• Singer visits alma mater and donates $10,000 to the school

    Bessemer City High School received a special visit from country music star and New York Times bestselling author Jimmy Wayne.

    Wayne, a 1992 graduate of Bessemer City High School, spoke to students on Monday, May 1 about his life story and performed several songs.  He shared about growing up in foster care and homelessness and finding country music fame in Nashville. 

    Wayne decided to pay his alma mater a visit after learning that students were reading his autobiography.  His return to the school was a way for him to give back to the community that cultivated his dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter.

    “Students in Amy Thomson’s English class had been reading ‘Walk to Beautiful,’ and I thought what better way to discuss the obstacles I had to overcome than to encourage the students in person to never give up on their dreams,” said Wayne. 

    Many of Thomson’s students connected with Wayne and shared about common experiences.

    “Jimmy kept them interested as he talked about his upbringing in Bessemer City and the difficulties he had,” said Thomson. “It was amazing, and my students were thrilled to hear his story firsthand.”

    Born in Kings Mountain, Wayne’s life was transformed by the love of an elderly couple who welcomed him into their Bessemer City home when he had nowhere else to go.  Since making it big in Nashville with hits like “Stay Gone” and “Do You Believe Me Now,” Wayne has become an advocate for foster children and homeless youth, using his story to bring awareness to the needs of those who may be overlooked.

    “I want to be a voice for people growing up the way I grew up, and I want to inspire them,” he said. “I also want to inspire the people who might not know about these kids.”

    In addition to his visit with the students, Wayne’s “Project Meet Me Halfway” campaign donated $10,000 to the high school.

    “His contribution will make a significant impact on the lives of our current and future students,” said principal Sheila Wyont.  “We are incredibly grateful for his generosity.”