West Iredell High celebrates diversity, fosters excellence in all academic disciplines
BY THERESA EVERTON PULYER
The bees are buzzing around West Iredell High School (WIHS) and the students are equally busy — busy creating excellence. From a student who is a published author and an award-winning fine arts programs to an AP Academy that is growing by leaps and bounds, West Iredell has much to be proud of in their students.
WIHS is very excited to have launched its AP Academy, which is a directed college preparatory program. The program is designed specifically for students who are serious about attending a four-year college after high school and includes a combination of Advanced Placement and community college courses. The WIHS AP Academy is based on a shared community belief that all students are entitled to a school environment that supports their intellectual, physical, social and emotional needs while preparing them for college and a successful adult life. AP Academy students also learn leadership skills by giving back to their community in meaningful and purposeful ways.
The AP Academy is not the only thing that has the bees buzzing. The school’s overall student success has shown a honeypot full of growth. The graduation rate has increased, AP class offerings have doubled, AP scores have surpassed the state and national averages, and WIHS students have outscored students from all other schools in the district by between 25 and 60 percent.
Not only are the academics growing strong, but WIHS has a beehive full of creative talent. From a 16 year old published author to award-winning artists, singers, musicians and thespians, WIHS has proven to be a diverse reflection of the community as a whole. The purpose for teaching the arts is to enable students to develop the capacities to create, perform and respond with understanding, critical judgment and appreciation of works of art because the arts are an essential part of the human experience, as they show how humans communicate, not only with words, but through music and the visual arts. The arts have a special place at WIHS — one that should not be overlooked.
There are no harder worker bees than the cadets of West’s JROTC program. From 20 community service hours per year to the selfless aid given toward all school events, the cadets are ready, willing and able to help. Learning how to be a leader is an integral part of the program and is reflected in all that they do, from field trips to daily activities. WIHS is very lucky to have such a great program run by amazing instructors.
No one understands more than the horticulture students just how important bees are — and how integral their role is in human survival. Horticulture is just one of many Career and Technical Education areas of study at WIHS. Students can earn their certified nursing assistant license, learn how to be a professional chef, explore many agricultural areas of interest and learn about advanced manufacturing and drafting, just to name a few opportunities. Every student has the chance to learn about something that will take them successfully into their adult life.
Bees live in colonies, where every bee has a role and every role is important. They depend on diversity for the survival of the colony. This is also true of West Iredell High School, where the sense of community is stressed and diversity is celebrated.
Theresa Everton Pulyer is a Professional School Counselor, Ethical & Legal Specialist (ASCA) and College Admissions Specialist (ASCA) at West Iredell High School.