Garner Greats

Miss North Carolina 2012 Arlie Honeycutt may be Garner’s latest citizen in the spotlight, but she’s far from being its only star. We’ve compiled a sampling of noteworthy people who hail from or have called Garner home — no, this isn’t all of them! — and asked around as to Garner’s secret ingredient in producing talent and success.

The answers?

A family atmosphere, good values and a compassionate sense of community.

Proactive parenting and participation, from Friday night football to Sunday morning services.
A competitive spirit, great role models and quality education. (Garner Magnet High was one of three Wake County schools to earn national recognition for academic achievement this past year, while its principal, Drew Cook, was named Regional Principal of the Year.)

Arts and sports programming, parks and community offerings — the list goes on.

You likely have your own reasons for choosing Garner; whatever they may be, we hope you enjoy this nod to those who’ve shown the world some of the good Garner offers.

Scotty McCreery
Garner’s most famous son to date, American Idol season 10 winner Scotty McCreery just kicked off his freshman year at N.C. State University. He’ll perform at this year’s N.C. State Fair, on Oct. 15 and 16.

Tucker Dupree
Champion swimmer Tucker Dupree holds the Paralympics world record in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly events, along with 39 American records and nine Pan-American records. Dupree, who lost his sight to Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy while a student at Garner Magnet High, in August represented the U.S. in his second Paralympics Games, held in London.

Dana Stephenson

A talented vocalist and performer, Dana Stephenson of Garner was crowned Miss North Carolina in 1994. Other Miss Garners to earn the state title are Patsy Gail Wood, 1971; Lisa Bamford, 1995; and Amanda Watson, 2008.

Tom Browne
Not all our local celebrities are Garner natives; some chose to make it home, like jazz trumpet great Tom Browne. Known for his 1980 signature hit “Funkin’ for Jamaica,” Browne currently plays club venues in the U.S. and abroad. His latest album, S’ Up, was released in 2010.

Tim Stevens
A longtime News & Observer sportswriter, Tim Stevens is a member of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, and the National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame. Also a playwright and avid arts supporter, he helped create Garner’s award-winning Broadway Voices concert series, and earned the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County’s Individual Supporter of the Arts Award.

Dr. Todd Boyette
Dr. Todd Boyette has been the director of the Morehead Planetarium at Chapel Hill since 2006, and is credited with expanding Morehead’s outreach programming. In 2010, he co-founded the North Carolina Science Festival.

Vincent and Victor Wood

It’s talent times two, in artists and twin brothers Vincent and Victor Wood. Self-taught, the brothers began their professional careers in 1996, creating sports commissions to auction pieces. Vincent’s downtown Garner mural celebrates the town’s longtime love of baseball; another at the Woods’ alma mater, Garner High, features fellow alumnus Scotty McCreery.

Christina Maxwell
Named the 2012 Distinguished Young Woman of America, Christina Maxwell reportedly got her musical start at Timber Drive Elementary School in an ABC-themed play.

Major General  Mark T. Matthews (Retired)
Maj. Gen. Mark T. Matthews has had an impressive Air Force career, retiring in 2011 as director of Strategy, Plans and Assessments, U.S. Forces-Iraq, U.S. Central Command, Baghdad, Iraq. Among authors of Instant Thunder, the planning effort that evolved into the Desert Storm air campaign, Matthews’ awards include the Distinguished Service Medal.

Chris Culliver
From Garner High’s Class of 2007 — the same class as Tucker Dupree — comes pro football player Chris Culliver, cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers.

Other Garner athletes to hit the NFL include Eric Williams, who played with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions, Tony Blaylock, who played with the Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears, and Brandon Banks, who plays with the Washington Redskins.

Carl Franks is also a part of football history, having served as head coach at his alma mater, Duke University, from 1999 to 2003. He’s currently on staff at the University of South Florida.
Pat Watkins spent time in Major League Baseball, playing for the Cincinnati Reds and the Colorado Rockies. Gus Ulrich won two Carolinas PGA Section coveted titles in 2011, and currently heads the staff at The Pinewild Golf Academy in Pinehurst. And making his mark in the NBA is David West, power forward for the Indiana Pacers.

Beth & Scott Honeycutt
Long before they became known as the parents of 2012 Miss North Carolina Arlie Honeycutt, Beth and Scott were the leading couple in Garner’s award-winning community theater group, the Towne Players, where Beth serves as artistic director.

McRae Hardy
The founding music director of the North Carolina Theatre, McRae Hardy is a recipient of the 1994 Raleigh Medal of Arts, and served as music director of the outdoor drama Unto These Hills for three decades. He is currently conductor of the Triangle Youth Symphony.

Jeremy Woodard
Jeremy Woodard currently stars as Stacee Jaxx in Broadway’s Rock of Ages, and has toured with the shows Miss Saigon and Hairspray.

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