Let us citizens be humble,

kind and truthful


To the Editor:

After many years of experiencing periodic moments of defeat, our President-elect Joe Biden has managed to continue being the kind, trustworthy, and humble soul that he has always been. These qualities have made it possible for him to win the presidential election with the greatest number of votes in a presidential election.

Joe Biden is a man who loves his family dearly. He has managed to maintain his faith in spite of the tragedies he has endured throughout his life. He is a humble man who has lived as a faithful Catholic, husband, father, grandfather and son. 

He is a truly honest politician. It is through his suffering that he has developed the strength to stay truthful in all of his endeavors.

Truth will always prevail and is immortal. Let us be citizens who are also humble, kind and truthful. God Bless You President Biden.

Michael Gonzalez, 



Reasons to change the mascot


To the Editor:

Recently a group of Cullowhee area community members called for the removal of the rebel as the Cullowhee Valley School mascot.

On Oct. 27, we stood before the school board to encourage them to take decisive action on this issue. I believe it is important that our community members consider why this issue is worth addressing. Below is an expanded statement I shared with the board.

The JCPS website highlights a mission “to engage, enlighten, and enrich” students. They define “engage” to include “opportunities for relevant, authentic, and meaningful learning experiences.” Removing the rebel, and explaining to students why the decision was made, is indeed an opportunity for a relevant, authentic, and meaningful learning experience. 

Retiring the rebel should be a learning experience, one in which students and their families learn about history, systematic racism, oppression, and community building. Such learning experiences would support the JCPS value of providing “a safe and inclusive environment” for all students.

The rebel mascot is not an image of pride, it is an image of power and divisiveness. For some, mention of a rebel conjures images of a time when people fought to keep their right to enslave Black people. It reminds us that at one time (and arguably, even now) white power over Black people was valued. By keeping this mascot, we continue to send the message, at least implicitly, that we value the concept of power over Black people more than we value Black people themselves. 

Imagine how Black students would feel entering a school each day that celebrates the oppression of people who look like them. Keeping the mascot is not inclusive, in fact, it is actively exclusive.

Some have suggested that a “compromise” be considered in which CVS keeps the name but removes the mascot; however, there is no room for compromise on this issue. A rebel, with or without a human likeness, still speaks volumes about the values of our community – one that prioritizes opinions of adults over the safety and well-being of children. 

Compromise does exactly what we white people have historically done – prioritized our comfort and desires over the comfort of people of color. Removing hateful words and imagery is an all or nothing situation. The school board can either unequivocally commit to inclusivity or it cannot. I urged the school board to follow the path laid by other North Carolina schools to remove this mascot – name and image.

To my fellow community members: I urge you to think about what removing the mascot means not only from your perspective, but from someone else’s. Countless people in our county want the best for our children, and we have seen our community members and our school board consistently make choices in the best interest of children this year. 

They have taken action to keep children fed, safe and engaged in learning despite tremendous obstacles. Supporting the removal of the rebel is another way we can strengthen our community and stand behind the mission and values JCPS established.

Emily Virtue, 



St. David’s an important slice of local history


To the Editor:

It was good to read Jim Buchanan’s entertaining history column (Sylva Herald, Nov. 5) about Daniel David Davies and the enchanted Halloween party held in 1925 at Davies Hall, the first dormitory on Western Carolina’s campus.

We at St. David’s Episcopal Church spent Halloween 2020 tidying up our cemetery that contains the graves of Daniel David Davies and his son-in-law, Thomas A. Cox. Both men were members of the Noble Nine original Board of Trustees at Western Carolina University as well as founders of St. David’s Church.

A few feet from the entrance to the cemetery, where their gravestones stand, lie the graves of WCU’s founding family, Robert Lee Madison and his wife, Ella, along with descendants. Not so long ago, the Cullowhee Garden Club sponsored a memorial bench in the Madisons’ honor, “presented by students, close friends, and admirers.” It is a restful spot to contemplate the lives of these creative pioneers.

As one of the first buildings in the Cullowhee Valley, St. David’s continues to welcome visitors to its historic church and cemetery located just behind the university’s football stadium. 

The building’s lively history has been recounted by June Smith in her “History of St. David’s-in-the-Valley Church, 1883-2017,” stressing the connections between the church and the university. It is chock-full of local lore and is readily available at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.

Nan Watkins, 



Quit whining and do your part


To the Editor:

If you see trash or trash bags blowing out of trucks, get out of your Mercedes or Escalade and off your pompous rear and pick it up. You’re no better than anybody else. I adopted two roads and try to keep them clean.

About the bags, there was a good intent there, just carelessly done. Don’t fault a good thought or act. Just quit your complaining and get to pickin’, even if it ain’t yours.

Drew Hooper,