Gaston & Catawba

Catawba Valley school news

Alexander County

Pay it Forward Feast: East Alexander Middle School students and staff will sponsor the annual Pay It Forward Feast this holiday season.

The goal is to provide every family at the school with a holiday dinner that they could either use or “pay forward” to another community member. Each dinner will include a turkey breast, four cans of corn, four cans of green beans, four cans of sweet peas, a 5-pound bag of potatoes, two sweet potatoes, three cans of mixed vegetables, three cans of pinto beans, four boxes of macaroni and cheese, one bag of fruit, one bag of rolls and an apple pie.

Organizers hope to have 615 dinners sponsored by Dec. 16 for delivery on Dec. 19. Cost is $30.

The community is welcome to make donations of any amount by mailing a contribution to East Alexander Middle School, c/o The East Pay It Forward Feast, 1285 White Plains Church Road, Hiddenite, NC 28636.

Sponsorships also can be made on the school’s Facebook page or by contacting Michael Sherrill at 828-632-7565, 828-260-3403 or

Empty stocking fund: Alexander Central High School is now 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 choose 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 more information, contact Kathy Jones at 828-632-7063, ext. 2260.

Burke County

Cancer awareness: Students and staff at Oak Hill Elementary School recently held a Pink Out Day for Cancer Cure.

Participants paid $1 to dress in pink and raise awareness about finding a cure for cancer.

Honorary truck drivers: Students at North Liberty School recently enjoyed a display of Wal-Mart truck cabs stretched from one end of the school to the other. The vehicle display was part of the Walmart Heart Program, which gave the special needs students a chance to be honorary truck drivers for the day.

Walmart drivers invited the children to ride shotgun for a short lap around the school and to explore the cab of the truck. The drivers, who have visited North Liberty for several years, also raise money for special needs children.

School calendar: Burke County Public Schools invites the public to give feedback on the proposed school calendar for the 2015-2016 school year.

Comments may be made on the survey that is available through Dec. 31 at

College credit available: Burke County Public Schools and Western Piedmont Community College are offering high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to dual enroll in high school and college classes through the Career and College Promise program.

By the end of the school year, dual-enrolled students earn 15 college credits for free. Credits are transferable to any college in the University of North Carolina system.

To participate, students must have a 3.0 GPA and a 500 in English, Reading and Math on the SAT or an 18 in English on the ACT and a 22 in Reading and Math on the ACT.

Plans are in the works to offer college-level English and art appreciation classes at East Burke High School next year. Other college courses are offered online and on the Western Piedmont campus.

To learn more about dual enrollment, contact a school counselor or Amanda Cooper at Western Piedmont Community College at or 828-448-3159.

Caldwell County

Fatz rewards homework efforts: Fatz Café recently awarded free kids’ meals to students at Gamewell Middle School. Students earned the reward for having no missed assignments during the last grading period.

Early college high information sessions: Caldwell Early College High School will hold two parent-student information sessions at 5:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at the school.

Applications for the dual-enrollment program will be available on the school website Jan. 30. Applications are due to middle school counselors by Feb. 12.

Acceptance notifications will be made in mid-March.

Educators honored: William Lenoir Middle School recently named its top educators for the current school year.

Glenda Bentley was named Teacher of the Year. Kayla Jolley won the Rookie Teacher of the Year Award. George Wilson was named Associate of the Year.

Shakespeare monologue contest: High school students from traditional, home and Christian schools in Caldwell and contiguous counties are invited to participate in the third annual High School Shakespeare Monologue Competition sponsored by the Caldwell Arts Council and Caldwell County Schools.

The competition offers a way for students to increase their appreciation for language and to demonstrate their mastery of public speaking.

Competitors will memorize and recite a Shakespeare monologue of 90 seconds to two-and-a-half minutes long. More than $1,000 in cash awards will be presented.

Caldwell County students should contact their school office for information. Home-schooled students and those from outside Caldwell County should contact the Caldwell Arts Council at 828-754-2486 or

Applications will be accepted through March 6. The final competition will be held at 9:30 a.m. April 4 at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center.

For details, visit

Catawba County

Wyant honored: Outgoing Board of Education member Charlie Wyant was recognized for his years of service at the Dec. 1 Catawba County Schools Board of Education meeting.

The Board unanimously voted to name the future field house at Fred T. Foard High School the “Charlie C. Wyant Field House” in honor of Wyant’s service to the school system. Construction of the field house is scheduled to begin in June.

Wyant served as a science teacher and high school principal for 33 years, primarily at Fred T. Foard High. As a Board of Education member, he served on the district Spelling Bee team, attended a week-long STEM camp to promote science and technology education, and assisted with the development of every District Strategic Plan during his tenure.

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 grades K-6 and provides activities that are fun, safe and educationally enriching. Physical activity and quiet time for homework and reading are included.

For more information on the program, 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.


Hickory Day students help homeless: Hickory Day School recently held a school-wide drive to collect donations for homeless families in the area.

Students collected trash bags, soap, cleaners, toilet paper, paper towels and other needed products not covered by food stamps.

Seventh- and eighth-graders from Hickory Day delivered the items to the Family Care Center, which provides emergency and transitional shelter to homeless families with dependent children. While in the program, families work, save money, attend life skills workshops and prepare for independent living.

Pleasant selected: Hickory High School senior Ben Pleasant was recently selected for the 2014 North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association All-State Team.

Pleasant has led the Hickory High team in scoring for the past two seasons. During his varsity career, he scored 48 goals and made 26 assists. He also served as captain for the 2014 season. In addition, Pleasant is a three-time All-Conference honoree, the 2014 Northwest 3A/4A Offensive Player of the Year and a two-time All-Region honoree.

In the classroom, he carries a full academic load and is currently ranked No. 2 in his senior class. He previously attended the English program at North Carolina Governor’s School. As a guitar player, he writes lyrics and poetry. The son of William and Shannon Pleasant, Ben is considering a future career in law.

Brian Jillings coaches the Hickory High soccer team.


Toy drive: North Newton Elementary School will sponsor a Toy Drive through Dec. 12.

New and gently-used toys may be dropped off at the school office. Donations will be given to North Newton families in need. Monetary donations also are welcome.

For information, call the school at 828-464-2631.

“Sleeping Beauty” takes stage: 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 more information, call 828-464-4221. Compiled by Leigh Pressley