Alumni Updates – Sept ’17


A member of our Patriot family is serving his community.  Miles Minges, Class of ’98, has been selected by the Pitt Community College Foundation board to serve as chair.  Minges is the key account director at Minges Bottling Group in Ayden, and has been a member of the PCC Foundation Board since 2011.  Prior to being elected chairman, he had served as vice chair of the board that oversees PCC’s chief fundraising organization for the past four years.


Brody School of Medicine Class of 2021

Parrott Academy proudly recognizes four members of the Brody School of Medicine Class of 2021.  Recent grads, Will Clark, Class of 2012, Spencer Jackson, Class of 2012, Andrew Piner, Class of 2010, Chelsea Viscardi, Class of 2009 received their white coats at the annual white coat ceremony at the Brody School on August 4th.  All 82 students in the Brody Class of 2021 are North Carolina residents.  The newly enrolled students were selected from over 1000 applicants and represent 30 counties.

Pictured left to right:  Spencer Jackson, Will Clark, Chelsea Viscardi, and Andrew Piner

Alumni Updates, May ’17

We have exciting news to share about our alumni!

WillCannon      Will Cannon, APA class of ’98, has been selected as the winner of the Outstanding Achievement Pro Bono Award for the NCBA IP Section (North Carolina Bar Association Intellectual Property Section).  Will is being honored for his exceptional pro bono efforts in the last year.  Throughout 2016, Will sought out and provided legal support to organizations including Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Sow Much Good.  These organizations are dedicated to the distribution of fresh food to impoverished areas of the state. He has also worked with nonprofits that provided support to women, as well as ecological conservation groups.  Will’s community service work began at Parrott where he was one of the students who founded SERV!  Will is a partner in the intellectual property group at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP, based in the Raleigh office.

Greg Ellis, APA class of ’00, was recognized for his work as the Maury Volunteer Fire & Rescue captain.  He was the recipient of the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award.  Ellis focuses on fire prevention education in schools.  Ellis is quick to acknowledge his fellow volunteers’ help and support. Ellis was on the scene when our college advisor, Mitzi Moye was struck by a vehicle in 2015.  Mitzi is very grateful for his attentive care.  (Read more here)

Wine & Design
Patrick Mills & wife Harriet while filming for Shark Tank

Patrick Mills, class of ‘94, and his wife, Harriet, co-founder and CEO of Wine & Design, will be featured in the season finale of ABC’s Shark Tank on Friday, May 12 at 9:00 PM EST.  Wine & Design offers not only a chic and upbeat space for painting and fun, but also prospective entrepreneurs and artists an opportunity to build a career that provides flexibility needed to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Alumni Updates

-McLean Ellis, ’06 has been named chief resident for the Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital.

-Tara Pilato, ’13 gave her senior viola recital at Notre Dame on March 26.  Orchestra instructor, Eulalia VonFossen attended and got the chance to catch up with sisters, Jackie and Tara.  Tara is heading to med school next year.

-Several Parrott alumni were recognized as up and coming movers and shakers in a new publication, My Lenoir Magazine. The cover story, “Become Your Own Best At-home Chef” is about current parent and alumna, Caroline Briley Roberts, ’01, and her family’s take on the boxed meal services. Other alumni were recognized in its “20 under 40 article:”  Keely Mills Koonce, ’08; Zacchaeus Rasberry, ’16; Nathan Perry, ’07; Rev. Thomas Paine Hopfengardner Warren, ’99; and current parent and onetime student, William Nelson Wilder, Jr.; Michael Reid Martin, current parent.

-Hadley Bryan, ‘13 has been accepted as a PhD candidate in Epidemiology and Human Genetics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine after graduating from NC State.

**Please send your updates to Mr. Pollock at

Alumni Spotlight – Mike Shammas (Class of ’09)

Mike along with Chelsea Viscardi in their Senior Superlative photo

Mike earned the senior superlative at Parrott of “Most Studious.”  He was Salutatorian of the Class of 2009, a member of the Quiz Bowl team, and an active volunteer in his community.  Mike spent a lot of time working with the Boys and Girls Club and a variety of other charities.  He traveled with SERV to Washington, DC and worked with the National Coalition for the Homeless.  Mike has always had an interest in the political process and as a student at Parrott, served as a North Carolina state page.  After leaving Parrott, Mike headed to Duke, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2013 with a degree in political science.

Mike continued to experience much academic success, graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2016.  Upon graduating, he won the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership for his work serving as the 2015-2016 editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Record, the oldest law school newspaper in the United States.  Mike won the National Law Review Writing Competition in April 2016 (Read his essay here).

Mike is currently working as a litigator at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York City, where he takes on criminal and civil cases.  He also writes regularly for publications like the Huffington Post and The Good Men Project.  We asked him a few questions about his experience at Parrott and Mike shared the following with us:

Tell us about a memorable Parrott Academy experience or experiences.

I fondly remember hiding behind corners in the hallway with my twin brother, Ronnie, warily peeking forward in anxious attempts to evade Mr. Pollock’s keen gaze as we stubbornly refused to tuck our shirt tails in!

How did your Parrott Academy experience prepare you for your future endeavors?

Parrott was so academically challenging, but definitely in a good way. Parrott offered courses like AP U.S. History, taught by awesome teachers like Ms. Barrow, which sparked interests I already had but that I hadn’t had the opportunity to explore in such detail. It also was full of hardworking, enthusiastic teachers like Ms. Leighton who helped me improve in topics like statistics which, admittedly, were initially a bit of a struggle.

Tell us about one of your favorite teachers.

I took two English courses with Mrs. Kennedy my junior and senior years and the reading and writing skills she instilled have proven so helpful since high school. Today, when I write legal briefs, Ms. Kennedy’s admonition to cut extra words and vary sentence structure are so relevant. Stumbling upon Mrs. Kennedy’s classes at Parrot have fundamentally changed my life for the better, and (hopefully) my clients’ lives as I write briefs, motions, and memos on their behalf using the writing lessons Mrs. Kennedy taught me a few years ago.

What advice would you offer to current juniors and seniors? 

Keep an open heart and an open mind as you go through life. Treat everyone with the respect they deserve due to the simple fact that they’re human. Most of our problems as a country, as humans, can be attributed to a failure of either empathy or intellectual humility or both. None of us has all the answers. No fellow human life is so flawed as to be worthy of mistreatment. Kindness opens doors that ambition alone does not and cannot.

What advice would you offer to recent Parrott alumni?

Keep in touch with your friends from school! It’s too easy to lose touch. And if you’re thinking of moving North, don’t underestimate how much you’ll miss Bojangles.

Help us understand your current position.

I’m a first-year associate at a law firm. Before that, I did a lot of criminal defense appellate-level work at a public defense organization as well as asylum work when I was studying at Harvamike-shammas-harvard-gradrd Law. I still work on pro bono criminal matters, though the majority of my work involves civil litigation.

Regarding criminal law, it’s easy to see why I’m fascinated with it: Few areas of public policy are as fraught with impassioned disagreement as criminal justice. There tend to be two types of criminal lawyers: Those who believe, strongly, in punishment, and bleeding hearts who believe in the fallibility of humans but also in our never-ending capacity for redemption. Both types of lawyers are necessary and complimentary. I tend to identify more closely with the latter, but I understand and empathize with the impulses that animate the former group.

What life goals have you accomplished and what do you still hope to accomplish.

My life goals have changed since I’ve grown older. There was a time when I thought that achieving certain things would bring happiness. Now I realize that happiness comes from within (cliché, I know) and that decking out one’s resume can only bring a certain amount of peace — and, sometimes, brings the opposite of peace.

So at the ripe old age of 25, my main life goal now is to live life. And to get better at keeping in touch with old friends at Parrott!

Alumni Spotlight – Doug Shackelford (Class of ’76)

Doug Shackelford, Parrott Class of ‘76

Doug ShackelfordThe Class of 1976 alumni recently celebrated their 40th reunion in November, 2016.  Jo Allen, Chuck Ball, Doug Shackelford, and Nancy Sauls organized the event.  Jo Allen hosted in her home.  Hugh Pollock, our assistant headmaster, was able to catch up with Doug Shackelford, APA ’76.  Doug is the dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School.  He also serves as the Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation.

Doug shared some memories about his time at Parrott.

Tell us about a memorable Parrott Academy experience.Class of '76 Baseball

I really enjoyed playing sports at Parrott Academy–great coaches and teammates. One particular memory is being a member of the school’s inaugural baseball team.  In the school’s very first game, my friend and classmate, Dred Mitchell, pitched a no-hitter at Fayetteville Academy. 

How did your Parrott Academy experience prepare you for your future endeavors?

When I arrived at UNC as a freshman, I was prepared to compete academically with the very best students on campus.  Thank you, Parrott!

Tell us about one of your favorite teachers.

Emily Exum taught literature my junior and senior years.  She was as good as any teacher I’ve known at any level.  She set high expectations, pushed us to think critically, and convinced us that we could succeed.  She made learning fun.  A little bit of her is in all of my own classes.

What advice would you offer to current juniors and seniors?

These are some of the best years of your life; enjoy them.  However, never sacrifice the future for the present.  Do things today that will make the world better tomorrow.

What advice would you offer to recent Parrott alumni?

Parrott taught you how to learn.  Keep on learning.  Technology will require you to continually adapt in the 21st century.  Those who continue to learn will best adapt and thrive.

 Help us understand your current position.

I have taught taxes and business strategy at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School for over 25 years.  My tax policy research has taken me around the world to meet fascinating people.  Presently, I am the school’s dean.  It is a great honor and privilege to lead our school and represent thousands of faculty, staff, students and alumni.  Much of my time is on the road, visiting alumni and companies, who support and hire our students.

What life goals have you accomplished and what do you still hope to accomplish.

Perhaps this is surprising for a business school dean, but I spend little time thinking about goals.  Instead, I try to accomplish as much as possible every day.  Professionally, it means leading our school and caring for our people.  Personally, it means loving my wife of 33 years and our four grown children.  As a Christian, it means trying to follow Jesus Christ.  I am one of those to whom much has been given; thus, much is required.  Someday, I may stop and reflect, but right now, there is too much to do.


Class of ’76.  How many do you know?

November ’16 Updates

Morgan Barbre, APA ‘15

Recent graduate and NC State Park Scholar, Morgan Barbre ’15 traveled to the fourth triennial Women Deliver global conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.  With nearly 6000 attendees from more than 150 countries, this gathering was the largest forum held in the last decmorgan-barbreade to discuss girls’ and women’s health issues and rights   Morgan felt the conference was, “a phenomenal opportunity to engage in the international conversation on global maternal health, sustainability, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”  During the four-day event, Barbre heard presenters such as Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan, and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation.  But the speaker who most impressed Morgan was a midwife from Nakaseke Hospital in Uganda.  The woman’s fierceness and dedication to her profession left their mark on Morgan. The entire experience inspired her to plan several speaker events this fall at NC State.

Morgan’s interest in global maternal health started in high school while a student at Parrott, when she spent time during the summer working at a home for special needs children in Antiua, Guatemala.  She learned that children’s disabilities-cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other developmental and physical delays-were directly linked to mothers’ poor prenatal care or birth complications.  She began to see intersections between her interests in science, medicine, spirituality, and the psychology of healing, leading her to plan a career in social work and medicine in some capacity.

For the full article read here.


Amanda Cannon, APA ‘13

Amanda Cannon has been interested in the music industry since her time at Parrott, but she wasn’t sure how to translate that interest into a career.  Amanda enrolled at NC State as a Park Scholar in the fall of 2013. After spending the summer after freshman year in Nashville studying music copyright law and volunteering at the Country Music Association, Amanda realized that her dream of working in the music industry was a very real possibility.  Back at NC State Amanda served as the Union Acitivities Board Leisure and Entertainment Committee and is now the executive vice president of the organization.  She coordinated several entertainment events including the NC State’s Campout, an annual school spirit event that marks the beginning oamanda-cannonf Wolfpack basketball season.  This semester, Cannon planned PackHowl, NC State’s sold-out Homecoming concert.  Cannon also secured the Country Music Association’s endorsement to launch a chapter of its college outreach program, CMA EDU, at NC State.  Amanda spent this past summer interning in marketing at the Grand Ole Opry. After graduating from NC State in the spring of 2017, Amanda plans to relocate to Nashville and begin a career in the music industry.

For the full article read here.


Fall 2016 Newsletter

Hello Alumni and Parents,

I hope this email finds everyone doing well. It’s hard to believe that the 2016-2017 school year has already cranked up.  We graduated a great group of seniors last year who are already exploring the world in search of their future endeavors. We wish them much success and good fortune as they pursue their dreams.

What a year!  Arendell Parrott Academy celebrated its 50th Anniversary this past year.  It was awesome! Many alumni attended our golden gala. Also, we introduced the distinguished Magnolia Circle Honorees, inducting some of APA’s most notable individuals. Currently, we are winding down with our capital campaign, showcasing our renovations and Sports Complex.

The physical changes to APA may be noticed right away once you enter the front gates. The Hobgood Building (center building) has taken on a more modern look with a much-needed make over.

New Entrance of the Hobgood Building

These changes include an expanded cafeteria (remember rubbing elbows at lunch), which will hold over 400 students comfortably.

Students will easily recognize the importance of the following additions as well:

  • Library
  • Computer lab
  • Office rooms
  • School store
  • Academic Center

    Minges Field House

The construction of the Minges Sports Complex will give our athletes, who play outdoor sports, a first-rate field house to accommodate their needs. These athletes no longer will dress in the Ellis Simon Gymnasium or the Monk-Austin Student Activity Center. In addition, new public restrooms will be available for your convenience.

Lastly, the Nelson-Williams Fine Arts building will have the addition of the Remington Studio Theatre. Students will now be afforded the opportunity to practice in a larger setting on campus in preparation for their school performances.

Fine Arts Addition – Remington Theatre

As you can see, 2015-2016 was an awesome school year! Just think, all of these great changes occurred to OUR school. We know that you will be proud of these changes and the way APA looks today.  I can’t wait to see your faces when you come by.

Remember, alumni news shares all the great things taking place in your lives. Please, keep us informed of your successes and experiences.

We invite you to enjoy our inaugural event in the new Remington Theater with Arts in the Park on November 10th, from 3 until 8 pm with various artists performing.  Join us for an afternoon celebrating fine arts at Parrott Academy.

The second annual Miles with Mitzi Race will be held on November 19, 2016 at APA. We are looking forward to another wonderful event, and we would love to have you participate! Once again, we will have a 5K run/walk and a 1 Mile fun run/walk. Proceeds from the race will be donated to Vidant’s Rehabilitation Program and to APA’s SERV community service fund. You can register online at or you can print the paper registration form and mail it in along with your registration fee.

Thank you!

Hugh Pollock
Assistant Headmaster
Alumni Relations