• Watauga County Schools Hosting Information Session for Valle Crucis School on September 3


    August 21, 2019. The general public will have a chance to learn about the potential location for the new Valle Crucis School at an information and input session set to take place at the current Valle Crucis School gymnasium on Tuesday, September 3 at 6 p.m. According to information from the Watauga County Board of education, both school board members and the Watauga County Board of Commissioners will hold this joint meeting to provide information on the proposed construction of a new school in the Valle Crucis community and hear public comment on the issue as well. Some in the Valle Crucis community have taken issue with where the proposed school will be constructed. The land, commonly known as the Hodges Property, is currently under contract by the Watauga County Schools and is a quarter of a mile from where the Valle Crucis School sits right now. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga High School Celebrates 2019 Senior Class


    June 20, 2019. A total of 343 graduating seniors from Watauga High School were honored last Friday night at the Holmes Convocation Center on Appalachian State’s campus. The 2019 senior class included 313 tradition graduates and 30 early graduates. These seniors accounted for over $4 million in college scholarship money and have already earned 667 college credits. A total of 29 graduates have already earned a community college degree along with their high school diplomas.  / Read more…



  • Geological and Environmental Sciences K-12 Science Education Strengthened by Community Partnership


    June 19, 2019. Vulcan Materials, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates with a local office in Boone, N.C., has given over $61,000 to the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Appalachian State University, supporting the department in many ways for decades. “They have truly donated thousands of dollars in personnel and equipment time to make projects and growth become a reality at Appalachian,” said Dr. Andrew Heckert, a professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. In 2018-19, the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Appalachian reached over 5,000 school children through outreach events at over 34 schools and organizations with assistance from over 50 undergraduate students. The department has been awarded five outreach-specific grants ranging from $1500 – $62,000 with a predicted total of $100,000 for the year. Faculty and students from the department are committed to helping strengthen K-12 science education by fostering partnerships with schools, training teachers, involving students, highlighting faculty’s research and advertising program offerings.  / Read more…



  • One Hundred Thirty-Four Graduate From Avery County High School In 2019 Class

    June 13, 2019. Avery County High School held its annual commencement and graduation ceremony on June 7th in the school’s gymnasium, sending off the latest group of graduates into the next journey of their lives. There were 134 in the 2019 graduating class, which marks the 50th in the school’s history. The ceremony had to be moved indoors from the school’s MacDonald Stadium due to heavy rain. According to Avery Schools Superintendent Bryan Taylor, the 2019 graduating class received a half million dollars ($500,000.00) in scholarship awards to attend colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. The Avery High Band and chorus were featured during graduation as “Pomp and Circumstance” was played as the graduates marched into the gymnasium in front of a capacity crowd of family, friends, special guests, teachers and school system officials.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Dr. Scott Elliott Named Regional Superintendent of the Year


    June 11, 2019. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott was recently named Northwest North Carolina Superintendent of the Year by the Northwest Regional Educational Service Agency (NWRESA), an organization that provides professional services, staff development and support for public schools in the region. The Regional Superintendent of the Year Award winner is chosen by fellow superintendents from the 12 school districts in Northwest North Carolina. Award winners from each of the eight regions are eligible to go on to win statewide recognition for their work. NWRESA Executive Director Don Martin said Elliott was chosen for the award for his dedication to public education and commitment to Watauga County Schools. “Elliott was selected by his peer superintendents for this award because they recognize his hard work and leadership both in Watauga and the state and regional levels,” Martin said. “He is well known and highly respected across our state as a vocal champion for both Watauga County Schools and for public education.” / Read more…



  • Phil Norman Named the New Principal at Hardin Park School


    June 11, 2019. The Watauga County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday, June 10 to appoint Phil Norman Principal of Hardin Park School. Norman is set to take the job at Hardin Park after an extensive interview and vetting process led by Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott. The process is designed to evaluate candidates for administrative roles in the district. The hiring process began with a stakeholder survey in which teachers, parents, students and community members were given the opportunity to express traits they’d like to see in a leader at their school. Hardin Park’s survey received 416 public responses. Norman, who has served as Principal of Green Valley School for the past five years, was chosen after a four round interview process with an interview committee of 30 people and a one-on-one interview with Elliott. Elliott said Hardin Park, Watauga’s largest K-8 school, required a skilled and experienced candidate to lead effectively. / Read more…



  • Green Valley Students Raise $3,000 to Build Water Filters with Wine to Water


    May 23, 2019 Over the past several weeks, Green Valley School’s fifth grade students read Linda Sue Park’s “A Long Walk to Water,” a novel that tells the story of Nya, a fictional South Sudanese girl, who must walk several hours each day over great distances to supply her family with drinking water.In the book, the Nya’s life is changed dramatically when a well and school are constructed in her village. “A Long Walk to Water” ends with a message of hope, one Green Valley’s fifth-graders wanted to carry outside the realm of fiction and translate into real-world impact. After finishing the book, the students banded together to search for ways they could help those affected by the water crisis in Sudan. With the help of their teacher, Carly Mize, they found their way to Boone-based non-profit Wine to Water, an organization that works to provide access to clean drinking water across the world. / Read more…



  • Cove Creek School Installs Solar Array; Students Raised Over $14,000 in Support of the Project


    May 21, 2019  Last year, Cove Creek became Watauga County’s second school to be recognized for its dedication to sustainability, earning a designation as a North Carolina Green School of Excellence. This week, with the help of dozens of community members, students at Cove Creek ensured that legacy would reach far into the future, holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s newest addition — a 5-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array. Cove Creek worked to install the equipment with the help of NC GreenPower, a group that supports renewable energy carbon offset projects by providing grants for solar installations at K-12 schools across the state. With the help of the SECU Foundation, Climate Voices US, Mast General Store, Haircut 101 and dozens of community members, Cove Creek students raised more than $14,000 to support the solar array’s installation at the school. / Read more…



  • Mitchell Wright named Watauga County Schools Teacher of the Year


    May 10, 2019 Valle Crucis teacher Mitchell Wright was named Watauga County Schools district-wide Teacher of the Year in surprise ceremony held Friday morning at the school. Wright was presented the award by Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott, Wright’s family, school board members and North Carolina Teacher of the Year Freebird Mckinney. Each year, Watauga County Schools celebrates its Teacher of the Year winner with a surprise ceremony. Wright was presented his award in front of the school’s students and staff who were assembled in the gym. Valle Crucis Principal Preston Clarke said Wright had a great impact on the students and staff at his school. “One of the most important things a school principal can do is to hire good quality teachers,” Clarke said. “There is almost nothing else that has a greater impact on the culture and quality of a school. I can say for sure that hiring Mitchell Wright is one of the best things I’ve done for Valle Crucis in my time here.”  / Read more…



  • Watauga County High School Seniors Will Graduate on June 14


    March 28, 2019 Graduation for the Watauga High School Class of 2019 has been set for 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 14 at the Holmes Convocation Center on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone. Graduation is open to the public and ASU’s security measures will be in place. Families are encouraged to allow extra time to go through the Holmes Center’s bag checks. Times and dates for several other end-of-year events celebrating the graduating class — the Senior Awards Ceremony, baccalaureate service, and capping ceremony — are also listed below. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott said he is looking forward to graduation and celebrating the Watauga High Class of 2019. / Read more…



  • Watauga Students Compete in Mathcounts at Appalachian State University


    March 6, 2019 Recently, 73 of Watauga’s best math students met at the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University to test their mettle against their peers in the annual Mathcounts competition — a contest that tasks young mathematicians to tackle challenging math problems in a timed tournament format. Teams from each school in Watauga practiced for several months leading up to the competition to hone their mathematics skills on multiple types of problems that include algebra, geometry, number sense, probability and statistics. The problems are designed to stretch students’ critical thinking and challenge them to learn advanced mathematics in middle school. Hardin Park eighth-grader Aria Arnholt took home the individual championship in the competition, followed closely by Parkway eighth-grader Anya Tu. Hardin Park School also performed well in the team competition, securing the top spot over all. The team was made up of Aria Arnholt, Sam Nystrom, Gwendolyn Anderson, and Ann Mellon. / Read more…



  • Construction Continues on Latest Appalachian State Student Housing and Parking Projects


    February 28, 2019 The west side of campus at Appalachian State is certainly looking a little different these days with construction equipment, site fencing and closed off parking spaces. Construction is underway on a pair of new student residence halls as well as a parking deck on the former location of Winkler Hal that will add to the amount of parking available on campus. Appalachian has started providing updates throughout each month on what is currently happening with construction and what is about to begin. Site fencing has sent up around what is currently being called Building 100 and Building 20 and fencing has also been put up around Duck Pond Field, continuing up Stadium Drive and Jack Branch Drive. Some parking spots are also being blocked off as part of the construction process. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga High School Principal Dr. Chris Blanton Named Principal of the Year


    February 25, 2019 Watauga High School Principal Dr. Chris Blanton has been named Watauga County Schools 2019-20 Principal of the Year. Blanton was presented the award by a delegation of family, peers and Watauga County Schools leadership in a surprise ceremony February 22. Blanton, who has served as the principal of Watauga High School for two years, said he was honored to have been recognized by his colleagues across the district. “It is a huge honor to work for Watauga County Schools and serve as the Principal at Watauga High School,” Blanton said. “It’s humbling to be chosen by such an accomplished group of administrators who I respect more than they will ever know. I’m constantly learning from them and I appreciate them helping me grow as an administrator.”  / Read more…



  • WCS Teacher Katie Matthews Named Finalist for State Award


    February 20, 2019 Valle Crucis first grade teacher Katie Matthews has been named a North Carolina finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Matthews was honored along with five other finalists at a recent State Board of Education Meeting. The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teaching. The awards —  given to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teachers from each of the 50 states — recognize teachers have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. Two finalists from each state will be selected to be honored at the national level. State winners receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Recognize Several Students, Teachers and Staff Members at February Board Meeting


    February 13, 2019 WHS Principal Dr. Chris Blanton, art teacher Dacia Trethewey, Watauga County Hunger and Health Coalition Director Elizabeth Young and craft teacher Brett McDonough with WHS students Caroline Edwards, Sadye Franklin and Vann Small attended the board meeting to give information on Empty Bowls, a charity event that raises money for the local hunger coalition. Empty Bowls will be held March 30 at WHS from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The board recognized the work of school counselors. Board Chairman Ron Henries thanked the counselors for the tireless work — both in their assigned roles and countless other lesser known capacities in their schools. Left to right are Sandra Ruppert from Green Valley, Sheryl Little from Bethel and Lindsay Gough.  / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Named Second Best in North Carolina by Niche.com

    February 12, 2019 The Watauga County School System has something else to be proud of after it was named as the second best school system in the state by a project compiled at Niche.com. Watauga finished with an A- grade behind only Chapel Hill/Carrboro city schools that got an A+ grade. The rating system was based on different factors including student grades, teacher absenteeism and salary, parent surveys, per pupil spending, extracurricular activities, class size and diversity. According to the data provided, Watauga County’s 10 schools and 4,402 students received grades of A in Teachers and College Prep, A- in Academics, Clubs and Activities and Health and safety and a B- in Diversity. The student-teacher ratio of 13:1 earned some positive points for Watauga County. That is below the national level of 17:1. The data also took a look at the teachers serving Watauga County and they too got an exceptional rating. Watauga County was ranked at the third best place to teach in North Carolina and third out of 115 districts with the best teachers in North Carolina. The average teacher salary in the county came in at $41,642.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Beech Mountain and Edge of the World Bring the Ski Slopes to Cove Creek


    February 11, 2019 Watauga County Schools were lucky last week to end up in the middle of a bout of mid-winter warm weather, but that didn’t stop students at Cove Creek School from taking to the slopes as part of their physical education classes with the help of Beech Mountain Resort and Edge of the World Snowboard Shop. The ski resort and outfitter joined forces to bring snowboarding lessons to third through fifth grade PE classes at Cove Creek. Students learned to get the feel of a downhill slope as they were towed around the gym on boards pulled by volunteers from Edge of the World. Others worked on their balance and posture on a host of training tools the two companies brought down the mountain to prepare the students for a day at the slopes. Kelly Walker, Principal of Cove Creek, said the visit was an excellent opportunity for her students to learn about a recreation that was a such a big part of our community.  / Read more…



  • Valle Crucis Wins WCS Mock Trial Competition


    February 6, 2019 Valle Crucis’ Eighth Grade Mock Trial Team proved its prowess in the courtroom at Appalachian State University recently, taking home the top spot in the Watauga County School Mock Trial Competition. Teams of middle-schoolers from each of Watauga’s K-8 schools met at the Reich College of Education Jan. 18 to hash out the details of the competition’s latest case. Each year, the mock trial contest challenges students to take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses in a simulated civil or criminal courtroom trial. Teams prepare and present both sides of the case, playing the part of the prosecution and defense over the course of the competition. Mock trials proceed exactly as real trials do: after a student bailiff calls the court to order, student attorneys make opening statements, interview and cross examine student witnesses and offer closing arguments. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Board of Education Recognitions for November


    November 15, 2018. At the November meeting of the Watauga County Board of Education, the board had five special recognitions for students and faculty. The recognitions included Watauga Education Foundation grant winners, district-wide spelling bee winner Sam Nystrom, Watauga High School Spanish teacher Carmen Scoggins, GEAR UP students and school board member Jason Cornett.  / Read more…



  • Avery County Schools Releasing Early at 2 p.m. as a Winter Storm Gets Closer to the High Country

    November 14, 2018 In preparation for the impending winter storm, Avery County Schools are dismissing early on Wednesday. Avery County Schools will dismiss today at 2 p.m. with Newland Elementary dismissing at 1:30 p.m. “Our goal is to get students and staff home safely before the incoming wintry weather arrives,” said a statement released on the Avery County Schools Facebook page.   / Read more…



  • Watauga County School Board Recognizes Governor’s School Attendees and Principal Appreciation Month


    October 9, 2018. At the October meeting of the Watauga County Board of Education, the school board recognized four groups of individuals for various achievements. Those groups include Watauga High School students attending Governor’s School, each principal in the county as part of Principal Appreciation Month, board of education members for completing training with the North Carolina School Board Association and Appalachian State University’s 2018 Teaching Excellence and Achievement Fellows. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Received $280,000 in Construction Funds from NC Lottery


    September 7, 2018. Schools in all 100 counties received a total of $217 million from the North Carolina Education lottery to support school construction projects. This is an increase of $87 million from last year. According to Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools, the county received $280,000 in lottery construction funds for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The board of education allocated $185,000 of that to installing new double entry vestibules at each of the elementary schools in the county. The remaining $85,000 went to upgraded access control systems at school facilities that included improved security video coverage and new visitor management systems that require each visitor to have photo identification when visiting a school.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Add Additional SROs, Counselors and School Nurses


    August 23, 2018 Last week, Watauga County Schools received two school safety related grants from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction that are set to fund additional school nurses and school resource officers for the district. WCS received $66,667 from the state that, along with matching funds of $100,000 from the Watauga County Board of Commissioners, is slated to fund two additional sheriff’s deputies to act as school resource officers that will split time between county schools. The district is currently served by three SROs, one each at Watauga High School and Blowing Rock School, as well as a WCSO Deputy who serves all the county’s other schools.  / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Holds Convocation Ceremony on Monday Morning


    August 14, 2018. As Watauga County Schools prepares to welcome back students on Monday, Aug. 20, teachers and staff came together to celebrate the system’s annual convocation ceremony. Held at Watauga High School, convocation gives new and returning teachers a chance to meet and connect with community partners, attend health screenings and a benefits fair and prepare to start the new school year together. The ceremony was host to three speakers who addressed the theme of empowerment, Watauga County Board of Education Chairman Ron Henries, Principal of the Year Phil Norman from Green Valley and WCS Teacher of the Year Terri Hodges from Blowing Rock.  / Read more…



  • On to the Next Chapter: Watauga High School Class of 2018 Celebrates Graduation


    June 13, 2018. Graduating Watauga High School seniors got the chance to share one more evening together as high school students and friends at Saturday’s graduation ceremony held at the Holmes Convocation Center. Friends and family members packed the arena to pay tribute to Watauga High School’s Class of 2018. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Blowing Rock School’s Terri Hodges Named Watauga County Schools District-Wide Teacher of the Year


    May 11, 2018. Blowing Rock School’s Terri Hodges was named Watauga County Schools district-wide Teacher of the Year in surprise ceremony held Friday morning at the school. Hodges was presented the award by Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott along with Blowing Rock and WCS central office staff. Each year, Watauga County School celebrates its Teacher of the Year candidate with a surprise ceremony. Hodges was honored in front of the school’s students and staff who awaited her entrance in the gym. This year marks Hodges’ fourth teacher of the year nomination since 1990, and Blowing Rock’s third-consecutive teacher of the year award.. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Mayland Community College Foundation’s FREE ScieNCe Festival Celebration Star Party, 4/21

    https://www.hcpress.com/boone/mayland-community-college-foundations-free-science-festival-celebration-star-party-4-21.html
    April 18, 2018. Join the Mayland Community College Foundation for a FREE ScieNCe Festival Celebration Star Party at the Bare Dark Sky Observatory on April 21. Free daylight activities and tours for the Earth to Sky Park and observatory begin at 5:30 PM at the observatory located at 66 EnergyXchange Drive in Burnsville. / Read more…



  • The Schaefer Center Presents “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” on April 13-15

    https://www.hcpress.com/asu-news/schaefer-center-presents-sweeney-todd-demon-barber-fleet-street-april-13-15.html
    April 6, 2018. The “The Schaefer Center Presents…” performance series, a program of Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, continues its 2017–18 season with a collaborative production of the Tony Award-winning best musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at 7 p.m. on April 13 and 14, and at 2 p.m. on April 15 at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for Appalachian faculty/staff and retired faculty/staff, and $10 for students. / Read more…



  • Today’s Email Announcements

    What’s going on in your community? Here’s a brief update on the emails we received today. Check back each day for an updated list of events going on in the area. As always, please feel free to email us about your event or update.

    Read more…
    Compiled by Kate Herman



  • Lees-McRae College Celebrates Eighth Annual Appalachian Heritage Week April 9-13

    April 4, 2018. Join Lees-McRae College in celebrating spring’s return to the mountains during the eighth annual Appalachian Heritage Week April 9–13. Sponsored by the Stephenson Center for Appalachia, the College will highlight coal mining and other unique aspects of mountain heritage throughout the week. / Read more…



  • Lees-McRae College to Host Second Annual Outdoor Legends Event April 19 at The Apple Barn

    Mar. 23, 2018. Lees-McRae College and the Outdoor Recreation Management program will host the second annual Outdoor Legends event April 19 from 6–9 p.m. at The Apple Barn in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. The event, sponsored by Beech Mountain Resort with support by the Mast General Store and Highland Outfitters, will be held off-campus following increased community interest after the last event in 2017. The evening will feature a discussion panel of several local outdoor legends as well as dinner and drinks from High Country businesses including Reid’s Catering and Beech Mountain Brewery.. / Read more…



  • Today’s Email Announcements

    What’s going on in your community? Here’s a brief update on the emails we received today. Check back each day for an updated list of events going on in the area. As always, please feel free to email us about your event or update.

    Read more…
    Compiled by Kate Herman



  • First annual AppKIDS Superhero Run, Walk or Fly 5K on April 7

    Mar. 8, 2018. In just a few weeks, the High Country community will have a chance to partner with the Appalachian State University Staff Senate in providing gifts to our area children. The group of compassionate App State staff members are getting a jump start on raising money for their annual AppKIDS day which provides gifts in December. The group’s first annual AppKIDS Superhero Run, Walk, or Fly 5K will take place on April 7, and will help fund the annual project which has been serving about 90 Watauga County children annually for several years. / Read more…



  • Cove Creek School Wins NC Green Power Grant

    http://www.hcpress.com/?p=39556
    Mar. 5, 2018. Cove Creek School was selected earlier this month to receive a NC Green Power Grant to install an educational solar power generation system on the school’s campus. Cove Creek is now raising funds to secure the matching grant, which can provide up to $10,000 for the installation of the system. Cove Creek, already the home of the EcoRaiders, an after school environmental science club, and an indoor beehive in its media center, is continually dedicated to environmentally conscious education for its students.  Cove Creek Principal Kelly Walker said the installation of a solar power station was an extension of her school’s dedication to sustainability.. / Read more…



  • Two Rivers Live at Center 45: A Fundraiser for Two Rivers Community School Mar. 3

    http://www.hcpress.com/?p=39556
    Feb. 26, 2018. Center 45 Climbing and Fitness will host a fundraiser for Two Rivers Community School on Saturday, March 3rd, from 6 to 10 p.m. Two Rivers Live at Center 45 will benefit the school’s Mountain Adventure Program, which provides every student an opportunity to participate on student mountain expeditions. The adult-only event will include live music by Handlebar Betty, a live and silent auction with local auctioneer Jesse Miller, and local foods and beverages by the Tapp Room, Stick Boy Kitchen and Appalachian Mountain Brewery. Tickets can be purchased in advance online by visiting the school’s Facebook page, or at the door the night of the event.  / Read more…



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