Darlington School: Leading the Way: Golden Tigers, Catherine (Sapp) Harrison (’70T) & John Harrison (’70) 
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Leading the Way: Golden Tigers, Catherine (Sapp) Harrison (’70T) & John Harrison (’70)

Carson Raymond | June 16, 2021 | 395 views

Catherine (Sapp) Harrison and John Harrison are proud alumni. Most recently, they expressed their appreciation with a major gift to Darlington, each donating a lead gift to establish the Golden Circle giving society to recognize contributors from 50th reunion classes. 

Catherine grew up in Rome and fondly recalls her time as a Thornwood. John was a boarding student from Ellijay, Ga. Post-secondary school, the two pursued higher education at Converse College and the University of Georgia, respectively. Catherine also completed her master’s degree at Berry College. 

It wasn’t until their 15-year reunion that Catherine and John met. 10-and-a-half years after they met, the Harrisons married in 1996 -- around the time that her children, Catherine (’97) and Will (’94), would also graduate from Darlington.

In 1997, the Harrisons moved to Ellijay to live full time, and they’ve enjoyed their time in the charming mountain town that John calls home. He spent the bulk of his career with the ETC Communications, most recently serving as president of the organization. ETC, whose history spans more than 100 years, is the primary telecommunications provider for Ellijay and the surrounding areas. Catherine shared a variety of tidbits with me on the growth and charm that exists in Ellijay and mentioned that they have even connected with a few Darlington folks at local venues.

Philanthropy has been important to the Harrisons for decades, and Catherine says they feel blessed to be able to give back to educational institutions in both the Ellijay community and throughout the state. 

”Education gives so much,” she said, “and we want to pay it forward.” 

Pay it forward they have. The Harrisons, via their lead gift (each having made gifts to honor their 50th reunion class) have cemented the creation of the Golden Circle giving society at Darlington. This society, which honors philanthropic members of 50th Reunion classes who have given $50,000 or more, aims to continue a legacy of high achievement at Darlington by supporting our students. 

“With these gifts, we hope to help ensure continued generations of students with solid character,” said Catherine.

As the Harrisons and fellow members of the Classes of 1970 (from both Thornwood and Darlington) were not able to formally celebrate their 50th reunion during the fall of 2020, we look forward to hosting a lively group of Golden alumni – including members of the classes of 1970 and 1971 – during Alumni Weekend 2021. 

On behalf of the entire Darlington Community past, present, and future, we send our gratitude to the Harrisons for their continued generosity and leadership. Lastly, we are energized by the establishment of the Golden Circle, and we are eager to connect with members of 50th reunion classes to discuss your potential gift and membership to this select group.

For more information about the Golden Circle giving society, feel free to contact me anytime.