West Stanly boosters to host U Belong event

In an effort to raise money for West Stanly athletics, the booster club recently announced a new event to spotlight the talent pool at the school while inspiring the next generation.

U Belong will be at 7 p.m. Saturday in the West Stanly High School Auditorium.

The event came out of discussions with West students who expressed feeling left out of decisions, being left alone and making correct decisions, according to a post on the West Stanly Facebook page.

“I was trying to think out of the box when I came up with the idea for this event,” West Stanly Booster Club president Edna Edge said. “I wanted to do something that would draw a crowd, enabling us to bring in much needed funds for our sports program.”

One speaker for the event is the associate dean for High Point University’s School of Pharmacy, West Stanly Class of 1992 alumnus Dr. Joy Greene.

According to the High Point University website, Greene is an expert on a number of health topics like diabetes, anxiety and depression. She opened and managed pharmacies in Cabarrus and Stanly counties while also hosting a one-minute radio segment, Joy Time, geared for Christian women airing on more than 100 stations worldwide.

“I went to school with Joy and I know she normally draws a crowd when she speaks so I reached out to her for help,” Edge said. “Once I had her commitment, I took my idea to the other officers and the members of the booster club.”

The booster club president said Amy McNeill, who handles many of Greene’s events, was as excited about the event as the booster club members and had a vision to take the event to the next level.

“When we met with her, she had a name in mind for the event, she knew who she wanted to speak along with Joy, who we would ask to provide entertainment, and was ready to form teams to make it happen,” Edge said. “We pretty much just do what she tells us to do, but we could not do this without many parent volunteers.”

McNeill, who is good friends with Greene, said the event is a fundraiser but more importantly wanting to make a difference in the community.

“We started thinking about how we can involve the alumni and make it a community event,” McNeill said. “It’s more then raising money, we want to make an impact.

“We are hoping it will be an inspirational night and people will feel encouraged when they leave.”

Saturday’s event will include speakers such as Zac Brown, a former standout baseball player and student at West who has gone into coaching, including last season with the Post 76 Legion baseball squad, as well as retiring earth sciences teacher, coach and public address announcer Mark Rowles.

The U Belong event will have performances from the West Stanly marching band and drama department, along with door prizes including one donated by New York Giants defensive lineman B.J. Hill.

Everything about the event is West Stanly, Edge said, noting the T-shirts for the event were designed by the school’s graphics and design class.

Tickets for the event will be $20 and are available in advance and at the door Saturday.

“We are hoping to make this a yearly or bi-yearly event as we have our eye on some speakers/entertainers to participate in the future,” Edge said.

She said the event is for all of Stanly, not just for people from the western part of the county.

“We want all of Stanly County to enjoy the entertainment provided by students at West and to hear Joy Greene and the others speak,” Edge said.