Front Row L-R: Angela Johnson, Walker Center; Minter Cleary, Ray Boone, Alice Blankenship, Piedmont Federal Savings Bank; Shirley Stone, Linda Farthing, Betty Thompson, Carolyn Sheets, Wake Forest Baptist Health Wilkes Medical Center; Dawn Michael, Wilkes County Schools; Lori Duncan, Wake Forest Baptist Health Wilkes Medical Center; Tabitha Hudler, Walker Center; Rosie Shepard, Gaynell Stone, and Carol Osborne.
Back Row L-R: Larry Farthing, Skyline National Bank; Caroline Randolph, Terry Cleary, Todd Elledge, Carolina West Wireless; Nila Johnston, Lynn Osborne, Jerry Elledge, Bill Cardwell, Arnold Lakey, Mary Jane Rich, Ray Rich, Jason Pilkington, Mark Byrd, Wilkes County Schools; Gary Stone, and Dr. Jeff Cox, Wilkes Community College.

The annual Walker Center Volunteer Breakfast took place on Tuesday, September 11, to honor those who help with the season shows and school events program. The School Events program is celebrating its 34th year, and the Walker Center Season Shows is celebrating its 35th season. The Walker Center began with a ribbon cutting on August 24, 1984.

“This is an invitation-only event to honor the volunteers who are essential to the success of the Walker Center,” says Tabitha Hudler, Sr. Business Ops Specialist. “The school events volunteers help by unloading buses, guiding children into the building, helping them get seated, and then helping them exit after the performance. The season shows volunteers help by seating guests for the dinners before the shows, collecting tickets, passing out programs, and ushering guests to their seats. A country-style breakfast honoring them is both an honor and a pleasure for these volunteers that do so much to make this a success.”

Walker Center School Shows volunteers are Ray Boone, Bill Cardwell, Dee Dee Caudill, Linda Church, Minter Cleary, Terry Cleary, Jim Davenport, Laura Davenport, Reggie Eller, Linda Farthing, Linda Handy, Mary Henderson, James Huffman, Nila Johnston, Arnold Lakey, Louise Livingston, Kathy McLelland, Joey Ortiz, Carol Osborne, Caroline Randolph, Ray Rich, Mary Jane Rich, Rosie Shepard, and Betty Thompson.

Walker Center Season Shows volunteers are Audrey Anderson, Karenelle Ashley, Chris Boone, Ray Boone, Linda Church, Jerry Elledge, Barbara England, Robin England, Rebekah Gardner, Leon Haymore, Cathy Hubbard, Jim McRae, Mona McRae, Lynn Osborne, Philip Osborne, Jason Pilkington, Gary Stone, Gaynell Stone, Shirley Stone, Betty Thompson, Bob Thompson, Phyllis Thompson, and Betty Warren.

Guests included representatives from Wilkes County Schools and representatives from sponsors Wake Forest Baptist Health Wilkes Medical Center, Skyline National Bank, Piedmont Federal Savings Bank, and Carolina West Wireless.

“Every year I get so excited about this event. It’s truly the kick-off to our season,” said Hudler. “Today, we wanted to reflect on the “U” in VOLUNTEER and how important it is. Without You, we would not be able to produce such a positive experience for our students and our Walker show attendees. Our volunteers promote what WCC stands for – Your Life. Your College. Your Future. For some, this is the only chance of experiencing entertainment and education.  For others, it sparks life changing goals. It such a blessing to be a part of it all. Volunteering is about giving; it’s about service to others, bringing community together, making a difference, being hands on, having a mission, loving others and celebrating together. These volunteers are wonderful examples of what it takes to make us all a part of the Wilkes Community College family.”

With the help of dedicated volunteers, the Walker Center has provided over 515,000 students with first-class cultural experiences, including live theater and music and the annual MerleFest School Day, which is offered to students free of charge. The 2018-2019 School Events program will offer seven shows and MerleFest School Day. These shows are: Page Turner Adventures – The Mixed-Up Fairytale, Emi Sunshine, Science of Sound, Santa’s Enchanted Workshop, Your Alien, Bubble Trouble, and Wild World of Animals.

Dr. Mark Byrd, superintendent of WCS, thanked everyone in attendance for their part in making this educational experience possible for young audiences. He said that for many students the Walker Center performances may be their only opportunity to enjoy live stage performances.  Byrd expressed his excitement of the school show performances and said he couldn’t wait to attend them himself.

Gene Faile, president of Wake Forest Baptist Health Wilkes Medical Center, thanked the volunteers for their efforts to promote cultural arts and education. Faile stated, “Professionals considering Wilkes County as a place to call home look favorably toward communities that offer strong educational systems and diverse cultural experiences. The Walker Center at Wilkes Community College is the nucleus of live entertainment and other gatherings for this entire region. We are fortunate to have a state-of-the-art facility like the Walker Center and volunteers who are so dedicated to its guests.”

The 2018-2019 Season Shows will begin on Thursday, September 20, with Dailey & Vincent. The remaining season shows will bring a diverse mix of world-class entertainment with Under the Streetlamp, Deep in the Heart of Christmas with the Texas Tenors, Mike Farris and the Fortunate Few, Artrageous, and The Oak Ridge Boys.

The John A. Walker Community Center is proud to be this region’s premier venue for cultural experience in Wilkes and surrounding areas and the preferred gathering place for meetings, weddings, receptions, conventions, banquets and parties.

Last year the Walker Center hosted over 240 individual events through Hospitality Services, serving over 140,000 guests.

For more information about the School Events program or the Walker Center Season Shows, call 336-838-6260 or email Visit online at or on Facebook.