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Pelion High School inducts four into Hall of Fame

PELION, S.C. — Pelion High School honored four of its most distinguished supporters on Friday, September 23, 2016 with a Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

New members of the PHS Hall of Fame include Woody Collins, Charles Haggard, Perry Poole and Maj. Ron Dorsey. They were selected based on their service to the school and Pelion community.

Perry Poole

Poole attended PHS during the 1954–57 school years, and his single-game scoring record still stands some 60 years later. His mark of 57 points in a single game has stood the test of time and 11 presidential terms. His single-season scoring mark is also a record that may never be equaled, as he consistently lit up the opposition with regular 30- and 40-point games. In addition to being a member of the varsity team, he was the captain for the Panthers his junior and senior seasons.

Poole played for the baseball team, too, as a sophomore, junior and senior and found time to represent the Lexington Wildcats football team during an era when PHS did not field a team. Poole also served the school and community as a student bus driver his last two years of school, doing this while being a member of the Science Club, the FFA, Sandspur Staff and 4-H Club.

Maj. Ron Dorsey

A former faculty member inducted with the Class of 2016, Dorsey was hired in June of 1993 to lead the new Army Junior ROTC program at PHS. He did so with distinction for 20 years. He is remembered the most by his resounding call of “God Bless America and Go Panthers!”

Dorsey brought a work ethic and attitude best defined by the Army values: leadership, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. The program was a huge success from the beginning and earned the highest rating possible from the Army Cadet Command — the Honor Unit with Distinction award.

The 1998 Pelion High School Teacher of the Year, Dorsey could be found not just in his classroom, but walking the hallways before and after school motivating the student body to show their school spirit. He taught classes to the faculty on computer technology. He mentored JROTC cadets to be all they could be and to graduate from high school. He also announced home football and basketball games with notable enthusiasm.

Dorsey was instrumental in planning, coordinating and executing the 4th Brigade JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge for more than 800 cadets each summer. He also led cadets in competition at the Army JROTC Academic Bowl where PHS always performed at the top level.

In 1996, Dorsey started and coordinated a league for the JROTC drill and rifle teams for the greater Midlands area that more than 25 schools continue to participate in today. The PHS rifle team won more than 12 league championships, and Dorsey led the team to four National Invitational Sporter Rifle championships, where the team was in the top 5 in most every national competition.

Under Dorsey’s direction, the JROTC program gave back to the school by awarding college scholarships each year to cadets and students donating profits from the program’s fundraisers. He gave so much to his school, but he would say he received so much more as he remembers all the success of the school and his cadets.

Woody Collins and Charles Haggard

The PHS Hall of Fame also recognizes community supporters.

PHS did not field a football team during the late 70s and early 80s. Students who desired to participate in this sport were allowed to play on the Lexington High School team. A few PHS students did participate during these years. As the number of players grew, the school and the community realized the need for their own field.

In conjunction with the school and the district, Haggard and Collins were the community members who served as the local leaders of this endeavor. At that time, Haggard was employed as comptroller for Jeff Hunt Machinery Company, the caterpillar dealer in South Carolina. Mr. Hunt, the owner, agreed to loan a piece of heavy equipment and it was delivered to PHS on Friday afternoons for use on the weekend.

Collins was the “expert operator.” He would begin work on Saturday mornings and cleared the land of the “scrub oaks” that were on the property. Both men worked every weekend until the clearing and most of the grading of the property were completed.

In the fall of 1986, the football team played their first season as a junior varsity team on their brand-new field. Their record was four wins and four losses. The following year, they played a varsity schedule. In 1989, PHS boasted a JV and varsity team.

Panther football was played at the original stadium until late in the 2007 season at which time the new stadium opened. Panther Stadium is now home to the Pelion track and field complex.

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