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Nuevo Laredo, Acrylic on Wood, David Childers.

Local artists featured at
Gaston County Museum

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Museum presents its newest art show featuring Gaston County residents David Childers and Robert Childers. A singer-songwriter residing in Mt. Holly, David Childers is the proverbial study in contradictions: a former high-school football player with an aw-shucks demeanor, a well-read poet and painter who cites Chaucer and Kerouac as influences. He fell in love with folk music as a teen and also listens to jazz and opera. He fed his family by practicing law before turning in his license to concentrate on his creative passions.
David Childers’ son, Robert Childers, also has interests in artistic endeavors. He is well known in the Charlotte music community as a musician, sound engineer, and promoter. Art is another facet of his creative personality.
About 13 years ago, David and Robert were traveling through Holland as part of a musical tour. They arranged for a visit to the Van Gogh Museum and were both subsequently inspired to begin creating art. According to David, “I do not have any rules for what I do in my art. I will leave it to others to judge and explain my art to themselves.”
The exhibit features a collection of folk art paintings on view beginning February 15 in the Depot Art Gallery, Anne Furr Learning Station.
For more information, contact Hannah Musselwhite, Curator, at Hannah.Musselwhite@gastongov.com.

Arts at the Abbey presents
the Bechtler Ensemble

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

The Bechtler Ensemble will bring string trios from 20th century Finland, Hungary, and France as well as the beloved Austrian composer Schubert to Arts at the Abbey. Other composers featured on the program include Kodaly, Sibelius. Cras and Dohnanyi.
Tanja Bechtler is the artistic director of the Bechtler Ensemble that is currently in residency at Queens University and has a music series at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Arts, Central Piedmont Community College and at Queens University (all in Charlotte).
The ensemble features Lenora Cox Leggatt, violin; Vasily Gorkovoy, viola, and Tanja Bechtler, cello.
The concert is Monday March 1, 2021 at 8:00 PM in the Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey, Belmont NC. Admission is free. A limited live audience will be admitted. Masks and social distancing are required. Donations are welcomed.  The concert will also be live streamed - https://www.belmontabbeycollege.edu/artslive/
To reserve a seat, call 704-461-6012 or email abbeyarts@bac.edu.
This series is made possible in part by the Associated Foundation, Inc. of Belmont, The Gaston Community Foundations, The Monks of Belmont Abbey and other private donors.
Fr. David Kessinger, the most senior professed monk at Belmont Abbey, died February 7, 2021. A person of many talents and interests, he loved the arts, especially classical music. He was fond of Schubert.  This program is dedicated to him.
For more information: Karen Hite Jacob. 704-461-6012,  www.bac.edu or https://www.facebook.com/BelmontAbbeyArts.
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Mrs. Eskay selected
Staff Member of the Month

(February 25, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations Holbrook Middle School’s Mrs. Eskay for being selected as  Staff Member of the Month that best represents  the character trait “Courage!”. Mrs. Eskay is 7th grade ELA teacher.
Gaston Schools photo
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Interested in gardening?

(February 25, 2021 Issue)


The Mt. Holly Community Garden is  accepting applications for 2021 gardeners. Available garden beds are limited and going fast, $60 gardening fee covers everything except your plants. Visit mthollycommunitygarden@gmail.com for more details. 
Photo by Alan Hodge
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Stanford is Teacher of the Year 

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Ida Rankin Elementary Mt. Holly’s New Teacher of the Year. Ms. Stanford was recently nominated as a candidate for the Gaston County Schools’ Linda Rader New Teacher of the Year Award. Letters of endorsement from the school were submitted on Ms. Stanford’s behalf and reflect the positive impact she has on the students and overall environment at our school. Ms. Stanford will meet a panel of judges during an interview session on Friday, Feb. 12 where she will be able to share her thoughts about being a teacher in Gaston County. In May, she will be invited to a reception at which time all nominees will be recognized and this year’s Linda Rader New Teacher of the Year will be announced.
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Hannah Clements is W.C. Friday Certified Employee of the Month 

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Mrs. Clements contributes to the Leadership Academy in several outstanding ways, above and beyond her consistent and caring work as a counselor at WCF.
Hannah is always willing to go the extra mile for students and staff. She is doing an awesome job with the student news. She is also so positive and upbeat that it is contagious.
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New Look for Lowell Officers

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

There’s a new look for the officers of Lowell PD who has switched to load bearing vests. These will move the bulk of the weight typically worn on an officers hips and puts it on the shoulders. This is much more comfortable for the officers and it can help prevent back problems traditional police belts can cause. If you see an officer out and about feel free to ask questions.

 

Belmont police get starting salary raise

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

During its February 1, 2021 meeting, the Belmont City Council unanimously approved a request from Chief Chad Hawkins to increase the starting salary for Belmont police officers. The council action increases the starting annual salary for police officers from $39,749.00 to $45,000.00. The increase in starting salaries keeps Belmont Police Department competitive with other agencies and is an incentive for Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) graduates making decisions on which agency to consider serving. Agencies across the country are struggling to recruit and retain quality officers, as fewer people are entering the profession every year.
The Belmont Police Department is fortunate to have some of the most well-trained and educated officers in the state. The decision to raise the starting salary is a testament that our city leaders understand the urgency and support the police department.
The Belmont Police Department recently received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), a prestigious recognition that the department is following best practices and policies for a modern, progressive law enforcement agency. The City of Belmont supports its law enforcement professionals by providing a competitive salary and benefits package, training and promotion opportunities, necessary equipment, and a positive work environment. Law enforcement is a tough and rewarding career, and the City of Belmont is determined to continue to have the Belmont Police Department be an employer of choice for local law enforcement professionals.

Mout Holly Police Dept.
appreciates community support

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

The Mt. Holly Police Dept. wants to thank Lilly, Sammy, and the members of the Tyler Family for the meal they provided recently. This family has blessed MHPD with food and showings of support multiple times and the department could not be more appreciative for everything they do.    Photos provided
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Library expands public access, fully opens for services

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Public Library (GCPL) announced last Wednesday that it will expand public access at the Main Library and its branches, beginning Monday, Feb. 22. All library locations, except the Ferguson Branch Library and TECH@Lowell, will be open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Ferguson Branch Library (located at Erwin Center) will be open Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and TECH@Lowell will not be open on Saturday. As before, a face covering is requested for all persons entering the library buildings, and everyone must practice social distancing protocols.
Due to the increase in COVID-19 numbers in January, the GCPL limited its services and the public’s access, allowing only patrons with computer appointments to enter the building and continuing to offer Curbside Service.
Now, the libraries will be fully open for all of its services, such as selecting items for check out, making photocopies, sending or receiving faxes, and using Wi-Fi or computers. However, makerspace devices at BC@BC and TECH@Lowell will continue to be unavailable at this time.
Due to limited capacity requirements, the library staff is requesting that all patrons limit their time inside the libraries so that staff can serve as many people as possible.
Curbside Service will still be available at all library locations by appointment only. For appointments, hours of operation, or if you have any questions, call your local library location or visit the GCPL website at www.gastonlibrary.org.
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Meals on Wheels Gaston Celebrates Volunteers

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Meals on Wheels Gaston continues to celebrate its wonderful volunteers, who give so selflessly of their time to deliver meals with a smile to our homebound participants. Thank you John Ahrens of WSOC TV (above left) and Shiloh Keuler of Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services for all you do.
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Lemonade stand benefits community

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Parker Smith set up a lemonade stand. It’s a time-honored tradition that’s aided many a kiddo in their quest for a toy or some extra spending money. He and his friend, Sterling Stephens, set out to make a little money of their own. Patrons who stopped for a cold, tasty drink and a treat may or may not have known of the duo’s financial intentions, but by the time they closed up shop, they had raised a tad over $150. Quite successful for a front yard business venture.
Not long after, the cold hard profits from the sale of Parker’s cold lemonade warmed  hearts when he donated them to the Mt. Holly Community Relief Organization... or more accurately, his neighbors in need. The CRO wants to say thank you to everyone involved in this contribution, and for being the change you want to see in the world.
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Carolina Pro Musica - Karen Hite Jacob, director, harpsichord, Rebecca Miller Saunders, soprano, Holly Wright Maurer, recorder, traverso, viola da gamba, Edward Ferrell, recorder, traverso.

Carolina Pro Musica continues 43rd season with music in England

(February 18, 2021 Issue)

Carolina Pro Musica continues the 43rd season with “The Flowering of the English Baroque” –featuring the music of Henry Purcell as well as those non-English composers who continued to make England’s music charming. These are Handel, J.C. Bach, Pepusch and Gottfried Finger all composers from Europe.  There are instrumental works for two eighteenth-century flutes, as well as trios for recorder and viola da gamba solo.  Vocal works are the famous “Music for a While” by Purcell, “As when the Dove” by Handel and two Italian arias by J.C. Bach (the London Bach), son of J.S. Bach.
The concert premiere is Saturday, February 27, 2021, at 7:30 PM on Carolina Pro Musica’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/carolinapromusica
The concert will be prerecorded and remain online.
Viewers are asked to support the production through contributions by mail, through www.carolinapromusica.org or on Facebook.
Carolina Pro Musica was founded in 1977 to perform “Early music” – using period instruments and voice in the styles of the musical periods in which it was written.

Congratulations GEMS!

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

It’s time to start thinking about the Commissioners’ School of Excellence

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

Commissioners’ School is a summer enrichment program open to current ninth grade students (rising tenth graders) in Gaston County.  Now in its 34th year, the leadership development program offers students an opportunity to learn more about the Gaston community.
Interested students should see their high school guidance counselor for an application.  Applications are due by February 12.
Each year, approximately 60 students are chosen for the program based on academic performance, extracurricular activities (school and community), leadership potential, self-motivation, and written expression.  There is no cost to the students who are selected to attend.
Commissioners’ School challenges students to better understand themselves, life in Gaston County, and their roles as future leaders.  They participate in seminars, problem-solving activities, special events, and hands-on experiences as well as enjoy time with community leaders and guest speakers.  Lessons and activities concentrate on teamwork, communication skills, and community service.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the specific format for the Commissioners’ School program has not been determined at this time; the format will be announced this spring.  The goal is to offer participants the best experience possible while adhering to state and local health guidelines.
The school is named in memory of James S. Forrester, a former state senator and Gaston County commissioner, funded by the county commission, and coordinated by Gaston County Schools.
For more information about the program, contact Lori Collins, lwcollins@gaston.k12.nc.us, or Bridget Matzke, bsmatzke@gaston.k12.nc.us.
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Beverly Knits Inc. donated masks to Gaston PD

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

Beverly Knits Incorporated donated 500 masks to the officers and staff at the Gaston County Police Department. Thank you Parker Sytz and Beverly Knits for your support and gracious contribution.

Gov. Cooper, state education leaders say it’s time for in-person instruction in K-12 schools

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

Top state education leaders joined Governor Roy Cooper last week to call on K-12 school districts across the state to allow in-person instruction for all students. The Governor joined North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis to thank educators for their extraordinary work during an unprecedented time, to highlight ongoing research that shows that with proper mitigation measures, in-person learning is safe, and to emphasize the critical importance of ensuring all students have an opportunity to learn in a classroom.
“Protecting the health and safety of the people of this state, especially our children and our teachers, has been our goal,” said Governor Cooper. “We know school is important for reasons beyond academic instruction. School is where students learn social skills, get reliable meals, and find their voices. Research done right here in North Carolina tells us that in-person learning is working and that students can be in classrooms safely with the right safety protocols in place.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, state leaders have emphasized the importance of returning students to in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. Children who rely solely on remote instruction are feeling the negative effects of isolation, including learning loss, mental health challenges and food insecurity. The state’s public health toolkit details specific health and safety protocols K-12 schools must implement to keep students and teachers safe during in-person instruction.
“Even with the thousands of students and teachers attending school in-person across the state, we have seen few COVID-19 clusters in our public schools,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Our Department will continue to serve our school communities, offering resources and support so we can keep our school doors open.”
Increasing evidence suggests that, with prevention measures in place, there are low rates of COVID-19 transmission in primary and secondary school settings even with high rates of community transmission. In addition, ongoing medical studies and peer-reviewed data affirm that children infected with COVID-19 generally have mild or no symptoms, and are less likely to spread the disease.
“Learning loss resulting from COVID has the potential to be a generational hurdle, but the data we have seen shows us that schools can reopen safely if they adhere to COVID prevention policies,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt. “For many schools, the logistics of returning to in-person instruction five days per week will be a challenge, but this is absolutely a challenge we must face head on so that all students have a chance to fulfill their potential. With strong prevention measures in place, and the scientific research to back them, now is the time to act. North Carolina’s students cannot lose any more time.”
“We know that to equitably and fully address the needs of the whole child in every student, it is imperative that schools reopen for in-person instruction,” said State Board Chairman Eric Davis. “Since August, public school leaders have proven the merits of the safety protocols that have kept our schools safe for students and staff.”
Governor Cooper, Superintendent Truitt, Chair Davis and Secretary Cohen sent a letter to local school board members and superintendents encouraging in-person instruction across the state.
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Schiele Museum Winter Wonderland

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

The Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd.,  has opened its newest, original exhibit Winter Wonderland.  Winter Wonderland will be an adventure geared towards the youngest visitors to the museum as participants are urged to take off their shoes and sock “skate.”  It was opened to the public on Saturday, Jan. 16th for just $3 per person and will be free for Schiele Members. Tickets can be reserved online in advance at SchieleMusem.org. The exhibit is currently scheduled to be open through March 2021.
Winter Wonderland is fashioned to look like an outdoor pond that has iced over.  The winter scene is complete with taxidermy mounts of deer bounding through the forest and other wildlife peeking at the skaters. Children up to age 12 will be able to kick off their shoes and skate off some energy, practice some ice skating techniques, or just enjoy twirls and sliding across the floor.
As the coronavirus continues to be a concern for our community, The Schiele staff wanted to provide a low-contact experience for our youngest visitors to enjoy.  An anonymous sponsor provided support to help make this exhibit possible.  The Winter Wonderland experience will give children a way to exercise while having fun as families enjoy spending time together.
The museum has also opened its weekly Friday Night Light programs scheduled through February. These special planetarium programs will be offered each Friday evening at 5 PM, 6 PM, & 7 PM and will give families, couples, and adults an opportunity to experience a planetarium program after hours. New programs will be available each week, from live star shows to science theater programs from across the national planetarium industry. Limited seating provides ample room for visitors to spread out and pick their favorite seats to enjoy the show.
For more information, please visit schielemuseum.org or follow The Schiele Museum on social media.
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Mt. Island Charter School
swimmers excel at recent meet

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

The Mt. Island Charter School girls’ swim team won the 400m relay at the recent Regional Championship meet in Greensboro. It was the first ever 1st Place for MICS swim.
Pictured L – R- Emily Heil, Cailyn Oliverio, Sydney Strauss, Kiera Wiley. The team will compete for the State Championship on Friday 2/12 in Cary, NC.
Other Regional Championship results for MICS swimmers were: 
5th Place - Women’s 200 Yard Medley Relay- (Makenna Butlak, Cailyn Oliverio, Emily Heil, Brooke Harris)
11th Place- Men’s 200 Yard Medley Relay- (Connor Logue, Jack Johnston, Ethan Jung, Austin Ashburn)
6th Place- Women’s 200 Yard Free- Sydney Strauss
4th Place- Men’s 200 Yard Free- Jack Lazaroksi
9th Place- Men’s 200 Yard Free- Mason Greene
2nd Place- Men’s 200 Yard IM- Nolan Berry
2nd Place - Women’s 50 Yard Free- Keara Wiley
5th Place- Women’s 50 Yard Free- Emily Heil
5th Place- Women’s 100 Yard Fly- Sydney Strauss
2nd Place- Men’s 100 Yard Fly- Jack Lazaroski
4th Place- Women’s 100 Yard Free- Keara Wiley
4th Place- Men’s 500 Yard Free- Nolan Berry
3rd Place- Women’s 200 Yard Free Relay- (Cailyn Oliverio, Emily Heil, Sydney Strauss, Keara Wiley )
3rd Place- Men’s 200 Yard Free Relay- (Mason Greene, Ethan Jung, Nolan Berry,Jack Lazaroski)
7th Place- Men’s 100 Yard Breast- Mason Greene
1st Place- Women’s 400 Yard Free Relay-(Keara Wiley, Emily Heil, Sydney Strauss, Cailyn Oliverio)
5th Place- Men’s 400 Yard Free Relay- (Ethan Jung,Nolan Berry,Mason Greene,Jack Lazaroksi)
People who are advancing to States: 
Sydney Strauss (100 Yard Fly, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Keara Wiley ( 50 Yard Free, 100 Yard Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Emily Heil (200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Cailyn Oliverio (200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Jack Lazaroski (200 Free, 100 Fly, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Nolan Berry (200 IM, 500 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Mason Greene (200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Ethan Jung (200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay)
Alternates: Makenna Butlak, Brooke Harris, Connor Logue and Austin Ashburn.

Stanley cemetery cleanup

(February 11 ,  2021 Issue)

Cemetery Workday at Stanley Cemetery.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the removal of fallen leaves and tree limbs in the historic Stanley Cemetery. Date: Saturday, February 13, 2021, if rained out then Feb 20 Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Contact Bob Mahovsky 704-678-6643 for information.

SUPER BOWL RECIPES

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

BACON WRAPPED SMOKIES

1 lb. sliced bacon, cut into thirds
1 (14 oz.) cocktail wieners
3/4 cup brown sugar
• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
•Refrigerate 2/3 of the bacon until needed. It is easier to wrap the wieners with cold bacon. Wrap each cocktail wiener with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle brown sugar generously over all.
• Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until the sugar is bubbly. To serve, place the wieners in a slow cooker and keep on the low setting.

BUFFALO STYLE CHICKEN WINGS
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp.  paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 chicken wings
oil for deep frying
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 dash black pepper
1 dash garlic powder
• In a small bowl mix together the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Place chicken wings in a large, nonporous glass dish or bowl and sprinkle flour mixture over them until they are evenly coated. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.
• Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees. The oil should be just enough to cover wings entirely, an inch or so deep. Combine the butter, hot sauce, pepper and garlic powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir together and heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat and reserve for serving.
• Fry coated wings in hot oil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until parts of wings begin to turn brown. Remove from heat, place wings in serving bowl, add hot sauce mixture and stir together. Serve.

Kelsie Painter earns Dean’s List recognition

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

Valdosta State University congratulates Kelsie Painter of Mount Holly, North Carolina, for earning a spot on the Fall 2020 Dean’s List.
Dean’s List honors are reserved for the highest achieving students at VSU. Painter is one of more than 2,100 distinguished and accomplished students recognized for exemplifying excellence in the attainment of their educational goals.
To qualify for Dean’s List at VSU, students must achieve a semester grade point average of 3.50 or higher on nine or more semester hours with an institutional grade point average of 3.00 or higher.

Local students named to Dean’s List

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

The University of Utah congratulates more than 9,700 students who were named to the Fall 2020 Dean’s List. To qualify, students must earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher in at least 12 graded credit hours during any one term.
Local students named to the Fall 2020 Dean’s List include:
Alessandro Della Corte of Gastonia, whose major is listed as Athletic Training BS.
Ryan Furukawa of Belmont, whose major is listed as Computer Science BCS.
Cramerton

Cramerton park bench fundraiser and donation

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

The Cramerton Parks and Recreation Department is offering a new park bench fundraiser and donation program.
As part of a newly adopted Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Parks and Rec. is starting with benches and wanted to offer the opportunity for individuals to donate a bench or give a bench in honor of an individual(s) for years to come.
There are currently have 35 opportunities for bench donations in Central Park, C.B. Huss Recreation Complex, Goat Island Park, River Link Greenway, and Riverside Park. Donors can choose the specific park in which they would like their bench to be placed. Donors can list their top three choices in a specific park where they would like their bench placed (we have a list of locations for each park that donors can choose from). Donors can pick from two different plaques that will adorn the benches. Donors have 36 characters which they can place on the plaque.
These benches have a 25 year life expectancy and will be adorned with a 4” x 6” plaque for the entirety of the benches useful life.  Benches will be blue or green powder coated, perforated, and mounted in ground with concrete.
These benches will not only make our parks more visually appealing but they are some of the most flood and vandal resistant benches on the market.
Contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 704-824-4231 with any questions or to reserve your bench today.

Community honors
Officer Tyler Herndon

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

The Mt. Holly Police Dept. would like to thank Anthony & Christine Trivette for this thoughtful gift to honor and remember Officer Tyler Herndon.                MHPD photos

Tribute To Office Tyler Herndon

(February 3 ,  2021 Issue)

Darius Czekaj (Pictured in gray shirt) recently created  an amazing work of art for the Mt. Holly Police Dept. He spent countless hours painting this lion with multiple coats of paint and various finishes to represent many special and thoughtful things related to law enforcement. On behalf of the MHPD, Darius, thank you so much for this amazing tribute to the honor and memory of Officer Tyler Herndon.

MHPD photos
 

Gaston Schools
Kindergarten signup

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

Gaston Schools 2021-2022 Kindergarten Registration is now available online. An online registration tool will enable you to register your child right from your own home. Children who are five years old on or before August 31, 2021, are eligible to register for kindergarten. Parents may call the Student Assignment Office at (704) 810-7284 for information about kindergarten registration. For more information, please visit https://www.gaston.k12.nc.us/kindergartenregistration
Amberkey
Amber Key, Gaston College alum takes every precaution to safeguard her patients from Covid-19 as a frontline worker in Gastonia.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Certified Medical Assistant Amber Key applies skills she learned at Gaston College

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

Amber Key, a 2018 graduate of Gaston College’s Medical Assisting program, has been a frontline worker in helping patients adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. Key manages the anemia clinic at Metrolina Nephrology Associates in Gastonia and has had to modify her normal procedures to observe the safeguards needed to protect her patients as much as possible.
Key was already a phlebotomist – a technician who draws blood for tests and performs blood transfusions – when she entered the Medical Assisting program in 2016. She graduated in May 2018 and had a perfect score on the American Association of Medical Assistants’ Certification Exam. “I chose Medical Assisting because I felt it would help make me more versatile in the workplace,” Key said.
She has worked at Metrolina Nephrology Associates since she graduated from Gaston College. Since COVID-19 has been a consideration, her job has become “more tedious” than it was before. “All patients have to be screened prior to coming into the office,” she said. “I see fewer patients on a daily basis due to needing more time for the screening and to trying to make sure patients are safely distanced from each other.” In order to minimize exposure for some of her more fragile patients, she has been going outside to their cars, where she does vitals and gets the capillary samples, she needs from them. “My main goal is to give the patients the best care that I can, and to keep them, my coworkers and myself safe.”
To ensure safety, Key always wears full Personal Protective Equipment, including face mask, gloves, goggles, and gown. She washes her hands frequently, and everything used in her workplace is sanitized and wiped down with approved cleaning agents. Key also makes sure to wipe down the steering wheel, door handles and other surfaces in her car.
The Gaston College Medical Assisting program gave Key the knowledge and skills she needed for her position. “I am very happy with my career. It fits my lifestyle,” she said. “My goal is to continue to learn as much as I can and continue to contribute as much as I can at my workplace.”
The coronavirus pandemic, however, has required some previously unanticipated adjustments to the way Key approaches her job. “I honestly don’t think that any amount of school can prepare you for actually dealing with a pandemic,” she said. “I do feel that my education at Gaston College prepared me for the change in my responsibilities because you have to know how to adapt to whatever is presented to you and still maintain that level of patient care. It is so important to have a high standard when working in this field. If you start the Medical Assisting program with high expectations from Day One, by the time you’ve completed the program it is second nature and it just carries over to the work environment.”
The Gaston College Medical Assisting program gives students the clinical and administrative skills needed to help others as a medical professional. Medical assistants combine their knowledge of the human body and their organizational training to be effective and important members of health response teams, whether in a physician’s office, clinic, or hospital.
The two-year Gaston College Medical Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs. Graduates of the program receive their Associate of Applied Science degree and qualify to take the AAMA certification examination to become a Certified Medical Assistant. For more information on the Gaston College Medical Assisting program, call 704-922-2274.

Community VFD safety tips

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

Community VFD in North Belmont is offering these safety tips for the cold weather and new year

Keep Pets Indoors When Possible
If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pets. Don’t keep your pets outdoors for long periods of time during very cold weather. Short-coated dogs may need a coat or sweater during walks.

Provide Outdoor Shelter for Your Pets
If you have outdoor dogs, make sure they have a dry, draft-free doghouse that:
Is large enough for pets to sit and lie down in, but small enough to retain their body heat.
Has a floor that is elevated a few inches off the ground and is covered with cedar shavings or straw.
Has an entrance that faces away from heavy winds and is covered with a flap of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.

Home Safety Tips
The first step is continuing to be diligent about fire safety in your home by testing the batteries (and replacing if needed) on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Keep pets and children away from lit candles and fireplaces. Also, keep matches and lighters in a locked cabinet out of reach of children.
Do not leave food unattended in the kitchen when you are cooking, this is especially true when frying and boiling items on the stovetop. Keep children and pets away from cooking surfaces and hot pans and dishes.

Congratulations GEMS

Ymcalogo

YMCA invites you to join free RESET challenge

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired in these COVID-19 times? The Gaston County Family YMCA invites all in the community to participate in a free six-week Reset challenge designed to help transform spirit, mind and body.
“Now, more than ever before we need to recharge and refocus,” said Gaston County Family YMCA CEO Sharon Padgett. “The COVID-19 pandemic has worn us down. It’s isolated us in so many ways. This challenge provides an opportunity to get active and healthier by yourself or as a family.”
Beginning in January 2021, you can opt-in to the free challenge by texting RESET to 844.473.9622​. Follow the prompts to sign-up for the challenge that begins February 1. You will receive three prompts via text/email each week filled with motivation, challenges, workouts and more. Participating in the Reset challenge will also let you attend the Y for each Wednesday during the challenge to enjoy swimming, working out and a variety of classes. It also gives you access to our Virtual Y through March 2021 to workout wherever you are. These classes are available via Facebook including Zumba, yoga, HIIT and many more. In addition the first 500 registered participants to stop into the Y can pick up a complimentary exercise band.
Throughout the challenge wellness team will invite members and participants to a variety of activities, like pop-up classes and nature walks. Visit online at gastonymca.org and learn more about the Nationwide Reset challenge and all of the free community activities.

Diabetes workshop planned

Do you or a family member have pre-diabetes, diabetes, or at risk for diabetes?  If so, then don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to better take control of your diabetes. NC Cooperative Extension and Gaston County Adult Services are offering the virtual workshop “Living Healthy at Home with Diabetes” a free online self-management program which begins February 2021.
Living Healthy at Home with Diabetes is an evidence-based, diabetes self-management program originally developed at Stanford University. The program is designed for anyone with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or at risk for diabetes. Participants will learn how to prevent low blood sugar; prevent and delay complications of diabetes; eat well; use medications effectively; manage pain, fatigue and depression; solve problems and set goals. The program is valued at more than $800 and there is no cost to participants.
The program consists of six weekly online sessions scheduled for Tuesdays, February 2nd through March 9th from 9:30am – 12:00pm. All sessions will be held online so participants are able to remain safely at home. There is no cost to attend, but group size is limited to 12 participants with priority given to Gaston County residents.
A copy of “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions” workbook and a relaxation CD will be provided to all participants. Pre-registration is required by contacting Linda Minges - 704.922.2127 or linda_minges@ncsu.edu by January 28, 2021. This program is sponsored by Centralina Area Agency on Aging.

Art

New art exhibit at
Gaston County Museum

(January 28, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston County Museum, 131 W. Main St., Dallas, presents a new exhibit by Bob Matthews- Everything Is A Nail- January 19 – May 15, 2021 in the Bullpen Gallery/GCM Website.
Often combining religious icons with political commentary, Rob Matthews’ work can be described as curiously disorienting. According to Matthews, who was born in North Carolina and currently resides in Nashville, “Themes of upheaval, power, displacement and the unspoken message of ‘home’ anchor the work. Some subjects of the paintings are heroes. Other subjects are villains. The remaining that are depicted are caught in the middle. All of the work is made to spend time considering events and people that get lost in the shuffle of the ever-changing news cycle.”  The exhibit features 11 paintings over canvas on wood panels.
Gastoncountyforestview
Congratulations to Forestview High School athletic trainer Jarrett Friday. He was selected to serve as an athletic trainer for the 2021 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas football game. Gaston Schools photo

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.

First Baptist Mt. Holly pipe organ installation...

(January 21, 2021 Issue)

The new pipe organ at First Baptist Mt. Holly arrived just before Christmas and is is nearly ready for action. Many people have had a hand in the design and building of this organ and First Baptist is grateful to all of them. Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio is the firm that created and installed the organ. Founded in 1873, Schantz Organ Company is North America’s oldest and largest pipe organ builder still under the control of the founding family.
Taylor Vancil photos

 

Gaston County prepares to expand COVID vaccination efforts

(January 21, 2021 Issue)

Gaston County is  preparing for the change in COVID vaccination requirements rolled out last Thursday by the state.
The state has added in the 65-to-74-year-old population as part of what is now being referred to as Group 2. Gaston County is continuing to register individuals both through its hotline, 704-866-3170, and at GastonSaves.com/covid19vaccine. Thousands of Gaston County residents have already registered online since that option was launched last Thursday.
County employees will continue to staff the hotline during the week starting at 8 a.m. and will be available each day until 5 p.m. It has pulled employees from departments across the county and is getting additional assistance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to help manage the historically high call volume.
In response, the County will soon be adding vaccination days on Wednesdays in addition to Fridays as it will soon not only be providing the first shot to hundreds of residents at a time, but also the second round of vaccine to complete the process. The county also opened up another 2,400 vaccination appointments for the next three weeks.
The County is also working closely with its partners at CaroMont Health and Kintegra Health to maximize the opportunities to get members of the community vaccinated.
Those in the 65-74 age range should expect it may take a few weeks to get to their turn in line as the County has booked out appointments with remaining healthcare workers (Group 1) and the 75-and-over population that have pre-registered for appointments.
Vaccination clinics continue to be by appointment only, to manage the flow of traffic and allow for as smooth a process as possible.
Residents are encouraged to sign up for COVID-19 information email alerts at www.GastonSaves.com/covid19vaccine.
Solomon
Solomon Eichner

Sol Eichner, concert pianist, to perform on Arts at the Abbey

(January 21, 2021 Issue)

Arts at the Abbey enters 2021 with a program featuring romantic piano music and jazz-influenced compositions. Entitled a “Rachmaninoff Sandwich”, the program has four of Rachmaninoff’s magnificent preludes interspersed with music by Gershwin, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and the Russian contemporary composer Kapustin. There are familiar works as well as new ones.
The concert is Monday January 25, 2021 at 8:00 PM in the Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey, Belmont NC. Admission is free. A limited live audience will be admitted. Masks and social distancing are required. Donations are welcomed.  The concert will also be live streamed - https://www.belmontabbeycollege.edu/artslive/
To reserve a seat, call 704-461-6012 or email abbeyarts@bac.edu.
Solomon Eichner debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2016 after winning the “Golden Key Debut” International Competition in New York City. He has performed in England, Italy, Germany, Austria, Poland and throughout the U.S. Recent performances include the Western Piedmont Symphony and next year (after Covid) he will perform Beethoven with the Winston-Salem Symphony.
Belmont Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey College (at Exit 26 on I-85) Belmont NC and are free to the public.  This series is made possible in part by the Associated Foundation, Inc. of Belmont, The Gaston Community Foundations, The Monks of Belmont Abbey and other private donors.
The Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey College just off of Exit 26 on I-85.For more information: Karen Hite Jacob. 704-461-6012,  www.bac.edu or https://www.facebook.com/BelmontAbbeyArts/

Cathy Mabry Cloninger Center News

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

The Cathy Mabry Cloninger Center, a domestic violence shelter, 330 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd.,  has the following news briefs.
Shelter Meals
We need your help! We have many available meal dates available over the next couple of months. These meals are so important as they help our families feel less isolated in the shelter. Preparing or purchasing a meal for the shelter helps these families feel more supported on their journey to an abuse-free life. If you or your organization are interested in providing a meal, please contact Susie.Pons@gastongov.com
Counseling Services
Did you know? The shelter offers free and confidential counseling services to ALL survivors of domestic violence. If you are interested in learning more about these services, please contact Emma Calvert at Emma.Calvert@gastoncounty.com
Hope United Survivor Network
Hope United Survivor Network is Gaston County’s very own family justice center. They connect ALL survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking to service providers in our community. Check out their Facebook page for more information!
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. This year we are encouraging the community to learn more about how to protect our children and teach them about healthy relationships. Statistics show that girls between the ages of 16 and 19 experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average. We are offering Zoom presentations to parents, teachers, family members and students that will provide information about how to spot the warning signs and resources available to those who are experiencing abuse. For more information about presentations and resources, please contact Mollie Weakland at Mollie.Weakland@gastongov.com.

Lingerfeldt Elementary School's Teacher Project

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

Lingerfeldt Elementary School’s Teacher Project has been recognizing teachers for their positive contributions to the school. Here are some recent winners.

Gaston Schools photos

 
Mcguire
Pinewood Elementary School’s Teacher Assistant of the Year, Mrs. Giana McGuire

Congratulations to Pinewood Elementary School’s Teacher Assistant of the Year

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Pinewood Elementary School’s Teacher Assistant of the Year, Mrs. Giana McGuire. Thank you for serving the exceptional children’s department and  school with positivity and professionalism. Pinewood is thankful for all that she does.
Gaston Schools photos
 
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Pinewood Elementary School’s New Teacher of the Year, Ms. Lexi Crosby

Congratulations to Pinewood Elementary School’s  New Teacher of the Year,

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Pinewood Elementary School’s  New Teacher of the Year, Ms. Lexi Crosby. This award goes to a faculty member in their first three years of teaching. Ms. Crosby is passionate, engaging, and loved by everyone at our school. She has a natural teaching ability that is beyond her years.
 
Mlk

2021 Gaston Together MLK Unity Awards is January 18th

(January 14, 2021 Issue)

The Gaston Clergy & Citizens Coalition (GC3), an initiative of Gaston Together, will present the 2021 Gaston County MLK Unity Awards to Gastonia Police Chief Travis Brittain, Rev. Dr. Rodney Freeman and Shaaron Miller Funderburk on Monday, January 18th at 10:30 am.  Due to the Covid restrictions for North Carolina, the event this year will be livestreamed through Facebook: Mt. Zion Restoration Church.  
The Gaston County MLK Unity Award was established in 2004 by GC3.  The award recognizes current or former Gaston County citizens who have performed exemplary community service to help build bridges of unity across lines of class, race, gender, faith and/or municipalities within our county.  Names of the honorees are engraved on the MLK Monument located at the MLK Plaza in Gastonia.   Some of the past winners include:  Senator Marshall Rauch, the late N. A. Smith, Mrs. Lucy Penegar and Danny Jackson.  Last year’s honorees were Dr. Mark E. Epstein, Walker E. Reid III and John P. Weisenhorn.
Chief Brittain and Rev. Freeman are being honored together due to their work and partnership to promote, facilitate and help to spread community awareness of the GC3/Law Enforcement Covenant originally signed in March 2016.  Both men have done exemplary work individually in building bridges of unity throughout their careers; however, the groundwork these two have laid together while putting the tenets of the covenant into practice has truly made a tremendous positive impact in our community.  They have built a relationship between each other and their respective networks in the law enforcement and African/American communities that kept the worst from happening here in the aftermath of George Floyd and other killings as well as the Confederate Monument protests.  To quote one recommendation for Chief Brittain and Rev. Freeman, “GC3 was entirely prescient in the need (for the covenant).  These two individuals embraced, facilitated, and created out of whole cloth a movement that spared Gastonia the worst that could and might have happened…and lays the foundation for it to continue far into the future, continuing a proud Gastonia tradition of proactively addressing race issues (in the spirit of the Human Relations Commission in the early 1960’s).   I don’t think there can be any more deserving recipients of a Unity Award named after Dr. King.”
Chief Brittain was born and raised in Gastonia and graduated from Ashbrook High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Gardner Webb University and a master’s degree in Justice Administration from Methodist University. He is a 2013 graduate of the FBI National Academy’s 254th Session and received the Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the State of North Carolina.  Chief Brittain has served the Gastonia Police Department for 25 years, the last six of those in executive management. He assumed his new duties as Chief on October 1, 2020.
Brittain serves on the boards of several community organizations, including the Executive Board of the Gaston Clergy & Citizens Coalition (GC3) and Habitat for Humanity, where he co-planned initiatives to build homes in areas impacted by crime. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of East Gastonia.
Dr. Rodney Freeman is a native of York, South Carolina.  He has an Associate of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Jacksonville Theological Seminary, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pastoral Studies from Queen City Bible College, a Masters of Divinity Degree from Gardner Webb University  and a Doctorate of Ministry Degree from Ashland Theological Seminary.  Rev. Freeman has been the Pastor of Mt. Zion Restoration Church in Gastonia since 2000.  He is the first African American appointed President of the York Rotary Club, York, SC and is the founder and CEO of Save Our Children Youth Academy as well as Bountiful Blessings Food Pantry both of which are in Gastonia.
Shaaron Funderburk is well known in Gaston County for her work with the Off the Streets Program, Inc., a program designed to assist women in getting off the streets and becoming free from street life, drugs, and alcohol. Tough love and strong leadership by Mrs. Funderburk, CEO and founder, have resulted in rehabilitation with many of these women re-entering the work force and life as capable, responsible, and constructive members of society.  Shaaron knows first-hand what it is like to wake up and not know what has happened in your life for a period of time because you were “cracked” out of your mind and your best friend is a crack pipe. Shaaron took a good look at herself and realized that she had hit bottom, she said, “This is it. I have had enough, and I cannot go on living this way.”  Not only did she change, now she helps others to change.  Over the past 17 years, Shaaron has helped rehabilitate more than 1,000 women with a 90 percent success rate. She attributes this to knowing what it is like to be in their shoes which helps her motivate them to turn their lives around.  Mrs. Funderburk is a Hunter Huss graduate and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Johnson C. Smith University.
The presentation of the awards will be part of an annual event designed by the GC3 to recognize the dream of Dr. King for all.  It is a dream very much alive in Gaston County.  Please join the celebration as we honor those in our midst who have worked to build bridges of unity in our county.
The GC3 is a county-wide, non-denominational ministerial association formed in the late 1990’s by Gaston Together.  The GC3 meets on the second Thursday of each month at 9:00am.  Due to Covid restrictions, meetings are currently conducted by virtual format.  For more information, please call Gaston Together (704-867-9869.)
Gastondaystudent

Gaston Day School student publication is finalist for prestigious award

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to the Gaston Day School 2019-2020 Blutopia staff. The Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) has honored the 2020 issue of Blutopia as a finalist for their Crown Award. Crown Awards are the highest recognition given by the CSPA to a student print or digital medium for overall excellence.
A total of 849 digital, newspapers, magazines and yearbooks published during the 2019-2020 academic year were eligible for judging in the 2021 Crown Awards Program. Blutopia is in the high school print literary magazine category and is one of only two magazines in North Carolina selected. Finalists will be revealed as either Gold or Silver Crowns in March 2021.
Lily McGrath’ 20 was also awarded a Gold Circle Certificate of Merit for her print spread “Away”, featuring poetry by Matilda Ziegler’ 23 and art by David Efird’ 20.
Blutopia is Gaston Day School’s student published literary and arts magazine.
Founded in 1925, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association unites student editors and faculty advisers working with them who produce student newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and online media. The Association is owned and operated by Columbia University.

South Point High awarded Wells Fargo Cup

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

By Charlotte Sautner

South Point High School has been awarded the Well Fargo Cup for the Southwestern 2A Conference for 2019-2020.  This is the second time in three years that South Point has been awarded this honor.  As you know our Spring seasons were cut short because of COVID-19, but South Point was leading the conference in points coming out of the Winter sports season.
South Point Athletic Director, Kent Hyde, said “This is a total team effort- our athletes, our coaches, our faculty, our support staff, our administrators, and our community.  Thank you for all that you do for South Point High School and our community. Go Big Red!!”
The Wells Fargo Cup represents overall sports excellence among high schools in North Carolina.  The award goes to the schools which have the best overall interscholastic sports programs in each athletic conference.  The program is sponsored by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and one of its corporate sponsors, Wells Fargo.
Sports teams playing during the fall and winter of 2019-2020 were Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Football, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Tennis, Women’s Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Swimming, and Wrestling.  South Point won championships in Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Tennis, and Men’s and Women’s Swimming.
Mrsmillergastonchristian

Students give generously...

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Mrs. Miller’s sweet class at Gaston Christian School raised $240.44 for the Charlotte Rescue Mission. This money provided over 100 meals for those in need. What a blessing it was to see a spirit of generosity in that classroom.
 
Teacherofyear

Teacher of the Year finalists announced

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to the following educators who were chosen as finalists for Gaston County Teacher of the Year, 2021-2022. Savanna Abernathy, Bessemer City Central Elementary; Natalie Childers, Gardner Park Elementary; Bethany Hartley, Hunter Huss High School; Casey Miller, Stanley Middle School; Staci Nezezon, Pinewood Elementary.   Gaston Schools photos
 
Bicycle
Allison Gozalkowski

Congratulations Allison!

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Grier Middle School sixth-grader Allison Gozalkowski. She won this great new bike in the raffle held at the school.
 
Prieto
Mr. Prieto

Holbrook Middle School’s Teacher of the Year 2020-2021

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Mr. Prieto for being voted as Holbrook Middle School’s Teacher of the Year 2020-2021. Way to go Mr. Prieto.
 
Jennylawrence
Mrs. Jenny Lawrence pictured with her husband,Alex and son William.

Ida Rankin Elementary’s 2020-21 Teacher Assistant of the Year

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Mt. Holly Ida Rankin Elementary’s 2020-21 Teacher Assistant of the Year, Mrs. Jenny Lawrence. Thanks to her husband, Alex and son, William for helping the school celebrate and honor her.
Mrsmarlowe
Mrs. Marlowe

Catawba Heights Elementary School’s  Teacher Assistant of the Year

(January 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Catawba Heights Elementary School’s  Teacher Assistant of the Year Mrs. Marlowe. She is always willing to step in and help out wherever she’s needed, Mrs. Marlowe is an integral part of the school and is loved by everyone.