Let’s Get Connected Day at Dan Nicholas Park
By Kathy Chaffin
A midday thunderstorm was an uninvited guest at Saturday’s “Let’s Get Connected Day” at Dan Nicholas Park but received a warm welcome nonetheless.
The 120-plus people in attendance gathered on the stage of the park amphitheater for the last part of the celebration, making the connection even closer.
People of different cultures, races and religions gathered as one to lift up prayers of peace in several languages while dedicating a peace pole for the park.
The diverse faces were as beautiful as their words.
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Winners of the Rowan-Salisbury School System art and essay contests were announced during the celebration. The theme of this year’s contests was “Community = Neighbor + Me.”
– Senior Art ó First place, Rachel Hopler, West Rowan High School; second place, Whitney Chilson, Carson High; and third place, Jordan Murdock, Carson.
– Senior Essay ó First place, Jordan Newman, West Rowan High; second place, Matthew Morgan, West High; and third place, Katie Carscaddon, West High.
– Middle School Art ó First place, Stephen Case, North Rowan Middle; second place, Hannah Martin, North Middle; and third place, Victoria Hunt, North Middle.
– Middle School Essay ó First place, Kayla Thomson, North Rowan Middle.
A mural painted by Salisbury-Rowan high school students as part of an Iraqi Art Exhibit was on display and will be sent to Iraq in 2010.
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Music and performances for “Let’s Get Connected Day” were as varied as the cultures honored.
The prelude was by the Resurrection Brass. Music was provided by the Providence AME Zion Men’s Chorus and soloist Kim Lance.
Marilyn Goodman danced to “Arms of an Angel” and the 16 members of the Love Christian Center Dance Team performed two interpretive dances.
Everyone in attendance sang “America the Beautiful,” the “Social Creed” led by Steve Etters of Catawba College and “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
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Betty Jo Hardy, who headed up this year’s “Let’s Get Connected Day,” acknowledged the chance of rain early in the celebration. “But we’re here,” she said, “and thank you for being faithful today.”
Sponsors included Cheerwine, Food Lion, F&M Bank and the Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations Council.
Salisbury City Councilman William “Pete” Kennedy read a proclamation for the event on behalf of Mayor Susan Kluttz and the City Council, while Darlene Boling read a proclamation on behalf of Rowan County Commission Chairman Carl Ford and the Board of Commissioners.
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At the end of the celebration, three children released four white doves from a cage. The first hesitated when the door was opened, then realized that freedom was waiting and flew out of view. The others quickly followed.
By this time, the rain had stopped after a hearty cleansing of the earth, and perhaps even hearts.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-7683.