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‘Spirit rocks’ enhance Penn-Griffin

By: Cinde Ingram

HIGH POINT — William Penn High School Class of 1967 alumni arranged for two huge boulders to be delivered Wednesday at what is now Penn-Griffin School for the Arts.

“They wanted to enhance the campus by placing boulders at the entrance,” said Carlvena Foster, a Guilford County commissioner and William Penn graduate. “They’re going to leave it up to the school as to how the boulders will be decorated.”

Former N.C. State Sen. Larry Shaw, a 1967 alumni who chaired the class committee, had reached out to Foster who in turn contacted Samet Corp. because she knew of the company’s real estate development and construction services. Samet’s Johnny Sigers told Foster the company wanted to be part of the project.

“He immediately said yes because Samet is a great community partner and they had done spirit rocks before,” Foster said, adding these boulders are larger than most.

“Spirit rocks are a good thing for the schools, keeping everybody close together,” said Eric Foster, a field engineer for Samet who was at the school Wednesday morning.

Samet contacted Vulcan Materials Co., which agreed to donate the 14,000- and 15,000-pound boulders and assist with their placement.

“It represents all the struggle that we’ve gone through,” said James Roberts, who served as president of William Penn High School class of 1967.

Shaw referred to lions and other symbols of strength placed at entrances of public buildings.

“These are monuments in recognition to the Quakers who established William Penn around the turn of the century,” Shaw said.

Quakers established the High Point Normal & Industrial Institute for African-American students in 1891 and built the original high school building in 1910-11.

“The William Penn school had a very direct connection to our church,” said Joshua Brown, pastor of Springfield Friends Meeting. The schools’ roots reach back to a two-room wooden school Soloman Blair began in 1867.

“Soloman Blair was one of our members who was concerned about the education of former slaves and their children,” Brown said. “He started the small school that eventually grew and inspired people to create William Penn. Quakers and William Penn go way back. This is a nice opportunity to renew that.”

Brown said he was astonished when he learned Vulcan had pulled the boulders from a quarry located next door to the Kernersville home of the late James Davis, one of the oldest members of the Springfield congregation.

“He would have been terribly pleased to have seen these boulders moved here,” Brown said.

Link to Original Post: https://hpenews.com/news/13620/spirit-rocks-enhance-penn-griffin/