Gaston & Catawba

Around the Area |

Creative development

An internationally known land-use planner will lead a workshop in Hickory Thursday on how communities can redevelop their most traveled streets.

Randall Arendt, a Rhode Island-based writer and advocate of conservation through creative development, will speak from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Highland Recreation Center, 1451 Eighth St. Drive N.E. The event is free and open to the public.

Hickory City Council has made redevelopment of vacant commercial buildings a goal this year. Arendt's talk will touch on that issue as he discusses new ways to improve major travel corridors.

Details: 828-323-7422. Hannah Mitchell

Catawba County GOP

The Catawba County Republican party recently opened its 2008 election headquarters at 17 N. Ashe Ave. in Newton. The Thomas S. Dlugos Memorial Headquarters is one block east of the 1924 courthouse.

Headquarters hours will be 2-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Details: 828-464-3310. Hannah Mitchell

School open houses

Gaston County Schools have several upcoming open houses:

Tuesday: Pleasant Ridge Elementary: 6:30 p.m.; South Point High: 7 p.m.

Sept. 23: Carr Elementary: 7 p.m.; Lowell Elementary. Pizza dinner at 5:30 p.m.; open house at 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 29: Cherryville Elementary: 5:30-7 p.m.

Sept. 30: Belmont Middle: 7 p.m.

Dreams for students

Cindi Rigsbee, the 2008-2009 N.C. AT&T Teacher of the Year, recently spoke to new teachers with Catawba County Schools.

Dubbed the “Dream Teacher” by her Orange County middle-school students, Rigsbee said teaching was the only profession where one could start fresh each year.

“We are able to reflect on last year and make changes to improve,” she said.

Rigsbee became known as the “Dream Teacher” after a student reporter asked why she taught. “…I told her that people's dreams come true in these desks,” she said.

That got her thinking, Rigsbee said, and she began delivering a motivational “dream speech” to classes on the first day of school.

“I tell them that they are their parents' dream come true, and being someone's dream come true carries a lot of responsibility,” she said.

Rigsbee also asks students to write their own “I have a dream” speech.

Rigsbee encouraged teachers to look for strengths in a child, no matter how frustrated they might be. “This is why we are here,” she said. “We have hearts to touch.” Leigh Pressley