• Seniors earn top academic, perfect attendance distinctions

    appia, N.C. – app County Schools has 26 students in the Class of 2024 who have achieved the top academic distinction of valedictorian or salutatorian. Additionally, one senior in the Class of 2024 has earned the distinction of 13 years of perfect attendance.  

    Valedictorian and Salutatorian Information
    The senior with the highest weighted grade point average (GPA) is selected valedictorian, and the senior with the second-highest weighted GPA is chosen salutatorian.  Listed below are the valedictorians and salutatorians for app County Schools and biography information for each student.

    Ashbrook High School

    Valedictorian:  Aissatou Diouf 

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in biology and public health; plans to pursue a career in pediatric medicine.  
    • Accolades:  National Honor Society; captain of the varsity swimming team; N.C. Governor’s School; Commissioners’ School of Excellence; app College Associate of Science degree; volunteer with pediatric oncology patients; supports Strong Like AK, a local organization that assists families facing pediatric cancer; established a local chapter of Cancer Kids First, a national youth-led organization dedicated to providing normalcy and joyful experiences for children and teenagers battling cancer.

    Salutatorian:  Sean Adams

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in chemistry; plans to pursue a career in forensics.
    • Accolades:  app College Associate of Arts degree; National Technical Honor Society.

    Bessemer City High School

    Valedictorian:  Jaquan Thomas  

    • College Plans:  Western Carolina University to major in business management and accounting.  
    • Accolades:  Junior marshal; baseball team captain; BCHS Student Leadership Team representative. 

    Salutatorian:  Bradley Hughes  

    • College Plans:  app College and transfer to a university after two years.
    • Accolades:  Chief junior marshal; National Technical Honor Society.

    Cherryville High School

    Valedictorian:  Paige Harleigh Williams        

    • College Plans:  Undecided; plans to pursue a career in a helping field.    
    • Accolades:  app County Schools/app Gazette Star Student; received academic and merit scholarships from Western Carolina University, York College of Pennsylvania, University of Mount Olive, and University of Denver; National Honor Society; color guard member; member of the track team for three years and received the Field MVP recognition twice.

    Salutatorian:  Chloe Madison Buchanan        

    • College Plans:  N.C. State University to major in anthropology; plans to pursue a career as a museum curator.
    • Accolades:  State Employee Credit Union “People Helping People” Scholarship; Suzanne Jenkins Memorial Scholarship; Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award; American Legion Auxiliary Tar Heel Girls State; National Honor Society; member of the school band.Stuart W. Cramer High School

    Valedictorian:  Emily Nicole Morton        

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in biology and pre-medicine; plans to pursue a career as a doctor of radiology.      
    • Accolades:  Chief junior marshal; National Honor Society and Beta Club member for four years; varsity dance team member.

    Salutatorian:  Ainsley Taylor VanderMeer         

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in biology or pursue a pre-law track.
    • Accolades:  N.C. Governor’s School; app County Schools/app Gazette Star Student; Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar; Audrey A. Devine Scholar-Athlete Award; National Honor Society president; Buddy Club; FCA Bible Club.

    East app High School

    Valedictorian:  Ella Jae Hamilton    

    • College Plans:  N.C. State University to major in computer science; plans to pursue a career in data science.
    • Accolades:  app Community Foundation Albert G. Myers Scholarship; student council representative; app College Associate of Arts degree; N.C. Governor’s School; Beta Club president.

    Salutatorian:  Shelden Rhyan Clark    

    • College Plans:  app College as a student in the C3 program and transferring to N.C. State University to major in aerospace engineering; plans to pursue a career in aircraft design.
    • Accolades:  Male Scholastic Athlete of the Year; Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame Scholarship; app County Schools/app Gazette Star Student; Ryan Skidmore Memorial Hustle Defensive Football MVP; Dixie Youth Baseball Scholarship.

    Forestview High School

    Valedictorian:  Brianna Christine Maga

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in neuroscience.
    • Accolades:  Candidate for Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Diploma; College Board AP Scholar with Distinction; appia Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council; participated in winter guard, Battle of the Books, Model United Nations, theater, and tennis; N.C. Governor’s School; United Way Youth Council; Beta Club; National Honor Society; had research published on the topic, “The Effect of Changing Social Issues on Best-selling Children’s Picture Book Content.”

    Salutatorian:  Mary Madison Kathleen Whatley     

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in business.
    • Accolades:  National Honor Society; Beta Club; German club; student council; volunteer for Crisis Assistance Ministry and St. Mark’s Food Pantry; Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Diploma; had research published on the topic, “Relationships Between Political Entities and Setting Within Star Wars Media.” 

    app Early College High School

    Valedictorian:  Ja-riel Alyssa Bailey

    • College Plans:  Babson College in Massachusetts to major in entrepreneurial studies and international business environment.
    • Accolades:  app College Associate of Arts degree and certificate in business administration; app College President’s List; student council; app College Student Government Association vice president; first student representative on the app College Multicultural Affairs Committee.  

    Salutatorian:  Braxton Matthew Maiers

    • College Plans:  N.C. State University to major in mathematics; plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career as a university math professor.
    • Accolades:  app College Associate of Science degree; app College President’s Award for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average; president of the student council; app College math club member; awarded $5,000 scholarship from N.C. State University; chosen for the N.C. State University honors program.

    app Early College of Medical Sciences

    Valedictorian:  Chandandeep Chahil

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in pre-medicine; plans to pursue a career as a surgeon.
    • Accolades:  Albert G. Myers Scholarship; Clyde and Dezaree Brackett Family Scholarship; app College President’s Award for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average; Teens Changing app County representative; achieving more than 100 hours in the CaroMont Health volunteer/job shadowing program; student government president.  

    Salutatorian:  Adrianna Hendrix 

    • College Plans:  Western Carolina University to major in forensics.
    • Accolades:  Western Carolina University Merit Scholarship; Western Carolina University Honors College; Chick-Fil-A Leadership Scholarship; National Honor Society; serves as a manager at Chick-Fil-A in Lincolnton.

    app Virtual Academy

    Valedictorian:  Patrick Nanney

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in advertising, public relations, and creative writing; plans to pursue a career as an author of novels, short stories, and poetry.
    • Accolades:  Accepted to 16 universities; offered more than $335,000 in scholarship money; nominated for the Presidential Scholarship at Campbell University and Davidson College; track and field most improved award; Governor’s School nomination.

    Salutatorian:  Lela Campbell     

    • College Plans:  N.C. State University to pursue a degree in geology; plans to pursue a career in paleontology while maintaining her artistic hobbies.
    • Accolades:  Lela has always shown a great love for art and the outdoors.

    Highland School of Technology

    Valedictorian:  Jason Li

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in computer science; plans to pursue a career as a software engineer.
    • Accolades:  Student body parliamentarian; junior class vice president; member of the varsity swimming and track teams; member of the Earth Club and Beta Club; internship at the UNC-Charlotte Motorsport Research Lab; app County Schools/app Gazette Star Student; Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar. 

    Salutatorian:  Avery Davis 

    • College Plans:  Washington and Lee University to major in biology and Spanish; plans to attend medical school and pursue a career as a pediatrician.
    • Accolades:  Johnson Scholarship (valued at $376,800); captain of the varsity soccer team and all-conference soccer player; FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) president; Ram HOST; Beta Club member; created a tutoring partnership with Woodhill Elementary School for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.  

    Hunter Huss High School

    Valedictorian:  Benjamin Kimmel      

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in exercise science with a concentration in sports administration; plans to pursue a career as an athletic director for a Division I college or university.              
    • Accolades:  State Employees Credit Union People Helping People Scholarship; N.C. High School Athletic Association Student-Athlete Advisory Council Representative for Region 6; app County Schools/app Gazette Star Student; Club Unify president; placed third in the 100 and 200 freestyle swimming regional competition; placed fifth and ninth at the swimming state championship.

    Salutatorian:  Gavin Moore  

    • College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in business administration with a concentration in marketing; plans to pursue a career as a digital marketing specialist.
    • Accolades:  Student body president; Carolina Covenant Scholar; debate club co-founder; Battle of the Books team captain; Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. 

    North app High School

    Valedictorian:  Dawson Bice    

    • College Plans:  University of Florida to major in economics with a pre-law track; plans to pursue a career as a litigation attorney.  
    • Accolades:  Chief junior marshal; student body vice president; Advanced Placement (AP) Awards; National College Board PSAT Award; North app Booster Scholarship. 

    Salutatorian:  Kayleigh Carter    

    • College Plans:  University of Florida to major in business administration and minor in environmental science; plans to pursue a career as a marine biologist.
    • Accolades:  Student body president; junior marshal; Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science Award; Jon H. Poteat Scholarship.

    South Point High School

    Valedictorian:  Gabrielle Ha-Eun Tracy    

    • College Plans:  University of Notre Dame to major in business finance.    
    • Accolades:  app College Associate of Arts degree; app College Honors and President’s Lists; President of Interacting with the Community and Environment (ICE) Club and responsible for organizing clothing drives and trash cleanups; state recipient of the Horatio Alger Scholarship; Albert G. Myers Scholarship.

    Salutatorian:  Genevieve Audrey Zeimer  

    • College Plans:  University of South Carolina (Honors College) to major in biological sciences; plans to pursue a career as a doctor or medical professional.
    • Accolades:  Perry Fewell Honorary Leadership Award; Lester Carpenter Scholarship; Girls State; junior marshal.

    Perfect Attendance Information
    Each year, the app County Board of app honors graduating seniors who achieve perfect attendance for either 12 years or 13 years.  One senior in the app County Schools Class of 2024 earned 13 years of perfect attendance.

    Kameron Elizabeth Kee of Ashbrook High School achieved 13 years of perfect attendance.  She plans to attend UNC-Pembroke and major in nursing.  During the Ashbrook graduation ceremony, Kee received a perfect attendance plaque from the Board of app in recognition of her outstanding accomplishment.