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Watauga High School Honors Valedictorian Sidney Wiswell and Salutatorian Chris Allen Among Others

Courtesy of Prestige Portraits/Lifetouch
Courtesy of Prestige Portraits/Lifetouch

By Travis Miller

June 13, 2014. On Saturday, June 14, students of Watauga High School will be honored as they walk across the stage at Holmes Convocation Center to join the graduating class of 2014. Many of these students have distinguished themselves throughout their tenure at WHS.

High Country Press recently had the chance to speak with Valedictorian Sidney Wiswell and Salutatorian Chris Allen.

Wiswell has lead a remarkable high school career. In addition to Valedictorian, she is a National Merit Scholarship finalist, a Rotary Student of the Month and an attendee of the Governor’s School, a rare honor only given to 550 students across the state each year.

She reflected on the classes and teachers that meant the most to her.

“This year, I was really lucky to take AP Chemistry with Ms. Greene. This is her last year, so I’m glad I got to take that class. And I’m really glad I got to take a lot of history. I think I took every History class offered,” she said with a laugh.

Wiswell was also heavily involved in athletics throughout her four years and she became the captain of the swim team and the cross-country team.

“I ran cross-country all four years and it was really awesome. It was nice because I got to meet a lot of people I wouldn’t otherwise. Some of my best friends were people I met [there]. I’m glad high school wasn’t all just academics for me.”

She also spent a lot of time outside of school working with the community. Wiswell interned with Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, visiting farms and seeing sides of the community she rarely saw. Constantly involved, she found free time hard to come by, so this summer is particularly important to her.

“Especially because I won’t be anywhere near the mountains, I’ve been trying to do a lot of hiking and backpacking and camping. That was my goal for the summer — to spend as much time outside as I can.”

This fall, she plans to attend Columbia University in New York City and she expects to major in either Political Science or International Relations.

“Anything that lets me travel a lot,” she explained. “It’s really intimidating coming from Boone and going to school with kids from all over the world. It’ll be a huge change; it’s like the polar-opposite. [And] my closest friend is in Boston, which is really scary … so it’ll take some time to get adjusted.”

Salutatorian Chris Allen moved to Boone from Orlend Park, Ill. and was new to WHS his freshman year.

“It was a lot smaller than what I was used to,” said Allen. “There’s a lot more of sense of community in Boone — even between people you just talk to on the street. Whereas where I lived, it was sorta everyone for themselves.”

Visiting organic farms after school and working at the Jones House, he quickly became involved in the community. Allen fondly reflected on the relationships he built at WHS and the teachers that meant the most to him.

“Probably my favorite teacher was Ms. Greene — and Woody [McKay] — I had him for chemistry and biology … I did track for one year … one of my teachers, Ms. Whitaker, she encouraged me to join. I was against it at first, but it was nice to get to know people since I was the new kid at school.”

Allen was an exceptional math and science student throughout his academic career.

“I always really loved science — math and science are really my strongest … I took classes at ASU — some math classes. It was nice getting exposed to a college class.”

Allen will attend The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall.

“I’m excited about the freedom, but the freedom also kinda scares me. I’ll be on my own and be responsible for things myself … I think it’ll be nice. It’s a different atmosphere compared to some of the stuff in high school — more maturity I guess.”

Like Wiswell, Allen will be taking advantage of the summer months before college begins.

“[I enjoy] hiking, riding my bike, archery — just being in nature. [Except] when I’m feeling lazy, [then I’m] probably watching movies,” he explained with a laugh.

Many other WHS graduates will also be taking advantage of this summer before they begin attending college in the fall. The following is a list of scholarships awarded to the many esteemed graduates:

The Dr. N.A. Miller Award for Significant Contribution to WHS

  • Recipient: Anna Jensen

Principal’s Award

  • Recipient: John LeBlanc

NC State University Park Scholarship

  • Recipient: Spencer Schlenker

Wade Edwards Foundation Short Fiction Scholarship

  • Recipient: Sarah Holtkamp

Alpha Delta Kappa Scholarships

  • Recipients: Luis Nunez, Olivia Watson

American Red Cross Scholarships

  • Recipients: Emily Brewer, Dakota Cornett, Courtney Edwards, Nicole Krontz, Erika Walker

Annie Clawson Sharpton Memorial Nursing Scholarship

  • Recipient: Erika Walker

Appalachian State University Scholarships

  • New River Light and Power Scholarships Recipients: Jacob Chasteen, Trevor Eggers, Ian Norman, Ava Reck, Amie Sigmann, Rose Wheeler
  • Barbara Poovey Burgin Scholarship Recipient: Conner Brodt
  • Ron Rankins Memorial Scholarship, Appalachian Student Memorial Scholarship, Jeanne McChesney Scholarship and Staff Senate Scholarship Recipient: Elizabeth Dollar
  • Lavola & Mary Carender Scholarship & ASU Staff Senate Scholarship Recipient: Olivia Watson

Attorneys of Watauga County Scholarships

  • Recipient: Emma Deuitch

Blowing Rock Community Foundation Scholarships

  • Recipients: Jacob Chasteen, Andrea Foster, Logan Shaut, Benjamin Tang, Kylie Winkelmann
  • Wolfe Scholarship Recipient: Cameron Linnville

Blowing Rock Rotary Club Scholarships

  • Recipients: Silas Keeter, Hanna Reeves

Blowing Rock Women’s Club Scholarships

  • Recipients: Tammy Rich, Patrick Williamson

The John and Ruth Blue Scholarship

  • Recipient: Silas Keeter

Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation Scholarships

  • Recipients: Shauna Caldwell, Courtney Edwards

Boone Civitan (Carl Fiddler) Club Scholarship

  • Recipient: Gabe Irwin

Boone Kiwanis Club and Kiwanis Foundation Scholarship Program (In memory of Evelyn Johnson)

  • Recipients: Serena Carroll, Madison Casey, Hanna Reeves

Boone Optimist Club Scholarships

  • JOOI Club Optimism Scholarship Recipient: Kristen Jones
  • JOOI Club Optimist Volunteer Scholarship Recipients: Jullia Beers, Amie Sigmann
  • JOOI Club Leadership Scholarship Recipient: Cheyenne Hayler
  • Cosmetology Scholarship Recipient: Krystal Reese, Veronica Gomez-Aguilar
  • Tool Scholarship for Auto Mechanics Recipient: Justin Pope, Tim Everhart

Boone Rotary Club Scholarships

  • Recipients: Community College Scholarship Recipient: Kristen Jones
  • Rotary Student of the Year Recipient: Stephen Shirley

Boone Roundball Classic Athletic Scholarship

  • Recipients: Trevor Eggers, Kaelin McNeill

Boone Service League Scholarships

  • Recipients: Sidney Wiswell, Hanna Reeves

Boone Sunrise Rotary Club Scholarships

  • Recipient: Maia Yarborough

Caldwell Community College DREAM Scholarships

  • Recipients: Jenna Greene, Matthew Greene, Netaya Hartley, Ashley Hicks, Timothy McMeans, Kelsey McQueen, Hope Perry, Tammy Rich, Benjamin Tang

Chad Hartley Memorial Scholarship

  • Recipient: Patrick Williamson

Clyde Kilby Memorial Cosmetology Scholarship

  • Recipient: Veronica Gomez-Aguilar

Coach Carter Lentz Memorial Scholarship

  • Sponsored by Snow Masonic Lodge 363
  • Recipient: Carrie Pennell

Dale L. Greene Scholarship

  • Recipients: Megan Critcher, Victoria Derrick, Tyler Winkler

Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award

  • Recipient: Andrew Harrelson

Deep Gap Ruritan Scholarship Program

  • Recipients: Tori Derrick, Kaelin McNeill, Alison Seramur, Olivia Watson

Erin Elizabeth Johnston Memorial Scholarship

  • Recipient: Sarah Mize

FAST (Future Automotive Service Technician) Scholarship

  • Recipient: Hope Perry

Frank L. James Skyline Telephone Scholarship

  • Recipients: Rachel Greene, Courtney Edwards

Golden Leaf Scholarship Program

  • Recipients: Elizabeth Dollar, Paige Miller

Gregory Newton Norris Memorial Scholarship

  • Recipient: Maia Yarborough

Harold Dean Beach Vietnam Memorial Scholarship

  • Recipients: Hope LaPointe

High Country Association of Realtors Scholarships

  • Recipients: Emma Deuitch, Kayla Sutton

Hunters Helping Kids

  • Recipients: Nicole Fox

James and Grace Beach Elementary Education Scholarship

  • Recipient: Luis Nunez

Kate Swift Reese Scholarship (Watauga Education Foundation)

  • Recipient: Rachel Greene

Katrina Michele Winsor Memorial Scholarship

  • Recipient: Sidney Ginn

Kohler Company College Scholarship

  • Recipient: Logan Shaut

Lan O’Loughlin Personal Achievement Award

  • Recipient: Alison Seramur, Savanna Wood

Lees-McRae Scholarships

  • Pinnacle Scholarship Recipients: Jenelle Boisvert, Consuella Bower, Brittany Stanton

Leigh Anne Cable Memorial Scholarship

  • Recipient: Dakota Cornett

Leigh Cooper Wallace Memorial Scholarship

  • Recipient: Zakary Horine

Life Store Bank Scholarships

  • Recipients: (Employee): Bryan Phipps
  • (Merit): Heather McCurry

Mabel School Scholarship

  • Recipient: Carson Isaacs

Meat Camp Baptist Church Scholarships

  • Recipient: Chelsea Jackson, Caleb Presnell

Military Officers Association of America

  • Recipient: Joseph Stout

National Merit Scholarship Program

  • Letter of Commendation: Gabriel Irwin
  • Certificate of Merit: Sidney Wiswell

Pat Baker “DARE” Memorial Scholarship

  • Recipient: Maia Yarborough

Retired School Personnel of Watauga County Scholarship

  • Recipient: Olivia Watson

State Employees Credit Union “People Helping People” Scholarship

  • Recipient: Zakary Horine

Watauga-Ashe-Wilkes Scholarship

  • Recipients: Caleb Presnell, Tristan Rodriguez

Watauga County Association of Educations (WCAE) Scholarships

  • Recipients: Rebecca Hayes

William Mast Memorial Scholarship

  • Recipient: Tyler Winkler

The Watauga High School graduation ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 14, at the Holmes Convocation Center on Appalachian State University’s Campus. For more information on the ceremony, click here.