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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Your Douglass website published its very first post on December 29, 2006.

That means, today, Douglass-Riverview's information source is now officially 8 years old.

Considering the modern-day internet (the one we all use today), is only 20 years old, it means we have been around for half the life of the internet.

Not a bad recognition.

Thanks for supporting us!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

To the Douglass School family, and our Riverview friends and neighbors... Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season, from your Douglass website!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Public Invited for Caroling and Cider in Riverview

The public is invited to join the Kingsport Parks and Recreation Department and South Central Kingsport's New Vision Youth on Monday, December 22, at the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex from 5:30 to 6 PM for Christmas caroling and hot apple cider.

For more information, contact Chassie Smiley at 224-2428 and Johnnie Mae Swagerty at 429-7553.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

South Central Kingsport's Christmas Dinner: Setting the Holiday Mood!

Good food... good fellowship.

Seniors in the South Central Kingsport community gathered on Saturday, December, 6, 2014, as they do every Christmas season to break bread around the holiday table, at the annual dinner held in their honor.

"Every year, the community comes together just to have a fellowship during the holidays," says Reverend Pastor Kenneth Calvert of the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation, one of the sponsors of the event. "Our seniors have already given so much to the community, and many of them cooked themselves out doing Thanksgiving.  As we head towards Christmas, we want them to know that we love them."

"It's a great way for them to celebrate the season, together."

The event is free of charge, and is held in the Douglass Community Room at the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex.  Depending on who you talk to, the annual dinner has been held from 12 to 15 years, a great tradition for the South Central Kingsport community, which includes Riverview.

A special highlight of the dinner, was the service offered to the seniors by members of the community's New Vision Youth.  Chicken, green beans. corn, rolls and tea were the menu's fare.   The young people served the seniors their dinner plates and desserts.

"They bring the plates, they come back later and pick them up," Reverend Calvert noted, "and they cater to their needs.  It's a good thing for our seniors to be treated like royalty every once in a while."

Seniors at the dinner seem to enjoy the attention.

"They get to bridge the generation gap with some talented young folks, all members of the New VisionYouth," he says.  "The youth put on an inspirational song and dance program and poetry.  Later, the youth were in charge of drawing names for free gifts for the seniors

He also paid tribute to the popularity of the dinner, to the folks in charge of pulling it together.

"Johnnie Mae (Swagerty) and her helpers did a great job this year of organizing the event," says Reverend Calvert.  "In prior years, Jeannie Hodges put it together and before that, other directors have carried on the tradition from year to year, and they've always made it one of the highlights of the season."

"It always run smooth, and it has been a great tradition for our community."


Monday, December 15, 2014

Local Douglass Descendant Is Off to the Big Time!


Science Hill senior quarterback Malik McGue has committed to Army.

McGue made the announcement Sunday night, one day after attending the Army-Navy game in Baltimore and absorbing all its pageantry.

“It was already my No. 1 school … and it was a pretty amazing experience,” McGue said. “It was pretty surreal just to be there and knowing I’d have an opportunity to be a part of that in a few years. … Actually, I didn’t think I was gonna be making a commitment this early. Just being at that game kind of gave me a feel for what they’re all about.”

McGue is also receiving interest from East Tennessee State, Chattanooga and Tennessee State, among others. He still intends to make an official visit to West Point, and said he might make one to Tennessee State, though he’s 99 percent sure he’ll stick with his commitment barring an extreme circumstance such as a coaching change.

McGue capped a busy weekend by formally being announced as the Big Seven Conference offensive player of the year at the league banquet on Sunday. He went to Cookeville last Tuesday to begin practice for Friday’s Toyota East-West All-Star game.

After the all-star game he went to Nashville to fly to Baltimore by way of Charlotte. He stayed with a cousin he’d never met, Derek Holly, who lives some 45 minutes outside of Baltimore. Holly attended the Army-Navy game with him.

“It was cooler than I expected it to be,” McGue said. “Coming to the game it was already my No. 1 school and that just kind of put the cap on everything. … I kind of wanted to go ahead and get it over with and get that weight off my shoulders. I was pretty sure in my heart that this was where I wanted to be, so I went ahead and made the commitment.”

The elusive McGue was the Johnson City Press Elite 11 co-player of the year – with Elizabethton running back Ethan Thomas – and a Mr. Football finalist this season.

McGue started two years at receiver and kick returner and played defensive back before taking over the past two years at quarterback, where he engineered the Hilltoppers to two straight Big Seven Conference titles.

He rushed for 1,171 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, and passed for 2,320 yards and 25 TDs. He also had in excess of 400 yards via kick and punt returns.

He produced 93 TDs during his career as a ‘Topper.

Perhaps his most impressive feat was going 3-0 as a starting quarterback against Dobyns-Bennett, which had beaten the Hilltoppers 19 straight times prior to him taking over at quarterback. And his first win against the Indians came two days after popping his throwing shoulder out of place.
He was reminded of the D-B series while watching Army lose to Navy for the 13th straight time – coming up short despite battling passionately in a 17-10 loss.

“I didn’t realize that Navy had a streak on ‘em like that,” McGue said. “When I heard that streak … I was thinking about the D-B streak and how long they had beat up on Science Hill. … So hopefully I would be able to go in there and be a part of a team like I was at Science Hill that ends the streak at Army.”

Also a quarterback as a point guard in basketball, McGue got a late start this season due to leading the Hilltoppers football team to its first quarterfinal appearance since 1994. But he averaged 15.5 points per game in two games prior to missing three last week to play in the all-star game.
McGue is being loosely projected as a slot back and slot receiver, and said he’s told he’ll get a shot at quarterback – at least for certain packages.

“With that veer offense they basically have three running backs,” McGue said. “They said they’re putting in more of a shotgun spread package and I’d be running slot receiver with that. And then also they told me that they’d give me a look at quarterback just based on what I’ve done in my high school career. … They told me they’d move me around, see what I have the best feel for and then just go from there.”

Science Hill coach Stacy Carter, a former Army Ranger, said the intelligent McGue has excellent leadership skills which West Point will enhance.

“When I told him about it today he was kind of surprised,” McGue said. “The look over his face, you know, he was really surprised about it. … I feel like going to West Point, definitely, that’s the goal to come out of there being a leader. And those leadership qualities – this will definitely pull the best out of me.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Alumni Board Meeting Rescheduled

The postponed meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board will now be held this coming Saturday, December 13th at 1 PM.

As always, the meeting will be held in the Eastman Conference Room, 2nd floor of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex tower in Riverview.

We would like to see Douglass and Riverview alumni who have never been to a meeting, or have not been to a meeting in a while.

Please spread the word, and bring a friend!

Friday, December 5, 2014

"The Enchanting Clay Hill 'Fort' and the Grown-ups Who Brought The 'Fort' Back to Reality"


Once upon a time, there was a boy named Savion.  He, like all of his friends, have very vivid imaginations, and loved playing outdoors.

The most fun that Savion and his friends had, was playing "fort."  For that, they built a real "fort" out of planks, sticks and boards, and held it together with wire and even a few nails.  It hurt sometimes hammering the nails into the boards that came loose, but that was the price kids paid, for holding something together so it wouldn't fall apart.

The "fort" that Savion and his friends built, was in this magical place called "Clay Hill."  It was a child's paradise that had rolling hills with faraway views, trees with swingy vines that were fun to play Tarzan on, and wild animals that mostly hid themselves from view when the friends played.  Occasionally. they would peer with curiosity and amusement around the rocks and from high branches at the children as they played. "Clay Hill" even had holes in the ground that water collected in, and tall, massive pieces of steel machinery left there by grups, who probably knew a child would have fun crawling on the monoliths of metal, pretending that the rusty relics in this 'creation of the imagination' were real play toys.   Even Captain Kirk himself would have enjoyed playing on a make-believe Starship Enterprise on one of the abandoned steel structures covered in weeds.... this fantasy world, known as 'Clay Hill.'

But best of all, underneath all this stuff that kids could claim as their own conjured-up hideaway, was clay.  Clay dirt.. clay rocks... clay mounds... anything, everything CLAY.  It was a light brown, almost pasty kind of rock, that held the limestone slate in place until little boys and girls came along and dug it up out of the ground.  They made handballs out of the clay for baseball, knocked with sticks that were pulled right off the nearby trees.  The clay was pushed up into mounds that little boy "John Wayne's" could hide behind, while shooting toy guns at the bad guys.  The whole area was shaped and reshaped into small hills and valleys that sleeping bags could be placed in, so you wouldn't roll away.  

If there was ever the right name for a enchanting world of make-believe right in your own backyard, 'Clay Hill' was it!

This netherworld... this 'Clay Hill' was a place that grups (grown-ups), especially Nana's, were not allowed.  And the grups (grown-ups) knew that.  They were always forbidding Savion and his friends from journeying up to this mysterious place called 'Clay Hill.'  'Oh, you'll hurt yourself,' they would exclaim loudly.  'You'll fall outta them trees and hurt yourself,'  the grups would yell if they saw you headed in that direction.  'You'll fall in one of them holes and that quicksand, and you'll never get out!" was a popular one.  ' Boy, have you lost your mind... stay off that hill!'  (that's the one the friends heard the most).

Despite the grups' disdain for 'Clay Hill,' Savion and his friends loved their fantasy world called 'Clay Hill,' just like their Nana's and big brothers and sisters and their grandmama's, granddaddy's, aunts, uncles and all the other ancestors who came before them.  'Clay Hill' had a reputation for drawing in kids who wanted to stretch their imaginations, and even though it seemed like they were trying, grups could not stop that.

But back to the 'fort.'

Savion and his friends had fun in their boarded up 'fort.'  It was big for a kid, even two-story!  It took two years to build it, pushing down trees and cutting back underbrush to clear the area.  They found some tiles and put them down to make a floor.  They put up the boards, and discarded netting they found over the windows and doors to keep the bugs out.  They had so much fun at the 'fort,' being kids and getting away from the grups, 'because sometimes kids want to get away from grups,' Savion says.  Think back.. it is the natural order of things.  Everybody needs their space.  The kids played games, brought food, and enjoyed their little getaway.  They even had safety rules and stuff:  'only one person could use the chain in the ground to pull themselves up 'Clay Hill.'  The real little kids couldn't come around, because we didn't want them to get hurt,' says Savion.  

"But it was fun.  Kid fun."

Every day during the summer, and each day after school, the 'fort' was busy with activity.  When they weren't playing games, Savion and his friends would help each other with homework, or they'd sit around and talk about kid stuff.  Every kid had a good reason to come to the 'fort.' 

The group even stayed the night in the 'fort' once, listening to the mysterious sounds of the crickets and the night birds, and also the distant, strange hum of this huge monster that the grups call 'Eastman.'  Off in the distance from the 'fort,', the kids could see this big thing called 'Eastman' with all its buildings and lights and steam and trucks and trains and people running around.  In front of the homes and 'Clay Hill, this 'Eastman'  had built baseball fields for its own people to play and have fun on, but that didn't bother Savion and his friends.  For in their magical fantasy land called 'Clay Hill,' they could play their own baseball and have their own fun, so how about that!

But one day, disaster struck.  Bulldozers and dump trucks came to 'Clay Hill.'

With deafening sounds, the dozers pushed down the hills and valleys... with their big blades, the the dozers mashed up the clay and limestone... with one fell swoop, they pushed down all the trees with swingy vines... As the ground shook, the dozers leveled out the ground and the dump trucks hauled the clay dirt away.  They left 'Clay Hill' flat as a pancake.

Seems the grups had a plan Savion and his kid friends did not know about... That big thing called 'Eastman' had decided to build a big skyscraper where its ballfields were, and so their ballfields had to be moved.  

Where do you think they wanted to move all their ballfields?  To 'Clay Hill!'  Oh my!  That would spell an end to the 'fort' and all the fun Savion and his kid friends were having.

"It's terrible!" exclaimed Savion.  "It was so much blood, sweat and tears that we put into our 'fort,' he said.  "It's real pitiful that they took this away from us.  All the time they want us to 'go green' and use stuff that's here to have fun with, and right when we do, they force us to tear it down.  It's not fair to us.  All this work we did, and now it's gone."

Savion remembers that some of his friends cried when they had to take the 'fort' down.

Others were even mad at the bulldozers working nearby, as the group took down the 'fort' board by board, plank by plank.

"It was really the only place around where we could have fun," he remembers.  "The parks are always crowded.  The splash pad down the street is always crowded.  If we play in the street, we get honked at and the grups get mad!  The 'fort' keeps us off the streets, it keeps us away from bad things.  We don't get to do bad things, 'cause we're up here having fun."

"If they keep building and pushing us kids around, pretty soon there's gonna be no place for us to play and be kids at all.  Actually, they're pushing us away."

"It's just not fair!"

Alas, the enchanted area where the 'fort' used to be is now just a mashed-out area.. it's just a 'hole in the thicket' because weeds always take a while to grow over a place that was once cleared off.

The grups' new ball fields are named 'The Clay Hill Ball Fields at Brickyard Park.'  Four smaller ball fields are just downwind of one huge, massive ball field that would rival any major league ball park in a big city. That one field required the complete bulldozing of the wondrous illusion that generations called 'Clay Hill,' the magical place where fantasies came true... where needs not gratified by reality were met... and generations like Savion and his friends grew up. 
Kids like them will eventually play on the new ball fields, and fun will still be had, at 'Clay Hill,' where dreams met daydreams.

Did Savion and his friends live happily ever after?  Does the story of the 'fort' have a happy ending?  Stay tuned.  The grups' new ball fields open in the spring of 2015.  The story is not over yet!