BY KARISSA MILLER
West Iredell High School Principal Benjamin Johnson said that the school’s mission is to provide a safe and inclusive environment for learning.
“We foster a culture of accountability, resilience in order to be successful while nurturing responsible citizens who contribute positively to their community,” he said.
Johnson, whose school was the spotlight school of the month at the Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education meeting, said that the school has an acronym so that students can remember the mission easily.
Teachers and staff stress to students that they live by the SPEAR, which stands for Safe, Proactive, Engaging, Accountable and Resilience.
Johnson shared the school’s demographics:
• Asian 4%
• Multi-Racial 8%
• Black 16%
• Hispanic 17%
• White 55%
Paying tribute to Hispanic American culture during Hispanic Heritage Month, West Iredell High has partnered with Statesville High School and has devoted the football halftime to showcasing Hispanic culture, music and movement.
• 2022-23 National Beta Club School of Distinction
• 49 students qualified for Beta Club
• 22 new Beta Club inductees this year
• Seven students selected for the Youth Leadership Council with Mayor Costi Kutteh
• 85 students signed up for Crosby Scholars (Students must have a 3.0 GPA)
-25 percent of student body was involved in athletics this fall.
-Senior Keely West was honored for all-region in volleyball.
-Senior C.J. Ferguson was selected for the East-West All-Star Game on Dec. 17.
-Freshman Bryant Moore sets records in cross country. He placed second in conference and sixth in the region.
• Hailey Benton and Sidney Hayes were selected to the Mars Hill University Choral Festival in February.
• Lauren Alford, Hunter Martin, Cole Daniels, Cole Auton, Devin Babb attended the Livestock show at the N.C. State Fair.
• Lauren Alford was selected to serve as a state FFA delegate in Indianapolis.
Teacher Karen Shay said that the school offers a unique opportunity for students who are interested in earning Early Childhood Education (ECE) credentials.
Student can earn credits in high school, but also can intern on campus or at Celeste Elementary and Sharon Elementary. The ECE class currently has 15 student interns.
Students Jenna Litton and Emma Sheets both intern at Celeste Henkel Elementary.
“Every morning we go to our intern sites. We work with both pre-K and kindergarten classes. I’ve not only learned a lot of fun times so much about how to implement lessons,” Litton said.
Next, the Chief Warrant Officer Two Stephen Klein and First Sgt. Reggie Hooker gave an update on the Army Junior ROTC program at the school.
There 192 assigned cadet, including 102 males and 90 females.
Klein said that the school far exceeds the JROTC program’s goal, which is 100 students. He said that they are a diverse group of students.
Klein and Hooker both participated in the JROTC program as cadets when they were in high school and serve in the military.
“One of the misconceptions about JROTC is that we are out to make soldiers and recruit in the military. The reality is that less than 10 percent ever see military service … Our goal is to motivate students to be better citizens,” Klein said.
According to Hooker, the cadets have performed more than 843 hours of community service. They support programs such as West Iredell Ruritan, military service organizations, school events and more.
They have also applied for the Purple Star Award. Only 11 schools in N.C. have been awarded this prestigious recognition.
They are adding new programs, including VEX Robotics program and archery curriculum.
Student Lauren Alford spoke about her experiences in the school’s FFA program.
“We did not have an FFA program before five years ago. We are starting very fresh compared to some other Iredell schools,” she said.
Alford said that they just returned from the FFA convention. Alford is school’s first national delegate.
“I got to be a voice for all of the students in North Carolina. I got to sit through business meetings and push towards a board of directors’ recommendations to build a better organization. I’m happy for that and to be the first and continue to grow,” she said.
Alford said that incoming freshman are taking interest in being a part of FFA.
“Agriculture is everywhere. I think students need to know where their food is coming from and that hard work that gets it to the grocery store,” she said.
Additionally, she said that the FFA has great community supporters. She thanked Lazy 5 Ranch for their tremendous support in donating animals and feed.