The Elkin City Schools administrative office lobby was a packed house during the most recent school board meeting as students and staff were recognized for successes during the year.
Featured during the arts recognition were the seniors and directors involved with “High School Musical,” which was recently performed in Dixon Auditorium.
Tonya Smith used several words to describe the students as they rehearsed and put the show on including “inclusive, hard working, encouraging, talented and so much fun.” She said the seniors “really got into it” and did much of the work themselves.
Several of the actors holding lead roles in the production were present during the recognition, Hunter Norris, Madison Shoemaker, Tyler Eaton, Zach Rhyne and Austin Coley, and Smith said the auditorium was nearly full both nights of the performances.
She also pointed out the work of Sarah Estrada and Trish Long, co-directors with Smith for “High School Musical.”
The board spotlight for May was on the staff of the school system’s two cafeterias.
“They have done a tremendous job this year,” said Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe. “Food services across the state have been running at a deficit, and we were no different last year.”
During the 2015 summer, the cafeteria staff and school system leaders came together to find a way to battle against being at a deficit again this year. “The challenge this year was to try to get food service to balance out,” said Bledsoe. “We asked them to be creative and innovative, and that’s exactly what they did.”
The students were able to taste test items in the cafeteria, the staff decorated the cafeterias, and participation increased at the elementary and middle schools, he reported.
“Most importantly, we empowered them to make an impact,” Bledsoe said of the staff.
As of May, the food service budget is running at a profit, reported the superintendent. “It is nice we’re running at a plus, but most important is when there are challenges, our teams come together to make a difference.”
Elkin High School senior Madison Shoemaker was recognized for earning a Morehead-Cain Scholarship, which is a four-year full ride to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Principal Joel Hoyle said Elkin hasn’t had a Morehead scholar named since 2002.
Ryan Macy, state tennis champion, was honored at the board meeting as well. He finished the 2014-15 year as a freshman with a 21-2 record and was player of the year in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference. In 2015-16, he aimed higher, finishing the year with a 22-2 record and facing off against the player who defeated him in last year’s tennis state semifinals and beating him for the state title. The match went to a tiebreaker game, which Macy won 10-8. This year, he was player of the year again in the conference and named all-state.
Elkin Middle School Principal Casey Morrison recognized Tonya Smith and her middle school chorus for earning a superior rating at this year’s Carowinds Choral Festival in early May. Sixty-seven middle-schoolers are members of the chorus, and they competed at the end of a day of playing in the park. This is the second year they have participated, and the second year of being rated superior.
One spot at the school board’s desk is reserved each month, and filled by Elkin High School Student Body President Anna Taylor. Her key role at the meetings was to lead the Pledge of Allegiance and to be a presence for the students.
With May being the last meeting prior to Taylor’s graduation, Bledsoe recognized her for the time she’s spent as president of the student body and the leadership success she’s had.
“She has done a tremendous job at the high school this year,” he said. “Under her leadership, they’ve had very successful community projects.”
As he presented her with her certificate, Bledsoe thanked her for her dedication to be at the meetings each month.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.