Gaston & Catawba

Catawba Valley school news

Burke County

Industrial sewing: Local industries recently donated industrial sewing machines to Burke County’s four high schools, allowing veteran sewer Karen Turner to instruct students on how to use the equipment.

The Apparel II students typically learn to design and sew clothes and household goods. The two weeks on industrial sewing instruction was a bonus to the normal curriculum. Students learned to make pillows, wreaths, lanyards and hair scrunchies in lessons they can apply to the production of furniture and apparel.

Industrial sewing machines create a better, more durable stitch, can sew thicker fabrics and use heavier threads. Faster and more efficient, the machines also are more complicated.

In a business enterprising lesson, students sold goods they made in industrial sewing in the teachers’ lounge at their schools.

Shenandoah Furniture, Baker Furniture, Opportunity Threads and Bill’s Sewing Machine Company donated the industrial sewing machines to local high schools.

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 grade-point average 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.

There are plans 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 about dual enrollment, contact a school counselor or Amanda Cooper at Western Piedmont Community College at or 828-448-3159.

Caldwell County

Early college high: Caldwell Early College High School will hold two parent-student information sessions at 5:45 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.

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 school 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. March 28 at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center.

For details, visit

Catawba County

Backpack program: Bustin It 4 Becky, a 5K run/walk started in memory of Becky Lawing, raised $5,050 to help the Catawba County Schools Backpack Program.

The Dec. 13 event drew 262 participants, volunteers and sponsors.

Derek and Temple Lawing created the run/walk in memory of Becky Lawing, who volunteered in Catawba County Schools and especially loved helping kindergartners with lunch so teachers could eat their own meal. Becky Lawing, who walked 3 miles a day in Maiden, was hit by a car during one of her walks on May 23, 2014. The Lawings have three children in Catawba County Schools and wanted to find a way to honor Becky Lawing and help local children.

The Backpack Program sends home food and nutritious snacks on weekends with children who may not otherwise receive a meal.

Churches, companies, clubs and individuals who would like to volunteer or make a donation to the Backpack Program may email coordinator Amanda Freeland at

Quest program available: Catawba County Schools offers a before- and after-school program called QUEST 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays 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.

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.


Lighthouse Award: Northview Middle School was recently selected to receive the 2015 Lighthouse School Award from the N.C. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

The annual award goes to three schools in North Carolina that have furthered student achievement in innovative and creative ways while nurturing a positive and supportive climate.

Principal Stephanie Dischiavi and Superintendent Walter Hart will accept the award during the organization’s annual conference in Pinehurst in February. Northview also will receive a $1,000 award.

Student donates bike: Evan Tonks, a 7-year-old second-grader at Southwest Elementary School, recently donated a new bike that he won in a drawing to the Bikes for Tykes program organized by the Hickory Fire Department.

The son of Alan and Karen Tonks, Evan was entered into the drawing for good behavior, excellent work and positive actions.

Evan and his family delivered the bike to family friend and Hickory firefighter Peter Suthers at the fire station so that it could be distributed through the Christmas Bureau.

State honors chorus: Several Hickory students were recently featured in the Elementary Honors Chorus at the N.C. Music Educators’ Association conference in Winston-Salem.

Tom Shelton Jr., an assistant professor of Sacred Music at Westminster Choir College, conducted the Honors Chorus. In addition, he is conductor of the Princeton Girl Choir’s Cantores (High School) ensemble and the Children’s Choir at Doylestown Presbyterian Church in Doylestown, Pa.

Students from Hickory selected for the statewide honors chorus were: Anabella Clifford, Hannah Greisen and Mary Salyards of Jenkins Elementary; Bayleigh Bolch from Oakwood Elementary; and Ariana Harren and Sadie Stamper from Viewmont Elementary.

David Lail and Denise Prince serve as the directors of the HPS elementary choirs.

Compiled by Leigh Pressley