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When Chancellor David Belcher asked Sam Miller, Western Carolina University’s vice chancellor for students success, to tell the Board of Trustees about Western’s “terrifyingly good enrollment activity,” he was only half kidding about the word “terrifying” — but he was completely serious about the word “good.”

Through careers as students, teachers and administrators, David and Susan Belcher have marked the milestones of their lives in college campuses, but their 2011 arrival to Western Carolina University was the day they discovered their home. 

“It was kind of instant. It was kind of love at first sight,” Susan said. “It’s not the (natural) beauty. It’s the people. And it’s the community also. This region takes care of each other, through and through.” 

When Shining Rock Classical Academy opened in 2015, the public charter school was hailed as a victory for local proponents of school choice and promised to provide an academically rigorous, comprehensive college preparatory curriculum.

Swain County Schools will apply for a multi-million dollar grant through the new Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund that can be used for school construction.

Denial of a permit to build a 388-bed student housing complex in Cullowhee will land Jackson County in court after Atlanta-based Mallory & Evans Development filed a motion asking for a judge to overturn the decision.

Records continue to fall by the wayside at Western Carolina University, as total student enrollment has surpassed 11,000 for the first time in the institution’s history and as the GPA of the entering freshman class has hit an all-time high.

A summer of hard work is paying tasty dividends for some kids in Swain County 4-H — dividends paid in the form of tomatoes, corn, peppers, beans and zucchini.

This year was the first for a 4-H learning garden located at Southwestern Community College’s Swain Center, and according to Jennifer Hill — a 4-H extension agent with Swain County Cooperative Extension — it was a success.

Now in their senior and sophomore years of high school, Karen and José Ramos — ages 18 and 16, respectively — are just starting to imagine how they might make their mark on the world after graduation.

At 21, Teresa Luna holds two associate’s degrees, a freshly minted diploma in dental assisting from AB Tech and dreams of one day becoming a dentist. Add in the fact that she’s been full-time as both a student and an employee for the past two years, and it’s safe to say that Luna is the epitome of the self-motivated achiever.

The clock is ticking on DACA
• Teenage DACA recipients call America home

But Luna is also an immigrant, having made the dangerous illegal crossing from Mexico as a child and applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program when the Obama administration created it in 2012. Now, the program is on the chopping block, and Luna is worried about what that could mean for the future she’s worked so hard to build.

The bad news is that Haywood County Schools failed to improve upon last year’s school district performance ranking.

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This Must Be the Place

Reading Room

  • Books that help bridge the political divide
    Books that help bridge the political divide Time for spring-cleaning.  The basement apartment in which I live could use a deep cleaning: dusting, washing, vacuuming. It’s tidy enough — chaos and I were never friends — but stacks of papers need sorting, bookcases beg to see their occupants removed and the shelves…
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