Watauga High School Spotlight Honors Students for Great Character

Published Monday, May 2, 2016 at 11:32 am

In a time when so much media attention is devoted to people for their celebrity status, appearance, image, or other superficial traits, Watauga High School celebrates more lasting values by honoring students based on “the content of their character,” in Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorable phrase. The high school’s vehicle for this celebration is Pioneer Spotlight, a ceremony that recognizes students for essential qualities that cannot be measured by testing or athletic competition or any statistics.

WCS Supt. Scott Elliott at the Spotlight event.

WCS Supt. Scott Elliott at the spotlight event.

Thursday night’s Spotlight fell on 60 exceptional young people nominated for recognition by their teachers and other personnel at the high school. These students were described in their nominations with adjectives such as honest, hardworking, respectful, polite, motivated, dependable, kind, determined, thoughtful, diligent, helpful, tenacious, and super-positive.

In brief opening remarks, Watauga High School Assistant Principal Craig Wright remarked that Pioneer Spotlight “recognizes the great students that do the right thing every single day. We are really proud of them. We also know and appreciate that a big part of why we are so proud of them is because of the parents, grandparents, families and guardians that have supported them in doing the right thing all along the way.”

Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott, keynote speaker for the event, told students “we don’t take it for granted what a blessing it is to work with you.” The fact that students were being honored for their character, he added, “makes your award perhaps more special than any other recognition we give to students.” Elliott also took note of the central role of families in shaping positive character, stating that “it says so much about our families that we have such incredible students in our schools.”

Elliott shook the hand of each student as they came on stage to accept a special certificate presented in honor of their selection. A drawing was used to award students with additional gifts donated by generous local businesses and students and families celebrated with a reception following the ceremonies.

The sponsoring businesses for Pioneer Spotlight include Bella’s, Comeback Shack, Five Guys, Hardee’s, Heavenly Touch Spa, Kilwin’s, Little Caesar’s, River Street Ale House, Stick Boy, Sweet Frog, Town Tavern, Tweetsie Railroad, Wahoo’s, and Zaxby’s. Pioneer Spotlight also benefits from the support of parent and student organizations.

Watauga High School is a comprehensive high school with an enrollment of approximately 1,350 students. The high school’s graduation rate reached a record high of 87.9% and its dropout rate fell to a record low of 1.66% in the 2014-15 school year. Principal Marshall Gasperson was recently selected as the Watauga County Schools 2016-17 Principal of the Year.

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