FCPS students honor schools at homecoming

Published 9:35 pm Sunday, October 30, 2022

Before and after the Homecoming courts were presented at Armory Field on Friday, Oct. 7, a few of the students acknowledged they were nervous about the halftime ceremony. Evidently, though, the young royals conquered their jitters, and the event was carried out without so much as a misstep.

A Franklin City Public Schools news release noted that the ceremony was one of two activities that made homecoming a memorable occasion for both participants and observers. The second was no less memorable: Franklin High School’s varsity football team won 30-6 against Surry County High School.

In addition to the traditional high school court, this year’s halftime show was enhanced by including students from S.P. Morton Elementary School and J.P. King Jr. Middle School. 

Mr. and Ms. SPM were fifth-graders Jayden Putman and Brooklynn Rhodes. Several days before the program, Rhodes said about participating, “I’m very excited and looking forward to this. It’s something I really want to do.” Mr. Putnam simply said, “I thought it would be nice.”

The SPM Prince and Princess were fourth-graders William Moore and Georgia Perea. Moore said his reason for participating is because “I want to help the school.” Perea said, “I thought it would be honoring the school, and I want to help people out.”

Both sets were assisted by SPM Assistant Principals Alecia Gatling and Angela Fair.

S.P. Morton Elementary School Homecoming Court

Jayden Putnam — Mr. S.P. Morton

  • Parent: Brittney Putnam
  • Favorite Subject: Science
  • Like to do: Play video games and board games, watch movies

Brooklynn Rayne Rhodes — Ms. S.P. Morton

  • Parent: Dr. Tamara Sterling
  • Favorite Subject: History
  • Like to do: Go outside and ride my bike, baking, karate

William Moore — SPM Prince

  • Parents: Daniel and Bethany Moore
  • Favorite Subject: Science
  • Like to do: Watch TV, play outside, climb trees

Georgia Perea — SPM Princess

Parents: Robin Wood and Orlando Perea

Favorite Subject: Art

Like to do: Play tag and hide-and-seek with brothers, sisters and friends

At JPK, Tisha Copeland, Hyesha Pope and Shante Cross were co-advisers, and Braxton Cooper was the Student Government Association adviser and homecoming coordinator. Cooper said the school’s SGA officers also helped put together the school’s homecoming rally.

Cooper also compiled the following details about each chosen student. Each youth provided their future hopes and a quote.

J.P. King Jr. Middle School Homecoming Court

Sixth Grade

Ahmonie Branch was escorted by her father, Anthony Branch. 

  • School and Student Activities: She is an SGA representative.
  • Her hope for the future: To end any major issues people are facing in the world
  • Quote that represents her life: “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

Sharod Perry was escorted by his mother, Lavonda Jordan, and his brother, Curtis Jordan.

  • Activities: Sharod is an SGA co-president. He plays football for the Franklin Mustangs and plays rec league basketball.

Breontae Walloe, the Sixth-Grade Prince, was escorted by Tracy Walloe.

  • Activities: He plays football for the Franklin Mustangs and is an SGA representative.
  • His hope: To achieve his dreams and be successful.
  • Quote: “Life is what you make it.”

Sinaj Holland, the Sixth-Grade Princess, was also escorted by Tracy Walloe.

  • Activities: She keeps the community clean by being a part of Team Earth Day.
  • Her hope: That people will gain more positive energy and spread more love.
  • Quote: “Self-love and self-care are always number one.”

Seventh Grade

Mikia Smith was escorted by her friend, Samajiea Jones.

  • Activities: She is a flag girl for the FHS Marching Band and an SGA representative.
  • Her hope: To see her and everyone’s dreams come true.
  • Quote: “Be true to you.”

Zion Owens was escorted by his mother, Latasha Owens.

  • Activities: Zion plays football for the Franklin Mustangs and is a member of the FHS Marching Band.
  • His hope: That everyone achieves their dreams and everything that they want to accomplish in life.
  • Quote: “You can be anything that you want to be if you work hard.”

Brayden Foster, Mr. J.P. King Jr. Middle School, was escorted by Angela Reid.

  • Activities: Brayden is a center and outside linebacker for the Franklin Mustangs football team. He is also an SGA co-vice president.
  • His hope: To see everyone learn how to get along with each other.
  • Quote: “Always believe in yourself, anything is possible.”

Ra’Ziah Rawlings, Ms. J.P. King Jr. Middle School, was escorted by her brother, Rasean

Rawlings.

  • Activities: Ra’Ziah is a member of First Baptist Church where she has been a praise dancer since age 4. She is a former member of the National Elementary Honor Society and is now a member of the National Junior Honor Society. She is an SGA co-vice president and the baby captain of the FHS Marching Band.
  • Her hope: For the world to become a better place.
  • Quote: “Always be a leader not a follower, never give up and put God first in everything that you do.”

At the high school, the theme was, suitably, “Home is Where the Broncos Are.” That’s because

the court was composed of students from eighth grade through 12th, and family members either

escorted or represented the chosen students. The Senior Court members presented were chosen by the senior class to represent them. The candidates were then voted upon by the entire high school student body to determine this year’s winners:

  • Homecoming Prince is Derrick Perry,
  • Homecoming Princess is Layla Battle,
  • Homecoming King is Jordan Myrick and
  • Homecoming Queen is Janiyah Howard.

After the crowning, both ladies acknowledged with relieved laughter that they were “really nervous” about it all. Before that moment, though, Shanaisha Jones, last year’s queen, said she was excited for whoever would be the next honoree. 

“I wish her well to be the new leader of the school,” Jones said. “I expect great things from her.”

The Student Council Association sponsors, Cheyanne Banks, Tanyeka Thornton and Dr. Robert Parsons and student council members, thanked Jones and 2021 Homecoming King Kwami Mitchell for assisting with the events.

Franklin High School Homecoming Court

The Thetamore Court

Ayarni Benn is the daughter of Shavonica Benn and Torrance Bowers, who escorted her Oct. 7. Ayarni cheered for the Mustang cheerleaders for three years and was a praise dancer. She aspires to run track during the spring season. Her hope for the future is for everyone to be successful and to achieve their highest potential. Her outlook on life is reflected by the quote, “Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind.”

Denali Mitchell is the daughter of Crystal Brady, who escorted her. Mitchell is a member of the junior varsity volleyball team and the JV cheerleading squad. Her hope for the future is that everyone finds joy and peace and lives a life full of purpose and meaning. Her outlook on life is best reflected in the following quote: “Hold on to your dreams of a better life, and stay committed to striving to realize it.”

Lamaj Boone is the son of Bontae Murphy, who escorted him. Boone has been a member of his school’s football team for three years. He has also played basketball for a summer league. He is a former baseball player as well. Boone’s hope for the future is that everyone takes advantage of opportunities to be successful. One of his favorite quotes is the question, “How big would you dream if you knew you wouldn’t fail?”

Roger Smith is the son of Tonya Smith and Deon Milian. He was escorted by his cousin, Courtney Leonard. Roger is a member of the JV football team. Prior to attending Franklin High, he was a member of the Mustang football team and played basketball for the YMCA and Franklin Parks and Recreation. His outlook on life is simply, “If you want something, never give up, go and get it.”

The Freshman Court

Tyla Artis-Branch is the daughter of LaQuanda Artis, and Tyla was escorted by her mother and

sister, Aniyah Artis. Tyla has been a member of the JV cheerleading squad and the

JV softball team. She is also a member of the praise dance team at First Baptist Church. Her hope for the future is to come together united as one. Her outlook on life is best represented by a quote from performer Drake: “I’m always going to work like I have something to prove.”

Nishay Rapach is the daughter of Christine Rapach, and Nishay was escorted by her aunt, Tashona Rapach. Nishay is an active participant of the Marching Stampede flag, robotics, cross country, softball, track and tennis teams. She also serves as a member of First Baptist Church. Her hope for the future is for more people to do what they love. Her outlook on life can be summed up by saying, “Chasing money and my dreams.”

Jordan Duck is the son of Mary Duck-Hunt and Timothy Hunt, both of whom represented him. Duck has been a member of the JV football team for two years and varsity football team for one year. He has also been a member of the JV baseball and basketball teams. His hope for the future is that everyone will put family first. His outlook on life is reflected by the quote, “I will face many obstacles in life, but I will never let them defeat me.”

Jaden Reid is the son of Latesha Reid and Frederick Reid, who represented him. Jaden has been a member of both the JV and varsity football teams as well as the JV baseball team. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the Vanguard Early College Academy. He has attended William and Mary’s Camp Launch and Virginia Tech’s Camp Imagination for the past three years. Jaden enjoys participating at his church in the annual food distribution to homeless and needy families. His hope for the future is for young people, particularly in Franklin, to get more exposure to showcase their talents and seize any positive opportunities to grow and shine. Jaden lives by the quote, “Motion is not something that flows, it’s something you create.”

The Sophomore Court

Tihanna Barrett is the daughter of Tarchelle Benn and Tony Benn, who escorted her. Barrett has cheered for two years for the Broncos and is the captain of the JV cheerleading squad. She

previously served as a flag girl for the Marching Stampede, was a praise team member and

cheered for the Mustangs. Her hope for the future is for the world to have peace. Her outlook on

life is stated by the quote, “The best investment you can ever make is spending time taking care of yourself.”

Brittnee Lyons is the daughter of Shannon Wilder. Lyons was escorted by her mother and

godfather, Travis Grant. Lyons has been a member of both the JV and varsity cheerleading

squads and softball teams. She plans to play volleyball as well as run track and cross country. Lyons is a member of the Ladies of Distinction and Young Women in Action. Her hope for the future is for world peace to truly become a reality. Lyons lives by the quote, “Put your best foot forward. Chin up, chest out.”

Christian Johnson is the son of Audrey Lee and James Lee, who escorted him. Johnson has a

passion for music, which has led to his participation in the band for the past five years. He is also a member of the FHS basketball team, which he looks forward to continuing with this winter. In Christian’s spare time, he volunteers at his church through its community programs, and he has also assisted with a local food bank. Christian’s hope for the future is to see everyone achieve their happiness, get closer to God and to make full use of their minds and potential. His outlook on life is reflected in the following quote from Matthew 22:14: “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Ahmad McNeil is the son of Lestine Barnes, who represented him. McNeil has been a member of the JV and varsity football teams. He has also played baseball for the JV team. He has enjoyed participating with his church in distributing food to the homeless. His hope for the future is that younger generations are given the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills in a

positive manner. One of McNeil’s favorite quotes is, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t

work hard.”

The Junior Court

Breanna Cary is the daughter of Octavia Hodge and Brandon Cary, who escorted her. Breanna has been a member of the cheerleading squad, volleyball team, track team and cross country

team. She is also a member of the Ladies of Distinction and Young Women In Action. Her hope for the future is for “everyone to be treated equally and for gun violence to end.” Breanna lives by the quote, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.”

Zai’onyah Johnson is the daughter of Rasheena Johnson and Peyton Sheppard, who escorted her. Zai’onyah has served as the captain of the dance team for the past year. She is a member of the Marching Stampede, National Honor Society and Young Women In Action. She is also a member of the JV cheerleaders team. Zai’onyah’s hope for the future is for “the world to become a better place for all to live.” She lives by the quote, “I strive to be successful in everything that I do.”

Kaden Bailey is the son of Karla Johnson and Clyde Bailey. Kaden was represented by his father and his cousin, Shayla Stovall. Kaden has been a member of the basketball team for three years, the track team for two years and has played football for two years as well. His hope for the future is for everyone to be successful on any road that they travel. He lives by the quote, “Never settle for being average, and always know your worth.”

Pheno Glover is the son of Christine Rapach, who escorted him. Glover is a member of the cross country, tennis and robotics teams. He is also a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and National Honor Society. Glover’s hope for the future is that “this generation gets to live for an amazing future while sustaining and taking care of the earth we live on.” His motto is, “Sometimes it’s not about the success but the effort to be successful.”

The Senior Court

Layla Battle is the daughter of Alavante Benton and Clara Battle. Layla was escorted by her mother and grandfather, Henry Battle. Layla is very active in her school and community. She has been a proud member of the cross country team, basketball team, Upward Bound program and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America for four years. She has been a member of the YMCA Leaders Club, Spanish Club and National Honor Society, and she has been a YMCA volunteer for three years. Additionally, she is a participant in Young Women in Action, Ladies of Distinction, volleyball, softball and soccer, and she is a JROTC cadet. Layla’s one hope for the future is to see everyone succeed and achieve their planned goals. Her outlook on life is reflected in her active spirit as she states that, “You have to learn to leave the table when what you want and need aren’t being served anymore.”

Trinity Everette is the daughter of Kim Everette and Angel Rooks, who escorted her. Trinity has been very involved in FHS athletics throughout her high school career, and she is serving as the proud head captain for the cheerleading squad, which she has been a member of for four years. She has also participated in track for two years, softball for two years, soccer for one year and

basketball for one year. In addition, Trinity has participated in the band for two years and has been a member of the National Honor Society for three years. Her hope for the future is to become a multi-degree graduate after college and to serve as an inspiration for others by becoming a prosperous entrepreneur. Her outlook on life is best reflected by the following quote: “Work hard for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.”

Janiyah Howard is the daughter of Mary Bradley, who escorted her. Howard is very active in a

variety of school activities. She has been a member of the cheerleading squad for two years, a

member of the soccer team for one year and a member of the band auxiliary for one year. She

was a former member of the FHS Homecoming Court her sophomore year and was also a

member of JROTC for one year. Her academic activities include being involved in the Spanish

Club, the Vanguard associate degree program and taking dual enrollment classes to earn college credits. Her one hope for the future is that people will pursue their passion by doing what they love and makes them happy. Her outlook on life is best reflected by the following quote: “You create beauty with your attitude, your behaviors and your actions. It’s all up to you.”

Nadia Smith-Milian is the daughter of Tonya Smith and Deon Milian and was escorted by her

mother. Smith-Milian has been a cheerleader and auxiliary dancer for three years and an active member in Ladies of Distinction for two years. Her hope for the future is for everyone to succeed, be happy and live life to the fullest. Her outlook on life is best represented by the following quote: “Don’t give up, the beginning is always the hardest.”

Shawn Battle II is the son of Shawn and Vengeria Battle, who represented him. Shawn is an active FHS athlete who has been on the varsity football team for four years, the varsity baseball

team for four years, the varsity track team for three years, the varsity basketball team for two years and the varsity wrestling team for one year. In addition, he has also been involved in the school Spanish Club for two years and the Marching Stampede for two years. Shawn’s hope for the future is for everyone to be equal and to unite as one for the common good. His outlook on life can best be described by the following quote: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Jordan Myrick is the son of Shaquanta Myrick and the late Johnathan Myrick, and Jordan was represented by his mother and grandfather, John Whitehead. Jordan is active in his school and community and was the FHS September Student of the Month. He was a 1A Mid-Atlantic Christian Athletic Association state champion in soccer and also received numerous distinctions in basketball. These distinctions included being an ACE national champion, a 1A MACAA all-conference and all-tournament player, and he received the title of No. 1 in rebounding in Virginia. In his spare time he is a member of the Franklin-Southampton Kappa League, a youth leader at O’Berry A.M.E. Zion Church and a school-age child care counselor with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads. He was also recently the recipient of a $108,000 scholarship to Wingate University, making him the first FHS senior of this year to receive a scholarship. His one hope for the future is for everyone to find God and come together to spread love and find peace. His outlook on life is best reflected in the following quote: “Believe in yourself, and all things are possible.”

Aquarius Turner is the son of Montego Person and the late Antonio Turner. Aquarius was escorted by his mother and Tawanna Turner. He mentioned that although his father could not be with him, their bond is strong, and he knows that his father is with him in spirit. Aquarius is an active FHS athlete who has participated on the football team for four years, the basketball team for one year and the soccer team for one year. His one hope for the future is to see everyone succeed and expand their horizons beyond Franklin. Aquarius’ outlook on life is best reflected from his personal motto, “Learned at an early age that you gotta grind hard and bundle up in this cold world.”

Derrick Perry is the son of Angela Sears and Derrick Perry Sr. He was escorted by his mother and sister, Shaniya Perry-Harris. Derrick’s extracurricular activities include playing basketball, football and soccer, and he is a member of each of those Bronco teams. Words that he lives by are, “Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong.”