Gaston & Catawba

Catawba Valley school news

Alexander County

Author visits: Caldwell County author Gretchen Griffith will visit students at Stony Point Elementary on Dec. 9. She will present her book, “When Christmas Feels Like Home.”

A former teacher with 30 years of experience from elementary school to college, Griffith wrote the 2013 children’s picture book based on her experience as a high school foreign exchange student living in Lima, Peru. Griffith continues to work with the American Field Service and used the stories of many exchange students adapting to a new culture for her research.

In addition to writing, Griffith works to preserve North Carolina stories through a series of oral history projects.

For information, visit

Empty stocking fund: Alexander Central High School is accepting donations for its annual Cougar Empty Stocking Fund to help low-income students during the upcoming holidays.

School social worker Kathy Jones is coordinating the program. As many as 150 students at Alexander Central High are expected to need help with the holidays this year.

Donations will be used to buy students food and a Walmart gift card.

A holiday greeting card designed by the school’s art department will be sent to recipients who chose to make a donation as a gift in a person’s honor.

To make a donation, pick up a form at the school office or download it at For information, call Jones at 828-632-7063, ext. 2260.

Burke County

Asian celebration: Second-graders at New Dimensions Charter School recently held an Asian Celebration at the end of a three-week study of ancient Asia, India and China.

The celebration included a lunch of Chinese food from a local restaurant, complete with chopsticks, and a martial arts demonstration by Taber’s Black Belt Academy. Students also rotated through eight activities led by parent volunteers, including writing Chinese characters, making jewelry in celebration of Diwali, and building the Great Wall of China out of sugar cubes and icing.

Firehouse Subs donation: The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation recently awarded a grant to Burke County Public Schools to purchase equipment that will help train district staff in CPR.

The $2,800 grant was awarded to Miranda Michaels, Burke County Public Schools director of nursing.

Funds will be used to purchase four adults and four baby mannequins to teach CPR, instructor manuals, DVDs, workbooks and face shields. School nurses will use the life sized anatomical human models to teach CPR to staff members and parents.

Caldwell County

Teachers honored: Two educators at William Lenoir Middle School recently earned honors.

Michael Sides received a Bright Ideas grant worth $600 from Blue Ridge Electric.

Carla Reid was named the Middle School Chorus Teacher of the Year by the NC Music Educators Association.

Information night for parents: Caldwell Career Center Middle College will hold Information Night for parents of interested incoming freshmen 6-7 p.m. Dec. 2 at J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.

For information, call 828-759-4640.

Blood drive a success: Hibriten High School recently collected more than 80 units of blood at its Fall Blood Drive.

Health Science classes and HOSA sponsored the blood drive.

Catawba County

Educators recognized: Barbara Lydick, Michael Slaughter and Jeanna Goodson of Catawba County Schools recently received awards for exemplary science instruction from the NCSTA Region 7. The educators accepted the awards Nov. 6 during the NCSTA Conference in Winston-Salem.

A reception provided by Burroughs-Wellcome Fund Foundation followed the presentation.

Quest program available: Catawba County Schools recently started a new before- and after-school program called QUEST. Hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and the program is available in each elementary school.

QUEST is open to children in kindergarten to sixth grades and provides activities that are fun, safe and educationally enriching. Physical activity and quiet time for homework and reading are included.

For information, call 828-695-2684.

Teachers can win gift cards: One teacher from Catawba County will be recognized each month this school year with the Hometown Hero Teacher Appreciation Award. The program is sponsored by Charlotte law firm Charles G. Monnett III & Associates and features a $250 gift card for classroom supplies.

Educators in Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Iredell, Cabarrus and Union counties also will be recognized for their hard work and dedication. Each winning teacher’s classroom also will receive a pizza party courtesy of Domino’s Pizza.

To make a nomination or vote, visit and click on vote. Nominations may be made each month.


Museum competition: Sean Parnell, a local artist and art teacher at Viewmont and Oakwood elementary schools, recently won the Hickory Museum of Art’s “Angels of the Arts” competition.

A multimedia artist, Parnell used vibrant watercolors to portray a freely drawn angel with a swirling universe of color flowing from and around her. The angel defies classical images of angels as she tries out her wings and walks on clouds for the first time.

Parnell donated his framed work to the Museum Guild for its 40th annual Angels of the Arts Brunch and Auction on Dec. 6. His work will be featured on the invitation, publicity and program, and his painting will be showcased in the live auction.

A graduate of East Carolina University, Parnell teaches 30 art classes to elementary children each week. He has worked with Hickory Public Schools for 20 years.

For more information on his work, visit

Tickets also are available to the 40th annual Angels of the Arts Brunch and Auction at Lake Hickory Country Club for $30. Tickets are available at the Hickory Museum of Art. For information, contact Chrissy Schramm at 828-327-8576 ext. 206 or

Principal of the Year: Stephanie Dischiavi, principal at Northview Middle School, was recently named Principal of the Year for Hickory Public Schools.

With 16 years of experience, she was honored for her commitment to ensuring a rigorous and quality education for all students based on their unique social, emotional, physical and intellectual characteristics. Colleagues credited Dischiavi as a calm and genuine listener who puts students first at the heart of every decision.

A native of Canton, Ohio, Dischiavi is a graduate of the University of Akron and UNC Charlotte. She started her career as a teacher at Oakwood Elementary in 1997 and served as principal of Jenkins Elementary from 2005 to 2012.

Dischiavi joined Northview Middle as principal two years ago. She has implemented the Positive Behavior Intervention Support Program and an anti-bullying prevention program, started professional learning communities for collaboration among teachers and staff, created a three-year technology plan and built an interactive electronic staff handbook.

Dischiavi’s honors include two Teacher of the Year titles at Oakwood Elementary, the First Union Excellent Teacher Award, the Sallie Mae First Year Teacher Award, the NC Distinguished Leadership Program and the NC Principal Fellows Program Scholarship.

Conference title: The St. Stephens Lutheran School Lady Warriors volleyball team recently won the WPAA Conference Tournament title.

The team beat Statesville Montessori 2-1 to reach the finals and defeated St. Mark’s Catholic 2-0 to win the championship match.


State title: The men’s soccer team at Newton-Conover High School recently won the state championship title.

Students from South Newton Elementary enjoyed seeing the team’s trophy during a recent visit to their school. Coaches discussed setting goals and working hard every day to meet those goals.

Christmas celebration: Kindergartners and first-graders from Shuford Elementary will perform at Conover’s annual Christmas in the Park celebration at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in the gazebo in the park across from the Conover Police Station.

Both grade levels will sing several songs together. A tree lighting will follow the performance.

Run for Maggie 5K: Shuford Elementary held the Run for Maggie 5K on Nov. 15. Many students and faculty members participated and several earned awards.

Winners from the school were:

• Lynette Ryhal, first place, age 30-39 female

• Rachel McRee, second place, age 30-39, female

• Patrick Nelson, third place, age 30-39, male

• Matthew Farley, fifth place, age 20-29, male

• Luke Wilkinson, second place, 12 and younger

• Addyson Lingle, third place, 12 and younger

‘Sleeping Beauty:’ Newton-Conover Middle School and Discovery High School will present “Sleeping Beauty” at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Newton-Conover Middle auditorium.

Tickets are $4. For information, call 828-464-4221. Compiled by Leigh Pressley