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July 28
CCS Board of Education Fills Administrative Positions

Arndt Middle School has a new principal as Lee Miller was appointed to the position at the Catawba County Board of Education’s July 28th meeting. Miller has been serving as assistant principal at Bunker Hill High for several years.

Additionally, several assistant principal positions were filled.

Arndt Middle – Jennifer Stodden, formerly a teacher at Blackburn Elementary

Balls Creek Elementary – Allen Ramsey, formerly a math teacher at Bandys High

Blackburn Elementary - Sheri Ashley, formerly a teacher at Jacobs Fork

Bunker Hill High – Drew Stiles, transferring from an assistant principal’s position at Lyle Creek Elementary

Campbell Elementary – Kyle Stocks, formerly in Buncombe County

Foard High – Samy Shreitah, formerly an Exceptional Children’s teacher at Foard; Audrey Hovis, formerly a Career-Technical Education teacher at Foard

Lyle Creek – Danielle Cairns, formerly a teacher at Banoak Elementary

St. Stephens Elementary – Robert Turner, formerly a sixth-grade teacher at Grandview Elementary in Hickory

Tuttle Elementary – Tabetha Reynolds, formerly a teacher at Mountain View Elementary

CCS Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman noted that most of the new assistant principals are from inside the district. “CCS has worked to nurture teachers interested in moving to administrative roles and we are happy to provide them the opportunity to develop skills and expertise in additional areas.”

The assistant principal vacancy at Bandys is expected to be filled within the week.

July 23
Hogwarts Comes Alive in SSHS Media Center


As part of her summer literacy initiative, St. Stephens High School (SSHS) Media Coordinator Tammy Cordeiro opened Harry Potter’s Chamber of Secrets in the school’s media center.

From 4:30 to 8:00 on July 22nd, more than 50 wizards and muggles showed up to partake in the evening’s festivities.  There were wizard snacks, games, and crafts.  Folks were encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Harry Potter character. As the pictures attest, there was something for everyone!

The next theme night at SSHS will be on August 5th and will focus on the Divergent book series.






July 10
Additional CCS Students Are At Governor’s School

Governor's School

Five CCS students are currently attending Governor’s School in the academic strand.

Shannon B. St. Stephens High Natural Science
Cassey C. Bunker Hill High Natural Science
Jian H. Fred T. Foard High Mathematics
Kerri P. St. Stephens High Mathematics
Megan J. Challenger High English

Megan, Nadine, and Shannon are studying at Governor’s School East on the campus of Meredith College.

Cassey and Jian are are studying at Governor’s School West on the campus of Salem College.

July 06
Catawba County Schools Annual District Speech Contest Winners Noted

In one of their annual end-of-year traditions,  Catawba County fifth- and sixth-grade students competed in the district speech contest sponsored by Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal financial services organization.

Prior to this contest, the students had already won first or second place in their school-level contests. They delivered presentations on this year’s topic, “The Importance of Healthy Living”.

The first-place winner , Merci P., a 6th-grade student from Catawba Elementary, won a $50 cash award and a trophy. Catawba will also receive an engraved trophy. Second-place winner, Carson P., a 6th-grade student from St. Stephens Elementary and third-place winner, Mason C., a 5th-grade student, also received trophies.

Modern Woodmen’s School Speech Contest is one of many free youth educational programs the organization offers to schools nationwide. More than 100,000 students compete in the contest each year.


Pictured left to right: Mason C., Merci P., Carson P.

School level winners participating in district contest were from Balls Creek, Blackburn, Catawba, Clyde Campbell, Oxford, Snow Creek, and St. Stephens

July 06
Lauren S. Lends Artist Statement to “Leaders Among Us” Project

Lauren Smith Leader Final 7What does it take to be a leader? What do everyday leaders look like to you?

These are questions that were answered by St. Stephens High School (SSHS) photography students as they worked in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) and students from Southwest Jacksonville High School in Onslow County.

The “Leaders Among Us” was a Blended Learning Unit developed by the Museum and gave students an opportunity to work with Taj Forer, Bill Bamberger, and Titus Heagins who are North Carolina photographers. Students took digital photographs of their chosen leader which were then printed on a 24” x 36” Mylar banner along with the artist statement. The SSHS leader was Lauren S.

The banners and other photos taken through the blended learning project are part of the permanent collection at NCMA.

July 06
Two SSHS Tractor Shed Theatre Juniors Selected for Governor’s School for Theatre.

Kyla L, & Mackenzie P, juniors from St. Stephens High School’s Tractor Shed Theatre program, are participating in this summer’s Governor’s School.  They passed the academic screening and theatre audition to make it into this prestigious program.

The Governor's School of North Carolina is a five-week summer residential program for intellectually gifted high school students, integrating academic disciplines, the arts, and unique courses. The curriculum focuses on the exploration of the most recent ideas and concepts in each discipline, and does not involve credit, tests, or grades.

governors school

The Governor's School is the oldest statewide summer residential program for academically or intellectually gifted high school students in the nation. The program, which is open to rising seniors only, with exceptions made for rising juniors in selected performing/visual arts areas, is located on two campuses of up to 305 students each: Governor's School West at Salem College in Winston-Salem (begun in 1963), and Governor's School East at Meredith College in Raleigh (begun in 1978). The program is administered by the Public Schools of North Carolina, the State Board of Education, and the Department of Public Instruction through the Exceptional Children Division. A Board of Governors, appointed by the State Board of Education, acts as an advisory body.

Kyla L. shares, "So far, my experiences at Governor's School have exceeded my expectations tremendously. I love and enjoy the in-depth learning experience, especially without the pressure of tests and grades. I can expand my knowledge in an open and unique way, along with other students who have the same passion for knowledge as I do. I am grateful for this opportunity and am thrilled to see what else the program has to offer."

Mackenzie P. had this to say about the program. “Governor’s School is a place where each and every student is encouraged to reach his or her full potential every day. In addition to one’s discipline (area one) classes offering new and exciting theories and practices, students' area two and three classes (philosophy, and self and society) allow students to participate in much deeper-level-thinking than they would throughout their high school education. I am thrilled to have been accepted into this family, and enjoy growing by myself and with other like-minded individuals every day.”

Both Mackenzie and Kyla would like to further their career in theatre after they graduate high school.

June 24
Principals Named For Maiden High and Bandys High

Robert Bliss, currently assistant principal and athletic director at Fred T. Foard High School, has been selected as the new principal at Maiden High School.  He follows Dwayne Finger, who is now the Catawba County Schools’ director of safety, facilities, and athletics.

Bandys will welcome Angela Williams as its new principal as she moves from her current position as principal at Arndt Middle School.  Before coming to Catawba County she served as a principal in Burke County.

June 20
Arndt Student Wins First Place In Whitener Awards

brennHM Arndt Middle School Student Brenn M. won first place at the Hickory Museum of Art’s Paul Whitener Awards. This was the 76th year the museum has held the Whitener Awards show.

Brenn just finished the eighth grade and studied with teacher Jana Farris for two years while at Arndt.

June 20
Costa Rican Student Shares With Maiden Middle

Maiden Middle School’s Spanish classes recently hosted a special guest. Ignacio Solís, the son of the new Costa Rican president, shared stories about his life as a student and about the democracy process in Costa Rica.

Solís, a physics student at Lenoir-Rhyne, was recruited from Costa Rica to play soccer for the University. Maiden Middle’s students were excited to learn about his country and his life as an international student.

Conversely, Solís enjoyed learning about middle-school life in America and was eager to share his American experiences as he returned back to Costa Rica to be part of his father’s inauguration process.


June 20
SSHS Grad Alkoutami Earns Rewards of Academic Achievement

Sandi2What does the recipient of the University of North Carolina’s prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship do for an encore?  St. Stephens High School’s Sandi Alkoutami was named one of the Charlotte Observer’s Seniors of the Year.

The ten seniors were selected from the 29 regional finalists. Approximately 140 students were nominated by their school counselors on the basis of academic performance, character, and community service.  The Seniors of the Year received $1,000 scholarships.

Each of the winners was photographed with a memento from his/her senior year.  Alkoutami chose a letter from President Barak Obama that was a response to a letter she wrote to him expressing concern about the violence and revolution in Syria. 

She was quoted in the Observer, “I nearly started crying, because I felt so grateful to live in this country where I can be heard.”

Alkoutami will move to Chapel Hill later this summer where she’ll begin studies as a Morehead Scholar.


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