MTCC celebrates 50 years, being ranked second in state, first in student-course success

McDowell Technical Community College (MTCC) had a landmark year with the celebration of their 50th anniversary, being ranked the second best community college in North Carolina and first in the state when it comes to having student-course success rate. In 1967, MTCC became an independent institution in what would later become the North Carolina Community College System. The school celebrated its 50th anniversary with a new logo, a photo exhibit featuring pictures from the past 50 years and a reception with faculty and staff. MTCC began in a storefront on State Street, but in 1970, moved to its current location on N.C. 226 South. The school—which focuses on vocational, technical and college-transfer courses—was ranked second in the state for the second year in a row, falling just behind Coastal Carolina Community College. MTCC also exceeded the state level of student success with 82 percent of MTCC students who enroll in a course end up completing it with an A, B, C or P. For more information on the school, visit

Local educator named Regional Principal of the Year

One day before schools were out for Christmas break, Nebo Elementary’ s principal Desarae Kirkpatrick was named the 2018 Northwest Region Principal of the Year. She was picked from a list of 13 other Principals of the Year in the region. She will compete against principals from eight other regions for the honor of state Principal of the Year later in the spring. The announcement came on Monday, Dec. 18 during a school-wide celebration. Over the years, Kirkpatrick has held many positions throughout McDowell and other school districts, including countywide teacher for deaf and hard of hearing students. “Her passion for her students and staff is obvious to anyone who has the opportunity to work for her,” said Superintendent Mark Garrett in an earlier article. “In each of her principal assignments her students have demonstrated academic growth. We are very proud of her as our representative for McDowell County and now also for the Northwest Region.”

McDowell County Schools receive good grades from NCDPI

In September, many of the schools in McDowell County celebrated their own academic growth when the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction released their latest letter grades. Glenwood, McDowell Early College, McDowell High School, North Cove Elementary and Old Fort all received a B. Eastfield Global Magnet School, East McDowell Middle, Marion Elementary, Pleasant Gardens Elementary, West Marion Elementary and West McDowell received C’s and Nebo received a D. Alternative Education Center and Foothills Community School were deemed as maintain growth. But, as a district, overall performance rose six points. Eight schools jumped up a whole letter grade and six schools in the county exceeded growth. Three out of four schools were removed from the low-performance list. West McDowell Middle School was one of the top schools in the state for growth. MHS set their own record with their highest graduation rate ever. The district as a whole moved up three spots in the region.

McDowell County School Board votes to remain on traditional calendar

After months of presentations, polls, questionnaires and research, the McDowell County School voted in the fall to remain on a traditional calendar. Superintendent Mark Garrett had proposed a “seasonal” calendar, which would have shortened summer break by about three weeks, but added more time off during the year. The seasonal calendar would have also put all of the schools in the district on the same schedule. Right now, Eastfield Global Magnet School is on a year-round calendar, and Early College follows MTCC’s schedule. The public was split on the issue, and the school board decided to remain on the traditional calendar, in hopes the General Assembly allows school to control their own calendars at some point. As the school calendar law stands now, school can start no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26 and end not later than the Friday closest to June 11, among other stipulations.

Marching Titans walk in NYC’s Veterans Day Parade

The McDowell High School Marching Titan Band traveled to New York City to walk and perform in the city’s Veterans Day parade on Saturday, Nov. 11. The parade is in its 99th year and stepped off from 26th Street to Fifth Avenue to 52nd Street. There were over 40,000 participants and more than half a million spectators. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was the grand marshal. The band members were able to take in some sights and sounds by visiting Rockefeller Plaza, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trump Tower, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, 9/11 Museum, Chinatown and Little Italy. Band Director Jenny Lanier said they also saw an amazing performance of “Wicked” which is based on the band’s feature show this year.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Recommended for you