FOREST CITY — A total of 138 seniors from Rutherford County Schools’ three traditional high schools were honored and celebrated Thursday night at McNair Stadium in Forest City, as they officially were named recipients of the Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation ROPE Awards.
ROPE (Reaching for One’s Potential for Excellence) Awards were presented to 40 Chase High School seniors, 44 East Rutherford High School seniors, and 54 RS Central High seniors.
The ROPE Award is worth up to $8,000 for four years of postsecondary education. Rope Awards are given annually to students who have taken challenging classes, made good grades, served the community, demonstrated upstanding character in school and in the community, and overcome obstacles to reach for their potential. ROPE Award recipients are selected by the ROPE Award Teacher Advisory Council consisting of teachers from the high school and feeder middle schools.
To be eligible to apply for the ROPE Award, this year’s seniors were required to maintain a 3.0 weighted grade point average, meet the University of North Carolina system’s admissions requirements, make a 920 on the SAT or 17 on the ACT or take a combination of the tests two times and provide a minimum of 70 service-learning hours to the community.
This year’s recipients have provided 17,988 service-learning hours to the community over the last four years.
McNair Foundation Executive Director Monica Lee told the seniors she was especially happy to be at the event this year as she has a new appreciation for the ability to gather and celebrate in large groups, and the fact that family and friends of the students are able to attend.
“Your past four years have been anything but ordinary,” Lee said.
She praised the students for overcoming obstacles and their resiliency. She also recognized the work of McNair Foundation staff and board members, as well as school administrators and teachers.
Lee also reminded the students that Robert McNair grew up in the Harris Community in Rutherford County, and graduated from the old Cool Springs High School in Forest City. He then attended the University of South Carolina where he met his wife, and the couple later moved to Houston, Texas, finding tremendous success in business.
“They decided to use their success to give back to the community where he grew up,” Lee said.
The foundation was established to encourage students to continue their education after high school, as Robert McNair believed many of his own high school classmates had the ability to do well in college but did not have the means to attend college.
“Robert McNair always remembered his roots,” Lee said. “He believed education is the pathway to success.”
Chase High School recipients of ROPE Awards are: Janet Aleman, Carley Allen, Chloe Allen, Chase Breeden, Alexis Bumgardner, Breanna Cochran, Jensen Conner, Maria Delacruz, Hanna Elliott, Isabel Elmore, Noah Ezell, Madelyn Ford, Brynna Glover, Cody Greene, and Celia Hernadez.
Also from Chase: Carter Hicks, Jonah Hill, Mykah Holland, Gracie Houser, Logan Houser, Nathan Hoyle, Avery Humphries, Isaiah Lanave, Victoria Laughter, Caleb Lawson, Kody Ledbetter, Sadie McBrayer, Garrick McGinnis, Jason Peredes, and Jacqueline Perez-Espinoza.
Also from Chase: William Randlett, Grace Ruppe, Makayla Shelton, Destiny Souther, James Tate, Gabriel Torres, Grace Turner, Robert Ward, Hayden Whitener, and Jacob Wilkins.
East Rutherford High School recipients of ROPE Awards are: Kaleb Adair, Benjamen Atkins, Eilis Bailey, Nate Blanton, Emely Castellon, Raymundo Chino, Alexander Clark, Caleb Condrey, Caleb Crain, Jenna Davis, Kamily Flores, Randall Frazier, Emily Garrison, Breanna Hammond, and Augusta Hardin.
Also from East Rutherford: Jaylee Henline, Ainsley Hodge, Kayla Horn, Michaela Hughes, Ashleigh Jones, Emanuel Juarez, Evelin Juarez-Torres, Hayley Lawing, Caroline Linder, Marina Mace, Alex McKinney, Carter McKinney, Jeri McNeilly, Kayla Moore, and Kellie Owens.
Also from East Rutherford: Emma Penson, Bryan Raymundo, Guadalupe Rivera, David Sessoms, Aidin Strange, Kalani Tacke, Kevin Tang, Christopher Thompson, Elizabeth Trejo-Mejia, Jaylyn Twitty, Candice Vick, Lainey Watts, Wayne Webb, and Alyssa Wilkie.
R-S Central High School recipients of ROPE Awards are: Phoebe Ankrom, Peyton Arrowood, Juanita Bautista, Katherine Benton, Thomas Benton, Jacob Burnette, Peyton Causby, Sierra Clark, Haley-Elizabeth Coffey, Jaiden Coston, Aaron Cuthbertson, Makenzie Davis, Karmyn Deck, Kaitlyn Diehm, Mallory Duncan, India Duran, Nathaniel Ellenburg, Carissa Flack, Josie Fleming, and Joseph Giles.
Also from R-S Central: Mara Gold, Macy Greene, Jacob Guffey, Satchel Higgins, Grier Hodge, Kadence Hopper, Jodi Howard, Corina Keever, Noah Lail, Emma Long, John Marsh, Payton Marshall, Molly Mattox, Hannah Monteith, Camelia Morrison, John Norris, Baylee Park, Ali Parton, Sidney Phipps, and Bobby Robbins.
Also from R-S Central: Trinity Robertson, Kennedy Ruff, Stephen Scala, Macy Scruggs, MaKenzi Searcy, Emily Sisk, Joyasia Smith, Destiny Thompson, George Triplett, Regan Williamson, MeKenzie Wills, Sam Wilson, Sara Wright, and Morgan Yelton.