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Good News from Gaston County Schools, May
Melissa Clements of Belmont Middle School was named the Gaston County Teacher of the Year for 2023-2024 during the Evening of Excellence ceremony on May 2. The award is presented by Truist. The award finalists included Lindsay Dickerson Beverly of Forestview High School; Joanna Kirk Dotson of Tryon Elementary; Michael Kaufman of East Gaston High School; and Jamie Monk of Highland School of Technology.
Justin Beam of North Belmont Elementary was named the Gaston County Principal of the Year for 2023-2024 during the Evening of Excellence ceremony on May 2. The award is presented by Truist. The award finalists included Bryan Denton of Hunter Huss High School; Jessica Steiner of Stuart W. Cramer High School; Jaime Wallace of Brookside Elementary School; and Sheila Wyont of Bessemer City High School.
Josh Bromley of Forestview High School was named the Gaston County Schools Assistant Principal of the Year for 2023-2024 during the Evening of Excellence ceremony on May 2. The award finalists included Michael Dermott of Mount Holly Middle; Doug Doorley of Lowell Elementary; NaKishia Glenn of North Gaston High School; and Janet Ramsey of Robinson Elementary.
Curtis Poplin of the Technology Support Services Department was named the Gaston County Schools Central Office Administrator of the Year during the Evening of Excellence ceremony on May 2. The award finalists included Shannon Hullett, director of elementary instruction, Academic Services Department; Celeste Sadler, coordinator of professional development, Academic Services Department; Robin Setzer, elementary instruction facilitator, Academic Services Department; and Alan Sprout, information technology operations manager, Technology Support Services Department.
Olivia Bradley of Forestview High School earned the Best in Show honors in the Gaston County Schools “Through An Artist’s Eyes” exhibit at Loray Mill. Ti’ashia Ingram of Bessemer City High School won the Director’s Choice recognition and Chloe Nuzum of Forestview High School won the James C. Biggers Award. In addition, 100 middle school and high school students received first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention awards in the following categories: mixed media, fiber art, black and white drawing, color drawing, crafts, digital art, comic art, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and painting. The art exhibit is conducted in partnership with the Gaston County Museum.
Marley Prato and Bowie Werran of Stuart W. Cramer High School and Cody Meares and Jayda Outen of North Gaston High School were selected as nominees for the best actor and best actress awards in this year’s Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards, which are known as The Blumey Awards. All four students were invited to attend a three-day intensive workshop that included voice, acting, and dance training with industry professionals to prepare them for a second round of adjudication.
The following students were recognized as finalists for The Blumey Awards: Best Supporting Actor, Caleb Bailey, Stuart W. Cramer High School, as General Schmitz in “Seussical;” Best Supporting Actor, Westley Lawson, North Gaston High School, as Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince in “Into the Woods;” Best Supporting Actress, Nyla Hoffman, Stuart W. Cramer High School, as Sour Kangaroo in “Seussical;” Best Supporting Actress, Lily Frazier, North Gaston High School, as Little Red Riding Hood in “Into the Woods;” Best Featured Performer, Paxton Free, Stuart W. Cramer High School, as Bird #1 in “Seussical;” and Best Featured Performer, Mike Schulz, North Gaston High School, as Steward in “Into the Woods.”
Michael Jones of Highland School of Technology, Riley Kiser of Cherryville High School, and Ella Tynan from South Point High School were awarded a $20,000 scholarship to support their academic journey in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Piedmont Lithium provides the scholarship and will contribute up to $5,000 per year for the next four years, assisting the students with tuition as well as covering expenses for room and board at an accredited post-secondary institution.
Gaston County Schools held the annual Poetry and Prose celebration for fourth grade students at Highland School of Technology. Each elementary school selected one representative for the poetry category and one for the prose category with the winning entries published in a countywide literary magazine. Participants received a certificate of participation and a copy of the magazine.
The following schools won county championships: Mount Holly Middle, boys track and field; Belmont Middle, girls track and field; Belmont Middle, girls soccer; and Chavis Middle, baseball.
The following educators received the 2023 Jennie Stultz Grant for Arts Education presented by the Gaston County Education Foundation: Marty Hutchins, Highland School of Technology; Erin Hirst, Lingerfeldt Elementary; and Hilary Koon, Bessemer City Central Elementary.
Students at Bessemer City High School enjoyed a special visit from country music star and New York Times bestselling author Jimmy Wayne. Wayne, a 1992 graduate of Bessemer City High School, shared his story about growing up in foster care and homelessness and eventually finding country music fame in Nashville. In addition to performing several songs for the students, Wayne’s Project Meet Me Halfway Foundation donated $10,000 to the school.
The Brookside Elementary Girls on the Run Team completed a community impact project using strategies taught throughout the season. The team decided to recognize the hard work of the school cafeteria staff by purchasing items for gift bags, writing thank you notes, designing a poster, and painting the school rock to show their appreciation.
Four Cherryville High School student-athletes signed a letter of intent to play sports at the collegiate level. Kanon Willis signed to play baseball at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. Kamarion Bolin signed to play football at Bluefield University. Gabbie McCorkle signed to play basketball at Methodist University. Will Fowler signed to play baseball at Catawba Valley Community College.
Seven students from Stuart W. Cramer High School were selected to represent Gaston County at the North Carolina All-State Choral Festival: Maddie Moore, Madi Schmidt, Ashley Beal, Gavin Hall, Zach Hatfield, Reece Hawkins, and Rylyn Galloway.
East Gaston High School senior Isabel Suarez received Gardner Webb University’s Ignite Excellence Scholarship, which provides full tuition for four years, and McCaskill Rivers received a full-ride scholarship to Milligan University to play basketball.
East Gaston High School’s Raleigh Trite and Henry Cox earned the second and third place awards, respectively, in the beginner automotive category at the Skills USA state competition. Additionally, Gavyn Jones placed third in the automotive service maintenance and light repair category, and Cody Scott secured fifth place in the motorcycle service technology category.
Bailey Hope of Forestview High School was awarded the prestigious Ignite Excellence Scholarship at Gardner-Webb University where she will pursue her studies in nursing. In addition, Ariana Tsehaie received the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship from the University of Miami, but plans to enroll in the Global Management Program at the esteemed University of California at Berkeley.
W.C. Friday Middle School held a celebration to launch a new outdoor learning program. Language arts teacher Jennifer Bumgarner, who coordinated the effort, was motivated to get students engaged in learning outdoors after attending a professional development program at Walden Pond last summer. She applied for and was awarded more than $18,000 in grants. Along with an outdoor learning area, the school has a multicultural garden with information about the Holocaust, Native Americans, and excerpts from an interview with author Toni Morrison that was researched, created, and presented by the students. Additionally, the school’s new nature and art walking trail is open to visitors.
Highland School of Technology students in the graphics pathway created a tifo (a large banner that is displayed in the stands of a sports stadium) for the Charlotte FC game on May 6. The Charlotte-based soccer team invited all 22 students and a couple of staff members to attend the game at no cost at Bank of America Stadium. Maddie Boyles is the school’s graphics teacher.
Highland School of Technology senior Sam Cook was awarded full-ride scholarships to attend Washington and Lee University, University of Richmond, University of Mississippi, and Georgetown University. He plans to enroll at Washington and Lee University.
Highland School of Technology students Abby Lane and Livie Apple were awarded the prestigious North Carolina Teaching Fellows Scholarship. Lane, who also received the Goodnight Scholarship, plans to attend N.C. State University, and Apple plans to attend UNC-Charlotte.
Holbrook Middle School teacher James Muhammad accompanied sixth grade students to the Junior Achievement BizTown program in Charlotte. The directors of BizTown were thoroughly impressed by the students’ knowledge and performance, which resulted in three sixth graders being selected to participate in the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame ceremony. Cerae Ford, Maddox Monaco, and Brandon Davis were interviewed at the Hall of Fame ceremony regarding their experience at BizTown.
Senior members of the East Gaston High School Beta Club visited Kiser Elementary School in their cap and gowns and opened car doors during arrival, had breakfast with students, visited classrooms, and helped with the morning announcements
L. Reeves McGlohon, retired superintendent of Gaston County Schools, was named the Mount Holly Man of the Year for 2023. McGlohon was recognized during the annual City of Mount Holly Community Dinner and Awards Banquet on May 4.
The following Hunter Huss High School students received scholarships: Justin Ross received a full-ride scholarship to play football at the Naval Academy; Lauren Moonie received three local scholarships totaling $6,000; Emily Corzine, Jaila Davidson, and Alyssa Williams each received the Albert G. Myers Scholarship; and Cayden Smith received the State Employees’ Credit Union People Helping People Scholarship.
J’Shawn Leach of Hunter Huss High School received the Paul F. Fuller Scholarship, which is presented to a student who has been involved in the Gaston County Schools mentoring program. He plans to attend East Carolina University.
New Hope Elementary School raised $19,461.75 for the American Heart Association through the Kids Heart Challenge Event. To add more fun to the initiative, students in kindergarten and first grade who managed to raise more than $250 got to play a fun-filled “Snowball Fight” against their teachers and the assistant principal. Similarly, students in second through fifth grade who raised more than $250 got to participate in a lively game of dodgeball against their teachers and the assistant principal.
Dawson Aldridge of North Gaston High School is the recipient of the Jumpstart Scholarship. He is an intern at Tindol Ford and a member of the National Technical Honor Society. Once Aldridge completes his internship, the scholarship will help fund his automotive career training. In addition to the scholarship, he received a new tool chest as a prize.
The North Gaston High School symphonic band traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia to participate in the WorldStrides Heritage Music Festival. The band received one gold rating and two silver ratings. Tim Reed is the school’s band director.
North Gaston High School automotive students competed at the 2023 Greater Auto Dealers Association (GADA) auto tech competition at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Pleasant Ridge Elementary donated $1,118.50 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The money was collected from donations during the school’s Enrichment Model Cluster Showcase.
The following Pleasant Ridge Elementary students placed at the regional math fair and will advance to the state competition at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics: Walter Throneburg, first place, grades 5-6 division; Lara Forstinger, second place regional, grades 5-6 division; Lawrence Martin, third place regional, grades 5-6 division; Jericho Martin, second place, grades 3-4 division; Esmeralda Miller, first place, K-2 division; Oliver Baird, second place, K-2 division; Manha Fatima, third place, grades K-2 division; Caletra Miller’s classroom, first place, grades K-2 division; and Emily Kiser’s classroom, second place, grades K-2 division.
Rankin Elementary celebrated its 50th anniversary on May 7 with a special ceremony that included students, staff, parents, and alumni, who came together to reminisce about the school’s history over the past five decades. Visitors were treated to a history showcase that featured Ida Rankin and a timeline of Mount Holly’s school history. Additionally, student-led tours were provided for attendees, and the Ronald L. Foulk Outdoor Classroom was dedicated during the ceremony to honor the school’s former principal who served more than 20 years.
Sherwood Elementary’s second annual art show was a success. All students had at least one piece of artwork represented in the exhibit, and the school’s PTO provided refreshments for families. Ashley Dennis is the school’s art teacher.
South Point High School senior Sullivan Absher was awarded a combined athletics and academics scholarship to attend the University of Notre Dame. Preston Howell earned a prestigious merit scholarship to pursue his studies at the University of Alabama. Joshua Crowder received an appointment to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and William Ross received an athletics scholarship to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
Students in the South Point High School Navy JROTC program will attend a summer leadership seminar at The Citadel. Cadets participating in the program are Jacob Barnes, Brooklyn Georgian, Jonathan Ross, Cooper Berckman, and Ava Lim.
Grace Smith of South Point High School and Ava Stillwell of East Gaston High School achieved scoring more than 100 goals during their high school soccer career.
South Point High School baseball coach Jason Lineberger surpassed 300 career victories during the regular season.
Reece Williams, a student at South Point High School and the current Miss Mount Holly’s Teen, had the opportunity to assist with the United Way of Gaston County’s Purse Power event, which raises money each year for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. She also was involved in several events associated with the City of Mount Holly’s annual Springfest celebration.
The Southwest Middle School National Beta Club was named a 2023 National Beta Grand Slam Service Award recipient. The club earned the award by spending an average of 100-plus hours per member in service to the school and community.
Two teams from Stanley Middle School qualified for the Envirothon state competition with the team of Ramon De La Oz, Abigail Price, Jillian Schultheis, Amelia Burr, and Chloe Roberts placing fifth in the overall rankings.
Tryon Elementary principal Meghan LeFevers has been invited to attend the Milken Forum where she will be responsible for mentoring and guiding new Milken Educators. She won the Milken Educator Award for North Carolina in 2017.
To honor the Class of 2023, high schools are conducting senior walks that involve the soon-to-be graduates returning to their elementary school to walk the halls, greet students and teachers, and give the younger students a glimpse of what it will be like one day when they graduate from high school. Bessemer City High School conducted senior walks at Tryon Elementary, Bessemer City Central Elementary, and Bessemer City Primary; Forestview High School conducted a senior walk at W.A. Bess Elementary; and Ashbrook High School conducted senior walks at Woodhill Elementary, Lowell Elementary, Sherwood Elementary, and Gardner Park Elementary. More senior walks are planned leading up to graduation day as part of the festivities to celebrate the Class of 2023.