Kinston IS an All-America City
TAMPA, FL—It was like an electric surge had shot through a crowd of 35 new and old friends Friday night (June 19, 2009) when Kinston’s name was called out as a 2009 All-America City. Fists flew into the air, a huge YES! overwhelmed the ballroom and tears began to flow as people cried and hugged each other with abandon…and massive relief. The enthusiastic joy was shared by a large crowd of Kinston boosters from other places, delegations also hoping their name would be called too, people from Statesville, another Tar Heel winner, Benson and Clinton.
Kinstonians hustled through the aisle to gain the stage to acknowledge the honor and to listen to Kinston’s Mayor Buddy Ritch deliver a graceful thank you to the National Civic League panel of judges which heard and heeded Kinston’s bid for the All-America award….the second in 21 years.
At the strong urging of Mayor Ritch, Kinston’s All-America committee had worked since mid-2008 to determine the topics to highlight in the bid and to craft a creative way to relate the message. Leading the development of a regional water supply system; creation of the Gate, a faith-based program to tackle issue of youth development as an alternative to gangs; and the Little by Little Program to give elementary school kids a chance at college were the three main themes offered as evidence that Kinston deserved to be an All-America City.
The National Civic League agreed, despite months of loud and negative assaults on the city by a few.
A Tampa Tapestry...
Former English teacher Geraldyne McCray (left) gets ready to direct another rehearsal Thursday of the skit presented by Kinston's All-America team in Tampa, FL.
Kinston's All-America team lines up for a "class photo" prior to making its presentation before the All-America judges.
Kinston's team lines up to march into the auditorium Friday morning to make its case for the All-America award.
With high hopes, the All-America team poses for a celebratory photo in the Tampa, FL hotel, site of the selections process for All-America award.
Accepting the All-America City award Friday night, Kinston Mayor Buddy Ritch addresses representatives of 32 communities competing for the coveted All-America designation, expressing appreciation for the high honor.
Wearing a broad smile, Kinston City Manager Scott Stevens (left) listens to Mayor Ritch accepting the All-America City award Friday night.
Mayor Ritch proudly displays the coveted certificate making Kinston an All-America City.
This makes it legal!!!
Grinning broadly after Kinston won the All-America City award Friday night were (left to right) Kinston City Councilman Robbie Swinson, Kinston Public Safety Director Greg Smith, and Pride of Kinston board member Shirley Herring.
Felicia Solomon, principal of Southeast Elementary School (left) and Wanda Jordon, executive director of the Gate, savor a moment holding the certificate Friday night naming Kinston an All-America City. Both women played key roles in the presentation to the All-America City judges' panel which selected the city as one of 10 All-America cities across the nation.
Tired but elated Mayor Ritch and City Planner Amanda Engesether compare notes shortly after their arrival at the Raleigh-Durham airport Saturday morning after receiving the All-America City award Friday night. Ms. Engesether coordinated the writing of the application which set the town up for winning the award.
The successful Kinston All-America team is welcomed home Saturday afternoon at Grainger Stadium under a scorching sun.
HOME AGAIN...A winner!!!
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