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Vidalia Board of Education Recognizes Sharpe

Vidalia Board of Education Recognizes Sharpe
INDIAN STAR AWARD – Vidalia Athletic Hall of Fame Committee Chairman John Sharpe was honored with the Indian Star Award for his service to the program. L to R: Athletic Director Tommy Dalley, Vidalia High School Principal Bruce Mulkey, Superintendent Garrett Wilcox, John Sharpe, Carol Hansley, Wilson Johnson.Photo by Makaylee Randolph
Vidalia Board of Education Recognizes Sharpe
INDIAN STAR AWARD – Vidalia Athletic Hall of Fame Committee Chairman John Sharpe was honored with the Indian Star Award for his service to the program. L to R: Athletic Director Tommy Dalley, Vidalia High School Principal Bruce Mulkey, Superintendent Garrett Wilcox, John Sharpe, Carol Hansley, Wilson Johnson.Photo by Makaylee Randolph

The Vidalia Board of Education recognized former Vidalia High School Principal John Sharpe as an Indian Star Award recipient for his work with the Vidalia Athletic Hall of Fame at the Board’s meeting on April 9.

“Historically, we have recognized folks that aren’t part of the school system that have either gone above and beyond to help the students, or provided a service to the kids,” Superintendent Garrett Wilcox explained.

“The Indian Star Award, in its definition, says that ‘Vidalia City Board of Education wishes to recognize individuals for their exemplary and inspiring roles within the schools and community. In celebrating human spirit, the award recognizes individuals for pouring their heart and soul into making a difference, whether for a lifetime filled with dedicated endeavors or for a onetime achievement.’” He continued, “What we’re here to do tonight is recognize Mr. John Sharpe for his efforts in totally blowing our Athletic Hall of Fame out of the water from an expectation standpoint. Around six or seven years ago, we would have the discussion that we should start an Athletic Hall of Fame. This will probably seem a little weird; we used athletics as an avenue to create this Hall of Fame, but its turned into more than that. It’s been amazing to me to sit back and watch the humility of the people involved.”

Wilcox shared that the Athletic Hall of Fame committee is led by Sharpe, and the group takes pride in ensuring that the Hall of Fame remains a “firstclass operation” through the utilization of by-laws, sets criteria of inductees, and more. You can’t just do that overnight, and they all come to some form of agreement on who should be recognized each year based on criteria,” he added.

The superintendent said he wanted to recognize Sharpe because he works throughout the year on the Athletic Hall of Fame inductions, but receives no monetary reward or stipend for his time. “There is no supplement tied to the time and effort that he has put into this — countless hours of his own time not only leading the committee that is responsible for this, but also communicating with the participants. It has really blown my mind,” Wilcox stated.

He continued, “The thing that it has probably built more than anything with a lot of people who don’t live in our community anymore is good will. These folks are happy to be back around their classmates and their families. We recognized the J.D. Dickerson [High School] Women’s Basketball Team [previously], and those ladies were just as happy to be recognized as any group or individual that has been recognized.”

Fellow Vidalia Athletic Hall of Fame Committee members Carol Hansley and Wilson Johnson also commented on the recognition.

“I wouldn’t have missed this for anything,” Hansley emphasized. “Mr. Sharpe is amazing; just the work he puts in and the soul that he has, and all the data that he has in his head. For many years, there have been other people in this community who have wanted to establish a Hall of Fame, and he just never gave up on it. I’m just happy to be chosen [to help].”

She added, “The work that he puts in, I think about sports and how it has led our community. It brings families together and the love that people have for this school system. We have seen that echo and just go beyond. All of that brings us together and unites this community. It’s done a lot for families and this community. These are people who led the way. We continue to see sports just bloom and blossom in Vidalia City Schools and we are honored to be serving on that committee under Mr. Sharpe, and we take our hats off to him.”

Johnson remarked, “I’m honored to be here recognizing Mr. Sharpe. As a matter of fact, even when he was principal, we had a good relationship, and he has done some things to represent Vidalia and Vidalia City Schools. Then, he left Vidalia City Schools and went somewhere else and took it to another level. I’m honored to be able to know him, and to be around him and to learn from him. I want to thank Mr. Sharpe for his service; I know that God put him here for a reason, and he’s fulfilling that purpose.”

Athletic Director Tommy Dalley spoke on the honor. “You have no idea the amount of time and effort he puts into this. From the amount of phone calls that we get to [the fact that] he brings me notebooks full of information, and page after page of research that he has done. The amount of knowledge that he has, like Mrs. Hansley said, is incredible. He can tell you the 1967 400m track runner. When we’re in meetings, we just listen in awe. We listen to him talk about people who we have no idea who they are, but he knows them and he’s very personable about it. He takes a lot of pride in putting this Hall of Fame together, and that’s one thing all of us take away from his leadership is the amount of pride he has in Vidalia High School. We couldn’t thank him enough for doing what he’s done.”

Vidalia High School Principal Bruce Mulkey shared similar comments, as he encouraged the public to watch the induction ceremonies online. “Just get a sense of how humble and how proud they are to be included, and the model that is for our students. Mr. Sharpe, there is no better compliment than that which comes from your peers. We have gotten phone calls from several schools asking us how this happened and what is going on, and they’re trying to do some of the very same things.”

Mulkey then addressed Sharpe, saying, “We appreciate everything you’ve done to get this started, and we can’t wait to continue to work with you to continue to make this a first-class thing.”

In addition to recognizing Sharpe, the Board also recognized the 2024 GHSA 2-A Literary State Champions. “I think it was fate for it to work out where we honor this team on the same day as Mr. Sharpe, because there’s no one happier to be here for this recognition than Mr. Sharpe,” Wilcox remarked.

He continued, “Mr. Sharpe actually attended your community performance, and before he left, he said that you would win the state championship. He had it figured out like he does a track meet, he had the points all laid out. He said that if we could get over 20 [points], we had a chance, and I told him that I hoped he was right. The first thing he told me when he heard we won was, ‘You know, I said we were going to win.’” Mulkey agreed with Wilcox, adding, “He is not lying to you about the comments from Mr. Sharpe about the state title. Those texts came in early after watching the performances.”

This year marked the 11th straight region championship for the literary team, but a new feat was accomplished when the team took home the state championship for the first time since 1986. “There is a clear commitment to the arts here at Vidalia High School. Having been fortunate enough to work in some other places, I don’t know of another school system that gets it right — the balance between athletics, academics, and the arts — like Vidalia City Schools does,” Mulkey stressed.

When explaining how literary competitions worked, Vidalia High School Literary Coach Margaret Pournelle stated, “I compare it somewhat to track or wrestling. Students compete individually, but their individual points go towards the team. 1st place gets 7 points, 2nd place gets 5 points, 3rd place gets 3 points, and 4th place gets 1 point. So, that allows us to win region and advance to state, and then they continue to compete in their categories.”

She highlighted each team member’s contribution to the team, which was as follows: Braylie Davis – Literary Analysis Essay – 2nd in Region

Caden Beasley – Argumentative Essay – 2nd in

Region Paradice Jacobs – Personal Essay – 3rd in Region Savannah Edwards – International Extemporaneous Speaking – 2nd in Region, Girls Solo – 1st in Region; 4th in State Kingston Ryals – Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking – 1st in Region; 2x State Champion Sage Powell – Dramatic Monologue – 1st in Region; 2nd in State Alan Johnson – Humorous Monologue – 1st in Region; 2x State Champion Alan Johnson and Dottie McDaniel – Duo Interpretation – 1st in Region; 2x State Champion Dottie McDaniel, Erica Harvey, Sage Powell – Girls Trio – 3rd in Region Gregory Huston – Boys Solo – 1st in Region Cole Dean, Dillon Conway, Landry Wheeler, Andrew Davis – 1st in Region; 3rd in State Pournelle, alongside full-time choir teacher Tiffany Rowell, thanked the Board for its support and spoke about their excitement for the upcoming year. They also thanked Curt Peters for helping the actors with their physical acting through body movements, John Morgan for playing piano for the singers, and Vidalia High School Coach Steve Freenor for attending the state championship to support the competitors.

LITERARY STATE CHAMPIONS – The Vidalia Board of Education recognized the Vidalia High School Literary Team for their recent GHSA 2-A State Championship.

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