By: Cinde Ingram
HIGH POINT — Six seniors from each of High Point’s public high schools were honored Wednesday during a virtual Student Leadership Awards ceremony.
Principals, school officials and High Point business leaders signed on from their home computers to recognize the academic achievements and community service of each student as well as their future aspirations.
The event was hosted by High Point Schools Partnership, a volunteer-led initiative of the Guilford Education Alliance that brings together local business leaders, educators, nonprofits, parents and other entities in support of local schools.
“We met as a committee about a month ago and voted unanimously that this year, more than ever, we need to recognize students and leadership,” said Matt Thiel, first vice president of investments for Wells Fargo Advisors, who founded the awards program eight years ago with his wife, Emily. He thanked members of High Point Schools Partnership, educators, elected officials, business leaders and philanthropists.
Each of the student leaders’ stories includes their personal version of struggle and courage, commitment and endurance, Thiel said. The six students took adversity and turned it into opportunity, he said.
“For us, this pandemic is not about a pause, it’s about a cause which is creating wins for our schools and in the process building a brighter, better, stronger High Point — one student and one school at a time,” Thiel said.
Each of the principals gave an update about their school before introducing the student selected as showing leadership that brought a positive influence. Student leaders honored by principals included Ruben Barba of T. Wingate Andrews, Eli Yu of High Point Central, Rosirian Santiago of Kearns Academy, Heaven Williams of Middle College at GTCC-High Point, Amirah Irby-Shabazz of Penn-Griffin School for the Arts and Destiny Blue of Southwest Guilford.
“You have excelled to this degree and going forward in your lives with determination, perseverance and the covering of others who care for you — teachers, community leaders and parents, of course — you will definitely be able to achieve that you desire,” said Tony Collins, who moderated the ceremony. “In this community, across the state and indeed across the country, the value of the education professional, whether the teacher, the administrator, the school bus driver, the cafeteria worker, the janitor, that conversation is being had from kitchen tables right into the halls of Congress. The work that you do is important.”
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