary was the class valedictorian at the age of 16. She attended Shaw University and graduated with Cum Laude honors. She worked in the Pender County School system as an administrative assistant, home economics teacher, cheer leading coach and more. She began teaching at the age of 20 which afforded her “the blessing” of instructing three generations of children. Her tenure as a teacher Pender County Training School ended with the integration of the public school system. She became a biology teacher and cheering coach at Burgaw High School and after Pender High School was completed, she taught home economics and family science. She was a NC District Advisor for FHA while also serving as a teacher at Pender High School. During her career, she also taught a night school program. Mary served in an advisory capacity for development and implementation of the NC Teaching Fellows Program. Mary retired in 1990 with almost 40 years of teaching, guiding, and coaching. She is remembered as a mentor, supporter, educator, a hero, and a “Teacher’s Teacher.” She impacted Pender County and the state with her teaching wisdom.
William Henry Jordan was born in 1934 in Burgaw. He graduated in 1952 from Pender County Training School in Rocky Point. His love of math was fostered at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University. Following graduation, William returned to Pender County to teach math at C.F. Pope where he also coached basketball and served as assistant principal. His career impacted many Pender County Schools as he served as principal in Maple Hill, Rocky Point, and at West Pender Elementary. Near the end of his 40 year career, William worked in the central office. Throughout his dedication to Pender County students, William was a father figure who tutored math and mentored many. He built cleared land for a ballfield, and installed a basketball hoop at his home to keep students active. William received numerous awards for his out-standing leadership from the schools he served as well as Outstanding Service Awards for his involvement with the Southeastern Center for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Service. He was honored with the Community Leadership Award due to his service to Pender County from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Hall’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.
Brad Knight - Fearless, creative and bold describes Brad Knight, a 1989 Topsail High School graduate and UNCW alumnus. Building on his father’s boat building legacy, he has forged his own path as the premier fishing boat builder in coastal Carolina and beyond. Brad’s company, Onslow Bay Boatworks in Holly Ridge, N.C., offers expertly designed and crafted offshore and tournament edition center console boats. Brad built a world class 50,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Holly Ridge that propels the company to a promising future filled with innovation, quality and high performance. Brad and his family regularly support the Hampstead community in school, church and civic activities. Pender County is proud of its native son, Brad Knight, and is looking forward to his many exciting accomplishments still to come.
Jeff Rivenbark - An award-winning broadcast journalist and news anchor, Jeff Rivenbark is an ambassador for Pender County Schools. He grew up in Burgaw where he attended Burgaw Elementary, Burgaw Junior High, and Pender High School. Following high school, Jeff pursued a degree and a career in journalism. Jeff graduated with an MA in Journalism from Regent University in 1997. After working a short time in Washington, DC, he accepted a morning anchor position at ABC affiliate KQTV in St. Joseph, Missouri. Two years later, he moved to Greenville, NC, where he was the weekend anchor/reporter at CBS affiliate WNCT. He took a detour off the TV career track for short time working as a Public Information Officer for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in Raleigh. Returning to journalism, Jeff’s career brought him back to major news markets that included Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro. He was able to return to his beloved Lower Cape Fear home with work at WWAY, which allowed him to be closer to his parents and extended family. Jeff is impacting future journalists by teaching classes at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Jeff is quick to share that his experiences in Pender County Schools shaped him into the person he is today.
June McGlohon Robbins, whose family were settlers in the community of Penderlea, attended the attended Penderlea School until her junior year in high school. In her senior year, Pender High School opened and she was a member of the first graduating class at Pender High School in 1976. Her love of education, which was fostered by teachers at Penderlea, led her to the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she received her undergraduate degree and a Masters. She earned an Administration Degree from East Carolina University. Her teaching career began at Topsail School, which is now the county’s Hampstead Annex. She taught at C.F. Pope Elementary, Burgaw Middle, and Penderlea. She served as a Principal at West Pender Middle School. She worked 30 years in Pender County Schools. After retirement, served as interim Assistant Principal at South Topsail Elementary, Cape Fear Middle and Penderlea School. She also continued to substitute teach as well as teaching a course called Effective Teacher Training at Cape Fear Community College.
The Wall of Fame will be displayed at the Pender County Schools Board of Education building. Each year PEP will solicit the community for nominations. A selection committee will review the nominations and present at least one alumni recommendation and one educator recommendation to PEP.
Pender Education Partnership is a 501 (c) 3 foundation that provides educator mini-grants and senior scholarships.