School Officials Pay Tribute To Cathey, Wellborn – Transylvania County, NC


Last updated 11/18/2020 at 6:27pm

Special Visit On Tuesday, members of the Brevard High School football team paid a special visit to their biggest fan, Moby Sorrells. Sorrells, 84, a current resident at Accordius Health, has attended every Blue Devil football game since 1944 –– 1,027 games and counting. Since he's been unable to keep track of the team's preseason progress, they decided to pay Sorrells a visit in anticipation of the 2021 season.

Members of the Transylvania County Board of Education paid tribute to Rosman High School teacher Sara Cathey and outgoing board member Alice Wellborn at their meeting Monday evening.

During the invocation prior to the official meeting, board member Marty Griffin expressed his thoughts and condolences to the Cathey family for the loss of Sara, who passed away this past weekend.

Board Chair Tawny McCoy said, "Miss Cathey was a special friend to my family, my son. She was one of his teachers and they grew to be very close friends."

McCoy said she heard many students say, "You were a better person because of knowing her."

Board member Alice Wellborn said she thought about Juanelle Cathey, "a wonderful special education teacher" who was Sara's mother who died in August, and Sara's older brother, Will, who died in April.

"So, three members of the Cathey family have died in about six months," said Wellborn. "We all need to hold them up because that's a lot of loss."

Vice Chair Ron Kiviniemi said he worked with Sara's brother, Sam, at T.C. Henderson Elementary and "butted heads" with her father, William, when the latter was principal at Rosman High.

"They were a dedicated education family – strong believers in the value of public education and the way it could lift people up," said Kiviniemi. "From everything I've heard about Sara, she, along with the rest of the family, epitomized that."

The board also recognized Wellborn for her four years of service on the school board. Wellborn was elected to the school board in 2016, but came in fourth place in the race for three open positions on the school board this year.

Superintendent Dr. Jeff McDaris presented an engraved plaque to Wellborn for her service on the school board. He said Wellborn has devoted "countless hours" to improve services for students and staff in the school system.

"It has always been enjoyable to work with you, Alice," said McDaris. "Long before either one of us were in these current positions, we worked together. You have always had the children of our county at heart."

Board member Courtney Domokur said she met Wellborn at T.C. Henderson when Wellborn worked at the school. When they both were on the board, Domokur said the two of them worked "like a great team," especially when it came to improving teacher retention and teaching conditions.

"It has been wonderful to work with you," said Domokur.

"I'd just like to say thank you for the time you put in for the kids in this county," said Griffin.

Griffin praised Wellborn for her hard work, "especially with the bond."

Kiviniemi said he and Wellborn both began working in the local school system in the 1970s and that he got to know her very well after spending "several hundred hours" in IEP (individualized education plan) meetings with her while he was a principal at various schools.

"She has always been the consummate professional," Kiviniemi said. "Her expertise in the areas of child development and special education issues have been invaluable to the board and will be sorely missed. Thank you, Alice."

McCoy said she did not really know Wellborn before she became a board member.

"I knew her reputation, which was stellar," said McCoy.

McCoy said serving on a board is not always easy and Wellborn gave her words of encouragement "when I needed it the most."

"You have a kind heart, and you have a heart for our students, our teachers, and our community," said McCoy.

Wellborn praised the members of the school board.

"This is a group that has worked together, always collaboratively, always cooperatively, always respectfully," said Wellborn. "That is something that is really special."

Sorrells received a commemorative football and a framed 2021 season schedule. He offered the team some words of encouragement and said he plans to do everything he can to be in attendance when the season kicks off in February. The ball is the game ball from the 1982 state championship game, when Brevard beat Bertie 15-7. (Times photos by Jeremiah Reed)


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