Back to school in our ‘community of Unity’

Published 11:45 am Friday, August 26, 2016

Some months ago, I wrote an article called, “The passing of an Era requisites the fuel: “Franklin on the Rise.” It told the story of how this small city — the only urban center in the county — grew and prospered. Without actually saying so, you readers understood and lived the decline of Franklin as a result of the economic conditions of the city. These conditions are real and they are nationwide.

In the face of this extreme pessimistic environment, the article pointed back to a “time long gone” where optimism ruled the day, where people, regardless of their ethnicity, worked to better the lives of neighbors and their neighborhoods. he article ended on a high note urging us to begin emulating the spirit of the past re-dedicating ourselves to helping Franklin rise again.

That spirit has showed itself as likeminded young adults have picked up the banner: “Building a Future.” The word ‘banner’ means more than a flag or poster, it points to being excellent, exceptional, outstanding and a tremendously good enterprise that looks to helping our children grow and advance in the area. These spirited young adults are showing and exemplifying a ray of hope, a determination to rise above the ‘negative nightly news’ that continually paints pessimism — I’m beginning to see the dim light of the past emerging ever so brightly.

The “Derrick Thompson Foundation,” a non-profit organization, sponsored this event to help children of all ages prepare to go back to school. If you drove along Armory Drive this past Saturday between noon and three, you would have seen a bunch of foundation members cheerfully giving out school supplies to anyone who dropped by — school bags, crayons, pencils, notebooks, school paper, school glue, hand wash, pencil boxes, folders, dividers, binders and highlighters. Hotdogs, hamburgers and a drink (water or fruit punch) was likewise provided to those who so desired. If you really noticed what was taking place between Walgreens & O’Reilly you would have been delighted seeing all hues, all cultures, all races; ‘a rainbow of color,’ displaying a community of unity. When it was all over and done with, the foundation had given out over 140 school bags to children from kindergarten to eight grade.

I’m beginning to notice a sense of pride, a sense of belonging, a sense of custody in this “The Derrick Thompson Foundation.” Helping our children begin to “Build Futures” is precisely what is needed as we start turning towards positive optimistic views of self. The location of this event points to that ‘community of Unity’ as bulldozers are clearing the old Saint Regis Paper Company grounds making room for growth as Franklin begins to be renewed. The article suggested a new axiom be created, well, I’d suggest this one: “The emerging of an Era prerequisite the fuel: Franklin, a community of unity.”

Dr. WILLIAM SCOTT is a guest columnist for The Tidewater News. He can be reached at