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Cheryl M. Shuffler
Public Relations Officer
Burke County Public Schools
(w) 438-2989 | (c) 432-6212

BCPS Class of 2018 secures more than $8 million in scholarships

posted Jun 19, 2018, 1:41 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

Burke County Public Schools graduated nearly 900 students this year. What’s next for the class of 2018 varies from a four-year college or university, a two-year community college, a certificate program, entering military service or going straight into the workforce. For those going on to continue their education, the class of 2018 in BCPS secured nearly $8.23 million in scholarship money before high school graduation.


Patton High School seniors received more than $2.1 million.

Draughn High School seniors received $2.04 million.

East Burke High School seniors received $1.97 million.

Freedom High School seniors received $1.59 million.

Burke Middle College seniors received $526,000.

Hallyburton Academy seniors received $2,500.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “This total blows me away. I am so proud of all of our graduates for taking that important walk across the stage and securing that precious high school diploma. I challenge all of our graduates to not stop there and to keep pursing an education and their dreams. For those going on to higher education, and for those who received scholarships to help pay for it, that is a total of $8.23 million less debt for those incoming freshman and their parents. This dollar amount is actually higher if you factor in training and benefits our graduates entering the military will receive for continuing education. I look forward to following all the greatness the class of 2018 will accomplish, and I wish them the very best as they begin their careers and embark on this next new journey.”

Young archer places second in world competition

posted Jun 19, 2018, 6:58 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Photo: Natalie B., middle, scored a 285 and came in second in the female elementary division of the  2018 National Archery in Schools Program World Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky on June 8 and 9. 


Ten-year-old Natalie B. has taken the archery world by storm. The rising Ray Childers Elementary School fifth grader placed second in a world archery tournament on June 9. Natalie competed in the 2018 National Archery in Schools Program World Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, and with a score of 285, she came in second in the female elementary division. While she was second out of 616 elementary girls, she was first out of 262 fourth-grade girls and 88th overall out of 2,362 elementary, middle and high school girls. Heading into the world tournament, Natalie was ranked No. 1 in the nation in her bracket for scoring 293 out of 300 points at the national championships in May.


Natalie is the daughter of Clint and Allison B. Clint is a game warden and Allison is the Burke County Program Coordinator for Health-e-Schools, a program of the Center for Rural Health Innovation. Clint is a bow hunter and knew about the school archery program through work. He had gotten Natalie a kid’s bow and arrow set when she was younger, but she didn’t get serious about the sport until her PE teacher, Mike Steele, introduced her and fellow students to archery in PE class. The young archer surprised everyone with her archery skills, including Steele, and she made the Ray Childers archery team as a third grader. 


Natalie said of archery, “It is a lot of fun. I like the spirit of competition. Mr. Steele is a great coach and is good at motivating us and encouraging us.”


To keep her skills sharp, Natalie said she practices five times a week for about 30 minutes each time. Allison said her daughter seems to shoot better in competition.

She said, “She was shooting really well at nationals and shot her personal best. She did fantastic. When we came home and she would practice, she was not shooting as high as she shot for nationals. She works better under pressure.”


Natalie agrees. She said, “I do better when I’m challenged.” Going into the fifth grade, Natalie said she is open to helping out new archery teammates next year. Her advice to them is to stay focused and try hard.

Clint said the sport has been good for the Bell family and his daughter. He said, “Archery is a really good program. It’s been good for our family watching Natalie compete. To see her dedication and hard work as a 10-year-old and to see her practice and keep up with homework, she’s dedicated.”


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “Congratulations to Natalie. We are proud of her and honored that she has represented Burke County Public Schools well on both the national and international level. The archery program has been a fantastic addition to our elementary schools, and I continue to give Mike Steele credit for bringing it to Burke County Public Schools. It teaches not only the skill of shooting a bow and arrow, but also, like other sports, sportsmanship, teamwork, respect, self-discipline and goal setting. Students also get a little bit of geometry in there, too. I am pleased we are able to offer a variety of programs in our schools. Our students, like Natalie, have undiscovered talents that may not surface until they are exposed to something new.” 

Burke County Board of Education Meeting

posted Jun 15, 2018, 12:52 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will have a work session on Monday, June 18, 2018, at 6 pm.  The meeting will be held in Conference Room #10 at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street Morganton NC.  The agenda is below.

DHS students chosen for NC High School Firefighter Challenge

posted Jun 15, 2018, 6:43 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Several students from Draughn High School in Valdese were selected to participate in the NC High School Firefighter Challenge June 18-22.  The High School Challenge will be held at the Buncombe County Training Center in Asheville and the students will be housed at Mars Hill University. There were only 26 students from across the state chosen for the Challenge with Draughn HS having four of those positions. The DHS Fire Academy students are Cameron H., Jordan H., Harley K., and Ben W. These students were selected to participate based on their completion of required NFPA classes and their ability to train in advanced firefighter skills.  

The Challenge is similar to a camp that consists of five days of advanced training with the last day of skills competition. The areas of training will include, emergency response, self-survival, rescue, ropes and anchors, wilderness land search, hazardous materials, live fire attack and control. In addition, the students will spend evenings in the classroom studying mathematical and scientific principals as they apply to the emergency services. They will also have courses in career planning and college selection. All of the instructors are from the NC Office of State Fire Marshall along with other adjunct instructors from across the state. Each of the instructors are the very best the state has to offer and are dedicated professionals.  

Chris Treadway, Firefighter Technology Instructor at Draughn High School, said, " I am so proud of these fire academy students. They have worked hard this past school year to learn the skills of a firefighter and they display a sincere interest in the profession. Each of these young gentlemen have already begun their service to the community as junior members of local volunteer fire departments. I see each of them as future firefighters who will make an impact within their community. The NC High School Firefighter Challenge is a unique, one of a kind program in this country and our state is one of top leaders in training and preparing our young firefighters. Our fire academy and school wishes our students the very best in their week long venture."  

Best wishes to these four students during this training!

Patton names Jonathan Browning as football coach

posted Jun 13, 2018, 3:50 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

Morganton, NC – Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Patton High School Principal Sara LeCroy announces Jonathan Browning is slated to be the Panthers new head football coach. Browning has been an assistant football coach at Patton for six years and has been the school’s head varsity baseball coach for the past five years.


Browning said, “I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to lead this great group of student athletes and coaches. I have loved my time working with the students and being a part of the Patton community. My goal is to be the leader they deserve.”


LeCroy said, “Coach Browning stood out among our applicants for his philosophy, his student-centered beliefs, and his competitive nature. His experience and understanding of our students, school and community will enable him to be an excellent fit in this position and continue to do good things for Patton football.” 


Patton Athletic Director Jeff Williams said, “Coach Browning already has a rapport with our players, and I know our athletes will continue to look up to him and give him and the team their all. He has great experience as a player and as a coach in both football and baseball and is entrenched in the Patton community. I’m excited about the future of Patton football with Coach Browning at the helm.”  


Browning played offensive lineman and linebacker at Freedom High School and was the football team captain in 1993. He also played first base for Freedom’s baseball team. He graduated from Freedom in 1994 and Appalachian State University in 2000. He has been at Patton as a coach and health and PE teacher for seven years. Most recently he was the defensive coordinator for the Patton Panthers football team.


Browning will meet with student athletes at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the auditorium. He said, “I expect them to give maximum effort and have a great attitude. They will be as well prepared as any team we face. We did lose some seniors and had a very good team last year, but because of some injuries last year, some younger guys were able to get valuable playing time so we have some underclassman returning with varsity experience.”


Browning thanked his wife, Greta, and his four children and two stepchildren for their support and being understanding of how much time it takes to be a coach. He also thanked his parents for setting a good example of how by working hard you can achieve your goals.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “High school academics and athletics go hand-in-hand. Student athletes are important, but our first focus has to be on students and teaching. Coach Browning understands this. With his years of experience, he is a great choice for Patton’s head football coach. I commend Mrs. LeCroy on selecting a local guy who has intentions of staying here. I look forward to the community getting behind Coach Browning and supporting him and the students.”

Parents learn about dual immersion language program

posted Jun 12, 2018, 11:33 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Photo: Jack and David Stockham attended the information session with their parents.

Morganton, NC – Thursday, June 7, 2018


Five-year-old David Stockham speaks one language at home, is learning American Sign Language at preschool and has the opportunity, along with 49 other rising kindergarten students, to learn another language at Mountain View Elementary School. David, his mom, dad and younger brother were at the Olive Hill Resource Center on Wednesday, June 6 to learn more about the dual language immersion program Burke County Public Schools will start in August.   


David’s mom, Jessica Stockham, said, “We have worked a lot with him on kindergarten readiness, and we don’t believe in restricting him. We would rather him be challenged when he starts kindergarten and continue to grow at the pace he is.”


The Stockhams have ties to McDowell County, which has a year-round dual language immersion program that David would be eligible for, but now that Jessica teaches in Burke County, they are interested in enrolling David in the Global Immersion Academy at Mountain View Elementary School. Kindergarten students at the Global Immersion Academy will learn 50 percent of the time in English and 50 percent of the time in Spanish.


Burke County Public Schools Director of Elementary Education Karen Auton and Coordinator of English Language Learners Lannie Simpson shared the vision for the Global Immersion Academy with parents during the information session.  


Simpson said 19 percent of Burke County Public Schools students speak a language other than English at home, which is two percentage points higher than the state average. In Burke County schools, there are 26 other native languages spoken in students’ homes besides English. In Burke County, 80.5 percent of students speak English at home, 13.2 percent of speak Spanish at home and 4.7 percent speak Hmong at home. Other common languages include Aguacateco, Mayan and Lao.


Simpson said for multilingual students, the process of learning a native language at home is natural, unlike the process for adults who took a foreign language in high school or college where the focus was on grammar rules and verb conjugations. She quoted Wayne Thomas and Virginia Collier, experts on dual language schooling, who say, “The key to natural language acquisition is to use the languages for meaningful and interesting tasks.” The Global Immersion Academy intends to do just that by having students learn language through content and content through language.


Students in the dual language program will learn the standard course of study continuously in both languages. For example, a teacher may start a math lesson in the morning in English and finish it in Spanish in the afternoon. The teacher will not repeat the same instruction in both languages. The goals are biliteracy, bilingualism, grade level academic achievement and cross cultural competence.


Simpson said in choosing textbooks, the Global Immersion Academy will look for books written in the native language and not books that have been translated from English to Spanish or vise-versa. Simpson gave nursery rhymes as an example. Nursery rhymes written in authentic text help students learn language, culture and history, but they do not translate well into other languages.


The dual language immersion classes also will use student modeling as a learning technique. Native English speakers will model and help the non-native English speakers in the class when the students are learning in English. On the flip, when the students are learning in Spanish, the native Spanish speakers will model for the non-native Spanish speakers. Simpson said it is empowering for students to be able to teach their peers this way.


Burke County Public Schools is working in partnership with Participate on the dual language immersion program. The information night allowed the Stockhams and other parents to talk with a Participate representative, ask questions about the program, visit different stations to see sample textbooks and curriculum and to meet Mountain View Elementary School Principal Charles Williams and Assistant Principal Leanna McKinney.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “We are excited to offer this opportunity to students entering elementary school and to be able to give parents a choice. After our board visited the dual language program in McDowell County and researched the options, they saw that in opening a new elementary school it would be the perfect timing for our own Global Immersion Academy. We also are excited about our partnership with Participate and look forward to working with them on this endeavor. It is one more way we are helping students find their niche and get them excited about learning.”


If you have a rising kindergarten student and are interested in the dual language immersion program at Mountain View Elementary School, applications are due by Monday, June 25. Students will be selected through a lottery process. If you live outside of the Mountain View district and get accepted, the school system will waive the transfer fee for your kindergarten student and siblings. The kindergarten students will stay in the program through the fifth grade and each year a new cohort will be added in kindergarten. Visit www.burke.k12.nc.us for an application.

Photo: A family meets Mountain View Elementary School Principal Charles Williams and Assistant Principal Leanna McKinney.

Photo: Lannie Simpson, director of ELL, speaks with a parent at the information session.

Transcript Fee

posted Jun 7, 2018, 6:03 AM by Melanie Honeycutt

Our Transcript fee is $11.  

Patton student and pageant winner seeks to help others

posted May 29, 2018, 11:54 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Patton High School junior Adeline Steele is set to compete in the Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen Pageant in June. Adeline has pageant experience as she has been crowned the Miss Mountain Glory’s Outstanding Teen and the 2017 Miss Patton High School. As part of her community work, she has mentored elementary school students and raised awareness of and secured donations for the CMC Charlotte Hospitality House. During this spring semester, Adeline worked with female students in the first grade at Mull Elementary School. She helped the girls with community service projects and in areas of personal style, self-confidence and overall success. Adeline will attend their award ceremony at the end of the school year and surprise the girls with a crown and acknowledge their work with a certificate. Adeline's platform for the Miss America Organization is entitled “One Last Ride.” Adeline's father was in a critical motorcycle accident in September 2016 and was hospitalized in Charlotte. During that time, his family was able to receive services and relief from the Hospitality House of Charlotte. Adeline’s platform strives to raise awareness for the services provided and asks others to donate supplies to the Hospitality House. To learn more, visit https://www.hospitalityhouseofcharlotte.org/wish-list/.

Will Viggers follows in father's football footsteps

posted May 25, 2018, 11:53 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

By Student News Ambassador Triniti Bryant

Draughn High School senior Will Viggers began playing football when he was 8 years old. Although he was scared to, his dad wanted him to play, so he began playing with the Valdese recreation peewee team. After his second year playing, he decided he his dream was to play in the NFL, but he had a lot of steps to take to get there. He continued to play throughout middle school and into high school. Will was a four-year starter for both defense and offense, he played center and nose guard. Will has been working hard for a very long time and finally on Feb. 7, he took one step closer to his childhood goal. Will signed with the Wingate Bulldogs, and he couldn’t be happier about it.

Will attended a lot of college camps in order to better prepare himself to play at the collegiate level. After his freshman year, he went to Clemson and then wasn’t able to attend another camp until after his junior year when he went to UNC-Charlotte and NC State. During his sophomore year he had knee surgery and had to rebuild his strength and endurance. He also tried to lift and run everyday during the off season in order to get faster and stronger. Will said “I would always look for everyday that I could work and improve.”

Will started looking into the recruiting process his second year of high school. He started by paying a $70 “clearing house” fee in order to get certified on the NCAA eligibility center. Then his junior year his ACT scores were sent to the eligibility center and by the time his senior year rolled around, he had to send in his transcripts to determine his academic eligibility. Will also used a film website called “Hudle” to get his highlight videos to coaches. One of his videos even had over 1,000 views.

A lot of smaller schools would email Will asking him to come on visits, but bigger coaches would come meet him in person. Will met coaches from NC State, UNC-Charlotte, Army and Western Carolina. Then finally, the Wingate coach came by to see Will. He gave will his card and asked him to come on a visit. Will chose Wingate because it was close to home, he really likes the coaches, and also, he said, “The team is so close, it almost feels like a family.”

Civics students collect food while learning about government agencies

posted May 25, 2018, 10:53 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

By Student News Ambassador Robin Heeralall

Photo: Civics students at PHS collect food while learning about government. 

The civics class at Patton High School decided to donate food to a food pantry in a creative way. Students in Ms. Jenkins’ civics class were assigned a project to help them learn about the various departments in the government. The assignment was to select a can or box of food that could be created in this project, but also be donated to those who need food. Students were to take the box and make it into something that resembles the department. On the box there was to be information such as who is in charge of the department, the purpose of the department, when it was created, and what agencies are within this department. Students selected their department by choosing a slip of paper out of a box that Ms. Jenkins passed around. In total there are 15 departments, so two students would have the same department. A lot of creativity was displayed in this project. To represent the Department of Labor, a student made a factory to represent the work aspect of it. To represent the Department of Transportation, a student made a train. There were many other creative projects as well. When students turned in this assignment, they presented it in front of the class. They discussed why they chose to design the box and tell the class the information displayed on it. After students presented, Ms. Jenkins took all the information off the boxes and collected all the food. Students felt really good about donating all this food. Two students were asked about the project. One of the students said, “I think it was a good way to learn about the departments and give back to the community.” Another student said, “I liked this project because we were able to give back to those in need.”

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