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Avery County Schools in the News!

For the third year in a row, Jason Rhodes of Avery County Schools participated in the 74th Annual Winston-Salem Journal Regional Spelling Bee held at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts on March 23.

April 1, 2014.

Edward Jones/ACS Student of the Month

Lillie Ward, second grader at Freedom Trail Elementary, has been named the Edward Jones Avery County Schools Excellent Student of the Week for the week of March 31 to April 6, 2014. 

Lillie is an excellent student and a very hard worker.  She is a friend to all she meets and tries to give her best in all aspects of the classroom.  She is a true example of what the Student of the Week award embraces.

Congratulations, Lillie! The Excellent Student of the Week is nominated and selected by the staff of Avery County Schools.  

Jason Rhodes Third in the Region Spelling Bee

For the third year in a row, Jason Rhodes of Avery County participated in the 74th Annual Winston-Salem Journal Regional Spelling Bee held at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts on March 23. Jason was among the top competitors finishing in a four-way tie for third place.  The contest began with thirty-one contestants. “I thought the spellers were exceptionally prepared.

In rounds 22-27, top contestants spelled their way through words such as  “cordovan,” “keelhaul,” and “sukiyaki” with no errors,” said Robin Richard, bee pronouncer.  He continued to say that in the 25 years he has assisted in the Spelling Bee, he has never, ever seen anything like this before. “This is the most competitive year by far.” After spelling 300 words, a new list was distributed with 200 more. 

After four hours and 30 rounds, the winning word, mésalliance, was spelled correctly by Hayat Alkadir an eighth-grader from Ledford Middle School, and will she advance to Washington D.C. in May.

“Jason did great. It was a tough competition and there were a lot of seasoned champions who duked it out!” said Jodi Sarver, Winston-Salem Journal’s Publication Manager and bee organizer. 

“Jason trained for the bee like a champion.  Like any competitor, he spent hours each day learning the words, definitions, pronunciations, and origins for each word. It has been Jason’s goal to go all the way with the spelling bee. He worked year round over the last two years to learn as many words as possible. Cranberry Middle School is very proud of Jason and we celebrate his accomplishment,” said Kim Tufts.  

Over the last three years teachers Donna Burnop, Melissa Porter, Kim Tufts, and his parents have worked with Jason helping him to meet his goals.  Jason finished in the top 16 all 3 years; year one  16th place, year two 7th place, and his final year 3rd place. 

“Spelling words and competing in this way academically is not easy.  We are very proud of Jason and his dedication.  He is a fine student and it has been an honor to have him at Cranberry Middle School.” said Matthew Bentley, CMS Principal

Newland Elementary Students are Inducted into the National Junior Beta Club

Students, faculty, parents, administration, and others joined to celebrate the induction of fourteen fifth grade students into the National Junior Beta Club last Thursday night at the Hugh Chapman Center in Linville.  Inductees pledged to “be honest and truthful at all times to maintain a creditable scholastic record; to be of service to my teachers and fellowmen; to conduct myself in an ethical and moral manner to reflect credit upon my school and community”.   Advisors Kelly Ward, Sharayah Smith, and Brittany Millsaps conducted the recognition and pinning ceremony.  Principal Tammy Beach said, “I am extremely proud of these students and for their hard work. We will miss them at Newland, but we know that they will do well as they promote to middle school.”

STEM and Pre-K Students Learn Together

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) students provided hands-on instruction for Newland’s Pre-K students.  John Clark along with other STEM students conducted lessons around plants, soil, and micro-propagation.  Pre-K students learned the difference between dirt and soil, soil nutrients, seeds, how to plant, water and take care of plants.  They enjoyed a tour of the micro-propagation lab and the greenhouse.  Pre-K students were able to get an early hands-on experience to begin the journey to be college and/or career ready. 

Carolina Turner’s pre-k at NES.


Carolina Turner’s pre-k at NES.


ACHS Complete Tours for Rising Eighth Graders

ACHS finished the annual 8th grade tours of the high school this past week. Students from Avery Middle School and Cranberry Middle School began the transition process by visiting the school, taking a tour of the school, sitting in on high school classes, eating lunch in the cafeteria, attending a Q&A session with current high school students. They met their future Principal, Dr. Monet Samuelson, and future Counselor, Mrs. Denise Powell along with Viking Academy teachers. Several were in attendance for the 8th Grade Parent Night on Thursday, March 27th. During this time students/parents were introduced to several key individuals at ACHS and they were able to sign-up for a registration appointment to meet one-on-one with a member of Student Services in order to choose their 9th grade classes. Registration for rising 9th graders will begin the week of April 7th. Viking Academy is in its 5th year of implementation and continues to provide a fundamental transitional program for Avery students as they leave middle school and enter high school. For more information about the ACHS Freshmen Academy, feel free to contact Dr. Monet Samuelson at the school (828-733-0151) or by emailing monetsamuelson@averyschools.net. Welcome, Class of 2018! 

ACHS Art Students Honored

Gerardo Urbina, a senior at ACHS, design was selected as the NC Student STEM Symposium logo.  The winning logo will be used at the symposium and featured on t-shirts for the conference. In addition, artist Tyler Herbst’s entry was selected to be on exhibit at the NC Department of Public Instruction in Raleigh, NC.  The exhibit will open April 11th at the education building in Raleigh where Tyler will be honored.  Tyler is a senior at ACHS.  Alex Chapman was also honored when her artistic design was selected to be submitted to the Congressional Art Competition through Congressman Mark Meadow’s office.  Her work was also selected by the local VFW Ladies Auxiliary and has advanced to the state level.  Students were advised and instructed by art teachers Mickey Banner a Michelle K. Dellinger.

 ACS Math and Science Students Rise to the Top

Avery County Schools was well represented in Raleigh at the North Carolina Student Academy of Sciences Competition. There were a total of 31 participants and 24 of the 31 received medals with 16 projects placing in the final judging competition. In addition to the Avery County Schools students, homeschooler Nathaniel Hardy placed 2nd in Middle School Biotechnology.  At the top of the list were students Coleman Bailey, Spencer Dearmin who took first place in high school Physics and Will Jordan who took first place in high school Engineering.   All three first place winners advance to the National Acadmey of science competition to be held in San Jose, California next year. 

Congratulations to the following students:  

NCSAS North Carolina Student Academy of Science State Competition  March 28,2014

Middle School- Behavioral Science

2nd place Keilah Bowman and Lauren Stamey- Photo Lineups

3rd place Brooke Wright- What color do parakeets prefer?

Biological Science I

2nd place Sophia Banner and Cassie Bailey- “The Mighty Maitake” 


2nd place Sadra Gil and Kara Lawrence -”Cyanotypes Affected by Cloud Cover”

Earth Science

1st place Matt Leaman- “S-type, M-type, C-type”


2nd place AJ Ayers- “Elevation Impact”

3rd place Lane Johnson- “The Anatomy of Shark Bite” 

High School- Physics

1st place – Spencer Dearmin and Coleman Bailey _ Putting Intermolecular Forces to Work

3rd place- Heath Austin and Austin Phillips – “Temperature of Paintballs” 

Behavioral Science

2nd place Nick Green and Rick Daniels- “Peppermint and Reaction Time” 

3rd place Symphony Mullins – “Musical Memories”

Biological Science Advanced II

3rd place- Raina Wiseman- “Keep your family in toe”

Engineering and Tech

13) 1st place- Will Jordan – “Construction of Generic MAV and Evaluation of Unhinged Flaps on Landing Distance”


3rd place- Sarah Cleary/ Laura Cole – “Drug Solubility”

Chemistry Advanced

3rd place- Charles Brown/Liam Hoffman “Testing the Hardness and Toughness of Heat Treated 52100”

Environmental Science

2nd place- Alexis Hayes “Testing Soil for the Best Water Retention Capacity and Grass Seed Germination”  

CES Features Talented Students

Congratulations to the talented students at Crossnore Elementary School:  Briahna Barrier performed a monologue from Mary Poppins, Zuha Naveed hula- hooping to Waka Waka, Walker Boone playing Star Spangled Banner on the guitar, Crossnore Dance Team breaking it down to Timber, and Allie LIndecamp the Master of Ceremony.  These students along with others from all eight ACS schools will be performing in the Avery Shining Stars Variety Show on May 15, 6 p.m. at Avery High School.