Lake Norman & Mooresville

Gaston/Lincoln school news

Gaston County

Rachel’s Challenge: Former NFL player Steve Fitzhugh recently visited students at Hunter Huss High School as part of the school system’s third year of the Rachel’s Challenge program.

The former Denver Broncos player challenged students to become leaders rather than following their peers. Fitzhugh is speaking at schools across Gaston County, reaching kids with the message that choices they make in school each day will determine the course of their future.

Rachel’s Challenge is a nationally recognized bullying prevention program that works to create a culture of compassion and kindness in each school. Youngsters learn to look for the best in others, choose positive influences and act with kindness in order to start a chain reaction of compassion. Gaston County was the first district on the East Coast to adopt the program for every school and grade level when it launched Rachel’s Challenge in 2012.

Through September, Fitzhugh and several other motivational speakers who are former professional athletes will visit all 56 elementary, middle and high schools in the district to encourage students to live out Rachel’s Challenge.

The program is developed from the inspiring story of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

Belmont Middle anniversary: Belmont Middle School will host a 75th anniversary celebration for its building 2-4 p.m. Oct. 5.

Plans include a silent auction of sports memorabilia, performances by Belmont alumni, commemorative T-shirts and refreshments.

Scholarship awarded: Danielle Hensley, a recent graduate of Forestview High School, recently won a $2,500 college scholarship from the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo.

She attends the University of Tennessee.

Hensley was one of 17 regional winners. Selection was based on academic achievements, school and community involvement, SAT scores and a presentation that encouraged fellow teens to abstain from underage drinking and driving.

Historical pottery: Jason Luker of the Gaston County Museum presented an outreach program for fifth-graders at W.A. Bess Elementary on Sept. 12.

Luker taught students about Catawba Valley folk pottery, including popular face jugs in which potters created clay faces on the outside of jars and pots.

Elevation helps teachers: The Gaston Campus of Elevation Church recently presented 110 supply towers to Gaston County Schools teachers in preparation for the start of a new school year.

The bow-wrapped bundles included highlighters, pencils, scissors, glue and other items teachers typically need in their desks.

Volunteer orientation: Gaston County Schools will hold an orientation session for school volunteers at 12:15 p.m. Sept. 25 and 8:30 a.m. Oct. 1 in the Central Office.

For more information, visit

Special needs workshop: A free workshop for parents, families and teachers of children with special needs and disabilities will be held 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 27 in the Gaston County Police Department Community Room, 420 W. Franklin Blvd.

The workshop is sponsored by the Gaston County Schools Department of Exceptional Children, the GCS Advisory Board for Children with Disabilities and the ARC of Gaston County.

For more information, contact Sara Osborne at the ARC of Gaston County at 704-861-1036.

Fall festival: Gaston Day School will hold its fourth annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 4 on the school campus, 2001 Gaston Day School Road in Gastonia.

Horse rides, face paintings, games and a dunk tank are planned, along with the Euro Bungee, a 65-foot fun slide and a 32-foot climbing wall.

Wristbands are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and include unlimited play and lunch. Tickets for individual rides or games are $1 each.

Local vendors will sell flowers, jewelry and crafts. A raffle featuring more than 12 themed baskets and artwork from Gaston Day School visual arts instructors will be held.

Proceeds will benefit enhancements to the Visual Arts Department.

For more information or to purchase a wristband, visit

Orientation and open house: Several Gaston County schools will hold Open House events this fall. The remaining schedule includes:

Lowell Elementary: 6 p.m. Sept. 23

Lingerfeldt Elementary: Open house, 6 p.m. Sept. 25

Robinson Elementary: PTO meeting and open house, 6-7 p.m. Sept. 29

Lincoln County

United Way honor: Lincoln County Schools employees and students raised $30,550 for the United Way last year. Love Memorial Elementary and North Lincoln High were the highest contributors to the campaign.

This year’s goal is $36,000. Each elementary and middle/high school will compete for a fundraising plaque to display in the school.

Luper inducted: Jennifer Luper, a teacher at Lincolnton High School was recently inducted into the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Career and Technical Education/Business, Finance and Information Technology Hall of Fame.

She received the honor at the Career and Technical Education Conference in July. Luper also was recognized by the Lincoln County Board of Education.

Science department wins grant: The Lincolnton High School Science Department recently won a grant to purchase a 3-D printer.

The $4,971 grant was awarded by TEAM Foundation of Times Oil Corporation.

Parent portal available: Parents of children attending Lincoln County Schools can now sign up for the Home Base PowerSchool Parent Portal. The free Internet-based system allows parents to see grades, attendance and class schedules and to monitor their child’s academic progress.

A computer with Internet access is needed to view the website.

For an instructional video and other support documents, visit

Driver’s ed: Lincoln County Schools has contracted with North Carolina Driving Schools Inc. to provide Driver Education for students.

Participants must be 14 1/2 months old and enrolled in a public, private or home schools. Students should sign up shortly after they reach 14 1/2 years old.

The driving school is open on a first come, first served basis. The oldest student applicants participate in the classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction first.

For more information, visit

Teachers can win gift cards: One teacher from Lincoln 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, Catawba, 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.

Compiled by Leigh Pressley