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Ep. 4 | The Power of Papertown: Goods from the Woods

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  • In the final episode of The Power of Papertown, we head into a very special classroom. Unique for its subject matter, and spectacular because of its instructor, we visit Pisgah High School's Pulp and Paper class.

Click here for full audio transcription

In Canton, the paper mill is such a big part of town that Pisgah High School offers pulp and paper classes to its students. Some students had planned to work in the paper mill, others plan to attend North Carolina State University and study paper science and engineering, and some simply take the class for fun.

WC Godfrey is the pulp and paper teacher at Pisgah High School, and overall, the success of the class can be credited to him.

WC Godfrey, Pisgah High School’s Pulp and Paper technologies educator. Caroline Parker/EducationNC

Before coming to Pisgah, Godfrey had around 20 years of experience in the paper industry. He brings that wealth of knowledge to his classroom. And, beyond teaching students about the industry, Godfrey is teaching life lessons, too.

 I always say to my students, ‘real success does not compromise your personal integrity.’

WC Godfrey, Pisgah High School pulp and paper teacher

When we visited Godfrey’s classroom, students were working on a project creating lollipop sticks. Students have to select the correct measurements to make their own “batch” of pulp and then create 10 lollipop sticks.

A student in Godfrey’s class uses a spatula and dryer to roll out her lollipop stick.

This mill closure isn’t Godfrey’s first — but he’s optimistic about the town’s future.

Canton’s a special place. It’s a mill town. It’s the people. It’s just the atmosphere.

WC Godfrey, Pisgah High School pulp and paper teacher

This is the last episode in a series of audio stories called “The Power of Papertown.”

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 WC Godfrey, the pulp and paper teacher at Pisgah High School, and two of his students, Carson Price and Riley Allen.

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.

Cheyenne McNeill

Cheyenne McNeill is a communications strategist for EdNC.

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.