Stilesboro Academy picnic soldiers on
by John DeFoor
May 06, 2012 | 1662 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
5-year-old Ellie Capes and 2-year-old William Capes enjoy their lunch at the annual May Picnic hosted by the Stilesboro Improvement Club Saturday afternoon.
JOHN DeFOOR/The Daily Tribune News
5-year-old Ellie Capes and 2-year-old William Capes enjoy their lunch at the annual May Picnic hosted by the Stilesboro Improvement Club Saturday afternoon. JOHN DeFOOR/The Daily Tribune News
slideshow
Continuing a streak of over 150 annual picnics, members of the Stilesboro Improvement Club and friends gathered Saturday afternoon for the Stilesboro Academy May Picnic.

"My family's been coming to this picnic ever since I've been alive," said member Susiann Brock. "It's a community picnic -- anybody in the community is welcome to come. It was intended for us to give back to the community that has always been generous in giving to us."

According to Jan Shepherd, the president of the improvement club, the picnic has been an annual event for the past 153 to 154 years. Saturday's group was comprised of various club members, their children, nephews and nieces, and friends.

Mack Ferguson -- a friend of one of the members -- attended the picnic. "I brought my appetite with me," he laughed.

"First time being here, I got to go in [the academy] and look at it," he said. "I thought it was great! Our history -- that's what we need to keep."

"For the people who have lived in this community for all their lives, [the academy] means a lot to them," said Shepherd. "[It] stands for one of the oldest things in the state of Georgia. Everyone likes to refer to it as 'what Sherman left.'"

During the Civil War General William T. Sherman was known for his famous campaign through Georgia and the damage left in his wake. "Sherman was not the best liked person here."

"Everybody in the community went to school there," Brock said. "There wasn't any public schools, that was the only place you could go. So, if you got any education at all, you got it right there at that building."

"My father went to school here," Shepherd said. "He played basketball for the Stilesboro Academy when he attended. A very well-known basketball team -- all the little communities around did not like to play them because they were one of the winning teams."

One factor threatening Saturday's annual picnic was the possibility of rain, but even had it rained the picnic would have continued.

"We talked about having it inside but we decided to do it out here, take a chance," said Brock. "I'd much rather have it out here."

In the first weekend of November, the Stilesboro Improvement Club will hold its annual flower show. "That's always a big event," Shepherd said. "This year is our 100th continuous flower show."