School news, Sept. 24: National Merit semifinalists named

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Compiled by Gina Smith

Cabarrus County

National Merit Scholarship semifinalists: The National Merit Scholarship Corp. recently named 16,000 U.S. high school students as semifinalists in its annual scholarship program for 2015. Several local students are among the group that will move on to compete for about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth around $33 million. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to become finalists, and more than half of the finalists will win National Merit Scholarships.

To become finalists, the semifinalists and their schools must submit applications detailing the student’s academic record, school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Scholarship winners will be announced in spring and summer months.

Local semifinalists:

Cabarrus County Schools

New administrators: Cabarrus County Schools Superintendent Barry Shepherd announced the following new administration appointments on Sept. 9:

Season of Caring: Education Center employees participated in United Way’s Season of Caring on Sept. 9 by doing yardwork at Cabarrus Victims Assistance Network shelter. Volunteers trimmed bushes and trees, whacked weeds, raked leaves and mulched for three hours to leave a well-manicured lawn. Cabarrus County Schools Central Office employees have participated in the United Way Season of Caring since 2010. This is the third consecutive year that Central Office employees have volunteered at the shelter.

Bethel Elementary

Curriculum Night: 5-7 p.m. Sept. 30.

PTSO Fall Festival: The Bethel Elementary parent-teacher-student organization seeks local vendors interested in setting up booths at the school’s Fall Festival 3-6 p.m. Oct. 18. The festival is open to the public. Details:

Hickory Ridge High

Athletic fundraiser: Hickory Ridge High’s second annual Athletic Fundraiser will be 8 a.m.-noon Sept. 27 at the school, 7321 Raging Ridge Road, Harrisburg. A yard sale and silent auction will run 8 a.m.-noon, with hot dogs, popcorn and drinks for sale 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Proceeds from the silent auction and purchase of yard sale tables will go to support the Athletic Department. To reserve a yard sale spot or donate an item to the auction, visit

Mount Pleasant High

Miss Mount Pleasant High School: The Miss Mount Pleasant High School Pageant will be Oct. 22 in the school auditorium. The pageant is open to students in grades 9-12. Pageant hair and makeup are not allowed. The competition will select a student who will represent the high school to the community. The registration fee is $30, and the deadline to enter is Oct. 5. The director for the pageant is Penny Isenhour. For details, visit the front office.

Memorial bench: Family and friends of the late Mount Pleasant High coach and teacher Leon Ensley plan to offer a scholarship in his memory, along with a memorial bench in his honor to be placed near the baseball field. Donations to help with the projects can be sent to MPHS, Attn: Brandy Crisco, School Treasurer, 700 Walker Road, Mount Pleasant, NC 28124. “Leon Ensley Memorial Fund” should be noted on the check.

Jay M. Robinson High

Hispanic Heritage Dinner: The Jay M. Robinson High Multicultural Club will present its ninth annual Hispanic Heritage Dinner 4-8 p.m. Oct. 16 in the school cafeteria. The theme for this year’s event is “Day of the Dead.” The event is open to the public and will feature food, a costume competition and more.

Admission is $5 with proceeds to benefit the Multicultural Club’s scholarship fund. Details: Adela Henry at

Kannapolis City Schools

Energy Star Award: Four Kannapolis City schools recently earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Award: Jackson Park Elementary, Shady Brook Elementary, Woodrow Wilson Elementary and Kannapolis Intermediate. The award recognizes organizations that significantly reduce energy consumption. Energy Star buildings use 35 percent less energy and generate 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than an unqualified building. During the 2013-14 school year, the combined electrical energy saved by Jackson Park, Shady Brook, Woodrow Wilson and Kannapolis Intermediate School, when compared to their baseline year, was more than 1 million kilowatt hours, which saved the district nearly $100,000 in utility costs. Forest Park Elementary also earned the Energy Star Award in 2012, so a total of five out of Kannapolis City Schools’ eight schools are now Energy Star certified.


Academic scholarships: Autobell Car Wash Inc., based in Charlotte, recently awarded 132 employees in four states its 2014 academic scholarships toward the college or university of their choice. This year’s gifts total $154,000. The Autobell Scholarship is an annual program open to current Autobell employees who are graduating high school seniors or have received a high school diploma. For details, visit and follow the company at and @AutobellCarWash on Twitter. Local recipients are Brooks Golba, Huntersville, UNC Charlotte; James Jackson, Huntersville, UNCC; Cameron Wellborn, Sherrills Ford, UNCC.