Four Wake Forest-Rolesville High School seniors have more in common than a June graduation and fall college plans. They also share a precious link to Sampson County in the form of grandparents.
Madison Byrd, John Conyers, Ford Williams and Holden McLemore spent the last four years as classmates at the suburban high school located in Wake Forest. While Madison enjoyed a successful soccer career at the high school, the three boys all played football together, even heading to the 4 AA state championship game as juniors on the varsity team. And, along the way, all four became friends who eventually learned that they each have grandparents who live in or near Clinton.
Madison’s mother, Paige Britt Byrd, grew up in Clinton and attended Clinton High School before graduating in 1985. Madison’s grandparents, Danny and Vicki Britt, as well as her great-grandmother, Cathleen Britt, still reside in Clinton. The Byrd family moved to Wake Forest back in 2001, and Madison plans to major in health science at N.C. State this fall.
John Conyer’s grandparents, Larry and Betty Carter, still live in Clinton but often visit the Conyers family on their farm near Wake Forest. John’s mother, Lynn Carter Conyers, spent her childhood in Clinton and graduated from Clinton High School in 1982. She moved to the Raleigh area in 1986. John is headed to Campbell University in August to major in Pharmacy.
Ford Williams has not one but two parents who grew up in Sampson County. Todd and Robbie Gore Williams graduated from Clinton High School one year apart and moved to Wake Forest back in 1990. Robbie’s parents, Abner and Kay Gore, and Todd’s mother, Connie Williams, still live in Clinton. This fall, Ford will head to N.C. State to major in business.
Holden McLemore’s grandmother, Lellon McLemore, continues to live on the 102-year-old family farm that lies adjacent to McLemore Road. It’s the same house that his father, Keith, grew up in and where Keith spent his high school years before graduating from Lakewood High School in 1977. Holden is planning to attend Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia this fall and major in political science and government.
All four friends think that their Sampson County connection makes their friendship that much more special, according to Holden McLemore. “I think that we are pretty lucky kids who have benefitted from having parents who were raised and grandparents who continue to live in a great community like Sampson County,” he said.