R.A. Clement Association reunion July 1-2

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016

SALISBURY — The R.A. Clement Association will hold its 21st reunion July 1-2. The association held its first reunion in 1976, and has continued to hold reunions on a biennial basis.

The reunion begins with a banquet on Friday, July 1, at 6.30 p.m. at the Livingstone College Hospitality Center. The speakers will be the Rev. Rudolph Cornelius, class of 1966, West Rowan High School, and Sharon Avery Davis, class of 1975, West Rowan High School.

Cornelius attended R.A. Clement for 11 years, and Davis attended elementary school there.

The Saturday activities will include the annual meeting and picnic at noon, at the R.A. Clement old building, Cleveland. The reunion dance at 8 p.m. will be at the Livingstone College Hospitality Center on Jake Alexander Boulevard in Salisbury.

The association promotes community service and provides scholarships for high school seniors each year. The scholarships include the R.A. Clement Scholarship, the George Knox Scholarship, named for a former principal, and the William Hall Scholarship, named for the founder of the association.

The association works closely with the West Rowan Neighborhood Center Advisory Council that is in the process of renovation and restoration of the R.A. Clement Rosenwald School building located in Cleveland. The restoration project is being supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the town of Cleveland, several local foundations, individuals and organizations in the community.

Cornelius is a son of the late Charles Kent Cornelius and Alberta Cornelius, who is now 96. He has been married to the former Ernestine Avery for 43 years, and they are parents of four children, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Cornelius joined the U.S. Army in 1968 and was discharged in 1970.

He spent most of his adult life managing Holly Farms and Bojangle’s restaurants. Cornelius received a bachelor of arts from Livingstone College, a master of Christian Leadership, a master of divinity and a master of family counseling degrees from Liberty Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, Va.

He  entered Christian ministry in 1997 and  was ordained as a deacon in the AME Zion Church in 2003 and as an elder in 2006. He was appointed to Ardis chapel AME Zion Church, Salisbury, in 2003, and to Zion Wesley AME Zion Church, Troutman, in 2006. A member of The Mighty Pilgrimaires, since 1976, Cornelius has spent many years singing and recording gospel music.

Davis is the  daughter of the Late Theodore and Lucille Gillespie Avery. She was appointed register of deeds in Durham on June 1 after winning the Democratic party primary in March. She will be unopposed on the November  ballot. She is responsible for overseeing all land titles, all land transaction documents, and all vital records registered in Durham County.

Previously, Davis was chief assistant register of deeds for Durham County and an employee in the office for the last 26 years. As chief assistant, she supervised the real estate division and was responsible for all administrative functions.

Davis is a member of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, a member of the Political Action Committee, and a member of the People’s Alliance. She is also active with the Durham Democratic Women. She is  member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, where she is on the social action committee and membership services committee.

Davis is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history. She also holds a juris doctor degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham.

A former member of Allen Temple Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Davis now attends Union Baptist Church in Durham. She has been married to James Davis for 25 years. They have one son, Avery, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University.

Other program participants during the weekend include: Carolyn Steele Snipes, National President of the R.A. Clement Alumni Association; Leonard Hall, president of the West Rowan Neighborhood Center Advisory Council; Norris Anderson, vice president of the R.A. Clement Association; Carolyn Rice, Billy Pharr, Doris Lovell Noble and Dorothy Bost Scott.

The R.A. Clement High School closed during integration in 1968, after serving the African American community in western Rowan County for more than four decades.

The school was founded in 1878 by a group of community citizens, with the first land for the building being provided by Rufus Alexander Clement, for whom the school was later named.

R.A. Clement Rosenwald School was constructed in 1929. The. R.A. Clement Association and the West Rowan Neighborhood Center Advisory Council are continuing efforts to restore the Rosenwald school building and make it available for community use.

For more information about the reunion or the Rosenwald school, please contact Leonard Hall, Catrelia Steele Hunter or Dorothy Bost Scott.