Through the years, Chester Township has managed to produce a number of notable names.
NBA star Jameer Nelson, Broadway singer Ethel Waters and the first superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy Hubert R. Harmon are just a few from Chester that have gone on to accomplish big things in their careers.
Well, don’t be surprised to see local news reporter and Chester native Dray Clark of CBS 3 added to that list. One could label him as local kid who came home to do good.
From the time he was tot, Clark appeared to have a passion for news. At a young age, Clark had his first experience with the media, after a young girl fell out of a window near his house and a reporter later interviewed his mother on the incident.
“My son was the one who told me the reporter wanted to speak to me about the incident,” said mother Terri Clark. “At the time, I told my son I didn’t want to speak to the reporter, but five minutes later there she was. After she left, Dray says ‘mom, that’s what I want to do when I grow up.’”
Born and raised in Delaware County, Clark attended Chester High Academy. He is a 2000 graduate of Lincoln University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English Communications.
“Dray got his motivation from the people around him,” his mother Terri said. “He always watched the news and read books from an early age. He even made a commercial in high school where he was doing the news. I’ve always supported everything that my son has done. I’m very proud of him and excited to see him achieve his dream.”
Years later, Clark is now an Emmy-winning news reporter for local CBS affiliate Channel 3.
“I realized at a young age that I wanted to be a reporter,” he said. “I would watch the news and study people like Lisa Thomas Laury, Ukee Washington, Joyce Evans and Tracey Matisak. Those were the only people that I watched closely to try to get a sense of how they do what they do. The more I watched the more I realized I wanted to do it.”
Clark joined CBS 3 and the CW Philly as a general assignment reporter in September 2008. Clark came home to the Delaware Valley from WJW-TV, the FOX station in Cleveland, Ohio where he has been a reporter and weekend anchor since 2005.
Previously, he had served as a reporter and weekend anchor for WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich. He also worked at WMAZ-TV in Macon, Ga. as a reporter and weekend anchor.
“It’s good to be able to work in a city that you’re very familiar with,” he said. “Philadelphia is a very tough news market. It’s very fast paced and if you’re not prepared it’s the kind of market that will eat you alive. Philadelphia is the fourth largest television market in the country, once you make it to this level you need to make sure you’re prepared because the only other way to go is down. Some people elect to go back down by choice, but no one wants to go back down because they failed from a higher level.”
Clark has garnered many accolades throughout his career. According to him, that’s not what motivates the reporter to succeed.
“I like to do great things without people knowing about it,” he said. “I still have dreams that I’ve yet to accomplish, one being building a school in Chester. I already have the concept in my head. The kids in Chester deserve a better education.”
When it comes to news and Chester — news within the city limits have not been the most positive.
“A lot of the kids in Chester come from difficult circumstances,” Clark said. “They feel like they can’t make it out. When you’re constantly around death, destruction and depression you just take on that spirit and your spirit becomes broken. You don’t want to succeed or progress because you become comfortable. I want to make people in Chester understand that we are at a serious impasse here.
“If we don’t start making some constructive and positive changes in Chester we’re going to lose a lot more lives,” he added. “Kids need to see an example of someone who is positive and works hard the traditional way. I spend a lot of time in Chester to try to encourage and inspire them as much as possible. I’m here to tell them they can make it; there is a whole world outside of Chester. I’m just trying to inspire and encourage as many people as I can young and old.”
In addition to reporting, Clark is also known for speaking and hosting various events throughout the community.
“His level of excellence is what always got my attention — he’s a natural,” said Clark’s father, Isiah A. Jones Jr. “I can remember listening to him at the Martin Luther King breakfast and he had one of the most profound speeches I have ever heard. It’s a powerful feeling to wake up in the morning and see your son on TV before you go to work.
“I’m real proud of him because I really had the desire to do it myself as far as news or radio, but I just didn’t have what he had, which is the presence of mind at a young age and to prepare for what you want to do and stick to it,” he added.
Clark has received numerous accolades through his career.
His reporting has been honored with a 2004 Michigan Emmy Award for Best Health and Medical Series and two awards from the Press Club of Cleveland for Spot News and General News.
“I watched Ukee Washington for years and to be able to be friends with him is a dream coming true,” Clark said. “If you have that kind of friendship with people you grew up watching it’s a blessing. Every time I see that three on that building I say ‘wow, I get to work here.’ This is such huge blessing for me and I don’t take it for granted.”
The funeral services for Linda Page, former Dobbins Tech basketball star, will be held on Saturday, October 15 at 11 a.m.
The services will take place at Resurrection Community Methodist Church, 6200 Dicks Avenue. Page 48, who recently passed away, was an All-American at Dobbins Tech and North Carolina State.
Sports documentary on rowing
WHYY will broadcast a sports documentary titled “Making Waves,” which explores the issue of diversity in the sport of rowing. The film will air on Wednesday, October 12 at 10 p.m. The documentary was produced and filmed at Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row, where outstanding rowers and Olympic champions have trained for more than 150 years.
Jameer Nelson headlines Saint Joseph’s 10th Athletics Hall of Fame Class
Jameer Nelson, former Saint Joseph’s All-American basketball player, who now plays for the Orlando Magic, headlines this year’s induction class for the Saint Joseph’s University Athletics Hall of Fame, with the 10th hall of fame celebration set for November 5 at McShain Hall. Joining Nelson as inductees will be: Steve Ave ’89 (men’s track), Vicki Boyer ’94 (cross country/track), Phil Greipp ’64 (men’s rowing), Mike Hauer ’70 (men’s basketball), Dan Kelly ’70 (men’s basketball), Kevin Kirkby ’01 (baseball) and Terri Mohr ’86 (women’s basketball).
Nelson, arguably one of the greatest players in Hawks history, was the catalyst for Saint Joseph’s 30-2 season in 2003-04, which included a perfect regular season (27-0), the nation’s No. 1 ranking and a berth in the NCAA Elite Eight. The winner of the John R. Wooden Award, he was the consensus National Player of the Year and an All-America first team selection. The former Chester High standout averaged 20.6 points that year and finished his career as SJU’s all-time leading scorer (2,094), assists (713) and steals (256). He was chosen in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets and then traded to Orlando, where he has enjoyed a successful NBA career.
Temple’s Stephen Johnson named MAC Defensive Player of the Week
Stephen Johnson, Temple senior linebacker from Norristown, has earned Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for the East division. In Saturday’s 42-0 shutout victory at Ball State, Johnson led the Owls with a career-high 16 tackles, including a career-high eight solos, a career-high eight assists, and a career-high two TFL for a total of 12 yards. He also had a 10-yard sack against the Cardinals, a career first. The shutout is the first for a Temple defense this fall that has held opponents to a combined 17 points in four wins.
Johnson also earned national Honorable Mention Linebacker of the Week honors from the College Football Performance Awards as well as MAC Defensive Player of the Week honors from College Sports Madness and OwlSports.com Athlete of the Week accolades.
The MAC honor is the first of Johnson’s collegiate career. He is the second Owl to earn recognition for the third time this season as junior running back Bernard Pierce earned offensive honors twice.
Temple (4-2, 2-1 MAC) hosts Buffalo (2-4, 1-1 MAC) in its annual Homecoming game, on October 15. Kickoff at Lincoln Financial Field is set for 1 p.m. The Temple Sports Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced at halftime.
Shep Garner has a good feeling about how far Roman Catholic can go in the PIAA tournament. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise after Roman defeated Martin Luther King, 69-53, to win the District 12 Class AAAA city championship at Saint Joseph’s over the weekend.
Garner put on quite a show in that game, scoring 21 points and handing out eight assists on his way to being named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Next up for the Cahillites will be Norristown on Saturday, March 9 in the first round of the PIAA Tournament. The game will be played at La Salle High School starting at 5 p.m.
“I think we can go to the championship,” Garner said. “We put in a lot of work this year. It’s paying off. My teammates are really important to us. Manny (Taylor) gives us an inside presence. He’s a big key to our team. Traci (Carter) is a young guard who goes out and plays hard every play. He’s tough. He brings a different element.
“Rashann London is probably one of the best juniors in the country, in my eyes. He’s just as important. I lean on him. He leans on me. We really play well together. We’re definitely hitting our stride now. We took our lumps early. This is the right time to actually start hitting our stride. It’s really a tribute to all my teammates and coaches. They put me in the right position.”
Garner, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior, has played some great basketball this season. He’s averaging 16.6 points a game, one of the top scorers in the Catholic League. Garner also received first-team All Catholic League honors from the league coaches.
A Chester resident, Garner grew up playing basketball in the same playgrounds as former Chester High and Saint Joseph’s star Jameer Nelson, who plays for the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He has a good foundation for the game, thanks to Nelson and others in the community.
“I’ve been around Jameer all my life,” he said. “We’re very close. (Eric) Pooh Evans is my trainer and mentor. He’s my big brother. I look at him and he gives me that advice that I need both mentally and physically. He’s a big part of this, like Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings) and his little brother. I’ve learned a lot about the NBA from Jameer and Tyreke. They just give me confidence. They let me know that I can do it.”
When Roman Catholic isn’t playing its games, Garner usually catches up with all his friends on Chester High’s basketball team, which happens to be currently making a run at the PIAA state title.
“They’re all my brothers,” Garner said. “They make sure that we still have the same relationship.”
It was a big night for Garner and his friends from Chester High. Roman won the city crown. Chester defeated Lower Merion at Villanova to advance in the PIAA tournament.