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Seniors earn top academic, perfect attendance distinctions

Gaston County Schools has 22 students in the Class of 2020 who have achieved the top academic distinction of valedictorian or salutatorian.  Additionally, one senior in the Class of 2020 has earned the distinction of 13 years of perfect attendance.  

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.

“We are proud to recognize and honor 22 seniors in the Class of 2020 as our valedictorians and salutatorians,” said Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker.  “These outstanding students have maintained an impressive academic record during their educational career in addition to 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.”  

Pictured here are the valedictorians and salutatorians for the BannerNews area.

Stuart W. Cramer

High School


Carol Grealis

College Plans:  University of Mississippi to major in nursing on a pre-pharmacy track; plans to pursue a career as a specialized nurse or pharmacist.  

Accolades:  Gaston Gazette Star Student; National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes president; chief junior marshal; University of Mississippi merit and valedictorian scholarships. 


Micah Jenkins

College Plans:  UNC-Charlotte to major in mechanical engineering with a concentration in biomedical; plans to pursue a career in designing and creating prosthetics.

Accolades:  junior marshal; member of the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society; UNC-Charlotte Chancellor’s Scholarship and S-STEM Engineering Academy Pathways Scholarship from UNC-Charlotte’s Lee College of Engineering; completed one year of college transfer credits through the Career and College Promise program at Gaston College.

East Gaston High School

Valedictorian: Kaitlyn Marie Mesimer

College Plans:  Appalachian State University to major in exercise science. 

Accolades:  State Employees Credit Union “People Helping People” Scholarship; Gaston Gazette Best and Brightest; dance team member for four years and co-captain her senior year.  


Ariana Marqui Stephenson

College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in biology and music on a pre-medicine track.

Accolades:  UNC-Chapel Hill Music Department Scholarship and Jimmie Norris Scholarship; John Phillip Sousa Band Award recognizing her outstanding musicianship and dedication as drum major for the marching band.

South Point High School


Mollie Elizabeth Lund

College Plans:  Elon University to major in English and environmental studies; plans to pursue a career as a journalist who specializes in researching and reporting about the effects of environmental injustice.  

Accolades:  National Honor Society; Beta Club; chamber choir for two years; Model United Nations for four years; Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar Award; Elon University Presidential Scholarship.


Kevin Grant Li

College Plans:  Columbia University to major in economics and applied mathematics; plans to pursue a career in researching the economics of education.

Accolades:  Captain of the varsity swim team; National Honor Society vice president; Model United Nations president; Gaston Gazette Star Student and Best and Brightest.