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Local Parks and Recreation legend honored at CIAA championships

CIAA commissioner Jacqie McWilliams gives 20-year award to Ben Piggott and Robert Chadwick for helping children in the CIAA Ball Boy and Ball Girl program.

Local Parks and Recreation legend honored at CIAA championships
March 13
23:10 2019

During the halftime show at the 2019 CIAA basketball tournament, Jacqie McWilliams presented Livingstone College alumnus Ben Piggott and Elizabeth City State University alumnus Robert Chadwick with awards for assisting hundreds of boys and girls to get exposed to college life through their CIAA Ball Boy and Ball Girl program.

“I am very humbled and honored to receive this award from the CIAA basketball tournament,” said Piggott.

Piggott has been involved with the program since 1994, when the tournament was held at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Piggott was a volunteer ball captain for the then CIAA/Coca-Cola Ball Boys and Ball Girls program.

The ball boy and ball girl program was a combination of several agencies coming together for a common cause. The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System, the Winston-Salem Urban League, and the Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department, all contributed to put the program in motion.

Initially, the young men and women selected for the program were chosen by winning an essay competition. Once the program left Winston in 1999, it went to Raleigh where Piggott met Chadwick. The program was renamed Operation Future, but continued to allow inner-city youth to be exposed to celebrities, coaches, players and alumni from all the CIAA schools.

“I thank God for not only having Robert Chadwick as a family member with the CIAA Ball Boy and Ball Girl program as it moved to Charlotte, but I also have to thank Dave Morrison, Tonya Morrison, Tim Cunningham and Jeff Brantley as well,” Piggott said.

“We also thank God for the many children that have grown up in the program being CIAA ball boys and ball girls. I would also like to thank the Winston-Salem Chronicle for helping by writing articles about the CIAA Ball Boy and Ball Girl Program.”

Last but not least, Piggott wanted to thank the CIAA conference for their assistance in the program. The CIAA Basketball Tournament is the oldest HBCU basketball tournament in the country and is currently being held in Charlotte.  It will move to Baltimore, Maryland, in 2021.

“I want to also salute Jacqie McWilliams from Hampton University for being the first African-American female to become commissioner of the CIAA,” Piggott continued.

Piggott also touched on one of the success stories from the program. Halima McCaskill, who was a CIAA Ball Girl in 1997, won the Teacher of the Year award at Ashley Elementary School. She also grew up in the Happy Hill Gardens Community. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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