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Out of state visitor endows scholarship for Fairland

PROCTORVILLE — When North Carolina teacher JoAnn Goetz came to Fairland High School this past October, her mission was to tell the story of injustice a former student of hers had endured.

What she left with was a growing respect for the student body that was playing audience that day. This past Thursday, Goetz came back to Fairland from her home in Winston-Salem, to show her appreciation in the form of a $1,000 scholarship.

Goetz had taught Darryl Hunt as a sixth grader and was shocked to read that years later he had been arrested for the brutal stabbing and rape of a young reporter. Hunt, an African-American, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. However, Goetz stood by her former student and fought for his release from prison.

It took almost 20 years for DNA evidence to exonerate Hunt, a story Goetz told in her book, “Long Time Coming, My Life and the Darryl Hunt Lesson.” It was that story Goetz and Hunt were presenting to Fairland High this past autumn.

“I was so impressed with the student body and how we well were received. It was such a blessing to me to watch them idolize Darryl,” Goetz said. “I thought what can I do.”

What she came up with was the scholarship. It is named for Goetz’s neighbor down in Winston-Salem, who coincidentally was the first woman principal at Fairland High — Henrietta Keyser.

“I told (school librarian) Evelyn (Capper), I would like to do something to honor Hank, Henrietta, she goes by Hank,” Goetz said. “I would like to set up a scholarship in her name. They went to work and they did it. After this year Hank will endow the scholarship. I started it for her and she is going to endow it.”

This year’s recipient is John Roach, who plans to attend Marshall University in the fall studying math education. His goal is to become a high school math teacher.

He received the scholarship at Fairland’s awards ceremony.