On to the next level

Flanked by their families, coaches, and teammates, with the stroke of a pen, two Goldsboro High School football players, including one of the school’s most prolific athletes in recent memory, took the next steps on their respective journeys today in the GHS Media Center. 

Xzavior Bowden and Jay Watson will both play football next season — Bowden for the Independence Pirates (Kansas) and Watson for Louisburg College. The following photographs were taken by Pride photojournalists Tiana Brewington and Ze’Mirah Harris. This story will be updated.

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T’Ziah 1K

By DAIJA JAMES, TANIJA MILLER, KHEIRSTUN TURNAGE, CORYANA SMITH and PROPHET DEVAUGHN

T’Ziah Kelly’s team was still trailing after she drove to the basket and sunk a one-handed floater.

It was only the first quarter of a conference game against Midway that, as of press time, hadn’t even reached halftime yet.

But listening to the crowd’s reaction — a sustained roar that hasn’t been matched inside the Goldsboro High School gymnasium so far this season — you would think the shot clinched a championship.

And the truth is, as far as individual achievements go, it was just about as close as any Lady Cougar in recent memory has come to cutting down the nets.

With that basket, T’Ziah, the Cougars’ star shooting guard, hit 1,000 career points. And when, moments later, an official timeout gave the crowd a chance to honor the Lady Cougars’ floor general, those who showed up to watch a milestone reached responded.

 

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So who is T’Ziah Kelly?

Those who know her say she’s a hard-working student, fierce friend, and the undisputed leader of one of the greatest GHS women’s basketball teams of all time. For those reasons, nobody is surprised that she just accomplished the rare feat of surpassing 1,000 career points.

Head coach and former GHS Lady Cougar Latina Bullock told the Pride that T’Ziah’s leadership makes her special, but that her attitude both on and off the court — she never complains, doesn’t place blame on others when things don’t go her way, and she is always there for her teammates — is what makes her an all-time great.

“(Because of) the leadership she has shown the last three years, I continue to expect great things out of her,” Coach Bullock said.

Assistant coach and GHS history teacher Stephanie Orosco agrees.

“I’m impressed with her efforts — especially her balancing out her athletic and academic standing,” she told the Pride. “I’m very emotional about this being her last year, and I have many reasons why.”

One reason is because the bond between this coach and student has become more than a classroom or on-the-court relationship. Ms. Orosco considers T’Ziah family.

“I most definitely look at her as a daughter figure,” she said. “We have a great bond. I’ve taught her for almost three years and she comes in here every day, she gets on my nerves, she runs my copies. We just have have an incredible bond, and hopefully when she graduates, I can still be there for her just like she was my own kid.”

Another “family” member is fellow senior McKayla Roberts. She nearly cried when she was asked about her teammate’s achievement.

“T’Ziah really has been playing sports with me since seventh grade. Now she’s getting this great award for something she worked really hard for,” McKayla told the Pride. “(In) three years … she got 1,000 points. You can’t name too many people that have accomplished this. Not only is she a great athlete, but a great person in real life. Congrats T’Ziah. You deserve it.”

The truth is, many of us who have come to know T’Ziah see her as family. But her actual family — her blood — have the same pride in what she has accomplished as an elite student-athlete.

“I knew she was capable of it all, but to actually witness it is outstanding,” her mother told the Pride. 

And one more person weighed in, too — the person we interviewed who has known T’Ziah for the least amount of time.

Principal Christopher Horne is new to GHS, but not to the game of basketball. He knows what it takes to surpass the 1,000-point milestone on the hardwoods — having done so himself as a high school student before most of us were born. So we talked to him in his office — where his own commemorative basketball is on display — just hours before tonight’s game about the type of work ethic needed to accomplish something so rare.

We didn’t want to jinx T’Ziah, but with only six points needed to reach her milestone, we knew it was all but certain it would happen for her tonight.

“You’ve heard the phrase, ‘Hard work pays off,’ and I mean, honestly, I learned how to play basketball in the summer of my sixth-grade year and I was probably the worst tallest player you’ve ever seen,” he told the Pride. “But from that moment on, I just really wanted to be a good basketball player. I wanted to go the (NBA) like most people do, so I worked tireless every day to get there.”

He didn’t make it to the League, but the man could score the ball. And when he reflected on breaking 1,000 career points, all those hours in the gym came back to him.

“That was a nice milestone. To be honest, my goal was to be the all-time leading scorer of my school, and I also achieved that goal. I end up scoring 1,606 points for my career, so when you set high goals, sometimes you exceed goals … but you’re still pressing towards a higher mark.”

Just like T’Ziah.

“I think it’s going be a really special moment for T’Ziah and I know she worked extremely hard and endured things on and off the court,” Horne told the Pride. “So I’m just really happy for her and the team and Coach Bullock and the Cougar family. I think it’s going to be a great moment for us. One the best of the year.”

Cougars win Science Fair

Story By PROPHET DEVAUGHN and DAIJA JAMES; Photos by JADE KING and ASHLEY SMITH

They might have been down a teammate, but Goldsboro High School students Jyrei Thompson and Keturah Artis found a way to emerge victorious at the Wayne County Public Schools Science Fair Saturday.

Their project? Corn paper — an undertaking that started when their teacher told them to turn corn into a blue ribbon.

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So how did they make it happen? It started with two pounds of corn husks and sodium hydrate, which, after being mixed and boiled for two hours in a stainless steel pot, were blended into a pulp. That pulp was then put into a mold and shaken to get rid of the excess moisture.

Sure, the finished product impressed the judges, but they weren’t the only ones blown away by the students’ effort. GHS principal Christopher Horne said the victory was another example of Cougars changing the narrative about our school.

He praised the science department — particularly Mrs. Velasco and Mr. Almerino — for representing GHS with passion and motivating students to be the very best they can be. And he beamed with pride during a post-victory photo session and praised his students for setting such a high standard and earning a spot in the S.T.E.M. Fair this March at the Maxwell Center.

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The first place ribbon was not the only prize taken by the Cougars Saturday.

Guervens Joseph, Malachi Johnson, Ty’Khira Franklin and Joeshon Artis walked away with a second-place finish for “Grass Oils” — a project that offered a solution to a world that will, one day, run out of natural resources.

This story will be updated with quotes Monday.

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Mr. Smith goes to Raleigh

Former Wayne County School Board member and Goldsboro High School alum Raymond Smith was sworn into the N.C. House of Representatives this afternoon inside the GHS auditorium in front of the school’s current student body.

The following photographs were taken by Pride photojournalist Tiana Brewington and GHS journalism teacher Mr. Fine.

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Cougars stuff Saints

The Goldsboro High School varsity basketball teams swept Southern Wayne Tuesday night in front of a standing-room-only crowd, but the games were only part of the spectacle. Members of the GHS Marching Cougars made their presence felt, the GHS Show Stoppers threw down during halftime of the girls’ game, and a little boy named Chrystian stole the night with dance moves well beyond his years. The following shots were taken by Pride photojournalists Shayla Greene, Coryana Smith, and GHS journalism teacher Mr. Fine.

 

 

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Solid season ends

The Goldsboro High School football team didn’t get the outcome it wanted at Wallace-Rose Hill tonight, but the Cougars still improved on last season — advancing to the second round of the playoffs and notching a stunning first round victory over 2-seed South Granville last week.

The following shots were taken during tonight’s loss. Congratulations, gentlemen, on representing GHS well this season.

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