DOBSON — Two North Surry students have been nominated for a national academic honor for excellence in career and technical education.
The Surry County Board of Education recognized Hannah Button and Chris Smith this week for being nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
The Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of the nation’s most distinguished high school seniors, said Sonia Dickerson, director of communications, teacher quality and instructional media.
Each year, up to 161 students are named U.S. Presidential Scholars, with more than 7,000 students honored since the program’s inception. Each class of scholars is honored during the National Recognition Program, held in June in Washington, D.C.
Just since 2015 has the program been extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields, noted Dickerson.
For nominees like Button and Smith, the commission will consider achievement in the following specific standards for CTE Scholars: academic rigor; technical competence; employability skills; and ingenuity/creativity/problem solving.
“Throughout high school, Hannah has concentrated on health sciences,” Dickerson told the school board. “Her passion is Biomedical Engineering, and she has completed all of the courses that we offer in that pathway. The Biomed courses prepared her with a foundation of the biological and medical problems that are currently affecting humans.”
To further complement her studies, Button has taken the Project Lead the Way – Introduction to Engineering course.
“It is her intention to combine her knowledge of biomedical problems and the engineering design process in order to one day create equipment to help medical professionals save more lives,” said Dickerson.
Her work has been recognized, and she has been inducted into both the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society. Button also attended Governor’s School this past summer.
During his first three years at North Surry, Smith completed eight A.P. (advanced placement) courses and 14 honors classes, said Dickerson. He is scheduled to complete five additional A.P. courses and three honors classes during this senior year.
“In addition to being a leader in the classroom, he has demonstrated leadership with both his athletic and extracurricular accomplishments,” she told the school board. “He is a member of both the cross country and swim teams.”
He is a member of the National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Student Council, Surry Youth Leadership and Interact Club. He was selected as a member of the N.C. All-State Chorus, and he was chosen to participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership Program.
“Christopher also puts service above self,” she said. He has completed hundreds of volunteer service hours at various charity events such 5K runs, bingos and golf tournaments to help make his community a better place.
“He also spent many hours tutoring children at the local homeless shelter,” she added.
• An East Surry senior also was honored this week for getting national recognition.
Abby Key is an active member of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). FBLA is a Career and Technical Education student organization.
“The mission of FBLA is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs,” said Dickerson.
Last March, Key placed first in a public speaking competition at the Southeast regional level. That earned her a spot in the nationals in Anaheim, California, held June 28-July 2.
Sereena Church, FBLA advisor, prepared and practiced with Key prior to both competitions.
• The school board congratulated two North Surry teachers for giving a presentation at a national summit in Florida last month.
Jonathan Sutphin and Daron Atkins, Project Lead The Way instructors, presented at the national PLTW Summit in Orlando.
North Surry, which has offered PLTW classes since 2012, received national certification for its PLTW program in 2016, noted Dickerson.
“PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers,” she said.
“The program’s engineering empowers students to step into the role of an engineer, adopt a problem-solving mindset, and make the leap from dreamers to doers,” she added.
Sutphin and Atkins led a session titled “Do You Want a Return on Your Investment? Identify, Recruit and Retain!”
More than 200 conference participants attended the session where they learned many ways to recruit and retain students in their PLTW program. The duo discussed the strategies they have used over the past five years. They talked about how they went from averaging twelve students in a class to having more than twenty students in each class, even though the classes are elective.
Their goal for the session was to help others grow their PLTW programs by getting both boys and girls interested in the classes. One of the key factors they use to keep growing their program is social media because it reaches today’s generation.
Sutphin told the school board of the enriching, but busy trip, “I had a good time — didn’t get to see the outside.”
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.