Gaston & Catawba

Catawba Valley school news

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

Boys can apply to attend the Roy Williams Carolina Basketball Camp June 20-24 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Girls 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 more information, visit or

Burke County

Bands plan trip to Hawaii: Marching band students from Burke County’s four high schools have the opportunity to travel to Hawaii in December 2016 for the 75th commemoration of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The county’s four band directors are planning the trip together and will start parent information meetings soon. Cost is $2,500 per student, with a $300 nonrefundable down payment due May 26. The cost includes airfare, meals, transportation and lodging for seven days, plus insurance and instrument freight fees.

Eligible students include current seventh-graders, eighth-graders and high school freshmen and sophomores. Current juniors and seniors who will graduate before the trip are invited to travel with the band, along with other band alumni.

To help students and chaperones pay for the trip, Burke County Public Schools has created an account for contributions. Donations will be divided among the four schools to help defer the cost of the trip.

While in Hawaii, students will take part in two cemetery commemorations at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and the Pearl Harbor Day National Parade. The U.S. Department of Defense Office of Commemorations is assisting the band students with their itinerary and travel plans.

For information, visit or contact your high school’s band director.

East Burke earns FFA charter: The East Burke High School Future Farmers of America chapter received its official club charter Jan. 8 during a special charter signing ceremony in the school’s theater.

State FFA officials attended the ceremony, along with local school officials and parents.

Students recited the FFA mission, motto and creed. East Burke High is in its inaugural year of an agriculture program. FFA focuses on leadership development, personal growth and career success for future farmers as well as future biologists, chemists, veterinarians, engineers and entrepreneurs.

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

Caldwell County

New security measures: Hibriten High School has introduced new security measures in its continued efforts to provide a safe environment for students and staff. A new video-secure access buzzer system, security camera and intercom will now be used at the main entrance.

After the start of each school day, the front doors will be locked. All students, parents and visitors will be required to push an intercom button and state their name and purpose of their visit before gaining entry into the building. School staff will make a visual and/or verbal determination prior to granting building access.

In addition, all parents and visitors will continue to sign in at the main office and wear a visitor badge while in the school.

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 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

Bilingual parent night: More than 90 parents and students attended Bilingual Parent Night on Jan. 20 at Webb A. Murray Elementary School. The night celebrated the opening of the school’s new bilingual section of the media center, which was created by media coordinator Tammy Yount.

Thanks to the combined funds of the Media Services department and Title I, Yount was able to purchase 120 books that contain both English and Spanish translations of beloved children’s books.

The bilingual section will improve literacy skills of the school’s 170 students whose first language is Spanish. Research shows that second language students develop reading skills in English comparable only to the level of their skills in their first language. English speaking students also will benefit from working with familiar texts written in another language.

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 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.


New assistant principal named: Nala Sadler-Sherrill was recently named the new assistant principal at Hickory Career and Arts Magnet School (HCAM).

Most recently an English teacher at Hunter Huss High School in Gaston County, Sadler-Sherrill has worked with middle and high school students throughout her career. She previously taught English/Language Arts at Southwest Middle School in Gastonia.

Sadler-Sherrill has served on school improvement teams and worked as a grade level chairwoman. Her experience with literacy education resulted in her classroom serving as a model class for balanced literacy in Gaston County.

A graduate of N.C. Central University, Sadler-Sherrill is nearing completion of her master’s degree in school administration from UNC Charlotte.

Hickory High coach: Allen Robinson Wittenberg was recently named head football coach at Hickory High, after a unanimous decision by the Board of Education.

A Hickory native and graduate of Hickory High and Appalachian State University, Wittenberg, 41, will begin his new role in late February. He has 19 years of experience as a North Carolina teacher and coach and currently serves as head football coach at Jimmy Draughn High School in Burke County.

Wittenberg also has worked as assistant football coach and defensive coordinator for two seasons at Patton High in Burke County. At Hickory High, he was an assistant varsity football coach, head junior varsity football coach and head junior varsity baseball coach from 2001 to 2012. Wittenberg was twice named Teacher of the Year by his peers.


Employee of the Month: Tefany Major, an administrative assistant in the Central Office, was recently named Newton-Conover City Schools Employee of the Month for January.

Major was noted for her positive attitude, willingness to help and ability to assist with deadlines, cover the phones and lead other assistants in meetings. Her customer service skills were recognized, along with her work in arranging group events.

Staff members nominate and vote on Employee of the Month honors. Compiled by Leigh Pressley