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Somewhat of a sponge and proud of it.

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Katlyn Proctor at Quarry Park

Winston-Salem Monthly Editor Katlyn Proctor at Quarry Park.

I lived in Winston-Salem for over five years before I finally discovered Quarry Park. Have you ever been?

It was Community Day as part of a Leadership Winston-Salem (congratulations to class of 2020, by the way), and the objective of the day’s itinerary was to teach our class about various parts of the city.

This objective, the idea of learning something new, was the very reason I loved Leadership Winston-Salem. I’m a nerd at heart and consider myself a sponge of sorts. According to my CliftonStrengths Assessment results (Input), I’m a collector of words, further proving my obsession with learning new things.

So for each year that I’ve lived here, I’m going to share something I’ve learned that I found particularly charming or interesting, and is one of my go-to fun facts when I’m talking about Winston-Salem with newbies or fellow working professionals:

1. The Year of the Golden Hyphen is 1913. Aka, this is the year Winston and Salem joined as one giant community to become the city that I know and love. So much unique history and culture here!

2. The Moravian Star is an important beacon to our community. Earlier this year, the star’s significance was felt when Wake Forest Baptist Hospital lit the giant Moravian Star on its roof as a sign of hope and love during COVID-19.

I hosted my family for Christmas in 2018 and became the owner of my own Moravian Star, which is a new tradition that I’ve adopted into my home.

3. Winston-Salem is one of the worst in the country in terms of economic mobility. This means if a child is born into poverty, they have slim to zero chance of ever climbing out of poverty.

That’s a tough one to swallow, but so important to talk about.

Before Piedmont Renewal Network was absorbed by Forsyth Technical Community College in July, the organization was structured similar to a program at the University of Southern California. Locally, the College Lift Initiative will continue providing resources and instruction to students to help them climb out of poverty.

4. We have the country’s oldest Arts Council. In 2019 alone, The Arts Council ofWinston-Salem and Forsyth County held over 1,000 productions and exhibitions in venues owned and operated by The Arts Council.

5. To date, we’ve held some of the most peaceful BLM protests in the country. Even cooler: These peaceful assemblies are being watched across the country, inspiring thousands to have a conversation with their neighbor, and the localized movement was started by the youth in our community.

Our last Education Issue ran in 2018 and the country was a very different place then. Gov. Cooper’s announcement on Tuesday, July 14 is encouraging the state to reopen schools with COVID-19 precautions and considerations in place. Our Education Issue this year stayed away from the politics per se and tried to highlight some of our city’s education opportunities that you might not know about.

Either way, this school year is a moment in history for sure, something our children and children’s children will read and learn about in their own history books.

Be well and try to learn something new every day,


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