Nicholas Longworth Dillard

What a grand celebration held at the Dillard House in Yanceyville on January 10th! The N.L. Dillard Middle School Laying of the Wreath Ceremony was a special honor for Nicholas Longworth Dillard, focusing on the 20th year celebration of Dillard Middle School.

The attendees were delighted to witness and participate in this special occasion, coordinated by Paula Diggs, School Counselor of Dillard School. “It was a huge success as we were called to pay tribute to a great leader, capitalizing on the impact of Mr. Dillard ‘s legacy. We are so grateful for him paving the way to make Caswell a better place,” says Diggs.

As a brief synopsis, N.L. Dillard was known as a professional educator, a true friend to everyone, a man known for making positive changes, an ideal listener, an advocate for education and all children, an eloquent speaker and gracious leader, who practiced fairness for all.

“Mr. Dillard,” called by many with the highest respect, was a graduate of Shaw University in 1928 and earned a Master’s Degree from the University in Michigan in 1942.

He was principal of Caswell County Training School/High School from 1932-1969. Dillard served on the Board of Trustees in Winston-Salem Teachers College from 1957 to 1969, being a true advocate for excellent teachers. He was a member of the St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Greensboro, NC, Pearson Chapel AME Church and the Allen Masonic Lodge.

Twenty years ago, N.L. Dillard Middle School, was named in his honor. He was one of the founders of the local credit union and was very active in several community organizations. His accomplishments, too numerous to name, can be felt and remembered by citizens of Caswell County and many, many, others.

The Laying of the Wreath Ceremony was precisely to remember, honor, and teach about Mr. Dillard’s legacy and how we can move forward using his unique gifts in mastering the dream of positive change for everyone. The program was just an inspiration for all.

Mistress of Ceremony for the occasion was Ophelia Willis, President of Caswell County NAACP. Dr. Sandra Carter, Superintendent of Caswell County Schools, gave the welcome while Mayor of Yanceyville, Alvin Foster, recognized all city officials and other dignitaries present for the ceremony.

All other eloquent speakers, Mel Battle, Robert Mack, Frank Scott, and Dr. Nicole McGhee, presented reflections of Mr. Dillard and his contributions. Musical selections were presented by N.L. Dillard Seasonal Choir, accompanied by Rev. Johnathan Draft III.

Reverend Claude Walker performed the Laying of the Wreath Ceremony in an uplifting and sincere manner. Closing, with remarks and prayer were given by Clarence Garrett, Jr, Dillard Middle School Principal and by Rev. Reginald Coleman, Pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Yanceyville.

Making an appeal to the youth enrolled in schools across the county and beyond, speakers shed light on the mission and vision we all must carry to make positive changes in our own communities and schools. It was concluded that the torch is passed from one generation to the other generation with faith and the determination of moving forward. We must not drop it, but instead keep running to the mark of higher callings to be the best, to give 100%, to take a stand and to be vigilant at all times. We all must continue building on the foundation that is set before all of us for improvements in today’s challenges.

The youth must continue to face life’s challenges with a steadfast hope and educate themselves to endure, create positive changes, and use their voices, proclaiming the seeds for growth in making things happen. The sky is limited. However, to pursue it, we must reflect on examples given by Mr. Dillard, making the outreach obtainable for accountability and success in an educational and respectful way.

Diggs would like to give thanks to all of the participants on the program and to all of Caswell for the support of Dillard’s mission and how we can move forward in educating our youth, indeed true investments, in all communities.