Stores, Stories

Sutton’s Drug Store, E Franklin

Established: 1923

Nearly a century old, Sutton’s Drug Store is truly a Chapel Hill institution. Reflecting the establishment’s ties to the community are the thousands of photos displayed on the historic walls.

In fact, since the 1980s, Sutton’s employees have taken over 10,000 photos of the store’s many patrons. In addition to its well-known burgers, sodas and specialty items, Sutton’s housed a pharmacy for 91 of its 95 years; only in mid-2014 did John Woodard, owner, sell the pharmacy to nearby CVS. Even without the pharmacy, the owner stays busy. Sutton’s food truck, which stations itself on Rosemary Street, opened just two months after discontinuing the pharmacy.

Fun fact: Years ago, there was a toy store in the basement of Sutton’s.

Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe, E Franklin

Established: 1972

Waffle Shoppe has always been a family-run business. Husband-and-wife duo James (Jimmy) and Linda Chris — both NC natives — founded and operated the restaurant until Jimmy passed in 2012. Linda now works alongside her daughter, Melissa, to maintain the family tradition. To cultivate the restaurant’s simple and charming ambience, the Chris family stripped down the building’s interiors and renovated the space before opening to customers. The menu touts similarly simple, yet timeless, breakfast items.

Fun fact: While renovating the building in the 70s, Jimmy incorporated materials from a former Greek Orthodox church — the same church where he and Melissa married.

Mama Dip’s Kitchen, W Rosemary

Established: 1976

Mildred “Mama Dip” Council was born in Chatham County and cooked for numerous local businesses before she opened this revered Southern-style restaurant. Council has alway valued locally-sourced ingredients, long before eating local became trendy. Her fresh Southern food quickly attracted locals, and Mama Dip’s established itself as a staple of the community. In the more than four decades since its inception, Mama Dip’s gained national recognition; Council authored two cookbooks, and Rachel Ray featured the restaurant on her program, $40 a Day, in 2004. Today, Council’s family members manage most of the daily operations, but she maintains an active role in the restaurant. Her granddaughter, Tonya, even started her own businesses, Tonya’s Cookies, across the street.

Fun fact: Mama Dip’s started its first day in business with only $40 to spend on food. It ended that day with over $130 in profits.

Mock Crash shows dangers of impaired driving

On Thursday, April 12, upperclassmen spent their third and fourth periods watching a simulation of an impaired driving accident.  Participating in the mock crash were several fellow classmates who played the role of victims, injured or dead, and first responders.

Included below are photos from the event. An in-depth story will be available tomorrow.

Students gathered on the field near the courtyard in anticipation.


The vehicle used in the simulation is from an actual impaired driving accident.


First responders arrived at the scene and tended to the actors’ injuries.


Of those involved in the crash, there were two fatalities and numerous injuries.

Photos by Gaby Alfieri

Teenage tipping point

You and your friends are at a restaurant. You’ve finished eating and have gotten your bill. Ignoring the tip line completely, you pay only for the food itself — you’re on a tight budget as you use up the last of your birthday money or meager savings from your part-time job. After all, the tip is optional.

If what I just described rings a bell, we need to talk.

When I started working at a restaurant, I didn’t understand why my coworkers would covertly groan at the sight of, say, five teenagers entering the door. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m easily offended by teen stereotypes (no, we’re not all lazy, and yes, we can function without our phones.) But their vexation makes sense to me now. It isn’t uncommon for a table of teens to order $75 worth of food but leave only three or four bucks in tips (a five percent tip, in case you’re mathematically-challenged like I am). Teammates binging after a grueling practice, friends celebrating a sixteenth birthday, servers preparing for financial letdowns — it’s a disappointing pattern.

The truth is that most employers pay their servers just over $2 an hour. This low wage may shock people as most would assume everyone in food service makes at least the NC minimum wage of $7.25. But, as outlined by the US Department of Labor, there’s a caveat: if a server makes $30 in tips per month, his or her employer can opt to pay a so-called tipping wage of $2.13.

On a good night, when there is sufficient flow of customers who all tip fifteen or twenty percent, a tipping wage isn’t an issue. In fact, servers can make significantly more than they would under a $8 or $9 hourly wage. But on a bad night, when customers skimp on tips (yeah, I’m talking to you), an hour of work is barely enough to buy a Starbucks coffee.

There are various reasons why one might not tip. Sometimes you have to wait too long for food. Sometimes the food tastes bad. Granted, these problems are annoying, but they are no reason not to tip; you tip for the service, not the food. Did your server bring you your drink, take your order, answer your questions, and bring your check? Then tip them. (Keep in mind that they’ll also be cleaning your table after you leave.)

There are many questions about tipping that I’m unqualified to answer: for example, is a tipping wage really the best option? Would a fixed hourly wage be better? These questions are important ones, but in the meantime, we can all agree that $2.13 an hour just isn’t enough.

Illustration by Ruby Handa

BTS: a Look at One Acts

December 14 through 16, the JagTheatre put on a series of performances in Carrboro High’s Blackbox Theater. A product of roughly two months of preparation, the performances—called One Acts—carried on an annual tradition.

One Acts have always been student-led; responsible for the 2017 productions were around 70 students of varying specialties and skill levels. Students in Theater III  and IV served as directors and producers respectively, and students in Technical Theater served as technicians. Further supporting the production were stage manager assistant directors (SMADs) who led in the
case of a director’s absence.

For Brian Kelly, a junior, the 2017 performances marked his first experience with One Acts.

“Different from every other theater student, I was allowed to skip Theater I and II and get directly into Theater III with the  directors,” said Kelly. “However, I have always enjoyed past shows in the audience.”

Kelly directed “Barbie and Ken,” a comedy by Sandra Dempsey. An arduous process, a significant portion of his work as director took place outside of school hours.

“This role has entailed choosing a play to direct; holding auditions and callbacks for the roles I intended to cast; casting my show; planning all set, stage, costume, makeup and sound design; and holding rehearsals for the show,” said Kelly.

One Acts plays each lasted around ten minutes. Historically, the plays had been almost exclusively comedic. Kelly notes, however, that this year was unique in that certain plays had a dramatic tone.

Said Kelly, “[it’s something] I have not seen at Carrboro in a while.”

Among all the components of One Acts, Kelly most appreciates the sense of student independence. He attributes much of the production’s success to Brett Stegall, the event supervisor and a key figure in the performing arts department.

“It isn’t very often you get to direct your own play in high school,” said Kelly. “I think Ms. Stegall has made her own amazing, yet small, community, with classes representing the technical, director, producer and actor perspectives of the theater process.”

Photo courtesy JagTheatre

Celebrating CHS vets: part one

In honor of Veteran’s Day weekend, the JagWire interviewed three faculty members who served the Armed Forces. Here is part one of a three-part series.

John Alcox, Marines

John Alcox. Photo by Gaby Alfieri

Physical education teacher John Alcox served the Armed Forces for six years, from 1990 to 1996. Stationed in Augusta, GA, he was a diesel mechanic before serving as an office administrator.

Alcox’s grandfather served in World War II as one of the first Black marines. His grandfather did basic training at Montford Point—the camp for Black marines during WWII—located in Jacksonville.

“I wanted to follow in [my grandfather’s] footsteps,” said Alcox in an email interview.

Alcox knew he wanted to teach before he enlisted, hoping to shape future generations into productive citizens. But, transitioning to civilian life after leaving the Marines, he remembers difficulties.

“Without a doubt the toughest thing was the transition from the Marine Corps way of thinking back to the civilian way of thinking,” said Alcox. “The Marine Corps way of thinking tended to be more black and white. Civilian thinking tends to have a few more gray areas.”

Students plan eleventh Underworld

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. On October 31, the Carrboro High auditorium transforms into the Underworld, continuing a tradition as old as the school itself.

The event is a presentational tour during which attendees will see Latin students portray various mythological characters.

Former Latin teacher Sara Clay launched the Underworld to teach students about the mythologies that inspired modern storytelling. Since 2007, the event has contemporaneously educated non-Latin students and showcased the Latin classes’ knowledge and creativity.

Seniors Ben Gerhardt and Sophie Wise, Latin Club co-presidents, organized the Underworld for their second consecutive year. Both hold fond memories of their first Underworld—Gerhardt played Hades, god of the Underworld, and Wise played Tiresias, the blind prophet.

“I remember it was just so much fun to see everyone get really excited,” said Gerhardt. “Sometimes with these group events, people come in and are talking or on their phones, but people really engaged; [the presentations] start so quickly that people just get sucked into it.”

According to Wise, Latin students spend at least a month preparing for the event. Students create a list of characters but remain flexible, adding more characters to account for students’ interests. Once students know whom they’ll portray, they write short scripts.

Students rehearse during lunch before creating a set for the Underworld.

“After a few rehearsals, we decorate with dark cloths, several different rivers and the gates,” said Gerhardt.

Though the process is the same overall, Gerhardt outlines one key difference in this year’s performances: Latin students will hold an additional tour for ESL students. According to Gerhardt, the presentation will involve more conversation and less presentation.

The co-presidents sent an email invitation to teachers in early October, encouraging teachers to register their first- through fourth-period classes. They concluded their email with a suggestion for all students.

Said Gerhardt and Wise, “attendees are encouraged to bring a penny for admittance as this mirrors the practice of being admitted into the actual Underworld.”

Meet Carrboro’s new SGA advisors

Annual changes in student government officers are common, but SGA also welcomes new faculty advisors for the first time since 2014.

Last year was social studies teacher Jamie Schendt’s final term as SGA advisor. Replacing Schendt are Candacie Schrader and Sibel Byrnes, representing the Arts and English Departments respectively.

“Mr. Schendt had talked about how he was going to charge up the AIS, so Ms. Byrnes and I had talked about working together,” said Schrader. “We have a good dynamic to offer—I’ve got a little bit more of the artsy side, and she will help me with organization.”

Byrnes believes advising for SGA will help her engage with CHS in a more meaningful way. An enthusiast for all things school spirit, Byrnes showed her C-Town pride before becoming advisor.

“I always feel as though I have a lot of school spirit,” said Byrnes. “I’m one of the teachers who dresses up really crazy during spirit week.”

Similarly, Schrader, an Ohio native, remembers her high school’s large pep rallies and hopes to promote more spirit in C-Town. She’s excited to work with SGA to revamp pep rallies, planning to decorate the gym and lead class competitions to boost morale.  

Other changes await CHS as well. Every two weeks, student government awards the Jaglight to a stand-out student, the first of whom was senior Diamond Blue.

Neither Schrader nor Byrnes participated in student government as high schoolersByrnes explained that she was too shy at that age, and Schrader explained that SGA was somewhat absent at her school.

Said Schrader, “[at my high school] athletes were more of the leaders, so I’m really happy to see student government leading.”

Despite what the advisors see as positive changes, like a more diverse group of elected student leaders, Byrnes sees room for improvement. “Our group is so passionate, but we will need to focus on staying organized going forward,” she said.

CHCCS holds annual college fair

Local high schoolers and their parents crowded the Dean Dome on Tuesday, September 19, for the 2017 College Fair. The CHCCS event featured representatives from over 100 schools, including community, public and private colleges.

While North Carolina schools comprised the majority of displays, students wishing to venture out of NC had plenty of options. Most out-of-state displays represented neighboring states like South Carolina and Virginia, but recruiters came from as far as Colorado and Indiana.

Recruiters informed families of their respective schools’ programs and answered questions. Leah Abrams, a CHS alum, was there to recruit for Duke University.

“I came to this college fair when I was a junior,” said Abrams. “It really kind of sparked my interest in Duke, and I wanted to do that for other students from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district.”

Though not promoting a specific college, organizations like the College Foundation of North Carolina guided attendees through the applications for admission and financial aid.

Event organizers hope the fair provided insight into the college process and the many schools to which students can apply.

Class of 2021 gets first look at Carrboro High

The Class of 2021 experienced Carrboro High for the first time today, August 25.

Around 11:00, students and their families crowded the school’s entrance to attend Freshman Orientation. Junior Advisor Guides (JAGs) greeted the students with signs.

Junior Advisor Guides (JAGs) welcomed the Class of 2021 at the school’s entrance.

Event organizers, including students, faculty and other volunteers, ushered the newcomers to sign-in tables where seniors (SPOTs) provided instruction. Students then headed to the auditorium for presentations while parents had the opportunity to buy C-Town spiritwear.

Once inside the auditorium, JAGs greeted their assigned freshmen with large signs. Cheerleaders also lined the auditorium entrances to show school spirit.

The cheerleading team showed their spirit as they welcomed students into the auditorium.

The presentation was a chance for the new principal, Beverly Rudolph, to welcome students and establish herself as the face of CHS. In response to recent events in Charlottesville, she reminded students that hate has no home in CHCCS.

“You have freedom of speech until that speech becomes hate speech,” said Principal Rudolph as a reminder.

After student and faculty presentations informing students of various opportunities, including student government and athletics, students took a tour of the school.

Event organizers hope Freshman Orientation gave students some familiarity with CHS before they begin high school next Monday.

Wrestlers sign with college teams

Around noon on May 24, two Carrboro High School students committed to colleges on wrestling scholarships. The two seniors, Taylor Day and Otto Wolin, signed in the presence of parents, teammates and Dewitt Driscoll, CHS wrestling coach.

Day and Wolin look forward to their future roles on teams at UNC Chapel Hill and Coker College, a liberal arts college in South Carolina, respectively.

Senior Taylor Day (left) commits to UNC Chapel Hill for wrestling. Photo by Olivia Weigle

“I’m looking forward to competing on a whole new level in college,” said Day. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while.”

Both athletes credit their coaches and teammates as key factors in their successful careers.

“[My coaches and teammates] helped me with my character, and they’ve made me a better person,” said Wolin.