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Originally published: 2014-05-14 14:45:06
Last modified: 2014-05-14 14:45:51

Parkway School students pile up accolades, honors, awards

Parkway School has more reasons than usual to boast lately, but it's been settling for what the school calls "Parkway Proud."  

Regional and state honors have been sprouting at Parkway at levels ranging from individual students to schoolwide recognition.  

At the individual level, seventh-grader Alex Freeman was one of only 15 students statewide who posted a perfect score in the preliminary round of the N.C. National Geographic Geography Bee. It marked the second year in a row that Freeman participated in the competition, which took place April 4 at UNC-Charlotte.  

Parkway Principal Melissa Costin extended her congratulations to Freeman for his outstanding work in the Geography Bee. 

"In a time when the opportunities and challenges of globalization are larger than they have ever been, becoming knowledgeable about the world is more important than ever before.  Alex is an outstanding example of a student committed to knowing and understanding more of the world in which we live," she said. 

At the school level, Parkway was recently recognized in the "Best of the Best" awards sponsored by the Watauga Democrat as the best school in Watauga County. The winners in this competition are determined by the votes received by the Democrat.

In between the individual and schoolwide levels, Parkway is celebrating the success of three Odyssey of the Mind teams and a math team. Parkway's fifth-, sixth- and eighth-grade OM teams all finished second in regional competition March 15 and advanced to compete at the state level on April 5.  

At the state competition, the fifth-grade team coached by Tiffany Soiset-Sheaff took ninth place and posted the top score in the spontaneous section of the event. The sixth-grade team coached by Neva Specht finished seventh and the eighth-grade team coached by Jim Copenhaver placed sixth.  

Odyssey of the Mind is a problem-solving competition in which teams address the assigned problem with a minimum of materials and a maximum of collaboration and creativity.  Students and their volunteer coaches spend many hours after school and on weekends to prepare for competition.  

Parkway's OM teams are under the overall direction of Natalie Willis, assisted by Kristina Shableski for students in grades K-2.   

Costin praised the "spectacular performance" of the Parkway's OM teams and the important supporting work of the OM coaches. 

"The OM program requires extensive parent involvement, and the OM teams are all coached by parents, with additional support from the work of Ms. Willis and Ms. Shableski. Parkway is very fortunate to have parents and community members involved in our school every day, and we are also very blessed with exceptional teachers and school staff," Willis said.  

In math competition earlier in April, a Parkway team placed second in the High Country Math Tournament at Appalachian State University. Four students in the Watauga County Schools achieved strong individual results in the Math Tournament, two from Parkway and two from Green Valley. They include Russell Miller of Green Valley in third place, John Moretz of Green Valley in seventh place, and Thad Evans and Aidan Meyer of Parkway, who finished eighth and ninth, respectively.     

Parkway School is one of eight combined elementary and middle schools in the Watauga County Schools system.  

The school has an enrollment of 517 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade.