STEM Center graduates first class

Published 12:18 pm Thursday, June 9, 2016

By Lynn Wisecarver

Special to the Enterprise

In August of 2012, 127 rising freshmen embarked on a journey with eight teachers to begin a new cohort called the STEM Center at Davie County High School.

On Tuesday, May 24, this group of freshmen, who are now seniors, were honored as the inaugural graduating STEM class at a reception hosted by Ashley Furniture Distribution Center in Advance.

The STEM reception planning committee, led by STEM English teacher Michelle Shue, designed an event that showcased these seniors’ accomplishments as they were awarded certificates of achievement. A group of 24 students from the class further distinguished themselves by earning a green cord to wear at graduation for achieving an honor of distinction.

“We wanted to hold the reception at a Davie County facility which featured STEM-related jobs. We were honored to be able to work with Clark Bunting, senior human resources manager, and Andrew Hughes, human resources manager, at Ashley Furniture, one of our Alliance members, to use their beautiful conference facility,” Shue said.

Junior class STEM students served as reception assistants and helped greet guests and assist seniors in completing  interactive stations  that utilized STEM skills. Seniors spent time reflecting on their experiences in the STEM program, took pictures in the photo booth, and were feted with cake and punch.   

Teachers Donna Dunn, Keith Richter, Yvette Shore, and Cherri White welcomed everyone before turning the podium over to Ashley Furniture employees Brian Steinbruegge, director of corporate maintenance, and William Webb, automation and manufacturing engineer.  They talked about Ashley Furniture’s mission as well as opportunities for student internships.

Alvin Rubin, DHS assistant principal and STEM administrator, along with Principal Doyle Nicholson, awarded STEM distinction graduates with  their honor cords.

“With an eye on being college and career ready, they pushed the boundaries to experience personal growth through enrichment and volunteer activities.  They purposefully, and with an open mind, tried out new experiences with an end goal of becoming better versions of themselves,” Rubin said.

Noel Grady-Smith, Davie County Schools executive director of curriculum and leadership development, thanked everyone for coming, congratulated the seniors on their upcoming graduating, and invited Superintendent Dr. Darrin Hartness to close with a few words.

“We wish this first class of STEM graduates much continued success. You have been part of an exciting new approach to teaching and learning over the past four years. Our teachers have gone above and beyond to prepare themselves to deliver instruction that is interactive and relevant to the skills expected in today’s global economy.

“Business leaders in our community have partnered with the STEM Center to provide insight into what it takes to be successful in our modern workforce. Congratulations to our first class of STEM graduates from Davie County High School. We are proud of your accomplishments,” Hartness said.

After the closing remarks, students and their guests enjoyed more of the interactive stations and received congratulations from teachers and community business leaders.

“STEM seniors have been pioneers in helping start something new and innovative in Davie County. They have ownership in the success of the STEM Center, and they are leaving behind a legacy that will benefit future generations of students.  Special thanks to Ashley Furniture for partnering with the Davie High STEM Center to host this event,” Jinda Haynes, director of K-12 curriculum and instruction, said.

The STEM seniors will join with their classmates at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 11 for graduation ceremonies in War Eagle Stadium.

STEM Distinction Graduates:

• Katy Alexander •

• Tripp Kelley •

• Sam Allen •

• Corbin Kopetzky •

• Sarah Buie •

• Andrew Marshall •

• Josh Byrd •

• David Palacios •

• Lauren Coates •

• Caitlyn Peebles •

• Caroline Davis •

• Kasey Potts •

• Meghan Donley •

• Casey Snyder •

• Hannah Dove •

• Allison Staley •

• Emma Etter •

• Kerri Tatum •

• Kaitlyn Fletcher •

• Jana Yount •

• Gabriel Gonnella •

• Molly Hartness •

• Makayla Hartness •

• Hadley Hilton •