Good News from Gaston County Schools, December
Good News from Gaston County Schools, December 2021
The following students were chosen as the “Do the Right Thing” award winners for December: Rakiell Mackins, Lingerfeldt Elementary; Ellie Messer, Costner Elementary; Sophia Payne, Belmont Middle; and Malachi Coleman, Hunter Huss High School.
Dr. Aaron Slutsky, chief technology officer for Gaston County Schools, was named the Southwest Regional Technology Director of the Year. He will compete for the North Carolina Technology Director of the Year recognition.
The following teachers in Gaston County Schools earned National Board Certification: Erica Hawes, Bessemer City High; Amanda Matz, North Belmont Elementary; Kelly Royston, Stuart W. Cramer High; and Kathryn Watts, Southwest Middle.
Cramerton Middle School won both the county volleyball and boys soccer championships, and Belmont Middle School won the county wrestling championship.
Several high school students from Gaston County Schools took top honors in the Keep Gastonia Beautiful recycled art contest. Among the winners were Evelyn Gonzalez, North Gaston, first place; Najah Walls, Forestview, second place; Heaven Carpenter, East Gaston, third place; and Luke Wally, North Gaston, honorable mention.
The following schools won awards in the Festival of Trees competition sponsored by the City of Belmont: Cramerton Middle, first place; Belmont Central Elementary, second place; and Belmont Middle, third place.
Several Ashbrook High School student-athletes received Big South 3A Conference recognition for football. Carmelo Bess and John Derricott were named to the all-conference first team, and Jakeem Dennard and Austin Parker were named to the all-conference second team.
H.H. Beam Elementary sponsored the “Paws for a Cause” fundraiser to support the United Way of Gaston County. For every dollar donated by a student, a paw was placed on the classroom door. In four days, students, staff, and parents raised more than $1,500.
The fifth grade classes at W.A. Bess Elementary teamed up with The Cato School of Education at UNC-Charlotte and collected 361 books and 69 stuffed animals. The book will be given to children in an effort to support literacy awareness while the stuffed animals will serve as “reading buddies” for the children.
Keep Gastonia Beautiful donated two red maple trees to W. A. Bess Elementary. The second grade classes participated in a 30-minute educational program by the City of Gastonia’s arborist and were able to learn about the importance of planting trees.
W.B. Beam Intermediate school resource officer William Vaughn organized a room at the school to make space for donated clothing, backpacks, and canned food items.
Bessemer City Primary conducted a lollipop sale and collected $2,111 for the United Way of Gaston County annual campaign. In addition, media specialist Sarah Putnam won a Rutherford Electric Bright Ideas grant.
Bessemer City High football players Mason Chastain, Justice Cooper, and Jashawn Thomas earned the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A all-conference recognition.
Students at Brookside Elementary enjoyed a visit from “Hugo,” who brought the Charlotte Hornets’ book bus to the school and gave a presentation about reading.
Carr Elementary students and staff supported a holiday meal drive for the Dallas Christian Ministry.
Chapel Grove Elementary raised $450 for the United Way of Gaston County. Students donated money for a chance to put a pie in the face of principal Mitch Allen.
John Chavis Middle students and staff collected 1,637 canned goods to donate to the Cherryville Area Ministries.
Cherryville Elementary students collected 2,030 canned goods for the community. In addition, students raised $250 for the United Way of Gaston County. Students donated one dollar to guess how much candy was in a jar.
The Cherryville High School cheerleaders earned first place at the 2021 North Carolina High School Athletic Association Cheerleading Invitational Championship. The squad earned top awards for small varsity and varsity game day in the Division II category.
Cherryville High football players Cadin Beaver, Jack Dellinger, Landon Hahn, and Cooper Sloan earned the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A all-conference recognition.
Cramerton Middle School was one of the many pickup sites for the 26th annual Gaston County Toy Run. Beta Club students served hot chocolate and cookies to share holiday cheer with children and families.
Cramerton Middle School raised $1,000 for the United Way. The funds were designated for the American Cancer Society in memory of chorus teacher Patty Fayssoux.
Costner Elementary exceptional children teacher Monica Sherer was selected to represent Gaston County Schools as the 2021-2022 Educator of Excellence. Sherer and other honorees from across the state were recognized during a ceremony at the 70th annual Conference on Exceptional Children.
The Stuart W. Cramer High School theater department received nine awards at the North Carolina Theater Conference High School Play Festival for the production of ‘Frankenstein,’ which received a superior rating. Student Zoe Jenkins received the Barbizon Excellence in Design and Production, Props Manager, and Rehearsal Swing award. Student Logan Watkins received the Barbizon Excellence in Design and Production, Design/Tech, and Special Effects award. Student Natalie Grier received the Barbizon Outstanding Achievement in Design and Production and Stage Management award. Student Christa Berry received the Excellence in Acting award, and student Tristan Nogueira received Excellence in Ensemble Acting award. Additionally, the school received the Festival Spirit Award and Excellence in Production Design for set, costumes, props, lighting, and special effects). Chuck Stowe is the theater teacher.
Zachary Willer and Nicholas Willer of Stuart W. Cramer High School were named to the boys cross country all-state team, and Joseph Bravo and Jack Matz were named to the 3A all-state soccer team.
Arias Nash of Stuart W. Cramer High School was named the Big South 3A Defensive Player of the Year for football. Justin Rocquemore was named a first team honoree, and Josue Sanchez, Damien Bentley, and Markiss Nelson were named to the second team.
The East Gaston High School cheerleaders earned first place at the 2021 North Carolina High School Athletic Association Cheerleading Invitational Championship. The squad won the super varsity competition in the Division II category.
The following East Gaston High School football players earned Southern Piedmont 1A/2A all-conference recognition: Aiden Cloninger, Jake Fox, Shane Goins, Josiah Lucas, Adam Massey, Markel McKinney, and Luis Nunez, and Justin Hill was voted the Offensive Player of the Year.
Forestview High School earned the distinction of First Team Safe Sports School. The honor is presented by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
Forestview High School senior Austin Brotemarkle was named to the boys cross country all-state second team.
Forestview High School student-athletes Camury Reid, Christian Williams, Jaycob Neely, and Jesse Osborne were recognized as Big South 3A first-team football honorees, and Jakeem Dennard and Austin Parker were named to the all-conference second team.
Keep Gastonia Beautiful donated two trees to Hawks Nest STEAM Academy that were planted in the playground area.
Several classes at Lingerfeldt Elementary participated in the “Writing Letters to Troops” project for Veterans Day.
Gaston Early College High School seniors Ella Harmon and Tristin Winkler received the Appalachian State University Excellence Scholarship.
Gaston Early College High senior Joseph Wittmer was appointed vice president of the N.C. Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association.
In partnership with Keep Gastonia Beautiful, Gaston Early College High School students performed yard and landscaping maintenance at Webb Street School. They also spent time working in the school’s greenhouse and sensory garden area.
Gardner Park Elementary third grade students met virtually with author Hans Kullberg, a graduate of Ashbrook High School, who recently published his first children’s book, “Baby Aviva Orangutan Diva.” Teacher Meredith Pendleton arranged the program.
Gaston County Virtual Academy first-grade students enjoyed a visit from “Hugo,” the mascot for the Charlotte Hornets, and radio host Derrick “Fly Ty” Jacobs. The students took pictures with “Hugo” and boarded the Book Bus to select a book to take home.
Highland School of Technology senior Ajhinae Brooks received a full-tuition scholarship to Rice University through the QuestBridge program.
Highland School of Technology senior Ashlynn Stephens was named the North Carolina Volleyball Coaches Association 1A Player of the Year.
Highland School of Technology football players Trent Dockery and Patrick Hullett earned the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A all-conference recognition.
Hunter Huss High School teacher Michelle Ellis was awarded the North Carolina Attorney General’s Dogwood Award for her exemplary work as a science teacher.
Students in the marching band at Hunter Huss High School had the opportunity to visit with Dr. Joseph Earp, director of instrumental music at Pfeiffer University.
Hunter Huss High School student athlete Gene Neely III was recognized as a Big South 3A first-team football honoree, and Malachi Coleman was named to the second team.
McAdenville Elementary second grader Ileny Zuniga was chosen to “flip the switch” at the annual McAdenville tree lighting ceremony.
Mount Holly Middle collected more than 2,100 canned goods for the Community Relief Organization of Mount Holly.
Page Primary School held a virtual dance-a-thon fundraiser, which resulted in raising more than $10,000 for the purchase of desktop computers for classrooms.
State Superintendent Catherine Truitt invited the Pleasant Ridge Elementary drumline to create a performance video, which was shown during the AIM (Accelerate, Invigorate, and Motivate) conference in Raleigh.
Daimler donated Thanksgiving meals, including a gift card for a turkey, to Pinewood Elementary families that are involved in the Backpack Weekend Food Program.|
McNaughton-McKay donated $3,000 worth of scholastic books to Pinewood Elementary. Each student was able to take home two books for the holiday season.
The North Gaston High School theater department received six awards at the North Carolina Theater Conference High School Play Festival for the production of “Don’t Kiss, Don’t Tell,” which received the Excellence in Playwriting and Festival Spirit Award. Student Martin Mora Aguilar received the Barbizon Excellence in Design and Production - Crew Leadership Award. Students Deven Ghantt and Nevaeh Meadows received excellence in acting awards, and Wesley Lawson received the Spirit of the Theater Award. Shannon Stout is the theater teacher.
North Gaston High School student-athletes Brian Cole, Jason Melton, and J.J. Gordon were named to the Big South 3A all-conference second team.
The National Junior Beta Club at Pleasant Ridge Elementary collected more than 500 toys to support Toys for Tots and the Levine Children’s Hospital.
Pleasant Ridge Elementary student Madelyn Lowrance was recognized at the 2021 Gaston Together Community Leadership Awards for winning the “Proudest Kid in Gaston County” essay contest.
Sherwood Elementary fourth and fifth graders sang at the Keep Gastonia Beautiful tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, December 5. Music teacher Anne Beam led the students.
Dominion Energy donated holiday meals and gifts for families at Sherwood Elementary.
Ryan Harris of South Point High School was named the 2021 Luke Kuechly Defensive Player of the Year, which is an award presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. He was recognized on December 6 during the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet.
The South Point High School cheerleaders earned second place at the 2021 North Carolina High School Athletic Association Cheerleading Invitational Championship. The award was for outstanding performance in the super varsity competition.
South Point High School senior Dylan Nicks was named the Big South 3A Special Teams Player of the Year for football. Jacob Patterson, Sullivan Absher, Tyson Riley, Ryan Harris, and Will Ross were named to the all-conference first team and Wyatt Triplett was named a second-team honoree.
Stanley Middle School was awarded a $20,000 grant from The Citadel. Teachers Alice Ballard and Jacklyn Tant completed a multi-summer program through The Citadel’s STEM Center of Excellence, which focused on infusing computing into the curriculum.
York Chester Middle School donated 4,290 canned goods to Crisis Assistance Ministry and the Webb Street School food pantry. Michael Adcock’s class won the collection competition with 1,200 cans. Judy Wellman’s class was the runner-up with 1,193 cans. In celebration of their success, both classes got to throw a pie into the face of principal Jennifer Cabe and teacher Jason Huffstetler.