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Community gathers to honor Gary Poe, museum stage dedicated in his honor

JEFFERSON — “Just a little after 11” on Saturday, Oct. 9, a crowd gathered on the grounds of the Museum of Ashe County History to honor the legacy of beloved community member Gary Poe.

The event featured live music, community speakers and the dedication of the museum’s outdoor stage in Poe’s honor.

“This is one of the best turnouts and one of the best events we’ve had. I think it’s just a testament to what people think of Gary Poe,” said Lee Beckworth, president of the Museum of Ashe County History. “We were really pleased with the turnout, the individuals who came and thankful for everybody who participated.”

Poe, who passed away on July 21, was a former Ashe County educator, host of WKSK’s famed Ole Time and Bluegrass Music Show and historian who dedicated much of his free time to giving back to the community.

The day’s program included musical performances by the Poison Branch String Band, Wayne Henderson, Herb Key and Randy Greer, as well as speeches by several Ashe County officials who recalled Poe’s many contributions to Ashe County.

Speakers included Josh Beckworth of the Ashe County Historical Society, West Jefferson Mayor Tom Hartman, former Arts Council director and friend Jane Lonon, museum board members Lee Beckworth and Lonnie Jones, and county commissioners Jerry Powers and Todd McNeill who declared Saturday, Oct. 9, as Gary Poe Day. Other elected officials present at the event included West Jefferson aldermen John K. Reeves and Stephen Shoemaker.

Prior to Wayne Henderson’s performance Lee Beckworth and Lonnie Jones lowered a tarp revealing new signage officially designating the museum’s stage as “The Gary Poe Stage.”

“I thought the dedication was good,” Lee Beckworth said. “We brought in people that were from different areas that Gary touched in his life. The radio station, the arts council, the towns, the historical society, the museum, we tried to get everybody involved who was in areas that he was involved in. And hopefully his relatives that came today will be pleased with knowing how well he was thought of here in the county.”

The newly dedicated Gary Poe Stage is on the grounds of the Museum of Ashe County History located at 301 East Main Street in Jefferson. The museum is open Tuesday thorough Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call (336) 846-1904.

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A Queen is Crowned: Little named ACHS Homecoming Queen, Huskies fall to Hibriten 38-7

WEST JEFFERSON — On Friday, Oct. 8, the Ashe County High School varsity football team hosted the long-awaited Homecoming game against Hibriten, ultimately falling short 38-7. Zada Little and Trent Trivette were also announced as the 2021 ACHS Homecoming Queen and King, respectively.

The first quarter proved tough for the Huskies (1-5 overall, 0-2 in conference), with Hibriten (4-2 overall, 2-0 in conference) asserting dominance right from the opening kickoff.

With seven minutes to play in the first quarter, Hibriten picked off a pass as it battled through Ashe’s defensive line to get the takeaway. As the clock counted down to a minute left, the Panthers built on its touchdown lead. With 51 seconds left in the first quarter, Ashe quarterback Wesley Thompson’s pass was intercepted in his own territory. The short field allowed the Panthers to score a second time in the period to take the lead 14-0.

Early in the second quarter, the Panthers made a return trip to the end zone, then with seven minutes left in the half, further padded its lead, converting another Ashe turnover into points, building a commanding 28-0 lead at the intermission.

The third quarter only saw more opportunities for the visiting team, adding a touchdown and field goal to the tote board in the frame to build its lead to 38-0 entering the final quarter.

During the final 12 minutes, Huskies running back Matthew Peterson ran through the Hibriten defense to find the goal line for the first and, ultimately, only Husky touchdown of the night, as the visitors returned to Lenoir with a 38-7 victory.

During halftime, ACHS held its 2021 Homecoming ceremony and the field became grounds for new royalty to be crowned.

To begin, Ashe County High School’s 2020 Homecoming Queen Maura Coldiron entered the field as the night’s special guest. Coldiron currently attends Appalachian State University and is majoring in speech pathology. She was escorted by Cadet Command Sgt. Major Kaden Burgess.

The first freshman representative was Mia Albeeno, escorted by Cadet Sgt. Rodrick Burkhart. Albeeno is the daughter of Beth and Juan Albeeno. Albeeno spends her free time kayaking and spending time with her family and friends. Her goal in life is to inspire young people in a positive way. Albeeno is a member of the ACHS JV cheerleading squad and the High Country travel volleyball team. After high school, she plans to attend a four-year university and become a nurse.

Also representing the freshman class was Isabella Farmer, daughter of Dustin and Myla Farmer. She was escorted by Cadet Sgt. Michael Wehunt. In her spare time, Farmer likes to run, play volleyball, basketball and softball. She also enjoys spending time with her family, friends and dogs. She is currently a member of the ACHS cross country team and the JV volleyball team. Farmer also plans to play for the Husky JV basketball and softball teams and run track. She is a current member of Student Council and her goal in life is to lead others to God and to help people to be happy. Farmer is currently undecided about plans after high school, but UNC-Chapel Hill, Virginia Tech or ETSU are schools she is considering. She hopes to major in teaching, cosmetology, interior design or social work.

Sophomore representative Katlyn French then took to the field, lead by Cadet 1st Lieutenant Braxton Culver. She is the daughter of Jason and Jamie French. In her spare time, she enjoys fashion, art and reading. French is a member of the JV girls basketball team, the ACHS varsity softball team, the outdoor track team, Student Council and MU Alpha Theta. After graduation, she plans to attend App State to obtain her bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in education. She then plans to get her master’s degree in administration. Her goal in life is to make a positive change to society.

Another sophomore representative was Paige Phillips, daughter of John and Heather Phillips. In her free time, she enjoys having coffee with her friends and spending time with her boyfriend and other people she loves. Phillips is a member of the ACHS JV cheerleading squad. Her goal in life is to make her dad proud and give him back the happiness that he has given her. After high school she plans to attend NYU and become a dentist. She hopes to one day be able to visit Eritrea, Africa with her pastor and help those in need.

Beginning the junior representatives, Adeline Bowers entered the field, escorted by Cadet Capt. Colin Carter. She is the daughter of David and Ashley Bowers. Bowers enjoys kayaking, traveling, working out playing volleyball, spending time outside and hanging out with friends. She is currently a member of the ACHS varsity volleyball team. She also plays travel volleyball, beach volleyball and is on the ACHS softball and track teams. Her goal in life is to make everyday the best she possibly can, see lots of places all over the world, live life to the fullest, and have no regrets. Although undecided in what career she wants to pursue, Adeline would like to attend either Appalachian State University or NC State after high school.

The final junior representative was Caroline Goodman, daughter of Ricky and Melissa Goodman. She was escorted down the field by Cadet Sergeant Jesse Wehunt. In her spare time, she likes to kayak, fish, travel and watch sunsets. Goodman is on the AB honor roll, is taking teaching as a profession and works at Sisters on Main. After completing high school, she plans to attend Appalachian State University and obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. Her goal is to be a light in everyone’s life.

Kicking off senior representatives was Chloe Ashley. She is the daughter of Brian and Kelly Ashley. Ashley enjoys embarking on adventures with her friends, playing with animals, spend time outdoors and hanging out with her mom. She has been an ACHS cheerleader all throughout her high school career and is currently the senior class president of Student Council. After high school, she plans to attend Wilkes Community College and then transfer to a four-year university where she will pursue a degree in nursing. Her goal is to fall in love with life.

Zada Little was the next senior representative. She is the daughter of Martin and Audrea Little. In her free time she enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, cooking, baking and hanging out with friends. She currently works as a barista at Bohemia and is a member of the ACHS girls tennis team. She also participates in the cheerleading team. After high school she plans to attend a four-year university and major in environmental science to become an environmental lawyer. Little’s goal in life is to create a life that radiates love for herself and the people around her.

Finally, Brenna Maloney was escorted down the 50-yard line by Cadet Capt. Willam Howell. She is the daughter of John and Kathy Maloney. In her spare time, she enjoys performing with her dance studio, competitively dancing and singing. She is a Member of the National Dance Honors Society and a Platinum performer at NYCDA. After high school, Maloney plans to attend a four year university and continue on to medical school to pursue a career as an allergist/immunologist while also continuing her love of the performing arts. Her goal in life is to be successful no matter what career path she chooses.

After the introductions were finished, Zada Little was crowned the new ACHS Homecoming Queen by Maura Coldiron. Husky football player Trent Trivette was also named Homecoming King.

On Friday, Oct. 15, the Huskies will head to Freedom High School to compete in another conference game, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Husky Vanguard Marching Band wins Grand Champion at competition

OLIN — The Ashe County High School Husky Vanguard Marching Band traveled to North Iredell High School on Saturday, Oct. 2 to compete in its second band competition of the year, which led to them bringing home the title of Grand Champion in the 1A/2A division.

The band is led by new director Joshua Mitchell, drum major Isabella Schiavone and captains as follows: Brass — Gabe Fogger, Woodwinds — Ana Blevins, Drum Line — Macie Richardson. Section Leaders: Flutes — Tristan Morrow, Clarinets — Lindsey Phipps, Saxophones — Harley Cox, Trumpets — Daniel Rodriguez, Low Brass — Connor Waterman, Front Ensemble — Vanessa Escudero. Color Guard — Abby Carpenter and Chloe Smith-Shepherd.

Placements for the marching band included first place music, first place marching, second place drum major, second place general effect, second place color guard, third place percussion, first place overall in class 2A and Grand Champion in 1A/2A.

Mitchell said he was incredibly proud of the band for their accomplishments and he is glad to see them continue their hard work throughout competition season.

The band will continue on through the season, playing at North Wilkes High School on Oct. 16.

Beaver Creek High School Scholarship expands, classmates look for alumni to carry on legacy

ASHE COUNTY — Since its establishment in 2009, The Beaver Creek High School Memorial Scholarship Fund has worked hard to provide financial support to Ashe County’s graduating seniors. Now, for the first time since its creation, the Beaver Creek alumni who started the fund will be able to distribute two scholarships in a single year.

Demolished during the early 2000s, few physical remnants of their school survive. However, Beaver Creek High School’s Class of 1957 have managed to keep in touch with one another through the years. The tight-knit group of classmates still remain friends and work to set aside time each year to hold a reunion.

“Many of us had no idea there was ever even a thought of demolishing the school, but they did,” said Beaver Creek’s 1957 class president, Lynn Moretz. “We don’t even have so much as a brick.”

Recalling fond memories of a bygone era, the Class of ‘57 would eventually establish a scholarship fund as a means to honor the legacy of their alma mater, while also giving back to Ashe County youth.

“We started the scholarship in 2009 as a result of one our class members, Reverend John Duvall, who said ‘Since Beaver Creek High School is no longer there — it was there from 1953 until 1999 — we should start a Beaver Creek Memorial Scholarship,’” said Becky Burgess, a Class of ‘57 alumni and class vice president.

The Beaver Creek High School Memorial Scholarship Fund is facilitated by the North Carolina Community Foundation and, as of 2021, has awarded $48,000 worth of scholarships to local students.

The fund’s founders started off small, with their first scholarship only allowing for payments of $500 a year, renewable for four years. Thanks to the generosity of donors, however, as well as donations made from Beaver Creek’s former of donors, the scholarship fund has since expanded, making 2022 the first year the school’s alumni will award two scholarships.

“We’re going to give two scholarships of $6,000,” Burgess said. “This is the first time — it will be in the spring of 2022 — that we will give two scholarships.”

Through the years students who have accepted the Beaver Creek scholarship have gone on to pursue everything from practicing law to teaching, though Burgess noted that having a perfect GPA or attending a four-year university is not a requirement of the memorial fund.

“We wanted students that had good character, showed good citizenship and had ambitions to go on further,” said Burgess regarding the scholarship recipients. “We have people who have been to Chapel Hill — probably more than any other school — we’ve had one or two that have gone to Appalachian, a couple to NC State, each one has been so successful. It’s been very gratifying for us.”

Other schools that scholarship recipients have attended include Wilkes and Surry Community Colleges and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

“We are so proud of the students who have received the scholarship,” Moretz said. “They have gone into medicine, into law, into architecture and teaching. Most of them have gone into areas of excellent community service.”

Students hoping to receive scholarships must be from Ashe County High School, share regularly in community service and have a decent academic standing. The student(s) receives the scholarship is determined by the Ashe County High School Scholarship Committee.

Now that the legacy of Beaver Creek High School has been preserved through the scholarship foundation, the Class of ‘57 is looking to pass the torch to the next group of alumni who will further the memory of the school.

“One of the things that our class is looking to do is to find young blood to pursue this and take our place,” Burgess said. “We’re all 82, 83, 84 years old. We can’t be around much longer to keep this going. So, we want to make sure there’s still interest in preserving the memory of Beaver Creek.”

As of now, only 47 of the original 84 members of Beaver Creek High School’s Class of ‘57 remain. It is their hope that Beaver Creek’s other graduates will come together in the years to come to help promote the school’s memorial fund.

“I hope for the future of the scholarship that it will be there 100 years from now and still helping deserving students from Ashe County in memory of Beaver Creek High School,” Moretz said. “Our hope is to encourage graduates to contribute, and also urge them since so many of us are getting older to consider — if they haven’t already — in their estate planning, to leave something for the scholarship.”

To learn more about the Beaver Creek High School Memorial Fund visit www.nccommunityfoundation.org/scholarships/beaver-creek-high-school-memorial-scholarship-fund.

Students interested in applying to the Beaver Creek High School Memorial Fund can reach out to Ashe County High School Guidance Counselor Tammy Woods via email at tammy.woods@ashe.k12.nc.us.

To learn more about the North Carolina Community Foundation visit www.nccommunityfoundation.org/.