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Nantahala High School valedictorian Lauren Gearhart is the recipient of more than $23,000 in scholarships.

Gearhart, who graduated Saturday, June 4, has been accepted at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Honors College of Engineering, where she will study engineering for four years then transfer to a university in North Carolina to pursue a doctorate degree.

In addition, Gearhart has received the N.C. Veterans Scholarship which provides for free tuition, room and board allowance and exemption for mandatory fees for four academic years.


This year saw the passing of Robbie Newton, principal of Nantahala School, after a long battle with cancer. Newton, 39, was loved and respected by the students and teachers at Nantahala School, and colleagues spoke of the positive role-model and inspiration he had been.

“It’s a huge loss for the community and the school. He touched the lives of many students and colleagues over the past 15 or so years that he worked at Nantahala School,” said Franklin High School principal Chris Baldwin who had worked with Newton for a number of years.


Nantahala High School graduation was held June 4, in the Nantahala High School Gymnasium – SECU Foundation, funded solely by State Employees’ Credit Union’s (SECU’s) membership, has presented a $10,000 four-year college scholarship to Justin Lane Solesbee, a senior at Nantahala High School. Justin is the son of Tim and Jennifer Solesbee. This scholarship was awarded for study at Appalachian State University, part of North Carolina’s 16-campus University of North Carolina System.



According to Highlands School principal, Brian Jetter, all 33 students from the graduating class of 2011 have been accepted to college.

“This is certainly a remarkable accomplishment,” noted Jetter of a class set to soar to the heavens, many of whom have attended Highlands School since kindergarden. “Academically, we had some very, very gifted students this year. Their strength in academics will serve them well.”

At the school’s graduation ceremony, held on Saturday, June 11, Marlena Deidre Mc- Call was recognized as the Highlands School 2011 Class Valedictorian. Samuel David Wheeler is the class Salutatorian.


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