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Ep. 3 | The Power of Papertown: The Ties That Bind

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  • In this third episode of The Power of Papertown we sit down with two career educators, who happen to be father and daughter, to talk about Haywood in its heyday, challenges brought on by disappearing industry, & how the community continues to be resilient.
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Lori Fox, principal of Haywood Early College, has a picture in her office of her grandfather. In this black-and-white photo stands a man in uniform, baseball uniform to be specific, with the word “Champion” written in cursive across the chest.

Her grandfather, Clyde Miller, was an electrician at Champion Paper and part of Canton’s fastpitch softball team. Comprised of mill workers, the team traveled the country playing in this highly competitive league.

Danny Miller, Fox’s father, recalls shagging balls with other boys in the outfield during practice, getting old enough to be in charge of the scoreboard, and traveling with his dad up and down the east coast for games.

Danny Miller and Lori Fox, with a picture of Clyde Miller. Caroline Parker/EducationNC

It drew fans from all over western North Carolina. They were a national power, and it was just, I mean, every Friday and Saturday night there was 2,000 people (that came to watch).

Danny Miller, retired career educator in Haywood County

Miller and Fox are family — and career educators. Miller split his time between teaching, coaching, and working in school administration in both Haywood and Buncombe counties before retiring. Fox worked at Pisgah High School before moving to take the reigns at Haywood Early College.

Their love for their community spans generations. In this episode, Fox drives us around Haywood, showing us the physical challenges the district has been dealing with due to damage brought on by massive rain and flooding.

We then sit down with the father/daughter duo to talk about Haywood in its heyday, the challenges brought on by the disappearing industry, and how the community continues to be resilient.

Miller says it best: “You grew up a paper mill town — you grew up tough — and you make it work.”

Find previous episodes of The Power of Papertown here.

Behind the Story

The Power of Papertown is a series of audio stories highlighting the closure of the paper mill in Canton, North Carolina.

Cheyenne McNeill and Caroline Parker did the reporting for this story. Cheyenne produced and narrated the audio stories.

In this episode, you heard from Lori Fox, the principal of Haywood Early College, and her father Danny Miller.

The intro and outro music was recorded from a session at the Haywood Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) after school program.

The artwork for this series was created by Lanie Sorrow.

Caroline Parker

Caroline Parker is the director of rural storytelling and strategy for EducationNC. She covers the stories of rural North Carolina, the arts, STEM education and nutrition.

Cheyenne McNeill

Cheyenne McNeill is a communications strategist for EdNC.