The Rock celebrates 2021, looks forward to 2022
After a slow reopening process in early 2021, The Rock celebrated a successful end of the year with a New Year’s Eve party Friday night. The party was the culmination of a rebirth of the facility after being closed for a majority of 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Rock, located at 300 Elm St., is a youth-led organization that provides a positive and non-denominational Christian environment for high school students. The Rock is run by a partnership between a student advisory board and a group of civic-minded community leaders. Board president Ashley Hodges stepped into a leadership role after returning to The Rock in late May.
“I found my way back to The Rock at the end of May,” Hodges wrote in a letter recapping 2021. “By attendance and the condition, I knew there was a lot of work that had to be done to reach the current high school demographic and make it the place they wanted to spend their weekends.”
Hodges attended The Rock when moving to Graham with her family. After a positive experience when she was in high school, Hodges felt a calling.
“I went The Rock when I was in high school. I moved here in 2007. And so that’s when I actually started going,” she said. “And then I went kind of all through high school (...)The Rock, it was such a special place for me, you know, just moving to town, and then having a place to go, where I can hang out with friends(...) In 2019, I went up there a couple of weekends to help out. It was at the end of the year, but after that, of course, it was the holidays and then in 2020 (it shut down due to COVID-19).”
In July, a student advisory board was formed consisting of two members of each class at Graham High School. The board initially planned a fundraiser, workday, theme nights and other activities. Hodges said the board was mostly comprised of students who had never visited The Rock in the past or had not visited often before the shutdown. On the student advisory board are Hallie Gough, Colter Johnson, Mary Lyndell Graham, Lillian Graham, Maddie Blackman, Sean McCall, Kodie Gough and Parker Johnson.
For the rest of the story, see the Jan. 5 edition of The Graham Leader.