Gaston & Catawba

Catawba Valley School News |

Lenoir-Rhyne University is currently accepting applications for next year's High School Scholars Academy.

High-achieving students who wish to earn college credit while completing their senior year of high school attend classes on the Lenoir-Rhyne campus. The students take high school English IV Honors and three university classes, but are able to participate in extracurricular activities at their home schools.

Thirty spaces are available for the 2009-2010 school year. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 16, 2009.

First preference for admission will be given to students enrolled in the Catawba County, Hickory Public or Newton-Conover school systems. If there are still spaces remaining on Feb. 27, Lenoir-Rhyne will consider applicants from private schools, home schools and other school systems.

For more information about the High School Scholars Academy at Lenoir-Rhyne University, contact Mary Ann Gosnell at 828-328-7300 or

Burke County

Kindergartners and first-graders at Hildebran Elementary recently celebrated Career Day.

Students dressed as their favorite occupation and gave a presentation to the class. Selections included future teachers, armed forces, doctors, trash collectors, hair stylists, police officers, veterinarians, construction workers and firefighters.

Carrie Smith teaches the class.

Students at two elementary schools enjoyed visits from special guests this fall.

WBTV meteorologist Kelly Franson visited Oak Hill to teach youngsters about weather and weather safety.

Smokey the Bear stopped by Drexel Primary to teach students about fire prevention.

NCREAL District Coordinator Arlene Childers and Western Piedmont Community College Small Business Center Director Eddie McGimpsey recently visited College Street Academy to lead students in entrepreneurship activities.

The students showed imagination and creativity in a program called “Unique Things.”

College Street Academy will begin an entrepreneurship class in the spring with NCREAL instructor Emily Thompson teaching. Students will form a school-based enterprise.

Catawba County

Catawba County Schools recently received a $1.36 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to transform physical education programs.

CCS was one of only three school districts in the state to receive the funding.

“Get Fit – Get Smart” is designed to teach students to take control of their lifestyles and stem the growing youth obesity in Catawba County Schools. Programs on the elementary, middle and high school level will be redesigned to instruct and motivate students to adopt healthy lifestyles.

Wally Zahler, principal at Sweetwater/Snow Creek Elementary, co-authored the grant.

Students will enjoy increased time for physical activity, health and fitness testing and a curriculum that incorporates sports, play and active recreation.

On the high school level, a student fitness center will be implemented on each campus. Maiden High will be the first of the district's five high schools to get the Exercise Science Lab, which will provide equipment such as skin calipers, BMI scales, blood pressure cuffs, heart rate monitors, pedometers, aerobic steps, rowing machines, treadmills, power steppers, yoga mats and a 24-station plyometrics unit.

Ten schools will receive cardio-sports equipment this academic year; the remaining schools will start next year.

An interactive program will use video lessons to teach PE using sports figures and celebrities demonstrating drills, dance moves and proper sports techniques.

In Catawba County, 32.5 percent of children age 12-18 and 27 percent of children age 5-11 are considered overweight.

St. Stephens High School's Tractor Shed Theatre already has two performances under its belt.

The student troupe presented an original performance intertwining classic poetry and music for the N.C. Theatre Arts Educators Conference held in October at Fred T. Foard High School.

The Play Production Class, an auditioned troupe of actors and singers, also performed Oct. 11 at Hickory's Oktoberfest. The 17-student group wrote a kid-friendly script spoofing the popular “America's Got Talent” television program. Acts included a ventriloquist and his rebellious dummy, the electric sounds of Janis Joplin and funky dancing by divas called the '80s Ladies.

Molly Rice directs the drama program at St. Stephens High.

Fourth-graders at Blackburn Elementary School recently worked together to raise money for flood victims in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

After reading articles about natural disasters, students sold lollipops at school and during their free time. Proceeds were used to purchase supplies for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Local churches assemble these materials into five-gallon containers that are shipped to places in need.

The two fourth-grade classes donated 13 five-gallon buckets, 28 bottles of laundry detergent and 15 bags of clothespins to the UMCOR in Statesville.


The Hickory Public Schools Orchestra Program will perform at 2:30 today at the Northview Middle Gymnasium.

The concert features beginning students as well as middle school orchestras from Grandview and Northview. The Hickory High Orchestra, which was recently invited to perform at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., also will take the stage. Music selections will range from Bach to Van Morrison.


Scottie White, math and language arts teacher at Newton-Conover Middle, was recently named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.

The school received a $1,000 check and White won a Wal-Mart gift card.

Catawba County residents voted at the Hickory Wal-Mart store. One teacher from each of the county's three school systems was honored.

Newton-Conover City Schools will sponsor a Community Pep Rally at 7:30 p.m. Monday after the Newton-Conover High/Hickory soccer match.

Admission is free with the donation of a canned food item to be donated to people in need.

Fall athletes from Newton-Conover Middle and High schools will be recognized along with two N.C. Youth Football League teams. Cheerleaders and band members will lead the pep rally.

The Conover School will host a Fall Festival from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the school playground.

Activities include food, free games and prizes, hay rides, a raffle, a book fair and an inflatable bounce house. Costumes are welcome.