‘Whatever is Necessary’

Published 7:25 pm Saturday, August 16, 2014

AHOSKIE – There is a certain stigmatism attached to those who graduate from small, rural public schools….almost to the point that their education is inferior when compared to grads in more affluent, urban areas.

Aaron Jordan, James Futrell, Gregory Brooks and Donald Vinson are out to prove that their Hertford County High School education and subsequent professional careers can stack up against anyone.

W.I.N. members Aaron Jordan (left) and James Futrell (right) donated back-to-school supplies to HCPS principals (center, from left) Julie Shields, Stan Warren and Lori Morings on Friday morning. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

W.I.N. members Aaron Jordan (left) and James Futrell (right) donated back-to-school supplies to HCPS principals (center, from left) Julie Shields, Stan Warren and Lori Morings on Friday morning. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

That foursome has created W.I.N. (Whatever is Necessary) and among the initial projects brainstormed by the infant, non-profit organization is giving back to the community that nurtured them years ago.

On Friday, Jordan and Futrell backed their vehicle up to the main entrance of Ahoskie Elementary School and began the chore of making numerous trips to unload back-to-school supplies that will be distributed to needy children when they report back to class on Aug. 25.

“W.I.N. applies to all…whether you’re an adult holding down two jobs to make ends meet or you’re a student who needs to hit the books harder to make themselves and their families proud…you do whatever is necessary,” said Jordan, a 2005 HCHS grad who earned a degree from North Carolina A&T State University that he has used to land an accounting and finance job with the McDonald’s Corporation in Columbus, Ohio.

Jordan said he remembers all the negative stories attached to Hertford County students…teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS; all contributing to the lack of a desire to obtain a quality education.

“Positive things do happen in Hertford County; there are a great number of graduates from Hertford County High that have moved forward and obtained a college education and are now doing positive things as adults,” he stressed. “Some have come back home and are giving back to their community, exactly what we’re doing with this back-to-school supply drive.”

Futrell, an Elizabeth City State University grad, is a Probation and Parole Officer in Halifax County; Vinson (Winston-Salem State graduate) resides in New Orleans where he works as a Physical Fitness Trainer while Brooks works as a brick mason.

“We’re trying to be positive role models for the community,” Jordan said. “You can go to college, earn a degree, and land a job, but don’t forget where you came from and always look to give something back.”

The foursome has discovered the best way to remain in touch, although they are spread out in different parts of the nation.

“Almost every Sunday we’ll get together on a conference call – linking New Orleans, Columbus, Roanoke Rapids and Murfreesboro – and hash out ideas for about an hour and a half,” said Jordan. “We plan activities and with James being a little bit closer to home, he enforces our ideas. We also have other people to help us out.”

Other than the back-to-school supply drive, Futrell said the group has conducted a community walk in April; sponsored a female student to attend this year’s HCHS prom (purchased a dress and paid for hair fashion and nails); and hosted a fundraising car wash at Advanced Auto in Murfreesboro.

The group was founded in January and was incorporated by the State of North Carolina in May. They are currently seeking 501-3C non-profit status.

“We’re looking to do more things for our community; we’re talking about a canned food drive in time for Thanksgiving and a clothing/toy drive for Christmas,” said Jordan. “We’re not a one-trick pony.”

Futrell added another idea…the foursome returning to speak on their chosen careers in front of local students.

The group’s donation of school supplies was well-received by three local principals – Julie Shields of Bearfield Primary School; Lori Morings of Riverview Elementary, and Stan Warren of Ahoskie Elementary.

“What we’ll do with the school supplies so generously donated by this group is split it up between the three schools and distribute it among our students who are in need,” explained Shields. “When a parent tells one of the teachers that they are unable to provide the necessary school items, the teachers contact their principals and we take it from there.”

Shields added that Communities in Schools of Hertford County is also a big help when it comes to meeting the school supply needs of local students. Local churches also lend a helping hand, so much to the point where they will fill book bags with the needed supplies.

“It’s a great feeling to know that our young people that have left the county are willing to give back to the community in a rewarding way as we continue to prepare our students for the future,” said Morings.

“It takes everyone, to include the W.I.N. group, to make education stronger here,” noted Warren. “Things are starting to come together well here in Hertford County. The community is partnering with us as we strive to ensure our kids are armed with the education they’ll need to compete for college scholarships and then, later down the line, for jobs.”

“These guys, the principals and teachers, are the real heroes; we’re just doing what we can to help add to the quality of education here in Hertford County,” Jordan concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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