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PICTURES: Schools celebrate with ‘Big 50 Parade’

Bands, cheerleaders, and mascots – oh my!  Schools celebrate with ‘Big 50 Parade’

Marching bands, cheerleaders, dance teams, school mascots, JROTC units, special guests in convertibles and on professional floats, and a few surprises – our “Big 50 Parade” had it all.

Gaston County Schools celebrated its 50th anniversary as a unified school district on Saturday, September 22 with a parade through downtown Gastonia.  Nearly 90 school-related entries proceeded along Main Avenue to mark the school district’s golden milestone.

Seniors representing the Class of 2019 and kindergartners representing the Class of 2031 served as the grand marshals, and Ashbrook High School French teacher Mamie Chisholm was the honorary grand marshal.  Chisholm began her career with Gaston County Schools in August 1968 and is considered to be an “original employee” of the unified school district.

All 55 schools were represented in the parade.  In addition to 10 high school marching bands and cheerleaders from all 11 middle schools, there were 13 professional floats that featured the grand marshals, current and former Board of Education members, Teachers, Principals, and Employees of the Year, retirees and long-time employees, Central Office representatives, Lincoln Academy/Lincoln High School alumni, National Board Certified Teachers, and “GC the Book Bug,” the school district’s reading mascot from the 1990s who was reintroduced for the 50th anniversary.

Eight local businesses/organizations served as “Presenting Sponsors” for the parade:  American & Efird, Beam Construction Company, CaroMont Health, City of Gastonia, Gaston County Education Foundation, GSM Services, Scribbles Software (AIS – Advanced Imaging Systems), and Wells Fargo. 

Band and float sponsors include Beam Construction Company, Duke Energy – Allen Steam Station, Gaston Outside/Gaston County Travel and Tourism, Lanxess, Mann+Hummel, Pharr Yarns, Tindol Ford Subaru ROUSH, Will’s Food Stores, and Zaxby’s.