Ashbrook High School
Star Teacher Award
Nominated by Nicole Best
Hi, My name is Nicole Best and I am honored to be Ashbrook’s Star Student this year. It was hard to choose one teacher to be my Star Teacher, but I am excited to honor Mr. Rhodes for his hard work as a teacher and dedication as a coach. I first met Mr. Rhodes when I joined the cross country team in my sophomore year. He constantly pushed me to do my best and achieve more, so I was excited to be in his AP U.S. History class as a junior the next year. I could immediately see his passion for history, and I loved listening to his lectures in AP U.S. History and AP World History. He made every topic interesting and kept me engaged through fun group projects and discussions, even when I wasn't the most talkative! He also taught me the importance of a consistent work ethic through his constant Cornell note homework. I know this will prove a useful skill through my college years studying Biochemistry. I can’t express how thankful I am for everything Mr. Rhodes has done, but I hope honoring him as Ashbrook’s Star Teacher will show my gratitude. Thank you, Mr. Rhodes.
Bessemer City High School
Star Teacher Award
Nominated by Aleczandria Stinnett
In looking back on my high school years, I have had many teachers and staff influence my academic career. One of the highlights include passing my AP biology exam. This would have not been possible without the help of Mrs. Knight. Mrs. Knight prepared us for the AP exam in a way which not only taught us the material, but helped us to understand what we were learning. She did a tremendous job helping to keep us focused during the semester. She made learning biology fun and exciting to me, even though it is not my best subject.
Mrs Knight is not only an amazing teacher but she truly cares about her students. She took the time to really listen to us as students and helped us not only with work assignments but also with life lessons. She was never too busy to lend an ear, and sometimes a hand, to help us better ourselves. My days at Bessemer City High School were better because of Mrs. Knight. Her great teaching skills, kindness and compassion is what makes her my “Star Teacher.” I would like to thank her for all of the extra help, teaching and love that she provided not only for me, but everyone she has taught at Bessemer City High School!
Cherryville High School
Robert “Lance” Holt
Star Teacher Award
Nominated by Chase McNeill
The teacher that has had the greatest impact on my life is the one and only Mr. Robert Holt. Mr. Holt is one of the most genuine teachers I have ever had the pleasure of being the student of. From making what some would call a boring class, to his intuitive and interactive lessons, he engages his students with games in order for them to learn and enjoy the class. I have observed this virtue in two different classes: American History I and AP American History, where his students seem to excel, resulting in high scores in class and on the AP Final Exam. Not only is he a great teacher, but he is also an exceptional role model.
My freshman year, Mr. Holt became a track coach, even though he had no prior knowledge of the sport. He did this from his heart for his students and sacrificed his own time to provide more for the school than he already did. In order to care for students outside of his own classes, he created the “Open Door Club” in order to assist Student Government and help better the school. The club was anonymous to prove that there was no need to be recognized in order to be helpful.
Mr. Holt has inspired me to study history in college and has helped me through the process of applying to colleges as one of the teachers who wrote me an astonishing recommendation. Mr. Holt is a great teacher and a great man, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to be his student.
Stuart W. Cramer High School
Star Teacher Award
Nominated by David John Major
Mrs. Hoerst is the teacher who influenced me the most during high school. Before Mrs. Hoerst’s AP Prep English 9 class, I thought ELA classes were dull. I enjoyed reading, but no teacher had made English class interesting to me. All of that changed in the ninth grade. Mrs. Hoerst’s in-class activities and discussions were my first experience taking deep dives into literature. The discussions we had about “Things Fall Apart” and “Night” forced students to think about, or to start actually analyzing, literature in ways we never had before. She pushed us from just discussing what had happened in a book to analyzing why an author used a theme or a certain type of imagery. I was fortunate to have Mrs. Hoerst again in tenth grade English, and that second class continued to help us develop our critical analysis.
Mrs. Hoerst also started improving my writing skills. And that was much more of a challenge. I thoroughly disliked writing. I had been diagnosed with a learning difference in second grade called dysgraphia. What dyslexia is to reading is what dysgraphia is to writing -- it was very hard for me to put my thoughts on paper in an organized way. But our class discussions showed Mrs. Hoerst that I had read and thought about the books. She worked with me to grow my rudimentary writing skills. Without her instruction, AP Literature and Language would have been extremely difficult. She also convinced me that learning to write was an important skill. As a student interested in math and science, I previously saw little benefit in learning how to compose my thoughts into well-organized essays. But the complex analysis of literature started to feel more like explaining a complex science experiment. She taught my least favorite subject, but Mrs. Hoerst’s two English classes dramatically improved my critical thinking and writing skills.
East Gaston High School
Star Teacher Award
Nominated by MaKayla Boyd
I would first like to say that I am honored to be East Gaston’s Star Student. While I have had a lot of teachers that have impacted me throughout all 13 of my years in Gaston County, Mrs. Lytz has impacted me the most. She has a constant desire to make her students better, inside and outside of the classroom. Though she teaches some of the most challenging courses at East Gaston, I can attest to the fact that as long as you work hard, you will be successful.
I have had the pleasure of having Mrs. Lytz as a teacher for 2 years in AP English Language and AP English Literature. After the first week of her class, I honestly thought that there would be no way I was going to pass. After smooth sailing through many of my freshman and sophomore classes, I had signed up for what I knew would be a great challenge. I soon realized how much Mrs. Lytz was willing to help her students no matter the circumstances. From her class, I have gained life lessons that I will take with me throughout college. I also can now write a quality essay in 45 minutes, which has been very helpful in college scholarship essay writing.
After two weeks of remote learning, which turned into virtual school for the rest of the year, Mrs. Lytz never failed in making it her duty to see that each of her students were okay, mentally and emotionally. This year, on the last day of her class as seniors, we walked into class to find Mrs. Lytz had brought donuts and hot chocolate. This goes to show how Mrs. Lytz goes above and beyond to make sure her students feel loved and celebrated. I have been blessed to be able to have such an influential teacher in my life, and I will take with me her bold heart when I am a teacher myself someday soon. Thank you for everything.
Forestview High School
Star Teacher Award
Nominated by Harshil Ramchandani
Thank you for this opportunity! Throughout the time I have been at Forestview High School, I have grown into the person I am today. Out of the many wonderful teachers that influenced my high school experience, I chose Mr. Combs as my Star Teacher. I first met Mr. Combs in my tenth grade Civics Class. I did remarkably well in that class and enjoyed it because of how well Mr. Combs can make an hour and 30-minute history lecture into an exhilarating journey! Mr. Combs always made learning fun and engaging, which prepared me to do great on the Civics exam.
Not only does Mr.Combs teach history, but also coaches track, handles student council and spirit club. I joined spirit club during my junior year and have seen Mr. Combs devote a lot of his time not just to me, but to the whole student body. Mr.Combs is a great role model. He took our student council to volunteer for the Special Olympics which he does twice almost every year. He also helped feed many families for Thanksgiving the past two years and collected gift cards for families in need at St. Jude Children’s Hospital with the help of our student council. Before the pandemic, he would arrange lively pep rallies and activities for students to participate in or watch, which helped raise money for the school. He also allowed our student council team to help set up fun events for students including student-teacher basketball games, student-teacher dodgeball games, girls’ football games, senior cookouts, and many more.
Mr. Combs has made me feel like I have an active voice in things going on at school. For example, he lets the spirit club put out themes that students can vote on for the student section at games and during spirit week. Mr. Combs has been trying his best to make things normal for seniors during this unexpected pandemic. He held student council meetings where we discussed how we can try to make the best out of this pandemic year. Not only is Mr. Combs a great teacher but also a great community builder for this school.
Gaston Early College High School
Star Teacher Award
Nominated by Savannah Mercer
During the years of high school is where you grow the most as a person and as a student. You experience a multitude of new things, like getting a job and learning how to drive. These years teach you the responsibility of becoming a young adult, taking ownership of the decisions you make, and attempting to plan your future. During these times, it’s important that you have a support system and people who care about you as a person and your success. I owe a major part of my success and growth to Mrs. Hibberts. She was my support system. Mrs.Hibberts takes the time to get to know her students. If I ever had a bad day, Mrs. Hibberts knew something was wrong and made a point to let me know that she was there if I needed to talk.
Knowing that you have a person that believes in you can make or break your high school experience. For me, I knew that Mrs. Hibberts believed in me and that made all the difference. My high school experience doesn’t look like everyone else’s but I’m glad it turned out that way. If I hadn’t gone to Gaston Early College High School, I would have never met Mrs. Hibberts and I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
The hardest part of my high school career has been my senior year due to applying for college and making career decisions, let alone learning through a pandemic that affected the entire world. I felt the weight of everything happening, the decisions I had to make, and the things I needed to do, but Mrs. Hibberts reminded me that she was there for me. Thank you Mrs. Hibberts for everything that you have done for me and the impact you have made on my life.
Highland School of Technology
Nominated by Madelyn Van Meter
Nobody embodies the principle of a "Star Teacher" quite like Mrs. Ballard. I had Civics and AP Government with her, and am a member of moot court, a club for which she is the advisor. I first had Mrs. Ballard as a teacher for sophomore year Civics. I immediately fell in love with the class. Mrs. Ballard sought every opportunity to find engaging ways to teach. For example, we had to complete a semester-long project involving community outreach. I was first intimidated by such a large-scale project, but it was entirely worthwhile. I learned the values of service and cooperation. That is the way all of Mrs. Ballard's assignments were.
Beyond just covering the lesson, we completed projects that taught us vital life skills, like financial planning. Mrs. Ballard constantly exceeds all expectations. The pandemic hit halfway through AP Government. It was an extremely demanding class, and no one was sure how we would continue in our new environment. She quickly worked on finding ways to keep us involved; one of which was creating an Instagram account through which we could stay in touch with one another. She also shared the different ways she was helping her community, like making masks and stocking food drives. It's always been obvious that Mrs. Ballard prioritizes our success. She spent the day before the AP exam driving across the county to give us care packages and make sure that we felt prepared for the test. As a moot court advisor, she has worked tirelessly to read through case law to ensure we feel prepared.
Mrs. Ballard's drive and passion for her work is always evident. Thanks to her, I have fallen in love with finding impactful ways to help those in my community on both a local and national level.
Hunter Huss High School
Nominated by Lanadia Reasia Adams
“Wow, this lady is super loud and talks very fast” are two of the things I remember thinking while sitting in Ms. Huffman’s classroom for the first time. The first month or two in your class, we did not get along at all. But you are one of the few people who never gave up on me, and I appreciate that.
Sophomore year was my favorite year of high school because of you, and I feel like I learned the most that year. Before I ever got to know you, I was deciding what career I wanted to go into. I was trying to choose between becoming a lawyer or a doctor. You gave your “all about me” speech that you give every year, and talked about how you wanted to be a lawyer before you were a teacher, and I started leaning toward becoming a lawyer more.
I was excited to learn every day in your class because you had a lot of the same interests that I did, and you actually cared about your students. Every day that I came in and wasn’t myself, you noticed instantly. You made me feel comfortable talking to you about anything. You taught me the importance of school, how to be myself, and how important it is to respect teachers. You taught me so much inside and outside the classroom. You pushed me to do my best at all times.
I never admired or looked up to anyone in my life until I met you. You are my role model and my best friend all rolled into one. You are caring, honest, and a hard worker, and that is everything that I am working toward becoming.
North Gaston High School
Star Teacher Award
Nominated by Kaitlyn Bice
Mrs. Jennifer Reed is incredibly deserving of the Star Teacher Award because she is a champion for her students. She has an amazing gift of being able to connect with a student inside and outside of the classroom. She is not only a great math teacher at North Gaston High School, but she is also an inspiring Yearbook Director and the Marching Band Color Guard Director.
Mrs. Reed has an amazing talent at teaching both simple and advanced mathematics to students of all abilities, while also reaching out to them on an emotional level. She is encouraging and makes sure no student is left behind. Her warm and inclusive teaching style helps her form strong relationships with the students that last long after they have graduated.
Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Reed cultivates her student’s passions and is an invaluable mentor. As Color Guard Director, she has taught me invaluable leadership skills and encouraged me to bring the team closer together. She pushed me to work hard and to go beyond my comfort zone to learn new skills. She gave me opportunities that other coaches wouldn’t have, like letting me choreograph part of the color guard routine for our marching band program last year. Overall, she has pushed me to work hard for my dreams and overcome any hardships along the way.
Mrs. Reed has a very positive attitude and takes great initiative at North Gaston High School. She leads by example, works very hard, and makes sure that each student knows that she cares about them personally. She is truly every student’s advocate. She exemplifies leadership and compassion, and is always there for anyone who needs her.
Mrs. Jennifer Reed energizes all of those around her and I am a better person today because I had her as a teacher.
South Point High School
Nominated by Sydney Lester
Mr. Kubbs is easily the most influential history teacher I’ve ever had. I had Mr. Kubbs during my junior year for AP U.S. history. History was never my best subject, but I had no idea how much I would learn in his class. Mr. Kubbs challenged us as students, and we always wanted to step up to the challenge. I looked forward to Mr. Kubbs’ class every day, and so did all of my classmates, because his lectures were funny, engaging, and never boring. His class made me want to learn about American history, so it was never a chore to study or learn the content in the class.
Not only did he make every class fun and interesting, but he taught us real history. He didn’t sugar coat any of the stories we were learning about; he taught us what actually happened. It made the class feel worthwhile and important, and it made us as students even more inquisitive and driven to learn.
AP U.S. History was the class I missed the most when we went virtual in March of last year, but Mr. Kubbs was the best of my teachers when it came to transitioning to an online class. He continued to post lectures for us and even had zoom meetings for us to ask questions. It gave us a sense of normalcy in the chaos that was 2020, and we still got to learn and enjoy the class.
I was more prepared for the AP exam for U.S. History than I was for any of my other AP classes.
All in all, Mr. Kubbs was my favorite history teacher of all time because his class was engaging, fascinating, and made my classmates and me want to step up to the challenge and excel.
Webb Street School
Nominated by Sergio Roberto Quinonez Munoz
I chose Mrs. Kirsy Isabel as my Star Teacher. Mrs. Isabel is my favorite teacher and my friend. She helped me learn to communicate and speak Spanish at school.
She always treats me nicely and with respect. She helps me with my work. She helped me learn to write, read a little, and do math. Mrs. Isabel is always kind to everyone. She is a very good person. She smiles a lot. Mrs. Kirsy likes to help students.