Gaston County Schools Good News
(January 21, 2021 Issue)
The Gaston County Board of Education received the following “good news” about Gaston County Schools for the month of December 2020:
The five finalists for Gaston County Schools Teacher of the Year 2021-2022 are Savanna Abernathy, Bessemer City Central Elementary; Natalie Childers, Gardner Park Elementary; Bethany Hartley, Hunter Huss High School; Casey Miller, Stanley Middle School; and Staci Nezezon, Pinewood Elementary. The winner will be announced this spring during the annual Evening of Excellence program.
Gaston County Schools is first in the state for the number of Career and Technical Education (CTE) credentials earned by students and first in the state for the percentage of students earning more than one credential in a particular CTE area. It is the only time since the state began tallying credential performance data in 2010-2011 that the same school district has earned top rankings in both categories in the same year. Additionally, four high schools rank in the top 15 statewide for the number of credentials earned by students during the 2019-2020 year. Hunter Huss High School is ranked second in the state with 2,976 credentials. Ashbrook High School ranks fifth with 2,297 credentials, Forestview High School ranks 13th with 1,721 credentials, and Stuart W. Cramer High School ranks 14th with 1,706 credentials.
Gaston County Schools had four schools and two central level departments that had 100 percent participation in the United Way fundraising campaign. In addition, 10 schools had an increase of more than 50 percent in giving when compared to last year. For the 2020-2021 year, employees from our schools and central level departments contributed more than $93,000 to the United Way to help fund important programs in Gaston County.
Teachers in Gaston County Schools received grants totaling $20,000 through the Ron L. Ensley grants program that is sponsored by the Gaston County Education Foundation. This year, 21 grants were presented to teachers to support creative classroom activities at schools across the county.
Gaston County Schools had eight teachers who renewed their National Board Certification this year. They are Shara Beatty, Costner Elementary; Kelly Carpenter, Mount Holly Middle; Kelly Pacetti, Webb Street School; Robin Melton, Pleasant Ridge Elementary; Bobbi Neely, McAdenville Elementary; Cheryl Parker, Springfield Elementary; Cara Pohlman, Mount Holly Middle; and Ingrid Rockhead, Gaston Virtual Academy.
The following students were chosen as the “Do the Right Thing” award winners for November: Grace Kucera, W.A. Bess Elementary; Regan Long, Belmont Middle; and Cali Barnette, Hunter Huss High School.
The Cherryville High School athletics department earned Level One status in the National Federation of State High School Associations Honor Roll. The national recognition program is designed to promote professional development for high school coaches who have an opportunity to complete online education courses through the NFHS Learning Center. Cherryville High School is the only school in Gaston County to earn the certification and one of only 33 schools in North Carolina. Scott Harrill is the school’s athletic director.
Pisgah ARP Church in Gastonia contributed a total of $52,350 in grants to classroom teachers, art teachers, and media specialists in Gaston County Schools as part of the Kenley Estate Scholarship Fund.
The Community Foundation of Gaston County’s Next Generation Fund and the Gaston County Education Foundation donated $6,000 to Gaston County Schools for personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies.
The Gaston Association of Realtors presented $2,000 to Gaston County Schools for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Gastonia Evening Rotary Club conducted a coat drive for Gaston County Schools. Club representatives Ashley Lorance and Jackie Gonzalez presented 61 coats to the school district for distribution to students in need.
The Stuart W. Cramer High School boys cross country team won the Big South 3A championship. In addition, Nick Willer, Stuart W. Cramer; Austin Brotemarkle, Forestview; Zack Willer, Stuart W. Cramer; Oussama Ajala, Forestview; Jacob Wootton, Stuart W. Cramer; Michael Gates, Ashbrook; and Luke Auten, Stuart W. Cramer, earned all-conference honors.
The Forestview High School girls cross country team won the Big South 3A championship. In addition, Emma Hughlette, Forestview; Alexander Floder, Forestview; Summer Bahr, Stuart W. Cramer; Keaton Schneider, Stuart W. Cramer; and Sarah Shiflet, Forestview, earned all-conference honors.
South Point High School cross country runners Emmanuel Paddyfote and Cooper Ray and East Gaston High School runner Jacob Mullen earned Southwestern 2A all-conference honors.
W.B. Beam Intermediate fourth grade students had the opportunity to learn about amateur radio from principal Todd Dellinger and counselor Mark Reep. In addition, Oak Grove Baptist Church of Cherryville surprised the staff with a delicious lunch.
The Belmont Central Elementary cafeteria staff earned a 100 percent sanitation rating. In addition, the String Bean restaurant in Belmont donated 65 boxed lunches for the staff to enjoy.
W.A. Bess Elementary was selected as an alternate by the N.C. Department of Instruction for nomination to the 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.
W.A. Bess Elementary art students created a 3D mini museum. The students chose images for display that were provided by the teacher, and they were asked to draw at least one work of art that was their own. On their remote days at home, the students were given supplies to make a pedestal box and sculpture using model magic clay. Laura Farmer is the school’s art teacher.
W.A. Bess Elementary students Jacie Buchanan, Ella Wortman, and Holly Russell were the top winners in a school fundraiser. For being the top winners, each student got to throw a pie in principal Laura Dixon’s face.
Bessemer City Central Elementary held a drive-thru reading night for students and their parents.
Carr Elementary received 241 bottles of hand sanitizer and 41 bottles of antibacterial soap from the Walmart store in Dallas.
Carr Elementary teacher Kaitlin Petruska is a nominee for the UNC-Charlotte Page and Ed Kizer Beginning Teacher Award.
Chapel Grove Baptist Church provided Thanksgiving Day meals for families at Chapel Grove Elementary School.
Catawba Heights Elementary teacher Danna Ritchie is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Education Grant presented by Rutherford Electric.
Forestview High School athletic trainer Jarrett Friday was selected to serve as an athletic trainer for the 2021 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas football game.
W.C. Friday Middle School collected 2,520 cans of food for charities in Dallas. In addition, the school’s leadership classes made Christmas cards that were sent to military personnel serving overseas and to residents at Stanley Total Living Center.
Gaston Early College High School student Najira Davis was selected as a Lenoir-Rhyne University Scholar and received a scholarship valued at $98,000 over four years, and Autumn Kirby received a Lenoir-Rhyne Scholars scholarship valued at $66,000.
The Gaston Early College High School Beta Club partnered with Gaston College’s Dallas and Lincoln campuses to conduct a canned food drive. The students collected 1,611 cans. All donations were given to the Crisis Assistance Ministry in Gastonia or the college’s food pantry on the Dallas campus.
Gaston Early College High School held a Winter Warmth Drive, and more than 200 coats, hats, gloves, and scarves were donated by students and staff. The items were donated to “scarf bombing” efforts in Gaston County through the “Chase the Chill Gaston” program.
The Grier Middle School Exceptional Children Department sponsored a canned food drive and collected more than 700 cans to support students and families.
Grier Middle School students, teachers, and staff packed 38 shoeboxes for the Operation Christmas Child program that is sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse.
Food Lion donated 12 frozen turkeys to Grier Middle School for its inaugural Turkey Bowl competition.
Gaston County Virtual Academy teachers Summer Cheek and Katelin Greer collected 1,500 books for distribution to students.
Holbrook Middle School families, staff, and the community contributed food, gifts, and other items to ensure that 36 students are able to enjoy the holiday season.
Hunter Huss High School was featured on the North Carolina Public Schools Facebook page with students performing two dance and percussion ensembles. Teachers Julie Ballard and Heaven Watson-Weary organized the social media performances.
Hunter Huss High School student-athlete Dontavius Nash signed a letter of intent to play football at UNC-Chapel Hill. In addition, student-athlete Nick Sharpe signed a national letter of intent to play football at Wake Forest University.
Hunter Huss High School teacher Michelle Ellis was appointed to serve on the Gaston County Quality of Natural Resources Committee.
Hunter Huss High School students Jessica Clark and Cody Wiper earned the State Leader Award during the SkillsUSA Virtual Fall Leadership Development Seminar.
McAdenville Elementary School held a special “lunch and share” event. Parents parked their car in the school’s parking lot at lunchtime, and students joined their parents in the car to share about what they have learned about being a good reader.
McAdenville Elementary students made holiday ornaments for senior citizens in the community.
McAdenville Elementary was unable to participate in the annual ChristmasTown USA tree lighting ceremony or yule log parade this year. However, music teacher Dalia Razo choreographed holiday dances for each class to perform. She recorded the performances and shared them on the school’s Facebook page for the community to enjoy.
McAdenville Wesleyan Church and the Cramer Mountain Investment Club provided Christmas gifts for students at McAdenville Elementary.
Mount Holly Middle School football coach Otis Forsythe’s 12:1-2 Transform Cycling group worked with the school to identify families in need. Group members provided the families with a turkey for Thanksgiving.
Mount Holly Middle School received $1,856 in donations for the school’s We Care Fund. The school partnered with Shoe Carnival and purchased 35 $50 gift cards for students in need. In addition, Shoe Carnival offered to give an additional 30 percent off for the families with the specially-marked gift cards.
Page Primary School collected 745 canned goods and food items for the Belmont Community Organization. In addition, the staff received a delicious lunch from Taxco Mexican Grill.
The Pleasant Ridge Elementary Junior Beta Club made 15 “I Care” packages for the Support our Troops Foundation. One box was marked for Pleasant Ridge teacher and Gaston County Schools New Teacher of the Year Trevor Dunlap, who is currently training to be a National Guardsman. The boxes included notes of appreciation from students, hygiene items, canned goods, snacks, and esocks.
Daimler sponsored Thanksgiving Day meals for more than a dozen families at Pinewood Elementary. In addition, Food Lion contributed a voucher for a free turkey.
Robinson Elementary art teacher Fonda Cooper received a $2,500 grant from Pisgah ARP Church. In addition, music teacher Jonathan Panther received a $500 grant.
Christ Worship Center provided Sadler Elementary students with a bag filled with presents such as hats, gloves, mugs, and candy.
South Point High School was awarded the Wells Fargo Cup for the Southwestern 2A Conference. The award recognizes the school’s excellence in athletics for 2019-2020.
South Point High School senior Grace Nehring signed a national letter of intent to play lacrosse at Rhodes College. In addition, senior Trinity Knauf signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at Johnson and Wales University.
Cherryville High School senior Wyatt Wilson hosted several virtual events for Tryon Elementary students. Wyatt dressed as an elf and welcomed students to school.
Tryon Elementary received a $1,000 donation from the Tryon High School Class of 1966. Donors included Barbara Farnsworth, Beth Rudisill, Linda Hosier, Peggy McNair, Jewell Vincent, Ann Criswell, Linda Lovelace, and Elaine Robinson.
Tryon Elementary students received two new books and a pair of socks through a donation from retired Bessemer City High School teacher Diane Leazer.
Webb Street School collected more than 300 pairs of socks for adults and children. The school donated the socks to the Catherine Mabry Cloninger Center in Gastonia.
Webb Street School received a donation of $2,900 for landscaping supplies from Lowe’s Home Improvement. Additionally, representatives from Lowe’s Home Improvement, Covenant Case Management, and Webb Street School volunteered more than 180 hours toward outdoor beautification projects at the school.