Gaston & Catawba

Catawba Valley school news

Alexander County

Hiddenite happenings: Hiddenite Elementary School will host several events in the coming weeks.

Hiddenite Wendy’s Night will be held during the dinner shift on Jan. 20 at the Wendy’s restaurant in Hiddenite. Patrons should tell the cashier they are with the school for Hiddenite Elementary to receive a portion of sales.

A Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at the school 2-6:30 p.m. Jan. 22.

The PTO will sponsor Dinner and a Movie on Jan. 23, along with Love our School Bingo Night and Auction on Feb. 20. Contact the school for information.

Parents who would like to sign up for weekly school announcements via text message can text @e5cfd to 81010. Reminders also will be sent through the School Reach phone system.

Burke County

STEM program: A group of Burke County elementary school girls recently completed a five-month program focused on getting girls excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Called Lean In, Go Far!, the program was funded with a $3,000 grant from the Burke Women’s Fund and the Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation.

The program held at Forest Hill Elementary School challenged students to explore STEM careers by completing activities at the STEAM Academy. Participants also visited Appalachian State University and Western Piedmont Community College and took a health workshop focused on self-esteem and well-being at Phifer Wellness Center.

Additional assistance was given by Patton High School senior Marlon Alejandra, who did her senior project on grant writing, parent representative Amy Evans and Forest Hill staff members.

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.

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

Caldwell County

Varsity Club food drive: The Hibriten High School Varsity Club led by coach Derek Reeves recently collected 1,124 canned goods – the highest total in the school’s history.

The Varsity Club and the school’s Skill Builders class added an additional $300 worth of canned food items purchased from Food Lion. The grocery store chain also matched the $300 donation.

Overall, the drive brought in approximately 3,000 pounds of food.

Spelling bee winner: Grace Laity recently won the William Lenoir Middle School Spelling Bee.

Christian Penley took second place, and Ben Spears finished third.

The Caldwell County Spelling Bee will be held Feb. 2 at the Caldwell County Education Center.

Financial aid night: South Caldwell High seniors and their parents are invited to attend Financial Aid Night at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 in the school theater.

Counselors will give an in-depth explanation of the FAFSA filing process and answer financial aid questions. Refreshments will be served.

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

Project Warmth: The Art Club and National Art Honors Society at Maiden High School recently sponsored Project Warmth, along with Catawba County Schools, the Salvation Army and other local organizations.

Club members collected coats, scarves, gloves and blankets Nov. 3-Dec. 5, bringing in 164 coats and several scarves, blankets and pairs of gloves.

Teacher turkey fundraisers: The Beta Club at Mill Creek Middle School sponsored a Teacher Turkey Event Nov. 17-21. Teacher Dennis Frye won the contest by raising more than $300 in votes. As part of his prize, he donned a turkey suit, handed out candy and gobbled at students during class changes and lunch.

The fun event was a fundraiser for a former Mill Creek student and current Bandys High junior who is battling cancer.

The Beta Club project raised more than $500.

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 kindergaren 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.


Spelling bee: Mac Johnson, an eighth-grader at Northview Middle School, recently won the 2015 Hickory Public Schools Spelling Bee.

Winners from the district’s elementary and middle schools competed in the annual event. Johnson won by correctly spelling foible and fluctuation.

A driven 13-year-old, Johnson reads at least three novels a week. He studied with his family during evening and weekend hours, reviewing 100 words a night and practicing at school with Northview language arts teacher Cathy Lail.

Johnson also is a member of the Northview Middle cross-country team and has achieved the rank of Life in Boy Scouts with Troop 250 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. He is the son of Vince and Liz Johnson.


Substitute training: Newton-Conover City Schools will offer substitute teacher training class 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Central Office, 605 N. Ashe Ave. in Newton.

The free class is required for all substitute teachers in the district. To register, contact Heidi Bedington at

Author visits Shuford: Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the “Lunch Lady” series, visited Shuford Elementary’s fourth and fifth grade classes on Jan. 9.

Krosoczka discussed the triumphs and disappointments of his professional writing and illustrating career. He also led students in a live drawing of his famous lunch lady character.

Harris wins spelling bee: Fourth-grader Carson Harris recently won the Shuford Elementary spelling bee. Two students from each class in third, fourth and fifth grades competed.

Other students who will advance to the district level are fifth-graders Serena Taylor and Grayson Creekmore and fourth-graders Phillip Nguyen and Emma Sterling.

Compiled by Leigh Pressley