2017-12-20 / Editorials

Mike Reese

“I was just thinking”

This will be the final column in a series of three columns I began a few weeks ago.

If you didn’t see the first two, I pointed out how our local schools are excellent starting points for any students who wish to excel and eventually grow into wherever their hearts lead them. Along with dedication and persistence, our graduates can move on to achieve any goal.

Dr. Chester Joyner, my first local graduate example, now works at Emory University conducting research in Malaria treatment and prevention. Ayana Walker, another example, continues to have the 2020 Olympics as her goal, while still working with the Rome-Floyd County Chamber of Commerce, gaining experience in the business world, too.

Our third example is sisters, who many of you see frequently in one of their two restaurants here, Honey Café or Dolan’s BBQ. Of course the owners are Mary Beth Brown and Lazar Oglesby and they’ve had their success right here in their hometown. Lucky us. And, recently they’ve opened Honey Too in Statesboro where they, for now, sell take-out only and also use this location to promote their growing catering and event planning business.

Graduating from a small, rural school has not held them back in any way. Combine their big dreams with a solid education and you get two women ready for success. Add hard work and you have the final part of their equation. Their dreams began in the kitchens of their mother and grandmothers, and too, around the BBQ pit of their Grandad, Dolan Brown, who loved nothing more than fellowship around his pit with his friends and family. Both women say that food has always played a healthy part in their lives, even as children, eventually progressing to stated dreams of owning a restaurant.

Mary Beth holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Lazar, a degree in Culinary Arts. Their dreams, strengthened with their degrees, slowly began to take shape despite them initially venturing in different directions for a time. Shared dreams eventually led them both back home, ready to make the big step, owning their own restaurant(s). Again, lucky us.

In addition to their kitchen and cooking skills, it’s obvious that their business skills have played an equally important part in the development of their ventures. Talking to them you discover that they don’t make spur of the moment decisions. Everything is well thought out. My bet is that there are more moves to come. Slow, but steady has been a key factor in their success.

I hope readers have seen in these solid examples, a biology researcher, an accomplished athlete and potential business leader, and two sisters who have set a confident path in the restaurant world, and all educated locally, that these folks are great examples for all of our students today. You’ll not hear Chester, Ayana, Mary Beth, or Lazar whining about graduating from a small, rural school, a system without the advantages of more “well-healed” schools. I’m confident that each one of these examples would say, “No excuses, get to work, you’ve been given a good start.”

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