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MVC candidates surprised at home

Five candidates recognized Monday as candidates for Most Valuable Cougar Award

 

By DAVID GRAVELY

editor@southwesttimes.com

 

Sometimes knowing a secret is a fun thing, especially when you get offered the chance to help recognize a special group of students who have lived and led by example.

 

Monday, I was allowed to travel along with members of the Pulaski County High School staff and administration as they surprised the 2021 Most Valuable Cougar candidates at their homes.

 

The Most Valuable Cougar award is the highest honor bestowed upon a student at Pulaski County High School. Students are nominated by their classmates and as candidates for the award will serve as ambassadors for the student body during the 2020-21 school year.

 

To qualify for this award, a student must value education and strive to reach his or her potential. They must set goals and work to accomplish them. They must participate in activities and enhance them through their involvement. A candidate must maintain good school attendance and exhibit strong character, integrity and loyalty. They must interact with others in a warm and friendly manner and turn setbacks into victories.

 

Candidates must also recognize their teachers, peers and family as valuable human beings. They must take risks and share new experiences with others and value friendship. They must take pride in their accomplishments and celebrate the accomplishments of others. Finally, they must represent their school well at extra-curricular and community events.

 

Last year the Most Valuable Cougar was Alaina Akers. The annual Investments in Learning Assembly, which recognizes excellence in academics, is normally held during school hours with the entire student body in attendance. Due to COVID-19, the ceremony this year was held virtually online with videos of each candidate shown as they were told about their candidacy. That video was shown Wednesday evening.

 

The trip to notify the candidates began in Pulaski at the home of Noah McCarty. Noah is a member of the National Honor Society and the Red Cross Club. He is a member of the International Thespian Society and competes with the MACC team. He is the Senior Editor of the PCHS Yearbook and a reporter for The Prowler, the school newspaper.

 

He has been the Class Historian since ninth grade and has perfect attendance for his high school career. He is actively involved with the PCHS Players with roles in “The Other Room” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” to name a few.

 

McCarty volunteers by tutoring students, as a part of GO Pulaski, and is a mentor at the Pulaski County Youth Center. He was selected to attend Boys State and received the “I Dare You” Youth Leadership Award. He has participated in the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts at UVA-Wise and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at NRCC.

 

He works at Food City and is the son of Dr. Matthew and Pamela McCarty.

 

The next stop on our trip took us to Draper to surprise Molly Cox. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Red Cross Club. She competes as a member of the MACC team and has been a member of the varsity cross country team for two years. She has played Lady Cougar volleyball for four years and travel volleyball for seven years. She was selected as an All-Region Honorable Mention for Libero.

 

Cox volunteers at the Pulaski County Library, the Pulaski Christmas Store, American Red Cross Blood Drives, Relay for Life and with the Barter Theater.

 

She has received the “I Dare You” Youth Leadership Award and works at historic Calfee Park. She is the daughter of Michael and Tasha Cox.

 

Stop three found the caravan between Dublin and Pulaski off Thornspring Church Road to visit Ashlyn Kirtner. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has been a Class Officer since her freshman year. She is a leader in the FCA and co-sponsored the Students versus Cancer Club at PCHS.

 

Kirtner has lettered in indoor and outdoor track as well as cross country. She sings on the Praise and Worship team at her church, Valley Harvest Ministries, and also leads praise and worship for her church youth group. She also organized and led the praise and worship service for Fields of Faith for two years.

 

She is a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award winner and volunteers at the Humane Society in Dublin. She was a National Talent winner for two years with piano and worked as a camp counselor during the summers. She currently works at the Rock Club Day Care.

 

She has raised over $3,000 for kids with cancer by holding a yearly piano/vocal concert for the past five years and is the daughter of Tim and Andi Kirtner.

 

Candidate four was a trip of approximately 50 feet, taking us to the next door home of Grace Bailey. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has been a class officer three years, including president and secretary. She is the founder and president of the American Red Cross Club and the chair of the This is 4 Us inititive.

 

Bailey is a member of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee and was a Student Representative for the PCPS Taskforce for Reopening Schools. She is a member of the PCHS Advanced Concert Choir and Theatre.

 

She has received the American Red Cross Good Samaritan Hero Award, is on the NRCC President’s List and has earned the SWVGS Research Award.

 

Bailey volunteers with Medi HomeHealth and Hospice, American Red Cross Blood Drives, the Children’s Theater Department and Barter Theater. She is a Student Intern at LewisGale Hospital Pulaski. She serves as a Youth Representative, is involved with the White Fragility Book Study at Dublin United Methodist Church and is currently leading a group study for youth at church regarding anti-racism.

 

She is the daughter of Dewayne and Christine Bailey.

 

The final stop of the day too our group to Dublin to the home of Grayson Deu. He is a member of the National Honor Society, a SWVGS student and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

 

Deu has been a Virginia Tech Pathways to Engineering Scholar for two years. He has been a member of the Cougar football team for four years, the basketball team for two years and a member of the track team for two years. As a member of the wrestling team for two years, he was voted captain his junior year and qualified for the state tournament.

 

He attends Northstar Churs and volunteers at GO Pulaski County. He also leads community outreach day. He is the son of Him and Kellie Deu.

 

Each nominee will receive a $50 check compliments of Mr. Ben Jackson and the Horace Mann Company, something they have done for many years. The person selected for the Most Valuable Cougar Award will also receive further prizes. The winner will be announced as a part of the Senior Awards Assembly at the end of the school year.

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