Royce Newsome will always be a part of Columbia County's history.
A lifelong Evans resident, Newsome has worked for Columbia County as a utility permitting officer for the past nine years, since retiring from Georgia Power.
However, Newsome's most memorable contribution to the county didn't come from his many years of service. It came when he was a freshman at Evans High School in 1955.
"Everybody thought I did something great, but I didn't think it was all that," Newsome said.
A contest held at Evans High School back in the fall of 1955 called for students to submit any and all ideas for a new school mascot.
Only a handful of entries were selected for the final cut, and a vote from the student body overwhelmingly chose Newsome's entry, the Evans Black Knights, as the winner.
"We had some ridiculous suggestions, but I took it seriously," Newsome said. "I wanted it to represent a code of conduct and chivalry."
Fifty years later, the school still has the same mascot, and Newsome still has his original entry.
The drawing is a small, pencil sketching of a knight in armor with a lance. Newsome said he drew the logo, and his mother kept the original in a scrapbook.
"It's a piece of history, like the arches in front of the school," he said.
Newsome became a Knight himself as a basketball player for Evans, but he didn't graduate from the school.
After his freshman year, a fire destroyed the school building and Newsome, like many other desperate students, reluctantly left Evans to attend a school in Augusta.
"I hated to see that school burn down," Newsome said. "I didn't leave with any kind of animosity."
Newsome still keeps his roots in his hometown.
His daughter is a graduate of Evans High School and he has three grandchildren currently enrolled in the Columbia County school system.
"I've been blessed in my life," he said. "I love it here."
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