Recognition People of Impact

by | Jun 28, 2024 | Education, Online Exclusives, Pender County

Pender Education Partnership and the Pender County Board of Education induct six new members to the Pender County Wall of Fame.

Pender Education Partnership (PEP), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities and supporting public school educators, in collaboration with the Pender County Board of Education, proudly inducted six new members into the Pender County Wall of Fame on June 24. The 2024 inductees are Carson Smith, Rev. Dr. Aaron Johnson, Wendy Fletcher-Hardee, Curtis Hardison, Dr. Richard Newkirk and Ricky Biberstein. These individuals have been recognized for their significant contributions as educators or outstanding alumni.

Pender County Wall of Fame Ceremony

The induction ceremony took place at the Dr. Katherine Herring Resource Center, where the community gathered to celebrate the achievements of these distinguished individuals. Tammie Parris, president of PEP, opened the event by emphasizing the importance of honoring those who have significantly impacted public education. Dr. Brad Breedlove, superintendent of Pender County Schools, spoke about the lasting influence of the inductees on the community, highlighting how these individuals exemplify dedication and commitment to education.

Carson Smith, a Topsail High School graduate, has made notable contributions in law enforcement and politics. His journey, which began in Pender County, reflects a deep commitment to serving the community.

Carson Smith

Wendy Fletcher-Hardee, another Topsail alumna, transitioned from a career in healthcare to founding successful businesses in a male-dominated industry. Her achievements in business and public service demonstrate the diverse paths Pender County alumni can take.

Wendy Fletcher-Hardee

Curtis Hardison, who served in the U.S. Secret Service for more than two decades, has also contributed to local history through his writings. His books on Pender County’s history have enriched the community’s understanding of its heritage.

Curtis Hardison

Rev. Dr. Aaron Johnson, a native of Willard, North Carolina, has had a distinguished career in theology and public service, notably reforming North Carolina’s correctional system. His work has left a lasting impact on the state’s approach to rehabilitation and corrections.

Rev Dr Aaron Johnson

Dr. Richard T. Newkirk, an educator for more than 40 years, has focused on academic excellence and preserving the history of African-American education. His dedication to education serves as an inspiration to students from diverse backgrounds.

Dr Richard Newkirk

The Wall of Fame, displayed at the Pender County Schools Board of Education building, seeks to inspire current students by showcasing the achievements of its honorees. Each year, PEP solicits nominations from the community, with a selection committee reviewing and presenting recommendations. PEP believes in spotlighting those who have impacted public education and serve as examples to students that their dreams are attainable.

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Topsail Magazine Contributor

Topsail Magazine Contributor