Lots of people have had a surprise birthday party, but not many people have had a surprise resolution handed to them by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. 

Former Guilford County Commissioner and former Guilford County Board of Education member Dot Kearns, however, got that honor at the county commissioners Thursday, June 17 meeting.

“I’ve never been so surprised,” Kearns said standing at the podium wearing a T-shirt and blue jeans. 

“I would never have come in jeans,” Kearns said.

The item was listed on the agenda and, a few days before the meeting, when the Rhino Times called to get a copy of the resolution in order to write about it, county staff asked the Rhino Times to wait because it was going to be a surprise.

Kearns, who did seem very surprised indeed, was at the meeting to speak in support of school funding on the night the county adopted its 2021-2022 budget.

“I am rarely speechless but I am today,” she said, adding that her life had been a “great journey.”

“I’ll do my best to live up to those accolades,” she said.

There is indeed a lot to honor when it comes to Kearns’ contributions to the community,

The resolution, meant to honor her “lifetime achievements,” states: “Dorothy “Dot” Kendall Kearns is an engaged humanitarian, groundbreaking political leader and dedicated educational advocate who is passionate about enriching the lives of all Guilford County citizens… Mrs. Kearns has served as a tireless advocate for children and their educational needs, beginning with the commencement of her professional careers as a social worker within High Point; and then in service when she was elected to the High Point Board of Education (1972-1982) and Guilford County Board of Education (1992-2008).”

She served on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners from 1982 to 1990 and was the board’s first female chair from 1985 to 1988.  In addition, she served on the Guilford County Board of Elections from 2009 to 2016.

She has also been a member of the League of Women Voters; the National Conference of Community and Justice, the Communities in Schools Advisory Council and the Piedmont Triad Partnership, of which she was a founding member.  A lot of other contributions could be listed as well.

    “NOW, THEREFORE,” the resolution states, “BE IT RESOLVED by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners that it hereby expresses its appreciation and admiration for the lifetime achievements and accomplishments of Dorothy “Dot” Kendall Kearns, and hereby declares June 27, 2021 as Dorothy “Dot” Kendall Kearns Day in Guilford County, in honor and celebration of her birthday and her numerous contributions to the Guilford County community.”