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Anniversary culminates with “Big 50” Reception


Reception honors mentors and business partners, culminates “Big 50” celebration


As a culmination for the Gaston County Schools “Big 50 Anniversary,” a three-in-one event was held on May 29 at the Gastonia Conference Center.  The “Big 50 Reception” was a way to honor school mentors, thank business and community partners, and bring the district’s year-long anniversary celebration to a close.

Here are five highlights from the reception:

■ Gaston County Schools has more than 200 mentors and 400 business/community partners.  The mentors and business/community partners in attendance were recognized for their outstanding and meaningful contributions during the 2018-2019 school year.

■ The “Big 50 Anniversary” Presenting Sponsors were honored: American and Efird, Beam Construction, CaroMont Health, GSM Services, Gaston County Education Foundation, Scribbles Software, and Wells Fargo.  Each sponsor contributed $5,000. The City of Gastonia also was recognized as a Presenting Sponsor for providing in-kind services to stage the “Big 50” Parade.

■ Each member of the “Big 50 Anniversary” planning committee was presented a commemorative coin, which featured the “Big 50” logo.  The following people served on the committee:

■ Bryan Denton, Hunter Huss High School

■ Audrey Devine, Stuart W. Cramer High School

■ Chad Duncan, Athletics

■ Thressia Greer, Lingerfeldt Elementary School

■ Todd Hagans, Communications

■ Cindy Owens, W.C. Friday Middle School

■ Philip Ratchford, Academic Services

■ Jacqueline Robinson, Hunter Huss High School

■ Julian Wilson, York Chester Middle School

■ Valerie Yatko, Business Partnerships

■ Three high school seniors were presented the Paul F. Fuller Scholarship, which is given to students involved in the Gaston County Schools mentoring program.  The scholarship winners were Caleb Moore of Hunter Huss High School, Jacob Hunt of Forestview High School, and Anthony Perez of Hunter Huss High School.

■ The Hunter Huss High School chorus performed two songs to close the ceremony: Akakomborerwa” (Shone Blessing) by Lee R. Kesselman and “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical, “Rent.”

Gaston County Schools launched its “Big 50 Anniversary” in August 2018 with the Back-To-School Convocation for employees.  The “Big 50” Parade in September served as the community-wide kickoff for the year-long celebration. Other activities included a pictorial display at the Gaston County Public Library, a sports history exhibit at the Gaston County Museum, an employee talent show, special programming on Channel 21, and history-related posts on social media.

The golden anniversary celebration commemorated the consolidation of the county schools, Gastonia city schools, and Cherryville city schools in 1968 to form the unified Gaston County Schools.

Click the video below to watch the “Big 50” Reception.