Mount Airy Middle School and Mount Airy City Schools recently came out on top of the rankings in the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activities competitions.
At the association’s eleventh annual meeting, Mount Airy Middle School walked away with first place in the association Challenge Cup for small middle schools and eighth grader Abby Epperson was named NCASA Middle School Student of the Year. Principal Levi Goins and educator Patricia Combs were both recognized as finalists in the categories of Principal of the Year and Scholastic Director of the Year for their support around academic competitions for the 2020-2021 school year.
After all challenges were completed, Mount Airy Middle School earned 220 points, ranking them 55 points ahead of the second place position. The school participated in seven out of the more than 16 competitions available to students. These competitions included; Art Showcase, The Quill, Forensics, MATHCOUNTS, Envirothon, Nati•onal History Day, and HOSA.
While NCASA competitions could have easily been dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, Goins and his staff problem-solved ways to make these clubs accessible to both remote and face-to-face students.
Among the challenges local students did well in were:
• National History Day; first place in Junior Group Exhibit, qualified for state, were Chase Moore and Scott Moore, who received special recognition at the state competition for Non-American History;
• Art Showcase: Abigail Vilanueva’s artwork was selected for the state competition;
• NC Envirothon: Third place in the area competition, qualifying to compete at the state level, were Abby Epperson, Carrie Marion, Chase Moore, Ruby Hoerter and Kieran Slate;
• State HOSA Competition, Extemporaneous Health Poster: Emma Rudisill took first, Ella Tate finished second and Issac Crotts was third; Health Career Display: Sidney Kate Venable and Izzy Willard were first; Health Career Preparation: Abby Epperson was first; Life Threatening Situations: Harry Vaughn was first and Ellie King was third; Math for Health Careers: Carrie Marion was first, Freddy Hernandez was second and Bill Rierson was third; Medical Reading: Gracie Branson was first; Nutrition: Jadee Gilley was first; Prepared Speaking: Emilee Corn was first, Jessi Delacruz was second, and Lacey Taylor was third; Speaking Skills: Dani Jo Hearl finished first; Barbara James Service Award: Jadee Gilley.
Other notable HOSA recognitions and awards included: Largest Middle School HOSA Chapter in NC for 2020-2021; Gold Star HOSA Chapter – Mount Airy Middle School; Gold Star HOSA Advisor – Jennifer Epperson; Tied for most money donated to Be the Match with $500; Jadee Gilley most service hours for middle school
In the Quill competition, the school won the Western Regional Champions Overall title, while individually Ruby Hoerter took first place in Narrative; Abigail Epperson was first in Information; Carrie Marion took first in Problem/Solution; while Sidney Kate Venable was tied for second in Argument.
At the state Quill competition, Ruby Hoerter finished first in Narrative while the team was fifth overall.
“Being an active member of NCASA and having the opportunities for students to enrich their learning experiences through academic collaboration and competition is an incredibly rewarding experience for our school,” Principal Goins said. “These experiences promote important skills such as teamwork and scholarship while providing opportunities for students to excel in areas of personal strength and interest.
“Like many others, we were faced with new challenges this year in order to make our NCASA competitions take place. Under the direction of Patricia Combs, our NCASA teams found time to plan, practice, and work after school in order to compete. Our teams were an even mix of face-to-face and remote students that worked hard to overcome many new obstacles. We are extremely proud of our students, coaches, and leaders and their accomplishments this year in the NCASA scholastic competitions.”
Mount Airy City Schools has earned the School District Cup yearly since the 2014-2015 school year. Standings in academic competitions from Mount Airy Middle School and Mount Airy High School students consistently earn the district the top spot across the state for small districts.