Clovis’s Journey

Clovis with Danny Seaver and Janet Spoon at the latest board meeting

Clovis with Danny Seaver and Janet Spoon in Gard Hall

Patterson Alumnus Clovis Ballet Gniguessi, Class of 2008, his wife Melissa, his 13-month-old daughter Joyce, and his sister-in-law Jahel, recently vacationed at The Patterson School Campus for a month, leasing the first floor Wiese Hall former Dorm Parent apartment. Melissa and Jahel were excited to actually see “this little school in NC” that Clovis had told them so much about—and to finally meet “Mama (Janet) Spoon,” his NC “mother” and favorite Librarian. Of course he was also anxious to show off his beautiful daughter! Clovis currently works from home (online) with Walmart, an arrangement which made the visit possible.

Clovis, Melissa, and Jahel are all from the Central Africa Republic (CAR). Clovis came to Patterson in February 2007 as a Bulldog Prep Basketball Athlete (being 6 ft. 8 in. tall), recruited by Eugene Pelema of MD, who had brought him to the US from Cameroon where his family had fled for safety in in 2002. Clovis and his family of six are of the Yakoma tribe and Christians, two groups which had been blamed for the 2001 attempt on the life of President Ange Patasse, who was of the Sara tribe and a Muslim. Therefore, the government of the CAR was trying to kill all males of his tribe and all male Christians. The soldiers did not kill women, but they beat and raped them. They found the Gniguessi Family three times in CAR, once in Zaire, and twice, even in Cameroon, and additionally broke the younger sister’s foot in 2004. They kidnapped his father in December 2008, while Clovis was attending Tyler College in Texas, where he had received a basketball scholarship.

The kidnapping and torture of his father (who was finally released for $2,000) was discouraging and greatly interrupted Clovis’ college education, but his faith nourished his perseverance, and he returned to NC and finished his degree in Business Administration at Fayetteville State University in May 2013.

Clovis and his daughter, Joyce

Clovis and his daughter, Joyce

While a Patterson student, Clovis received asylum status from the US office of Immigration (ICE). Clovis credits The Patterson School with saving his life, both literally and figuratively. Coming to Patterson from Africa made him safe from those who had vowed to kill him and the other males in his family. His Patterson education gave him opportunity to earn a college degree.

 

 

 

Having endured so much and having been so blessed, Clovis’ thoughts and heart turn toward the CAR refugee children and youth in Cameroon and other poor countries in Africa. These countries have few schools, and few families can afford them. There are  those in Cameroon who attempt to persuade the refugees to join Islam and become crooks and fighters. Clovis and friends have started a foundation to help educate, feed and protect these refugees, as well as to provide clean water in rural villages and to provide health care. His ultimate dream is to provide elementary schooling in Africa for the poor children, and to partner with Patterson School Foundation to bring them to the NC Campus and provide the secondary training so that these current refugees can move on to college and return to CAR to rebuild CAR, and other African nations. Clovis’ foundation is called The Sango Center, and you can read more at www.sangocenter.org.

12th Annual Happy Valley Fiddlers’ Convention

Friday, September 2, 2016 was the beginning of the Annual gathering of string musicians from around North Carolina and beyond, and PSF was there to support the community and to join the fun! Kitty Rosati, Liza Plaster, Susan Rowe, Jesse Plaster, and Janet and Buddy Spoon manned the tent which offered tee-shirts left from the 2015 Alumni Reunion, a one-pager which summarized PSF’s progress over the last few years, brochures describing Retreat & Wedding venues on Campus, and reservations for rooms in Wiese Hall. We met quite a few people who are interested in what is happening on The Patterson School Campus. Many locals were pleased to know that we are preserving it and resurrecting its legacy. One woman from Charlotte commented on how beautiful the Campus is, and that she was thrilled to see it because one of her favorite restaurant owner/operators (Mike Moore) had told her about his days at Patterson! Small world! An Alumnus from the 1970s, who has not been on our contact list, James Lamb, also stopped by, so we found one of our “lost family!”   He lives in Hickory.

Susan Rowe, our new Bookkeeper, and Buddy Spoon are in this picture.

Susan Rowe and Buddy Spoon

Susan Rowe and Buddy Spoon

Some of you might remember Ms. Rowe from her tenure in 2004-05 at the School. She lives nearby in our Happy Valley, and is the sister-in-law of Liza Plaster and neighbor of Jesse Plaster, whose Great-Great-Grandfather was Patterson’s second Headmaster, Rev. Hugh Dobbin. His name is on the marble stone above Palmyra’s front door. Buddy Spoon is the husband of Janet Spoon, who has been employed by, or involved in, Patterson continuously since 1983-84.

The Convention was lots of fun, with something to interest almost everyone, including children.  They competed in their own musical contests, and enjoyed tractor rides and corn-shucking contests, and eventually paraded among the tents, as you can see in the next picture.

Lively parade in front of the tent

Lively parade in front of the tent

There were booths to buy crafts, food, and handmade musical instruments. The Happy Valley Boy Scout Troop provided hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ, pintos, etc.. There were also stands for funnel cakes and ice cream.

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[photo © David Prewitt, Lenoir News Topic]

 In Patterson’s interest, there was a special booth for home-made popsicles of exotic flavors like “lemon ice pie,” (which contained buttermilk) and “lavender chocolate,”. The popsicles are made in our very own Hickory Hall kitchen, and are sold each Saturday at the Hickory Farmers’ Market. David and Deanna Talbert of Lenoir call their enterprise “Essie & Olive Popsicle Company” in memory of their mother and grandmother.

David Talbert of Essie & Olive photo © David Prewitt, Lenoir News Topic

David Talbert of Essie & Olive [photo © David Prewitt, Lenoir News Topic]

Our Wiese Hall “B&B” was a success for this event, especially being our first local event offering. A breakfast with many organic offerings was served at an additional price, which seemed much appreciated. We had thirteen guests, using six rooms. We expect to also entertain guests for Lenoir’s 31st Annual Sculpture Celebration, a Cyclocross on Campus, and for next April’s Merle Fest, held annually in Wilkesboro. The number to call for Wiese Dorm rental is 828-758-0906.

Patterson School Going Solar!

LENOIR, NC (June 10, 2016)…Community solar for Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation members in Caldwell County is advancing thanks to a partnership between the cooperative and the Patterson School Foundation.

Construction could soon begin on the cooperative’s community solar garden on nearly an acre of land leased from Patterson School Foundation located on the north side of Hwy 268. Blue Ridge is working closely with the Caldwell County Planning and Development department to fully comply with the recently adopted Solar Amendment to the Zoning Ordinance and obtain a conditional use permit for the site.

Community solar gardens are ideal for offering access to solar energy for consumers who cannot—or do not wish—to install rooftop solar panels due to factors such as high upfront cost or maintenance concerns. While renewable energy currently makes up six percent of Blue Ridge Electric’s power supply and that percentage is growing, community solar gardens will empower cooperative members to directly choose to invest in receiving a greater portion of their electricity from solar resources.

The cooperative is planning to construct four community solar gardens this fall, each a 100 kW (kilowatt) array consisting of 350 ground mounted solar panels that will cumulatively power 50 average households. Pricing options are currently being developed for subscribing to the energy rights of one or more solar panels.

Patterson School Foundation and Blue Ridge Electric also envision the community solar garden providing a valuable educational benefit to Patterson retreat participants and to Caldwell County students engaged in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Agriculture and Math) curriculum there.

Blue Ridge Electric is committed to making its members’ lives better by offering innovative and powerful solutions such as community solar. The cooperative serves some 74,000 members. For more information, visit www.BlueRidgeEMC.com.

Smith-Residential-Solar-Array

While Blue Ridge Electric’s community solar garden will be much larger than this residential solar array, this photo provides an idea of the look of a ground mounted solar facility. This array is owned by Blue Ridge Electric employee Jason Smith, senior communications analyst, who came to Blue Ridge after working for a SC company as chief operating officer, managing construction and renewable energy solutions. (Photo description provided by Blue Ridge Electric and photo provided by the Smith Family.)

PSF Celebrates Community Involvement and Generosity in 2014!

Patterson School Foundation Celebrates the Community’s Generosity in 2014!

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Patterson School Foundation gives thanks as they celebrate their many successful milestones achieved in 2014. The highlights include surpassing their Hickory Hall Campaign’s initial goal of $50,000 to renovate the 1960 Hickory Hall Commercial Kitchen and Dining Room.

The Hickory Hall Campaign was birthed from a matching $15,000 challenge, which was challenged again at a Patterson School alumni luncheon. All board members contributed, and the enthusiasm for Patterson School Foundation’s renewal has become contagious. As Hickory Hall’s two newly rebuilt roofs tout their healthy status, the excitement for the kitchen’s resurrection continues to grow.

The attached photos capture some of the highlights of their recent Christmas party, which were filled with kudos and much gratitude to the many generous volunteers who have facilitated Patterson School Foundation’s recent regeneration.

Chef_Keith_CCC-TIChef Keith Andreasen, Director of CCC & TI’s Culinary Arts Program, enjoyed the Patterson School Foundation Christmas celebration. Having him compliment our organic whole wheat pasta with sauce was noteworthy and much appreciated! From physically healthy food choices to emotionally and spiritually uplifting music — a good time was had by all!

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Dr. Brady Adkins, pastor, and New Grace Trio set the Christmas tone.

 

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Evelyn Garvey, Director of the Patterson Riding Club, was also toasted for her successful co-ordination of fellow volunteers who have worked many hours in the last 6 months of resurrecting the Patterson Equestrian Center. Evelyn Garvey, Giddy on Up 4-H leader in Caldwell County, supervised her team who won a ‘First Place’ for their recent County Fair 4-H project “Growing with Caldwell County”, which showcased their prized efforts at resurrecting the Patterson Equestrian Center.

4-H Club Caldwell County Fair Theme

Barn renovation for 4H projectPatterson Equestrian Center will be featured in a Caldwell County Fair Booth by one of our local 4-H Club groups, Giddy On Up. The theme of this year’s Caldwell County Fair is “Growing Greatness in Caldwell County”. The Giddy On Up Group, led by Evelyn Garvey and Sherry Hodge,  will feature the re-emergence of the Patterson Equestrian Center, and they have worked countless hours to help renovate this historic Caldwell County treasure! Their booth has won a blue ribbon for their past 4 years at the fair. Please go by to take a look at their booth, and thank them for their hard work, and support of Patterson Equestrian Center.

Horse Show announcing Equestrian Center and Riding Club Opening

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PATTERSON SCHOOL FOUNDATION BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO

EQUESTRIAN CENTER

Patterson School Foundation will reintroduce the Patterson Equestrian Center to Happy Valley by hosting its first Open Horse Show on Saturday November 1st from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  The event offers an opportunity for riders of all ages, 5 years through adult, and all skill levels to participate in traditional and non-traditional games.  Additionally, it will showcase some of the exciting, emerging programs and services available including boarding, hiking and riding clubs.

The Patterson Equestrian Center provides a picturesque setting for riders and is the first physical, agricultural manifestation of the Patterson School Foundation’s vision for renewal and abundance on the beautiful and historic, 1400-acre campus.   Participants, sponsors, vendors and volunteers are welcome and will come together for this inaugural event.

Contact:  Evelyn Garvey
Tel:      828-493-4089
Email:    skgarvey@charter.net

www.PattersonSchoolFoundation.org
(click on the Equestrian link for class list, entry form, and information.)

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“There is life at Patterson again, positive, restorative, regenerative energy, that is reclaiming the past and passionately pursuing its’ future potential,” said Board Chair Kitty Rosati, “Our sights are set on being a gift to the community, an educational and healing center for fun, friendship and food!”

 

The former Patterson School, now Patterson School Foundation is nestled in Happy Valley, 9 miles north of Lenoir and 20 miles south of Boone and Blowing Rock.  Resting on the former Palmyra Plantation once belonging to Samuel Legerwood Patterson, it was established as an agricultural school for boys in 1909, later becoming a coed, college prep school for 100 years.

 

For more information or to schedule an interview with Board Chair Kitty Rosati, please call her directly at 919-971-1348 or email at rosekit@aol.com.