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I’m proud to call Greenville home

By Jennifer Grace Arnold

There are many reasons I am proud to call Greenville my hometown. 

The list is endless of things we usually take for granted. 

Greenville’s history, its heritage, its people, the small-town atmosphere where everybody knows your name and your business, its Southern hospitality that we take great pride in, and its ability to rally as a family are the reasons Greenville is special to me.

Greenville’s history runs deep, as do generations of family legacies.  Magnolia Cemetery is a stand-alone history book. 

I was raised in the cemetery decorating the graves of my grandparents to the fourth degree. 

It is really special to see the flags marking graves of veterans flying throughout our hometown cemetery on Memorial Day.  You can gauge a community’s pride by the way their cemetery is kept. 

Even though it only takes a few minutes to travel to Wal-Mart or Super Foods, a trip to Wal-Mart takes much longer because everyone knows your name and vice-versa, so you stop and visit. 

An do not do anything wrong while you are gone or your parents will know about it before you get back home…because everyone knows your name. 

You see, parents here watch out for each other’s kids and treat them as one of their own.  It is called accountability and makes you think twice about doing something wrong because you know you are being watched.

The thing I love most about Greenville, though, is the way it rallies as a family in time of crisis. 

We pull together like no other town because we’re like one big family here. 

As I write this, our school and this community have just gone through one of the worst months ever. 

A tragic accident took the life of Carter Boswell, a 16-year-old student at my school, Fort Dale Academy. 

The accident happened at midnight on a Saturday night and by the next day students had already gathered at his parking spot to be there for each other. 

Older students, like myself, were there too trying to console his classmates by praying, hugging, holding and just trying to counsel them in any way possible. 

A couple of mothers came up with a plan to provide a meal after the funeral service, and overnight they had enough food, ice, drinks, tents and chairs to host an outdoor supper for more than 150 people. 

This is not an isolated event either – Greenvillians are just always there for each other.   The community rallies together and can accomplish anything. 

When my own father passed away suddenly last year, over a hundred people were at our house within an hour. 

Friends and the community rallied around us to provide and volunteer their services for anything my family needed. 

When Hurricane Ivan came through, our town came together and we were back together much quicker than other towns. 

When Mr. Billy Heartstill was missing, people from all around the county were out looking for him night and day. 

Others took meals and drinks to the staging area to feed the search teams. 

When there is a need to raise money for events like the Achiever Award Scholarship, Celebrate America, or funeral expenses for someone less fortunate, Greenville comes together to make it happen. 

Greenville is just that special and I am truly proud to call it my hometown. 

Jennifer Grace Arnold was the recipient of the Camellia Girl Scholarship

This essay was written as part of the application process.