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Halifax County trustees recognize standout students, staff / May 13, 2021
The monthly meeting of the Halifax County School Board was light on official business but long on recognition for students, teachers and staff who have excelled during the pandemic.

» Director of Elementary Education Lisa Long recognized eight reading specialists who undertook the effort to earn master’s degrees in their field from Longwood University over the past year. Long praised the teachers for taking on such a difficult challenge with Longwood’s reading specialist program, noting they “never wavered from their commitment” to earn their endorsements and advance the cause of reading education in Halifax County.

“I am so very proud of these eight dedicated educators for completing this program and being willing to step up and help our kids with reading,” Long said.

The newly minted degree program completers — classes wrapped up last week, Long said — are Lynzie Adams, Wendy Hall and LeShina Medley at the middle school, Tabitha Cash and Mashonda Richardson at Cluster Springs Elementary, Belicia Easley at the high school, and Vanessa Mason and Tiffany Moorefield at South Boston Elementary.

» Victoria Worley, culinary arts teacher at HCHS, recognized members of the high school FCCLA chapter (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) who excelled in statewide competition and are moving onto the nationals. Three students joined Worley for the presentation — Kayla Hayes, Skye Newcomb and Kaitlyn Offield, all of whom have won major awards and scholarships.

Hayes won first place in advanced culinary math management and will be headed to Sullivan University to start her education before transferring to VCU, having earned $20,000 in scholarship monies under Worley’s mentorship. She will pursue a career in nursing.

The senior took the microphone at the meeting to praise Worley in one of the meeting’s emotional highlights: “You set the future for me and I really appreciate you being my teacher,” Hayes said, struggling to contain her emotions as she turned to Worley.

Hayes will be joined at nationals by Kaitlyn Offield, who will compete in early childhood education, and Skye Newcomb, winner of a $8,000 scholarship to the Culinary Institute of Virginia and first place competition winner for nutrition and wellness.

In 2020, Newcomb, Shania Torello and Desirae Turkington competed in the food innovation category and won first place in state competition. Also in 2020, Alexis Snead, Hayes and Offield competed in food innovation level two and also took first place.

Worley said being out of school did not stop her culinary students from racking up accomplishments and participating in community events — preparing items for food distribution and taking part in charitable efforts such as a “Cooking for Caroline (Laughorn)” event. Bobbie Wade won second place in 2020 for chapter service display related to that event. Culinary students also volunteered their cooking talents at the Ronald McDonald House in Durham, N.C.

» School Board Chair Kathy Fraley presented a resolution honoring late JROTC instructor 1st Sgt. Gregory Scott to his sister, Angela. The resolution honored Scott for his impact on youth in Halifax County and his involvement in the community FeedMore program. “This year we struggled a lot and we made it,” said Fraley. “There is one individual we lost and he was invaluable to this community.”

» Fraley also presented a resolution by the board to Kathyrn Allen, a HCHS senior who has served as the School Board’s first-ever student liaison. Calling her contributions to the board “invaluable,” Fraley said Allen brought a student perspective to the proceedings that trustees had previously lacked.

» The School Board also recognized members of the Comet football team after a trying season for the young program, pushed back to the spring due to the virus. First-year Comet coach Robert Senseney praised the senior leadership of the Comet program, saying they had set an example of hard work and dedication that will pay dividends for HCHS football in the years to come: “There is one thing I saw as I’ve seen you play — you’re a young team, and you play together,” he said.

» The School Board also recognized members of the HCHS theater program who finished first for one-act play in state competition this year, and Fraley presented a Superintendent of the Year award to Mark Lineburg.

In recognition of the difficulties of the past year, the Virginia Board of Education opted not to name a statewide Superintendent of the Year winner, and instead awarded the honor to all of the state’s school superintendents.

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