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Family tradition continues with Gainesville High students

POSTED: April 21, 2009 11:36 p.m.

In the usual scheme of things, getting elected student body president is not major newspaper news. However, in the case of Parrish Brown, it continues quite a legacy.

Parrish, who will be a senior next year at Gainesville High School, has been elected president of the student body. A few years ago, her father, Dr. Pepper Brown, was elected to the same position. He wasn’t a renowned surgeon at the time, was just a popular guy in the upcoming senior class.

On the day she was elected, she brought along copies of her father’s campaign speech and his final speech as president. One was handwritten, the other was written on a typewriter.

At this point, I suspect many of you are wishing you were organized enough to lay hands on a high school speech.

Parrish, so it seems, is setting a pace for her younger siblings. Her sister, Logan, will be secretary of the sophomore class and her brother, Pep IV, will be treasurer of the freshman class.

The Brown youngsters are the fourth generation of Red Elephants in their family.

This information was provided to me by Dr. Pepper’s aunt, Frances Brown, who is a Red Elephant alumna and has held a few leadership positions, too.

Not everybody knows this, but Frances is chairman of a top secret committee at First Baptist Church on Green Street. It is the Applause Committee. Some people think Frances doesn’t applaud at church. In reality, she is measuring how the rest of the crowd is doing and keeps detailed notes for the committee.

The previous paragraph is going to deeply decrease my chances of ever getting on Frances’ Christmas card list or even her good side.

Speaking of legacies...

Don’t sell Sam Bishop short on drive and determination. Sam is an eighth-grader at Lakeview Academy and from all indications is an accomplished public speaker. In the past month, Sam has won the local, zone and area competitions in the Optimist Club Oratorical Contest. I’ve judged some of these in the past and, trust me, its pretty tough competition.

On May 3, he will be in the final four championship round in Athens. If he wins, he’ll take home a $1,500 scholarship. His speech is titled, "For me, Optimism is Courage, Action, and Perseverance." He seems to be well versed in all of these.

Public speaking is the family sport in the Bishop lineage. Sam’s daddy, Tom, was a national speaking champion in a competition sponsored by the Sons of the American Revolution. Sam’s uncle, Superior Court Judge Joe Bishop of the Pataula circuit in Southwest Georgia, was a two-time national champion, and Joe’s son, Philip, won the national American Legion contest four years ago.

Watching Philip win in Indianapolis was enough to whet Sam’s appetite. With the help of his coach, Gail Ingram, he has apparently honed his speaking skills to the level of a true champion.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning his mother, Anne, who has probably listened to that speech so many times that she can almost say it along with him.

Sam is sponsored by the Hall County Optimist Club, whose president, Rudy Corn, has accompanied Sam and his entourage to the various competition events.

Bring us home a state title, Sam!

Harris Blackwood is community editor of The Times. His columns appear Wednesdays and Sundays.



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