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2024 John and Ruth Blue Scholarship Awarded to Ellary Smith


June 25, 2024 Watauga High School Student Ellary Smith was awarded the 2024 John and Ruth Blue Scholarship. She is the 23rd recipient of this scholarship, which this year awarded $8,000 and is renewable annually for up to four years. The scholarship is awarded by the John and Ruth Blue Scholarship Endowment, a fund of the Watauga County Community Foundation and is administered by the North Carolina Community Foundation. Smith, the daughter of Thomas and Tracy Smith, is among the top academic students at Watauga High School and a recognized leader in school organizations and athletics. She was an active staff member of the Watauga Powderhorn Newspaper serving as Editor-in-Chief. Smith also served as co-captain of the cross-country team and a leader on the indoor and outdoor track teams.

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Watauga High School Gets New Principal

June 26, 2023 Scott Strickler has been named the new principal of Watauga County High School by the county board of education. He takes the place of Chris Blanton who was recently promoted to assistant superintendent for the school system.  By Zack Hill

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Watauga High School to Hold Graduation Ceremony June 2

March 20, 2023 BOONE, NC — Watauga High School will hold a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2023 at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 2 at the Holmes Convocation Center on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone. The final day of school for the 2022-23 school year will be Thursday, June 1. 

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Bombs away! Greene, Salinas, Ray lead Pioneers in 17-0 win over Allegheny

March 10, 2023 WILKESBORO, N.C. — Asked to choose the most impactful play in Watauga baseball’s 17-0 win over Allegheny in the third round of the non-conference tournament at West Wilkes, the answer might be one of several. And, truth be told, the Pioneers’ Maddox Greene likely was involved, directly or indirectly. Was it Greene’s fielding a sharply hit ground ball and throw to first to get a third out in the first inning, with Allegheny having the bases loaded? Instead, they left three men stranded on base. By David Rogers

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‘Icy Hot’ for Watauga in drumming up 12-7 win over West Wilkes

March 8, 2023 WILKESBORO, N.C. — An Arctic cold front may have swept across the West Wilkes Blackhawks’ baseball field on March 7, but the Watauga offense was hot, hot, hot in a 12-7, seven inning win. The visiting Pioneers scored in every inning except the third frame and saved the best for last, scoring four runs in the top half of the seventh inning. Watauga scored their 12 runs on 12 hits and just one Blackhawk error. By David Rogers

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Dodgeball for Hope Returns to Watauga High School on Saturday, March 11

March 2, 2023 What began nearly a decade ago as a successful annual fundraiser for the Hope Center in Boone was, like many events, put on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic. But, the good news is, the fast-paced, exciting tournament known as Dodgeball for Hope is returning next week — and it promises to pick up where it left off. After a two-year hiatus, the staff, volunteers and clients of Hope Center are happy to announce that Dodgeball for Hope will take place on Saturday, March 11, at Watauga High School. By Sherrie Norris

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Pioneers defend home court, 52-39, to sweep Cougars

February 2, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — Although Alexander Central has one of the best women’s basketball teams in the Northwestern Conference and challenged Watauga on Jan. 10 in a low-scoring defensive battle before losing, 38-25, in Taylorsville, they couldn’t keep up in the Jan. 31 rematch at Lentz Eggers Gym. The Pioneers ran away with this one, 52-39, before a full house of fans on both sides of the gym floor. By David Rogers

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Watauga JVs rally from deep deficit to beat Cougars, 47-34

February 2, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — Early in the second quarter on Jan. 31 at Lentz Eggers Gym, Watauga’s junior varsity men trailed Alexander Central, 17-7. In the blink of an eye the Pioneers went on an 11-0 run, erased the deficit and took an 18-17 lead into halftime. By David Rogers

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Terry Gardner Honored at Avery County High School for Sports Milestone Feats

December 20, 2022 Avery County High School has a rich and storied sports history.  Since it opened with the 1968-69 school year following the consolidation of Crossnore, Newland and Cranberry High Schools, Avery teams, athletes and coaches have consistently enjoyed successes in the various sports in which they compete. They have captured numerous championships on conference, sectional, district, regional and state levels. Some also have established various team and individual records on various levels and achieved national, and even international, recognition.  By Tim Gardner

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Watauga High School Athletes For Good Provide 1317 Pounds of Food for Casting Bread

December 9, 2022 BOONE, NC – As the first semester of the 2022-2023 academic year comes to an end at Watauga High School many students are focused on Christmas vacations, planning spring trip adventures, and finishing up classes with the hopes of sneaking out a B when they probably have earned a C. This was not the focus of students involved with Watauga High School’s Athletes for Good (AFG). These students held a food drive to increase food security in the High Country. They collected food donations from students, teachers, staff, and administrators.

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The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree “Ruby” Visits Watauga High School on its way to Washington, DC

November 9, 2022 “Ruby” wasn’t without fanfare as she made her way from Newland to Boone on Tuesday — in the midst of an imposing entourage complete with police escort. Social media was abuzz with questions about “the big truck” taking up the middle of Hwy. 105, stopping traffic along the way. Perhaps more than a few people were unaware that “Ruby,” a gigantic red spruce, aka The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, was on her way to Washington DC, with about 17 total stops before reaching her final destination. By Sherrie Norris

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Avery County’s Boone & Church Band Members Win the 2022 FFA National Convention Talent Competition in Indianapolis, IN

November 2, 2022 One of the highlights in North Carolina High Country musical history happened last week when four of the Boone & Church Band members that includes three Avery County High School students and one Mayland Community College student, won the 95th Annual Future Farmers of America (FFA) National Convention Talent Competition in Indianapolis, Indiana. A massive crowd of more than 62,000 attended and the Boone & Church Band was the only entry from North Carolina that participated in the talent competition. By Tim Gardner

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Bella’s Italian Restaurant in Banner Elk Hosts Awards Dinner for “The Grandfather Challenge” Hiking Program for At-Risk Kids!

November 2, 2022 After  the completion of  their grueling, rigorous, eight-hour “Grand-Daddy” hike as the final trek of “The Grandfather Challenge” hike series, middle and high school students from all  over   Western  North  Carolina  are  always excited to  arrive  at  Bella’s Italian Restaurant in Banner Elk, NC for their coveted Awards Dinner! This celebratory event at this wonderful venue is always full of excitement, celebration, and outstanding food! Since the inception of this program in 2015, Bella’s has graciously hosted these celebrations in their intimate Banquet Room, and has fully supported and accommodated these school groups that come from Avery, Catawba, Caldwell, Lincoln, and Gaston County Schools.

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Watauga capitalizes after South Caldwell turnovers, 56-7

September 30, 2022 HUDSON, N.C. — Turnovers can define momentum in football. Watauga took advantage of five miscues by South Caldwell — in just the first half — on Sept. 29, the Pioneers storming to a decisive, 56-7 win in the opening game of Northwestern Conference play By David Rogers for HighCountrySports.net

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Watauga volleyball sweeps Freedom, 3-0

September 27, 2022 BOONE, N.C. — Caroline Farthing’s 16 kills and fellow senior Brooke Scheffler’s 12 kills and 18 assists helped host Watauga to a dominant, 3-0 women’s volleyball sweep over visiting Morganton-Freedom on Sept. 26, 25-7, 25-11, 25-4, at Lentz Eggers Gym. By David Rogers for HighCountrySports.net

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Attacking Watauga “takes” 1-0 OT win in conference opener vs. South Caldwell

September 27, 2022 BOONE, N.C. — A barrage of second half shots on goal by Watauga were rewarded by the most unlikely of outcomes: an “own goal” scored when the South Caldwell goalkeeper whiffed on a clearing kick. It was the only score in the Pioneers’ 1-0 overtime win over the visiting South Caldwell Spartans. By David Rogers for HighCountrySports.net

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West Henderson, Lexington women harriers capture top honors in High Country Classic

September 25, 2022 BOONE, N.C. — West Henderson sophomore Noelle Houlihan crossed the finish line first (19:51) in the women’s varsity division of the High Country Cross Country Classic on Sept. 24, but Lexington (S.C.), led by 8th grader Kendra Miles’ second place finish (20:02), captured team honors with all five of its scoring athletes finishing in the top 15 of the 84 athletes competing. By David Rogers for HighCountrySports.net

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