- Gaston County Schools
Schools name valedictorians and salutatorians
June 9, 2018
Contact: Todd Hagans
Chief Communications Officer
Office: (704) 866-6118
Cell: (704) 718-0279
Gaston high schools name valedictorians and salutatorians
Gastonia, N.C. – Gaston County Schools has 25 students in the Class of 2018 who have achieved valedictorian or salutatorian honors. Each valedictorian and salutatorian were recognized during high school graduation.
The senior with the highest weighted grade point average (GPA) is selected valedictorian and the senior with the second-highest weighted GPA is chosen salutatorian. When students are tied for first or second in the class, co-valedictorian and co-salutatorian honors are presented.
Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker said, “We are pleased to recognize and honor 25 seniors in the Class of 2018 as our valedictorians and salutatorians – we are very proud of these students.”
Booker continued, “On behalf of the Board of Education, we congratulate our valedictorians and salutatorians for maintaining an impressive academic record during their educational career, and we thank them for being excellent leaders and role models at school and in our community. We are confident that these high-achieving students will continue to be successful in everything they choose to do.”
Listed below are the valedictorians and salutatorians for the 11 high schools and biography information about each student.
Ashbrook High School
Valedictorian: Andrew Lee
- Parents: Dr. Barry Lee and Funda Lee
- College Plans: N.C. State University to major in earth and space engineering; plans to pursue a career in meteorology.
- Accolades: Scholar-athlete; captain of varsity soccer and cross country teams and SGCSA Flames Soccer Club; Commissioners’ School of Excellence; member of the student council senate and Junior Civitan and outdoors clubs.
Salutatorian: Krith Patel
- Parents: Kapil and Kalpana Patel
- College Plans: N.C. State University to major in biology.
- Accolades: Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit; cross country team captain; National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists Award of Excellence; AP (Advanced Placement) Scholar; N.C. State Goodnight Scholar.
Bessemer City High School
Valedictorian: Natalie Peregory
- Parents: Mike and Rhonda Peregory
- College Plans: UNC-Wilmington to major in biology/pre-pharmacy; plans to become a pharmacist.
- Accolades: Chief junior marshal; member of Leadership Academy; member of volleyball and softball teams for four years – earned all-conference honors; Star Student; State Employees Credit Union People Helping People Scholarship.
Salutatorian: Janeva Wilson
- Parents: Nevin and Janine Wilson
- College Plans: Winston-Salem State University (major is undecided); plans to pursue a master’s degree.
- Accolades: Member of the ‘Pride of the Hive’ marching and concert bands for four years; junior marshal; member of the Leadership Academy and Beta Club; recipient of the Winston-Salem State Chancellor’s Scholarship (full-tuition scholarship).
Cherryville High School
Valedictorian: Taylor Paputseanos
- Parents: Robert and Lory Paputseanos
- College Plans: UNC-Chapel Hill to major in psychology; plans to become a psychologist.
- Accolades: Star Student; Dwight H. Harrelson Scholarship; Cherryville High School Academic Booster Club Scholarship; National Honor Society; member of the school band for four years.
Salutatorian: Alex Long
- Parents: Ashley and Preston Long
- College Plans: UNC-Chapel Hill to major in pharmacy; plans to become a pharmacist.
- Accolades: Albert G. Myers Scholarship; Cherryville Rotary Club Scholarship; Gaston Gazette Best and Brightest; member of the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society.
Stuart W. Cramer High School
Valedictorian: Julia Simone Short
- Parents: Marlo Short and Michael Short
- College Plans: UNC-Chapel Hill to major in environmental studies and communications; plans to work for an environmental nonprofit legal group after law school.
- Accolades: Charlotte Observer All-Star Scholar; American Junior Academy of Sciences Fellow; first place award in advanced chemistry at the N.C. Student Academy of Sciences Fair for her coal ash research.
Salutatorian: Quentin Samuel Hooker
- Parents: Byron and Donna Hooker
- College Plans: N.C. State University to major in aerospace engineering; plans to work as an aerospace engineer for a private company like SpaceX or a public entity like NASA.
- Accolades: Scholar-athlete; N.C. State Fire Association Scholarship; N.C. Rescue and EMS Association Scholarship; Clarence M. Smith, Jr. Scholarship; Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout.
East Gaston High School
Valedictorian: Hannah Ashlyn Rose Presson
- Parents: Joanna Greene and Joel Presson
- College Plans: N.C. State University to major in chemistry.
- Accolades: Co-chief junior marshal; Female Athlete of the Year and Female Scholar Athlete of the Year; finalist for the Shovelin Scholarship.
Salutatorian: Caroline Elizabeth Turner
- Parents: Paul and Angela Turner
- College Plans: Gaston College to pursue an associate of arts degree and then transfer to a four-year university to major in elementary education.
- Accolades: Junior marshal; Chick-fil-A Leadership Scholarship.
Forestview High School
Co-Valedictorian: Sally Kate Buckles
- Parents: Robert and Kate Buckles
- College Plans: UNC-Chapel Hill to major in media and journalism.
- Accolades: Head counselor of the Junior Assembly of Gastonia for four years and counselor for YMCA Camp Seafarer for two years; member of the homecoming court, National Honor Society, Beta Club, and Junior Civitans.
Co-Valedictorian: Allison Grace Roney
- Parents: Douglas and Lisa Roney
- College Plans: UNC-Chapel Hill to major in nursing; plans to work as a nurse practitioner or certified nurse anesthetist.
- Accolades: Captain of tennis and swim teams; National Honor Society and Beta Club; Girl Scouts Gold Award; DAR Good Citizen Award; Star Student; Gaston Gazette Best and Brightest Scholarship; Academic Female Athlete of the Year.
Salutatorian: Andrew Ray Hughlett
- Parents: Keith and Lisa Hughlett
- College Plans: N.C. State University (a student in the engineering program) to pursue a five-year master’s degree in computer science with a minor in math.
- Accolades: N.C. State Scholars Program; Commissioners’ School of Excellence; Gaston Chamber’s Junior Leadership Program; N.C. Governor’s School for Natural Science; Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout; National Honor Society; Beta Club.
Gaston Early College High School
Valedictorian: Rachael Dewey
- Parent: Thomas and Jeannette Dewey
- College Plans: UNC-Charlotte to major in business administration with a concentration in business analytics; plans to pursue a master’s degree in data science and business analytics.
- Accolades: Gaston College President’s Award; earned an associate degree in science and an associate degree in arts from Gaston College; perfect scores on the SAT and ACT; Belk Scholar; Boy Scouts of America Venturing Leadership Award.
Co-Salutatorian: Kaizyn Hancock
- Parents: Gary and Lisa Hancock
- College Plans: UNC-Greensboro to major in kinesiology with a minor in dance; plans to pursue a doctorate degree in physical therapy and specialize in dance physical therapy.
- Accolades: Gaston Gazette Best and Brightest Award; earned an associate degree in science and an associate degree in arts from Gaston College; received scholarships totaling $18,000 from UNC-Greensboro.
Co-Salutatorian: Devin Totherow
- Parents: Kevin Totherow and Wendy Necessary
- College Plans: Meredith College to major in history with an add-on teacher license; plans to pursue a career as a middle school or high school history teacher.
- Accolades: Gaston College President’s Award; earned an associate degree in science and an associate degree in arts from Gaston College; received $120,000 in scholarships from Meredith College; Gold Key Writing Award; Teaching Fellow.
Highland School of Technology
Valedictorian: Priya Ashwin Shah
- Parents: Ashwin and Bhavna Shah
- College Plans: Yale University to major in economics.
- Accolades: CaroMont Regional Medical Center volunteer; Beta Club; moot court; co-president of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America); Junior Leadership Gaston; UNC-Charlotte Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering intern.
Salutatorian: Julia Anna Murrow
- Parents: Andrew and Beverly Murrow
- College Plans: Duke University to major in political science and neuroscience.
- Accolades: Beta Club, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America); co-president of moot court and state champion; Junior Leadership Gaston; Gaston County Teen Action Council; N.C. Governor’s School; DAR Good Citizen; QuestBridge Scholar.
Hunter Huss High School
Valedictorian: Gabriela Marie Fonseca
- Parents: Melissa Fonseca and David Fonseca
- College Plans: Duke University to major in history and economics; plans to pursue a career in corporate law.
- Accolades: Gaston Gazette Best and Brightest; Star Student; City of Gastonia Student Achievement Award; president of the Beta Club and Interact Club; scholar-athlete award.
Salutatorian: Kaylie Nicole Crawford
- Parents: Michele and Tim Crawford
- College Plans: Coastal Carolina University to major in marine science; plans to pursue a career in research and ocean conservation.
- Accolades: Coastal Carolina University Presidential Scholarship; all-county wind ensemble; marching band drum major; UNC-Charlotte honors band; vice president of the Beta Club.
North Gaston High School
Valedictorian: Ian Davis Stines
- Parents: Kevin and Alison Stines
- College Plans: Clemson University to major in civil engineering.
- Accolades: Commissioners’ School of Excellence, member of the Beta Club, engineering club, student council, and golf and soccer teams.
Co- Salutatorian: Samuel Bennett Christy
- Parents: Sheldon and Jennifer Christy
- College Plans: N.C. State University to major in engineering.
- Accolades: Member of the soccer and tennis teams.
Co-Salutatorian: Payton Rileigh McKinney
- Parents: Darin and Alicia McKinney
- College Plans: Western Carolina University to major in nursing.
- Accolades: Member of the HOSA club, Beta Club, Project Unify, NOGA Nuts, student council, and track team.
South Point High School
Valedictorian: Jessica Helton
- Parents: Craig and Sherri Helton
- College Plans: University of South Carolina to major in biology; plans to attend medical school to specialize in oncology or endrocrinology.
- Accolades: University of South Carolina Honors College and Alumni and Provost Scholarships; National Merit Scholarship recipient; N.C. Governor’s School; National AP (Advanced Placement) Scholar; varsity cheerleading team co-captain.
Salutatorian: Kaylee Thagard
- Parents: James and Amy Thagard
- College Plans: Florida State University to major in biology; plans to attend medical school to become a pathologist.
- Accolades: Florida State University Honors College; Marine Corps Scholar Athlete Award; Lester Carpenter Scholarship; all-conference in track and cross country.