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Living on Purpose: Protecting our conscience from the little foxes

Dr. William Holland

By Dr. William Holland

Life has its ups and downs and no one is exempt from struggling every now and then. We’ve heard that how we react to situations is a key to how much peace we can maintain and I certainly believe this is a nugget of wisdom. For example, when someone disrespects us, it is common to allow insult to develop an infection. However, these are times within our journey of learning, to pray and ask God to help us look past our pain and direct our focus and trust on Him. I admit, this is very hard to do because when we are wounded and trying to deal with damaged emotions, it seems we cannot think of anything else other than how we feel. Nonetheless, it’s possible to take these times of discouragement and not only use them as a ladder to help us climb out of our pit of sadness, but to actually rise to a higher level of peace and contentment.

In the Song of Solomon chapter two, the Shulamite women and the king are in love and their dialogue is a beautiful expression of romance. In verse 15, she mentions about how the little foxes damage the grape vines by chewing on them and eventually hinders the ability to make wine. To make a long story short, the foxes represent frustrations and aggravations while the vines are symbolic of our relationships especially with God. She is trying to warn her future husband the importance of keeping their emotions in check by being aware of negative forces that will attempt to impede their marriage. This is not only true within the home, but in all relationships. Importantly, the story reminds us that the foxes may be small but many times it is the little things that cause huge consequences. When others take advantage of us and fail to appreciate what we do, instead of wasting our emotional energy pouting and having a negative attitude, we can be much more effective by taking these burdens to the Lord in prayer.

We have become used to living in an age of instant gratification and this can unfortunately bleed over into our spiritual thinking. We have a tendency to say a prayer and then expect immediate results and when we do not have an answer by the end of the day, we move on to something else. Let us consider, this is not always how the spiritual realm works. Have you ever experienced a stressful trial and as you were searching for answers it seemed that God was silent? Maybe He was quiet for His own reasons and then it could be that we were not listening. In order to hear His still small voice, we need to be very close to Him. As believers, we are not to approach God and demand that He respond or else. Heaven is not a vending machine where we put in our quarters and our problems are fixed. He is our heavenly Father that is completely aware of our situation and within His plan to help us, is for us to have patience and submit to His will. Knowing Him is all about trusting Him even when it seems that no one else cares or understands.

In the book of Ephesians, we are given the explanation about our spiritual armor and if we notice, the helmet and breastplate is given to protect our mind and heart from the dangerous arrows of words. The enemy of our soul loves to use words against us because he knows how much damage they can inflict. When we are confronted with negative circumstances, we are tempted to absorb this agony within our soul, which in turn triggers our response mechanism to unleash a flood of pessimistic reactions. Unfortunately, anger, sadness and low self-esteem have literally ruined many peoples lives. Whatever emotional pain you are going through today, realize that God wants the best for you. Guard and protect your conscience from the irritating distractions of hurtful words and embrace the absolute truth of His promises. He loves and respects you and will never fail to take care of you.

Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author, outreach minister and community chaplain. To learn more visit: billyhollandministries.com

“Ya-Ya-Y’all” at Cola Mardi Gras

By Micaela Wendell

Mardi Gras might inspire visions of wrought iron balconies, lightning bugs on the bayou and Bourbon Street packed with partiers.

The core of Mardi Gras — community celebration, Louisiana-inspired food and welcoming Southern charm — is recreated each year at Columbia’s Mardi Gras festival founded by the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya. But what is not recreated is the infamous idea of crazy partiers in the streets earning strings of beads.

“People know that’s not what you do in Columbia,” Kenneth Kelly, “Big Chief” of Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya, said. “Bourbon Street, particularly, has a different kind of licentiousness to it that you don’t see elsewhere.”

Kelly, the chairman of the University of South Carolina’s anthropology department, says that traditional Mardi Gras in Louisiana consists of neighborhood celebrations and local parades that usually depict, at worst, social satire or innuendo.

“It tends to be a very family-friendly kind of thing,” he said. “And that’s what we do here. From the beginning, we’ve encouraged people to bring their kids, bring their dogs.”

Just like any true krewe — a social club that walks in parades and keeps the Mardi Gras spirit alive — Columbi-Ya-Ya has crowned its royalty for the 2017 season. Kristian Niemi, owner of Cajun-creole restaurant Bourbon on Main Street, is the 2017 Mardi Gras king, and state Sen. Mia McLeod, D-Richland, is queen. Both are set to assume their regal roles on a float in Saturday’s parade that begins at the Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport off Jim Hamilton Boulevard and ends at City Roots, the urban farm that will host the Mardi Gras celebration.

 

“It’s probably the most eclectic, fun, goofy parade in the city that I think really shows the spirit of Columbia — the best, in all of its quirkiness,” Niemi said.

 

Niemi is one of the founders of Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya, along with “fearless leader” and attorney Tom Hall, Soda City Market founder Emile DeFelice and Eric McClam from City Roots.

Kristian Niemi is the 2017 Columbia Mardi Gras King and the owner of Bourbon on Main Street. Bourbon, a Cajun-Creole restaurant and bar, is a sponsor of the Lagniappe 5k and will be selling gumbo at the festival.

Niemi’s interest in the culinary arts started in his small hometown of Chisholm, Minnesota, where he admired his family’s cooking style. His own love for cooking blossomed when he bought a cookbook on a whim when he attended College of Charleston.

He later attended culinary school in Minnesota, then moved back to South Carolina, where he managed Blue Marlin in 1995 and worked in several other restaurants.

“It’s been what I do until I figure out what I want to do when I grow up,” he said.

McLeod was surprised when her campaign staff told her she had been selected as Mardi Gras queen, but she said she is excited for a change in pace from her usual legislative duties.

“I thought it was going to be great! It’s going to be fun,” she said. “And my campaign was just like, ‘Oh, this is awesome!’ We needed a little reprieve from the campaign and from the rigorous, competitive and sometimes nasty campaign that we had.”

The Columbia Mardi Gras tradition was forged in the wake of a 2011 fire. Wil-Moore Farms in Lugoff, owned by Keith Willoughby, lost a chicken barn to a fire from a faulty heater. The newly founded Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya, whose members were friends of Willoughby, decided to raise money to offset Willoughby’s losses.

After only three weeks of organization, the krewe pulled off its first Mardi Gras and donated several thousand dollars to Wil-Moore Farms.

Sen. Mia McLeod, D-Richland, is the 2017 Mardi Gras Queen. McLeod is excited to take a break from her state senate duties and assume her royal role for a day.

This year, proceeds are going to the Congaree Riverkeeper. As part of Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya’s many year-round festivities to keep the “party spirit” alive, members have taken tubing trips down the Congaree River.

“We’ve got this great resource of these rivers running right through the town,” Kelly said. “You can tube on them, you can fish in them, you can swim in them, do all that kind of stuff, yet here in Columbia, there’s a lot of pollution that ends up in those rivers, and that’s something we shouldn’t be doing. We should be fighting against that.”

Mardi Gras is more than a holiday — it’s a season. Twelve days after Christmas, on Epiphany, the countdown begins. The actual date of Mardi Gras differs each year because it follows the Christian lunar calendar. The holiday always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian contemplative season of Lent, and is sometimes known as “Fat Tuesday.”

The “fat” of Fat Tuesday comes from the historical tradition of fasting during Lent, the 40 day-period before Easter. People would spend Mardi Gras day eating up all their excess pleasurable food, such as eggs and fat, before starting their spartan Lenten diets the next day.

Columbia’s Mardi Gras is free to the public, although there will be Louisiana-style food and beer and soft drinks for sale. Kelly said the decision to remove the entrance fee was to ensure the festival was accessible to more people.

“We’re trying to give to the community, bring people out together and minimize the barriers,” he said.

Despite the presence of adult beverages, Columbia Mardi Gras has not had issues with overindulgent revelers trying to bring the Bourbon Street spirit to the capital city.

If there would be any commotion happening at the festival, it would be from the bands playing on five different stages at the venue, with one stage hosting kid-led bands from Freeway Music.

“It works. In all its mad-cat glory, it works,” Niemi said.

The Columbia Mardi Gras festivities open Saturday with the Lagniappe 5K at 8 a.m., followed by the parade at 11 a.m. The festival at City Roots will roll, ya-ya-y’all style, until sundown.

South Carolina and the Holocaust: Survivors and liberators

By Taylor Halle and Joseph Crevier
Carolina Reporter

In the spring of 1942, German Nazis raided Ben Sterns’ home, in Kielce, Poland, selecting who would be sent to work camps and who would not. He was separated from his sister, who witnessed the gruesome murder of her child.

As other family members were taken to the Treblinka concentration camp, Ben Stern was sent to a shoe factory. He would later endure six more concentration camps, including Auschwitz, Oranienburg, Sachsenhausen, Kausering, Dachau and Allach, a sub-camp

of Dachau.

After the end of World War II, he met his future wife, Jadzia, a survivor of Auschwitz. They married, had a daughter and immigrated to Columbia, where he started his own construction company.

A young Lilly Filler pictured with her parents, Jadzia and Ben Stern. Photo courtesy of Lilly Filler.

Ben Stern died in 1999, but his harrowing story is told is told in a new exhibition, “Holocaust Remembered,” that opened at USC’s McKissick Museum last month and runs through April 8.

“The women who put the exhibit together have friends and family that are survivors of the Holocaust, and so there’s a lot of those personal stories, there’s pictures, they went through whole family generations up to what they’re doing now,” Jacklyn Roney, a USC student who works at McKissick, said.

“You see their picture and then you see the story and what happened to them,” she said. “A lot of exhibits don’t do that, they kind of just give you the basics of what you learn in school and you become desensitized to it, so this is a way to get you more sensitized to the situation and to think about it and bring up conversations.”

Hiding out, losing everything

The panels tell excruciating stories of survival and narrow escape.

Dientje Kalisky Adkins’ family was constantly on the move through Holland in order to avoid being captured by Nazis. Her grandfather and aunt were taken to concentration camps and never came back.

Finding refuge in a nun’s attic in 1943, Adkins was able to bring her blanket, pillow and doll. The nun often beat her and left her without food, she said, and even took the child’s doll and threw it away.

A photograph from her childhood shows Adkins with the doll, the only tangible proof of that long-ago toy.

Starting over in Greenville

After the Nazi invasion of his native Austria, Max Heller lost his job and was forced to sell valuables until he was able to come to the United States with his family. He wrote a letter to a young woman in Greenville, S.C. leading to a job at the Piedmont Shirt Co.

Max later founded his own shirt company in 1948 and retired in 1969. He was elected to the Greenville City Council and went on to serve as the city’s mayor for two terms.

Dientje Kalinsky Adkins and her family were in hiding for two years during the Holocaust. She was repeatedly abused by the nun who housed them, but later immigrated to Charleston when the Holocaust was over.

There is one thing in common among all three of these stories: all survivors are South Carolinians. “Holocaust Remembered” profiles survivors who eventually made it to South Carolina for new beginnings, and American liberators from South Carolina who witnessed the horrors of the concentration camps.

The traveling exhibit is compiled by the Columbia Holocaust Education Commission and will be installed at the Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center after leaving McKissick.

McKissick’s Communications Manager Amanda Belue said they’ve already had a good number of visitors to the exhibit.

“We’ve gotten all ages. I think predominantly it is USC students just based on proximity, but we’ve also gotten a lot of school groups, home schoolers and smaller schools. I would say a lot of parents and a lot of students,” Belue said.

Dr. Lilly Filler, co-chair of CHEC, played a large role in planning the exhibit and the Holocaust memorial that was erected in the city in 2001.

Felix Goldberg was sent to a German work camp and later Auschwitz Concentration Campwhere he spent a combined six years. Goldberg eventually immigrated to Columbia and lived here until 2000 when he died.

Filler is the daughter of Jadzia and Ben Stern, who are both featured in panels throughout the exhibit. Born in December of 1947, Filler shortly after immigrated to the U.S. with her parents in June of 1949. Gabe Stern, her father’s uncle from Lexington, S.C., sponsored them.

After raising more money than was needed for the memorial, Filler and several others got together and decided to put the leftover funds towards Holocaust education by developing the CHEC and the “Holocaust Remembered” exhibition.

Filler calls it a living exhibit because the organization wanted to showcase the people in South Carolina’s community who survived or were involved with the Holocaust.

“I think it’s critical that young people know about the Holocaust and unfortunately in our education system today, we can’t guarantee youngsters will grow up learning about it in school,” Filler said.

Filler also said she feels it’s extremely important during this time with the recent increase in anti-Semitic threats and acts that have been reported around the country.

“We don’t have to go very far to see that anti-Semitism is in our midst. It’s critical that young people see this could happen again,” Filler said. “We are a nation of immigrants and I think everyone wants this country to be safe, but we also have to be compassionate, and see the reasons why people are trying to leave their country.”

Filler said the lessons of the Holocaust can teach tolerance.

“There are people in this community who are closely related to the Holocaust,” Filler said. “You don’t have to go across seas; it’s right here in our own community.”

A look back: Springs Park remembered

 

By Kyle Vuille
Carolina Reporter

Just a mile outside of small town Lancaster where empty storefronts line Main Street, an abandoned park serves as a reminder of a time when American textile factories were thriving and small town workers had a grasp of the American dream.

Children catch a ride on the steam propelled train that rounded the park. In this 1967 photograph, Joe Childers mans the engine car.

From the 1930s to 1989, Springs Park was the place to be with merry-go-rounds, snack bars, steam-propelled mini trains, hiking trails and campgrounds surrounded by a beautiful, lush landscape.

Established by the Springs Industries textile giant that once employed about 20,000 at one time and operated the world’s largest textile plant under one roof producing various cotton products, the company park drew mill families who splashed in a crystal blue pool, roller skated in the shade and enjoyed concerts that drew thousands to hear such country music greats as Patsy Cline and Buck Owens.

Springs parks goers wearing Springmaid shirts and dresses during a square dancing demonstration. This photograph was taken circa 1950.

Ann Evans, archivist of the Springs Close family and the county’s history, recalled Col. Springs cancelling Johnny Cash’s performance at the park because of the Cash’s arrest involving marijuana at the time because he didn’t want that to reflect on his company or his employees.

Jane Murray, who lived in nearby Chester for 56 years, says Chester was never the same after the factory industry started crashing.

“People were happy with so little back then,” said Murray.

The park held beauty pageants where contestants from nearby towns and mills competed in hopes of becoming an infamous Springs Maid advertisement girl. Murray become one, she said, posing for a printed advertisement that became controversial in its time for its hint of risqué behavior.

“My father had a fit after seeing the ad,” said Murray, who was only 20 years old when the ad came out.

Now, as the national conversation takes a focus on factory towns left behind by globalization, and President Trump vowing to bring back new industry and commerce to these hard-stricken communities, those who remember Springs Park are conceptually reviving it, but only in memory.

Hundreds of Facebook users flood the page, “I remember Springs Park,” with memories, photographs and even a couple grainy super 8 film videos.

Several South Carolina Springmaids at the corporate office in New York posing with a Rolls Royce circa 1947.

Kudzu and a rusting high dive

Here is what remains of Springs Park: A small green sign with white lettering reads, “Springs boat landing” where the entrance of the park used to be.

On the roadside that leads down to the shore of the Catawba River, there are two graffiti-plastered concrete barricades with posted “no trespassing” signs.

A short walk through a thicket of kudzu and overgrowth leads to a view peering over the top steps of the amphitheater that overlooks the giant, graffiti-covered pool.

A mural of Abraham Lincoln painted on the steps of the amphitheater is no longer visible due to years of weathering.

Rotting wooden structures that once were buildings filled with the cheer and laughter of children are no longer recognizable.

In the deep end of the pool, the once state-of-the-art high dive sits on its side rusting over with trash that has accumulated since the park’s close in 1989.

Humble beginnings

 

The park was originally purchased in 1929 from the Duke Power company by WWI ace pilot Colonel Elliot White Springs, son of the Springs Mills textile company founder. The 160-acre park officially opened in 1946 for the enjoyment of his mill workers and their families.

Children enjoy pony rides at the park on May 1967. This opening weekend saw an estimated crowd of 7,500.

Open day ceremonies drew in the biggest crowds typically with popular musical acts along with the various attractions. The biggest opening day saw a crowd of 25,000 in 1951. Over the years, as the mills were struggling to keep the number of workers employed, the opening ceremony crowd numbers dwindled with 1971 being the last year the park held the event.

The company through the years

During the years of WWII, the company focused on the war efforts supplying fabrics for tents, uniforms and various war supplies. After the war, the company shifted towards marketing their bedsheets and apparel materials. The company was still intact and running their war bomber plane pin-up girl advertisements in a plethora of magazines. Over years of acquisitions, mergers and competing with cheaper foreign labor, the whole area fell victim of changing times. The final blow hit the company when the last Lancaster mill closed in 2007 following the family selling the company to a Brazilian firm.

Final days of the park

 

A factor playing a part in the decline of the actual park can also attributed to the opening of the theme park, Carowinds, in 1973. The giant theme park had lured the majority of Springs Park goers with its giant roller coasters and themed rides.

After Hurricane Hugo, the Springs Company decided to close the park and auction off what the park still had to offer. The cost of repairs to the park were seen to be too costly and Duke power who the land was leased from had doubled the rent.

Roddy Broadnax, 59, of Rock Hill, remembers seeing in the Lancaster newspaper that the park was closing in 1989 and drove to Springs for one last dive. He says he even paid the teenage lifeguard at the time to take the last dive before Hurricane Hugo demolished the park.

Broadnax had claimed the gold medal in diving in 1970 on that same high dive some many years earlier.

Roddy Broadnax takes his last dive at Springs park in 1989. Broadnax remembers Hurricane Hugo destroying the park just days after this photograph was taken.

“Our Rock Hill YMCA swim team swam against the Springs teams from Fort Mill-Lancaster and Chester in heated competition,” said Broadnax. “Our Rock Hill coach was Tim Welsh who went on to coach at Notre Dame and retired as the most victorious coach in history and is now headed to the College Hall of Fame.”

Looking forward

 

Even as the golden age of textile mills in the area have seen better days, officials in Lancaster attempt to lure new business to replace the once booming textile economy.

A Chinese manufacturing company, Keer, has opened a $218 million, 230,000 square foot fabric yarn plant in Lancaster County with a promise of 500 jobs within five years.

Another textile plant has made plans to open a plant in Lancaster as well, 3i Products. 3i has invested $3 million dollars in the 27,000-square foot Lancaster plant. The company produces indoor and outdoor cushions and pillows. The plant is scheduled to open in March 2017 and is expected to create 100 jobs in the area.

 

 

 

 

Zion Williamson / Courtesy SCPA News Exchange Gwinn Davis

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson / Courtesy SCPA News Exchange Gwinn Davis

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson / Courtesy SCPA News Exchange Gwinn Davis

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson / Photos Included, Courtesy, SCPA

Spartanburg Day’s Williamson Building Legacy

By Jacob Wilson

Record setting junior Zion Williamson and the Spartanburg Day School Griffins are in the hunt for a second consecutive South Carolina Independent School Association State Championship. 
Williamson, who needed just 34 points to grab the South Carolina High School single season scoring record, scored 38 points against Northside Christian Academy (Lexington, SC) at Sumter Civic Center in the South Carolina Independent School Association State Tournament last Saturday to set a new state high school record for scoring. 
The Griffins square off against Pee Dee in the second round of the Class 2A SCISA Tournament at Sumter Civic Center. With a victory, Spartanburg Day advances to a third round matchup on Thursday.
If the Griffins can collect a victory on Thursday, they will compete for the SCISA championship on Saturday at the Sumter Civic Center. Williamson led Spartanburg-Day to an 80-57 victory over Bethesda-Academy in last year’s title game. 
Williamson is looking to add another trophy to his long list of accomplishments. The junior chalked a record breaking 27th 30-point game of the season with his 37 point effort against Oakbrook Prep on Valentine’s Day. 
Denmark-Olar’s Larry Davis, who also held the single-season scoring record, chalked up 26 30-point games in 1991. 
“Zion is a basketball player that plays the game the right way,” said Spartanburg Day coach Lee Sartor. “Even though he can do some amazing things with the basketball, he shares the ball with his teammates.
He has a chance to do what a lot of us dream we could do. He understands that. He is a tremendous basketball player, but he is an even better person.”
“I have a strong love and passion for the game,” Williamson said. “I am just happy to be able to play basketball. 
I thank God for the athleticism that he gave me. I just love the game of basketball and love to make the crowd smile.”
The 6’7’’, 220 pound junior, who is currently ranked No. 2 overall in his class by ESPN, has chalked up ove gained national attention for his highlight reel dunks.  
NBA All-Stars like Jermaine O’Neal (Eau Claire), Ray Allen (Hillcrest), Kevin Garnett (Mauldin) , Alex English (Dreher), and Pete Maravich (D.W. Daniel) all played high school ball in South Carolina. 
However, those great players did not grow up in the era of social media or YouTube. 
“Social media has changed the whole feel of play,” said Williamson’s step-father Lee Anderson. “We purposely kept him out of major events.
He was in training and we knew that this day would eventually come. We saw kids that were ranked really high in the country his age. I told him that ‘You are better than these kids. When you get into ninth grade, we will show the world that you’re better than those kids.’”
Anderson said that Williamson showed out in a tournament in Atlanta the summer before his ninth grade year. 
“From that moment, his name has been in the spotlight,” Anderson said. “When we were growing up, we didn’t have social media. 
A reporter posted that he was the best ninth grader in the country. Social media has played a big role in getting his name out there.”
One of WIlliamson’s highlight clips has eclipsed the 1 million view mark. 
His Instagram account has exploded. In August of 2016, the junior had 3,500 followers. As of February 10, Williamson has over 235,000 followers. 
One of his followers Drake, Williamson’s favorite rapper, even sported a Spartanburg Day School number 12 jersey on instagram on January 15. Williamson has also received phone calls from several NBA players including James Harden and Dwight Howard. 
The junior also earned No. 1 in ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 Plays for his dunk on Friday, December 10 against Ben Lippen.
The junior’s meteoric rise to fame has been well documented. Williamson started working for this fame when he was five years old. 
“He came to me when he was five years old and told me that he wanted to play college basketball,” said Anderson, who played basketball at Clemson University. “I said son ‘I played at the Division 1 level and it is tough. If that is what you want to do, I will teach you how to play the game. But only if that is what you want to do.’ He said ‘Yes sir.’ “
“We would wake up at 5 am in the morning and go to the park,” Anderson said. “There were a couple of mornings where I’d get lazy and wouldn’t want to get up. 
He would be in my room at 5 am and say ‘Dad, I thought we were supposed to go to the gym.’ And I thought woah, this kid is serious. I realized at that time that he was serious so I needed to be serious.” 
Williamson spent his summers in the gym playing the game he loved.
“In the summer, he would be in the gym from 9 am to 5 pm,” said Anderson. “Every single day.” 
“Zion is a well-rounded player,” Sartor said. “He has worked hard on his strengths and weaknesses.”
With a rare combination of size and ball handling ability, Williamson has drawn interest from the national media, scouts, and the most prominent college coaches in the country. 
Two basketball hall of fame coaches Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski have made the trek from Chapel Hill and Durham, respectively, to see Williamson play live.
In a game against Shannon Forest on February 10, Williamson grabbed a steal, dribbled down the court, and nailed a reverse 360 dunk. 
“He has the size of a post player and the agility of a guard,” said Sartor. “That is just unusual. 
People are surprised that he is so big, strong, and quick and fast.”

“Not Today” from The Times and Democrat

“Not Today” from The Times and Democrat

“Legacy” from The Times and Democrat

“Legacy” from The Times and Democrat