Gaston & Catawba

Catawba Valley school news

Basketball camp scholarships: Middle school students in Alexander and Caldwell counties can win a full scholarship to summer basketball camp through Blue Ridge Electric.

Young men can apply to attend the Roy Williams Carolina Basketball Camp June 20-24 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Young ladies can apply to attend the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp June 14-17 at N.C. State University in Raleigh.

Scholarships will be awarded to 50 rising sixth- through eighth-graders from across the state. Selection will be based on academics, extracurricular activities and an accompanying essay. To download an application, visit Deadline to apply is March 31.

For information, visit or

Alexander County

Teachers earn board certification: Two Alexander County Schools teachers recently earned National Board Certification. Seven educators successfully renewed their board certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

A reception was held in their honor prior to the Board of Education meeting on Jan. 13.

Newly certified educators were Natasha Deal Haas of Alexander Central High School and Kimberly Burgess, school counselor at Sugar Loaf Elementary.

Teachers earning renewal certificates were: Michael Ratchford, school counselor at Alexander Central High; Bernadette Watts, Alexander Central High; Bridget Horn, Bethlehem Elementary; Sharon Alexander, Stony Point Elementary; Andrea Austin, Taylorsville Elementary; Heather Houston, Taylorsville Elementary; and Brian Killian, West Alexander Middle.

Burke County

Food drive ongoing: Burke County Public Schools is holding its second annual Souperintendent’s Souper Bowl Canned Food Drive through Jan. 30. Collection barrels are at all 28 Burke County Public Schools campuses plus the Central Office, West Concord Resource Center, Auxiliary Services/Bus Garage and College Street office.

Four local charities will benefit from the drive: Burke United Christian Ministries, East Burke Christian Ministries, Abernethy Memorial United Methodist Church in Rutherford College and East Burke High School’s own food pantry.

Students decorated collection barrels for classmates, staff and the community to fill. Last year’s drive brought in more than 5,000 pounds of food.

Burke County Public Schools employees also gave $31,000 to United Way and the school community raised $23,000 to Relay for Life in 2014.

Students build cell models: Fifth-graders in Andrea Stilwell’s class at New Dimensions Charter School recently learned about the world of plants and animals. Students learned about animal and plant classification, the interdependence between plants and animals, and the cellular structure of plants and animals.

At the end of the unit, students made “edible plant cells” using cookies, icing and candy to show their understanding of the inner workings of plant cellular structure.

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

Early college high information sessions: 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

Students buy turkeys, fixings: Second-graders at Snow Creek Elementary recently learned money skills and economics in their annual popcorn sale. Proceeds helped the second grade buy Thanksgiving turkeys and fixings for Snow Creek families in need.

Students learned about the differences between wants and needs, how to handle money and how to work together. The youngsters formed assembly lines to bag the popcorn, which they sold to other students for 25 cents. Students also made advertising posters, appeared on the school news broadcast and spoke during morning announcements to promote the popcorn sale.

Teams of students worked together to take money and make change. This year’s sale raised nearly $300, which provided turkeys and sides for 13 families.

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.

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 High art: An original painting of the old Hickory High School was recently donated to Hickory High principal Ann Stalnaker on behalf of the Hickory High class of 1958.

The painting was done by Carol Stewart Fullenwider, who uses the professional name Denny Rose. The old Hickory High was once known as Claremont Female College and Claremont Central High. After a beautiful restoration, the old school is now the Catawba Valley Arts and Science Center/SALT Block.

Fullenwider, who now lives in Pagosa Springs, Colo., is a 1958 graduate of Hickory High. She began painting in a class at Hickory High in 1957 and earned a fine art scholarship to college. Her brother, Bill Stewart, a 1962 graduate, arranged to have an engraved plaque attached to the painting for the presentation.

Class of 1958 members Paulette Lael and Lee Kanipe joined Stewart in the presentation of the painting to Stalnaker. Kanipe served as president of the class of 1958, while Lael was vice president. The painting will hang in the main office lobby.

JROTC performs: The Hickory High School JROTC performed for the Charlotte Hornets on Jan 14.

The Color Guard included Cadet Dylan Cunningham, Cadet Isaac Liescheidt, Cadet Jashandra Alford and Cadet Preston Rinehardt. First Sgt. (Retired) Johncarlo Lewis is the Army JROTC instructor at Hickory High.

Josh Myers, owner of Jimmy John’s, supported the Hickory High JROTC program, in its trip to perform in Charlotte.


Unity week: Shuford Elementary celebrated Unity Week Jan. 20-23 with a focus on improving the school climate, emphasizing kindness and increasing awareness about bullying.

Students enjoyed activities, including paying $1 to wear hats on Helping Hats Day, wearing orange in United Against Bullying Day and wearing clothing from different cultures or climates on Multicultural Day.

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

Compiled by Leigh Pressley