November 1, 2023 The Watauga County Special Education Parent and Teacher Association (SEPTA) held its first meeting October 2nd at the Blue Ridge Energy Conference Room in Boone, NC. The formation of this organization (that aims to bring together families, educators, support persons, and community members within Watauga County) is an exciting and somewhat groundbreaking endeavor. This initial meeting generated much interest, was well attended, and considered a success by all who participated. In addition to brainstorming needs and setting goals, a dedicated panel of officers were elected and installed.
November 1, 2023 Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and FleetGenius, LLC recently announced the latest group of students to sign a formal apprenticeship agreement with the local employer. Students and officials from both CCC&TI and Fleet Genius were on hand for a special signing ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 5 on the college’s Caldwell Campus in Hudson.
October 2, 2023 The Public School Forum of North Carolina has released its annual Local School Finance Study, highlighting trends in local spending in public schools across the state’s 100 counties. The report, which is based on data from the 2020-2021 school year, reveals significant disparities in counties’ ability to allocate funds to public schools. Specific details about the Public-School Forum findings in the High Country counties of Avery, Watauga, Ashe and Mitchell are highlighted in this article. By Tim Gardner
September 25, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies (CJHPS) will host Dr. Leonard Rogoff for a lecture and colloquium on Thursday, Sept. 28.Rogoff has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina Central University. A former president of the Southern Jewish Historical Society, Rogoff currently serves as historian and president of Jewish Heritage North Carolina.
August 17, 2023 A vote to fill a vacancy on the Avery County Board of Education failed during its regular monthly meeting August 15.All Board members were present at the meeting–Chairman John Greene, Vice-Chairwoman Kathey Aldridge, Pat Edwards, and Randy Singleton.There are normally five Board of Education members. But a vacancy has remained on the Board since the resignation of Ruth Shirley in June, 2022. By Tim Gardner
July 11, 2023 The MANNA FoodBank will host its next Avery County Community Market on Thursday, July 13 at the Old Rock School Gymnasium in Newland, located at 185 Shady Street and adjacent to Newland Elementary School. By Tim Gardner
June 29, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — Avery High School graduate Kendall Clark has been named the recipient of the 2023 Girls on the Run of the High Country scholarship and will receive a $1,000 toward her first year of tuition at Appalachian State University.Girls on the Run of the High Country has offered a scholarship for the past four years, said Mary Sheryl Horine, outreach director for App State’s Blue Cross NC Institute for Health and Human Services, which organizes GOTR and other community outreach initiatives.
June 14, 2023 Former Avery County Schools Superintendent Dr. David Burleson has been honored with having a building annex in Burke County, NC named for him. School officials, its Board of Trustees members and the current student body of Morganton’s New Dimensions Charter School recently held a ceremony to dedicate the Dr. David Burleson Annex, to celebrate the man who retired as its school director at the end of 2022. By Tim Gardner
June 2, 2023 WILKESBORO, N.C. – Colleen Cassell was recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS). Cassell, a member of the WCC NTHS Chapter and a member of the WCC Club of the Arts, graduated earlier this month with an associate degree in advertising and graphic design and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in graphic design at Campbell University.Cassell stated, “Wilkes Community College has given me the opportunity to find an internship position, where I am practicing and utilizing my graphic design skills. I am very honored to receive this scholarship and I look forward to furthering my education and enhancing my technical skills.”
May 31, 2023 Avery High’s 2023 graduation ceremonies will be held the evening of Friday, June 2nd, on the football turf at the school’s MacDonald Stadium. The school is located at 401 High School Road in Newland. Graduation will commence at 6:00 p.m.Graduates are requested to arrive at the school no later than 4:30 p.m. on June 2nd. Gates will open for families and other guests of those graduating at 5:00 p.m. The graduates, along with high school and Avery County Board of Education officials, will sit on the turf. All others are asked to sit in the stadium’s home side bleachers. By Tim Gardner
May 24, 2023 Billie Shilling began working as a housekeeper at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Boone while in high school. Her manager saw tremendous potential and encouraged her to further her career by enrolling in Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Hospitality Management program on the Watauga Campus. Shilling, a first-generation college student, enrolled at CCC&TI in Fall 2020. As she learned new skills, both on the job and in the classroom, she worked her way up to the Operational Supervisor position while attending school full-time. Her success in the classroom has not only helped her professionally, it also recently earned her the highest annual honor given to a CCC&TI student.
May 23, 2023 BOONE — Teams of students from Hardin Park School took their prowess in the annual Battle of the Books competition on the road last month, scoring a win and a high placement in the state and regional competitions.The Golden Eagles’ most-keen readers took home a victory in the Region 7 contest held on the campus of Appalachian State University, and netted a respectable fifth place in the statewide contest held in Fayetteville.
May 22, 2023 During its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 11, Deep Gap Ruritan Club awarded scholarships totaling $4,500 to three deserving residents of the community. Recipients Moriah Bollman, Amelie Fawson, both graduating seniors from Watauga High School, and Cassidy Johnson, a rising junior at Appalachian State University, were recognized individually for their accomplishments, presented with their scholarships, and with family members, enjoyed an evening meal prepared by the club members. By Sherrie Norris
May 16, 2023 Watauga County, say hello to your new superintendent of public schools. Dr. Leslie Alexander was announced as superintendent-elect at a special meeting of the board of education on Monday. She will take over for Dr. Scott Elliot, whose tenure ends this summer. “Welcome on behalf of a wonderful community that loves its schools,” Elliot said. “We couldn’t be happier you are here and I couldn’t be more proud right now of our school system and board. I’m so happy and optimistic for the future of our schools under your leadership.” By Zack Hill
May 16, 2023 On May 4th, fifth graders at Riverside Elementary in the southern end of Avery County, celebrated their graduation from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. A ceremony held at the school was led by DARE Instructor Larry Moore, Avery Sheriff Mike Henley, Sheriff’s Detective Casey Lee, School Resource Officer Jeff Smith, principal Whitney Baird and fifth grade teacher Phoebe Fisher.According to Henley, the county’s DARE curriculum is “a law-enforcement series of classroom lessons that teaches students how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug, alcohol and violence-free lives.” By Tim Gardner
May 15, 2023 BOONE — The Watauga County Board of Education named Leslie Alexander as the new Superintendent of Watauga County Schools during a special called meeting held Monday.Alexander was most recently the Chief Human Resource Officer and Area Superintendent of Leadership Development of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.Watauga County Board of Education Chairman Dr. Gary Childers welcomed Alexander to the school system, noting her existing ties to the community.
May 15, 2023 Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute honored more than 900 graduates from its Caldwell Campus in Hudson and Watauga Campus in Boone during ceremonies held Friday, May 12 at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir. CCC&TI Board of Trustees Members Dale Hamby and Joel Carroll opened the ceremony by welcoming special guests, congratulating the graduates and listing some of the Class of 2023’s accomplishments.
May 15, 2023 BOONE, N.C. – Watauga High School seniors Amelie Fawson and Lula Rose Bovino were awarded scholarships honoring the late Don and Audrey Bentley, both Watauga County natives.
Both scholarships are administered by the North Carolina Community Foundation.Fawson received the 2023 Don and Audrey Bentley Scholarship. She is the fourth recipient of the scholarship which this year awarded $20,000 and is renewable annually for up to four years.
May 15, 2023 WILKESBORO, N.C. – The Wilkes Community College (WCC) Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, May 10, at the John A. Walker Center and bid a fond farewell to Dr. Jeff Cox, who will be transitioning to his new position as President of the NC Community College System Office on June 1, 2023. Dr. Cox has served as president for nine years. Morgan Francis, Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration will serve as interim president until a new president has been chosen. The board approved giving the Personnel Committee authority to select a search firm for the WCC Presidential search and conduct initial screening/interviewing of applicants.
May 10, 2023 The Watauga County Board of Education met on Monday, May 8th, at the Margaret E. Gragg Education Center on Pioneer Drive in Boone to discuss regular board matters and recognize the outstanding achievements of students and faculty. In attendance were board members Marshall Ashcraft, Jason Cornette and Jay Fenwick along with board chairman Gary Childers, vice-chairman Steve Combs and superintendent Scott Elliott. A highlight of the evening was the recognition of Watauga High School’s Pioneer Playmakers who recently traveled to the Southeastern Theatre Conference and brought home a long list of accolades. By Zack Hill
May 5, 2023 Dynasty aptly fits the Avery County High School Wrestling program in general and as a sports franchise in particular. Continue reading for evidence to back up the hefty claim. By Tim Gardner
May 1, 2023 WILKESBORO, N.C. – Wilkes Community College (WCC) students were one of the leading schools in the state in overall medal counts at the 58th Annual SkillsUSA North Carolina Leadership and Skills Conference on April 18-20, 2023, with the Awards Ceremony for college held on April 19th and high school on April 20, 2023.Wilkes Community College’s 104 student competitors, including 58 Career & College Promise high school students, brought home 45 medals: 17 first-place gold medals, nine second-place silver medals, six third-place bronze medals, seven fourth-place, and six fifth-place finishes. Of the 104 WCC competitors, 45 placed in the top five, and everyone placed in the top ten in the state. WCC was named as part of the North Carolina SkillsUSA Elite 100 Club, which means WCC has had over 100 students enrolled for the last five years.
April 18, 2023 Thirty high school students committed to enhancing the natural beauty, ecological vitality, and cultural distinctiveness of Virginia’s and North Carolina’s Blue Ridge have been selected to receive a $1,000 Lynn Davis Scholarship. Below you can read their names, high school, and prospective college and major. You can support our scholarship program for next year’s Class of 2024 by supporting FRIENDS on our big GIVING DAY this Wednesday!
April 18, 2023 The atrium of Alliance Bible Fellowship in Boone was transformed into a dress shop, of sorts, for about three hours on Saturday, April 15, as dozens of individuals were invited to shop for formal wear and accessories — free of charge — for their upcoming Joy Prom. By Sherrie Norris
April 13, 2023 Hannah Harvey, 5th Grade Teacher at W.D. Williams Elementary School in Buncombe County, NC, has been named the first National Ambassador for the Global Game Changers Student Empowerment Program.