Nash schools celebrate seniors’ academic excellence

Nash schools celebrate seniors’ academic excellence

Superintendent Steve Ellis presents Southern Nash High School senior Stephon Brennan Barsky with his academic excellence award. Barsky plans to attend East Carolina University and major in music performance. Contributed photo

ROCKY MOUNT — Nash County Public Schools celebrated the achievements of its top students during the Evening of Academic Excellence held Tuesday in Nash Community College’s Brown Auditorium.

A total of 158 students were recognized and received the Superintendent’s Distinguished Scholar Award for maintaining a weighted GPA of 4.0 by the end of the first semester of their senior year.

NCPS recognized 44 students from Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School, 43 from Southern Nash High, 31 from Northern Nash High, 15 from Rocky Mount High, 14 from Nash Central High, five from the Tar River Academy, four from the Nash Everywhere Digital Academy and two from CITI High School.

Melissa Dancy-Smith, assistant superintendent of academics and accountability, opened the evening by emphasizing the importance of hard work and dedication in achieving excellence. 

“You are not here tonight by accident. You have worked hard to reach this achievement,” she said. 

Superintendent Steve Ellis followed, commending the students for their resilience and high achievement despite the challenges of recent years. 

“Your academic achievements are something you should be proud of,” he said. “It started that first day you walked into your kindergarten class and continued as you progressed through each grade level.” 

Ellis emphasized the district’s commitment to high expectations, expressing his confidence in the students’ future successes. 

“Congratulations on everything you achieved so far,” he said. “I have no doubt we will hear about your accomplishments long after graduation.”

Jeff White, executive director of secondary education, introduced the evening’s guest speaker, Kevin Jones, a Nash County Public Schools alumnus. White highlighted Jones’ significant contributions to public policy and his dedication to empowering the next generation through the BAC Scholarship Fund. 

Jones, a 2006 Nash Central High School graduate and an alumnus of North Carolina A&T State University, shared his journey and the impact of his community service. Recognized by the White House for improving transportation accessibility in underserved communities, Jones has created more than $200,000 in scholarships and resources for children in the greater Rocky Mount area. 

“Mr. Jones is not only homegrown, but he’s also a leader who serves his community,” White said.

Jones encouraged students to focus on their journey to success without getting distracted by others. He advised being careful about how much attention you give to others, as it can derail you. He stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people, noting that all relationships influence your pace. 

“There’s someone, somewhere, who has done what you are setting out to do. So you have to partner with the right people,” Jones said.

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