Blue Ridge Early College finished up a year of uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing school staff, students, and parents to adapt to remote learning. Not to mention missing out on the yearly senior trip and other milestones like prom.
Pictured at the top of the article are several BREC Seniors spending the day at Lake Glenville after the 2020 school year.
As a gesture to recognize and celebrate BREC seniors, school staff caravanned it to each senior’s house to deliver well wishes, cap and gown, a bag full of congratulation cards, a personalized yard sign (thanks to Sandy Jennings), a poster, and a $100 gift card from the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation.
“We felt delivering to the homes would be a bit more special -something different in a very different time,” said Metz. “Plus, it provided the safest way for us to interact with students and families. Everyone seemed excited and appreciative as well.”
Teachers and staff decorated their cars before the parade, but had to give their work a once over after it rained while they were lining up to leave. When all decorations were as good as they were going to get, the caravan headed out in three groups to deliver the goods.
Senior Cesar Colex said he had to work during the parade, but it was a kind gesture of teachers and staff.
“It was so sad when school was cancelled, I really missed my friends,” said Colex. “And even though I wasn’t there for the parade, it made me happy because they were thinking of us.”
When schools throughout the state transitioned to remote learning in March, Metz said the staff really came together in a team effort to support families and adjust learning activities to meet the needs of students.
“Our main goals were to ensure their wellbeing, to stay connected, and to help students stay engaged as much as possible,” said Metz. “We also wanted to respect our families and their adaption to this new learning environment. Our families really stepped up in finding ways to make remote learning work for them. Our students were amazing and participated in a variety of ways; google meets, online assignments, email, utilizing USB devices, and more.”
Senior Yurem Corona said remote learning was different, but not too challenging.
“It wasn’t that hard, but you’re learning without a teacher,” he said. “And normally I don’t say much in class, but with remote learning I had a lot of questions, especially for my science teacher [Nicholas Accardo]. He answered all of them and I got through it.”
For some students, transitioning to remote learning was similar to their regular classes.
“It wasn’t much different, I take online classes anyway,” said Senior Lake Shaneyfelt. “I have trouble focusing in class so learning online works well for me.”
Metz said that care and flexibility were the staff’s greatest strengths to finish up a successful school year.
“As a whole, our community and school really shined,” said Metz. “There was never a shortage of people willing to help and to provide support. Our team had innovative ideas and really showed how much they care for our students.”
BREC is still scheduled to have a traditional graduation at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7 contingent on current orders from the state and health department.
Spotlight on BREC Seniors
Congratulations to Christopher Tucker
Parents: Chris and Carla Tucker
Future Plans: Christopher plans to continue his education at SCC and WCU. He plans to major in Construction Management.
Academic Career: Christopher is an avid musician and has performed at various venues throughout our community.
Best Accomplishment: Learning how to pack my own lunch~ Christopher Tucker
Congratulations to Luke Breedlove
Parents: Shannon and Amy Breedlove
Future Plans: Luke plans on becoming a landscape architect.
Academic and Athletic Career: Luke has been involved in various school clubs. He played on the Varsity Soccer team.
Best Accomplishment: Graduating from high school ~ Luke Breedlove
Congratulations to Joshua Ammons
Parents: Cliff and Laura Ammons
Future Plans: Josh plans to attend Southwestern Community College specializing in Automotive Technology.
Best Accomplishment: Surviving the coronavirus pandemic ~ Josh Ammons
Congratulations to Caroline Dent
Parents: James Dent and Nancy Osborne
Future Plans: Caroline plans to attend Western Carolina University and become a military nurse.
Academic and Athletic Career: Caroline is involved in various school clubs. She played Varsity Softball.
Best Accomplishments: I played Varsity Softball, decided what I wanted to do with my life, and found some amazing people who I wouldn’t trade for anything. ~ Caroline Dent
Congratulations to William Hall
Parents: Edgar and Emily Hall
Future Plans: William plans to attend Southwestern Community College and move into his own house.
Best Accomplishments: Working at the animal shelter and performing in the school talent show. ~ William Hall
Congratulations to Allison Morales
Parents: Israel and Maria Morales
Future Plans: Allison plans to attend Western Carolina University with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology.
Academic and Athletic Career: Allison is involved in various school clubs and organizations. She played volleyball and was a member of the cross-country team.
Best Accomplishment: Graduating from High School with an Associates of Art degree from Southwestern Community College ~ Allison Morales
Congratulations to Mason Baumgarner
Parents: Kevin and Shasta Baumgarner
Future Plans: I have no idea what happens next; I’m just going to make it up as I go.
Athletic Career: Mason played basketball and baseball.
Best Accomplishment: Making it to Graduation ~ Mason Baumgarner
Congratulations to Madeline Bedient
Parents: Todd Bedient and Tami Glisson
Future Plans: Madeline plans to work and attend college with a major in the medical field.
Academic and Athletic Career: Madeline is involved in various student clubs and groups. She played volleyball and was a member of the cross country team.
Best Accomplishment: Pushing myself to take SCC classes for high school. I didn’t think it was the right path for me at first, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made ~ Madeline Bedient
Congratulations to Lake Shaneyfelt
Parent: Jenna Hannon
Future Plans: Lake plans to attend LaGrange College majoring in non-profit leadership.
Academic and Athletic Career: Lake is involved in various student clubs and groups. She played Varsity Soccer.
Best Accomplishment: Being myself no matter how much others didn’t like it ~ Lake Shaneyfelt
Congratulations to Daniella Perez
Parent: Mariana Perez
Future Plans: Go to college and become a better version of myself.
Academic and Athletic Career: Daniella is an avid musician and actively participates in our music program. She is a leader in Junior Appalachian Musicians. She is involved in various student clubs and groups. She has organized numerous fundraisers for school trips and projects.
Best Accomplishments: Being able to play piano, guitar, and violin thanks to BREC and Mrs. Hall, selling my crafts to help people in need and knowing myself well enough to know what I am capable of ~ Daniella Perez
Congratulations to Tristan Biddix
Parents: Charles Biddix and Lisa Biddix
Future Plans: Tristan plans to become wealthy to support his family.
Academic Career: Tristan is an avid musician. He is a member of our chorus and music group.
Best Accomplishment: My biggest accomplishment is growing to be less introverted and being incredibly persistent. Winning the 19th Amendment paper was also cool. ~ Tristan Biddix
Congratulations to Julio Martinez
Parents: Carlos and Sulema Martinez
Future Plans: Julio plans to join the United States Marine Corp.
Academic and Athletic Career: Julio is involved in numerous student clubs and activities. He played soccer, basketball, and baseball.
Best Accomplishment: Becoming the BREC Senior Class President. ~ Julio Martinez
Congratulations to Hunter Pastura
Parent: Debbie Pastura
Future Plans: Hunter plans to attend Western Carolina University majoring in Political Science. He plans to seek a career as a Political Analyst and Activist.
Academic and Athletic Career: Hunter is involved in numerous student clubs and activities. He was a member of the cross-country team.
Best Accomplishments: Opened up, met lifelong friends, and became the person I am today.~ Hunter Pastura
Congratulations to Joshua Rasnic
Parent: Maria Pressley
Academic Career: Josh is an avid musician and routinely performed in the music program.
Congratulations to Logan Bryson
Parents: Mitch and Ginny Bryson
Academic and Athletic Career: Logan is a talented artist. He created several pieces that were showcased on our campus. Logan played basketball and baseball.
Congratulations to Yurem Corona Villa
Parents: Mr. Corona and Mrs. Villa De Corona
Future Plans: Yurem plans to attend Southwestern Community College and then transfer to Western Carolina University.
Academic and Athletic Career: Yurem participated in student activities and he played soccer.
Best Accomplishment: Playing soccer for the school. ~ Yurem Corona Villa
BREC Seniors pictured below were posted on Plateau Daily News on June 4. Editor’s Note: I’m a big fan of having complete sets of things, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Die Hards, ect., so I wanted to include the first batch of Seniors in this post.
Congratulations to Colton Taylor
Parents: Scott & Heidi Taylor
Future Plans: Colton plans to complete Year 13 at BREC/SCC prior to pursuing his other educational plans.
4 year varsity starter in soccer with two conference championship in 2016 and 2018
3x all conference selection in soccer
4 year varsity player in basketball
3 year varsity player in baseball
Best Accomplishment: Learning to find myself and the joy I brought to people around me. ~Colton Taylor
Congratulations to Angelica Ambrocia-Garcia
Parents: Florina Garcia Ramires & Juarez Bulmaro
Future Plans: Angelica plans to go to nursing school and become an interpreter for those who need help.
Athletics: Angelica played for our Girls Varsity Soccer Team
Best Accomplishment: I am the first in my family to graduate from high school. ~Angelica Ambrocia-Garcia
Congratulations to Bransen Carlisle
Parents: Mrs. Laney & Mr. Carlisle
Future Plans: Bransen plans for full time employment which will help him to start living his best life.
Athletic Career: Bransen played basketball and baseball.
Best Accomplishment: I am proud that I made it this far. ~ Bransen Carlisle
Congratulations to Cesar Colex-Longinos
Parents: Cesar & Lizeth Longinos
Future Plans: Cesar plans to become a successful interior designer.
Academic and Athletic Career: He is an active member of the Student Government Association and other school-based clubs. Cesar is a member of our cross-country athletic team.
Best Accomplishment: I am proud that I was able to take high school classes and college classes simultaneously. ~ Cesar Colex-Longinos
Congratulations to Jonathan Jennings
Parents: Sam and Sandy Jennings
Future Plans: Johnny plans to start his own landscaping company.
Athletic Career: Johnny played 4 years in varsity soccer with two conference championship in 2016 and 2018; he played basketball and Varsity baseball.
Best Accomplishment: I am proud that I proved doctors wrong by participating, starting, and excelling in Varsity sports. ~ Johnny Jennings
Congratulations to Ashley Alvarez
Parents: Rodrigo Alvarez & Sara Solis
Future Plans: Ashley plans to graduate from NC State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture.
Academic and Athletic Career: Ashley will graduate with her Associates of Arts Degree from SCC; she is an active member of student clubs and organizations. She has been a student athlete for cross country, volleyball, and Varsity Girl’s Soccer.
Best Accomplishment: I am proud that I was able to be in the top 5% of my class throughout my High school career. ~ Ashley Alvarez
Congratulations to Abigahil Palestino
Parents: Suriel Palestino & Victoria Ledford
Future Plans: Abigahil plans to go through the SCC’s criminal justice program and then enter a career in law enforcement.
Academic and Athletic Career: Abigahil has been a leading vocalist and musician in our music program. She has been involved in student groups and clubs. She has been an athlete for volleyball, basketball, softball and Varsity Girl’s Soccer.
Best Accomplishment: I was proud to be on the first girl’s soccer team at BREC. ~ Abigahil Palestino
Congratulations to Kaitlyn Stewart
Parents: Jeremy and Cassie Stewart
Future Plans: Kaitlyn plans to continue her athletic career and education at Southern Wesleyan University. She will pursue a major in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.
Academic and Athletic Career: Kaitlyn has been an active member in our Student Government Association, as well as, other student clubs and community partnerships. She has been a 4 year varsity starter in basketball, a 4x Bobcat Award winner in basketball; a 4 year varsity volleyball player with conference championships in 2016 and 2019; she has also played varsity softball and varsity soccer.
Best Accomplishment: I was proud to recognized as the 2019 Steve Jones Service Award winner. ~ Kaitlyn Stewart
Congratulations to Carter Watson
Parents: Jason and Ryan Watson
Future Plans: Carter plans to attend college and major in computer coding.
Athletic Career: Carter played Varsity Baseball.
Best Accomplishments: Playing baseball for three years and being on the Senior homecoming court ~ Carter Watson
Congratulations to Savannah Cohea
Parents: Mark and Nicole Cohea
Future Plans: Savannah plans to complete her courses through SCC and then transfer to WCU to study sports medicine.
Academic and Athletic Career: Savannah participated in many student groups and clubs; she also played Varsity Soccer.
Best Accomplishment: Starting college courses while still in high school~ Savannah Cohea