• 45°

Little League softball champs honorary grand marshals for Livingstone homecoming parade

By Laurie D. Willis

Livingstone College News Service

SALISBURY – Since winning the softball Little League World Series on Aug. 19, the players on Rowan Little League have been treated like celebrities.

On Saturday, they’re serving as Honorary Grand Marshals of Livingstone’s Homecoming Parade.

“It’s an honor to be recognized in such a special way from a college in our community,” said

Ellen Yang, daughter of Rowan Little League Coach Steve Yang. “I’m very excited because I think it’s very cool to be recognized at a college. I’ve never been part of any activities at Livingstone, and I look forward to being a part of this.”

So does teammate Taylor Walton

“I’d like to thank Livingstone College for this opportunity to meet new people in our community,” Taylor said. “Being a part of this parade is a big deal. I know a lot of kids my age and kids in general don’t have the opportunity to do this.”

Taylor’s mother Kim Walton said the girls are “thrilled to death” to be in the parade.

“We’ve had so many people in the community reach out to us, but I feel like this is time for the girls to give back to the community” Walton said. “Especially the college community.”

Make no mistake about it: Homecoming is a major undertaking at historically black colleges and universities. For starters, it lasts an entire week. Alumni return to reminisce with former classmates, students have a plethora of activities in which to engage and committees spend months planning just the right events.

Fraternities and sororities participate in a step show to see who captures bragging rights, and countless time goes into organizing the Homecoming Parade.

“The parade is one of the featured events of Homecoming, and we certainly take seriously the decision about whom to ask to represent us,” said Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. “I’m delighted to have the world champion Rowan Little League softball team members as our Honorary Parade Grand Marshals this year.

“Those girls and their coaches demonstrated to everyone that they’re about excellence, which is what we strive for at Livingstone,” Jenkins continued. “That’s why I join my wife Dr. Faleese Moore Jenkins and the entire Livingstone College family in saying we’re grateful they’ve accepted our invitation to participate in our Homecoming Parade.”

In keeping with tradition, a Livingstone alum has been tapped to serve as Grand Marshal, and this year that honor goes to Delores Johnson, president of The Livingstone College National Alumni Association.

Bishop George E. Battle, Jr., Senior Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and Chairman of Livingstone’s Board of Trustees, said he’s ecstatic Rowan Little League will serve as Honorary Grand Marshals.

“Winning championships isn’t easy, and winning the Little League World Series is certainly no small feat,” said Battle, a 1969 Livingstone graduate who in 2013 served as Grand Marshal with his wife Iris Miller Battle. “I cannot tell you how proud we are of those girls, and I think it’s fantastic they’re serving as Honorary Grand Marshals this year.

“The importance of Homecoming at HBCUs cannot be understated,” Battle continued. “Iris and I have received numerous recognitions over the years and have participated in events around the world, but I can honestly say it was really special to be asked by Livingstone to participate in their Homecoming Parade. Rowan Little League is truly deserving of this high honor.”

Though the girls were thrown a huge parade in downtown Salisbury as soon as they returned from winning the championship in Portland, Oregon, Jennifer Myers said they’re still excited about Saturday’s parade. Myers is treasurer of Rowan Little League and has become their de facto public relations person.

Yang, a local dentist, said Myers is invaluable to the team and he’s not sure what he and assistant coaches Rob Hales, whose daughter Kary plays on the team, and Eric Dowling, whose daughter Kaylin plays, would do without her.

“Jennifer is much more than a treasurer,” Yang said. “She’s been our event planner and has done whatever these girls have needed and I have needed. She’s been Johnny on the Spot … and I very much appreciate her.”

Yang said it’s great that Livingstone has asked the team to participate in the parade.

“We’re very, very honored,” Yang said. “It’s very humbling that a college of Livingstone’s magnitude has acknowledged our girls. It speaks volumes about how important what we’ve done is for our community.”

Since excellence is Livingstone’s theme, Rowan Little League is a perfect choice for the parade. The girls exemplified excellence not only by winning the World Series but also by showing benevolence to members of the Ugandan team, which lacked proper equipment.

“That shows the kind of character these girls have,” Yang said. “They don’t just think about themselves. They felt like everybody should have everything equal regarding softball equipment, and when they saw that the Ugandan team didn’t, they started asking questions of some of the parents and coaches and got the ball rolling on getting them what they needed. Outside of softball these girls have become really close, and I’m just proud of everything they represent.”

Just as Livingstone will be proud on Saturday when they represent the college.

Livingstone’s Homecoming parade begins at 9 a.m. at Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church. Later at 1:30 p.m. inside Alumni Memorial Stadium, the Blue Bears will compete against the Fayetteville State University Broncos.

Comments

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras