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School revives Sports Wall of Fame

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Members of the Grayson County School Board plan to research and update the Sports Wall of Fame to include more star athletes

By Shaina Stockton

INDEPENDENCE — Members of the Grayson County School Board have revived their plans to update the school system’s Sports Wall of Fame; a concept that has remained untouched for what several board members believe is far too long.
Schools Superintendent Kelly Wilmore discussed the wall during a series of athletic updates during his report at the School Board’s March 14 meeting.
In February, the board discussed the possibility of designating a spot for a Sports Wall of Fame, to recognize local athletes who are or were part of the school system.
Wilmore said during the March meeting that they had been looking at surrounding school systems for inspiration for the Wall of Fame, including Radford and Carroll County. He added that someone gave him the idea of using the gym wall across from the elevator for the display.  
“We need to hold a banquet every year and induction of new members,” he said. He told the board that he is seeking help from historical groups to find former players for induction; as well as the family members of players who have passed away.
School Board member Fred Weatherman thanked Wilmore for the update, adding that he and School Board member Shannon Holdaway had attempted to begin the project last February. “I’m glad we are finally doing this,” Weatherman said.
The board also discussed the need for an Academic Hall of Fame, to recognize students who had achieved high academic success, including past valedictorians and salutatorians.
“We need as many recognitions as we can for our students in every building,” Wilmore agreed.
School Board member Diane Haynes added that students at the CATE Center should also receive similar recognitions for their achievements.
“I think that’s an excellent idea; with all of the different clubs and competitions; and we have several state champions. They should all be recognized,” said Holdaway.
CATE Center Principal Angela Lawson told the board that steps for this were already in place. The CATE Center currently has a display in the hallway of students who have received a Microsoft Office certification.

In other action:

Susan Funk, Supervisor of Education and State/Federal Programs presented further details about the proposed move of the 8th grade class from the high school to the middle school.
“For those of you who remember, when the 8th grade first moved to the high school, it was part of a plan that was put in place that would eventually have all K-7 schools and 8-12 at the high school. Over time, those plans went to the wayside,” Funk told the board. “What we want to do is take the 8th graders back, and the advantages of that are to allow the 8th graders to have a leadership role before high school, which I think is very important especially as they are maturing. This will also allow students to have greater success, and act as a bridge for Grayson Highlands School and the Fries 7th graders, giving them a chance to be in a smaller setting before going straight into high school.”
Funk added that, at this point, 8th graders would need to remain on a block schedule to take high school electives. Next year, the administration will review and analyze schedules to determine the best schedule for student engagement from bell to bell.

Ruth Ross, a member of Grayson LandCare, addressed the organization’s upcoming Land Stewardship Competition.
“The competition is now in its ninth year, and it has grown tremendously. The competition is open to all students from 8th-12th grade in Grayson County, including Grayson County Schools, Galax Schools, Oak Hill Academy, and home schooled students,” she told the board. “Students are asked to explore opportunities in our community to increase livelihoods and improve our economy, enhance the environment, and improve quality of life. The students can participate individually or as a team, which is the most common way they enter.”
Students submit a report between 1000-1500 words describing their project, and then later present their project to the judges at the Stewardship Fair using posters, models, and websites. “For the last three years, we have had between 30 and 50 students participating with approximately 20 different projects each year,” she said. Previous year’s topics included community gardens, raising honey bees for profit, setting up a garden at the local nursing home, organic poultry farms, raising meat rabbits, energy efficient homes, programs to improve water quality in lakes and ponds, recycling, wind energy, bird watching and other types of ecotourism, improving riparian buffers, farmers markets, and a community coffee shop.
Prizes include $1000 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for third place, as well as up to five honorable mentions at $50 each.
The competition will be held April 23 tom 8 a.m. - 1 p.m at the Historic 1908 Courthouse in Independence. The public is invited to view the projects from 8 a.m. - noon. The awards ceremony will take place around 12:45 p.m.

The school board approved the following personnel appointments, effective March 15: Melinda Moore, substitute teacher; Darren Wineberry, substitute teacher; and volunteer coaches Dennis Eller (8th grade softball) and Cody McGrady (8th grade baseball)