Zayda Williams quoted big names at the February 10 business meeting of the Moore County Board of Education. A student at Southern Middle School, Williams quoted Shaquille O’Neal, Tyra Banks and the late Kobe Bryant in her discussion about perseverance.

“Over the years, I’ve persevered through the ups and downs of life,” Williams, who’s in the eighth grade, said. “I’ve persevered through the tough times from a young age. While my journey is not over, I’m still committed to becoming successful.”

Bryant, who had a storied career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA, was killed in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people, January 26 in California. 

The board honored Melody Thomas, who has multiple roles at West Pine Middle School, including media specialist and webmaster, for her consistent support of students and staff.

Mary Beth Thomas, a member of the support staff at Union Pines High School, was recognized for training student leaders to work as a team to help others, amongst additional contributions.

Penny Haywood, a volunteer at West End Elementary, was honored for her work with the school’s PTA over the last three years. Haywood, the mother of two students at West End Elementary, is current president of the PTA. She’s organized everything from book fairs to supply drives to dances.

A student at the Community Learning Center at Pinckney, Nathaniel Horton was saluted for perfect grades, exceptional attendance and his treatment of others. Horton has proven so proficient in academics, he’s already taken a high school elective online. His goal is to attend to New York University, after high school, and become an anesthesiologist. 

Shaun Garza, who attends Union Pines High, was recognized for taking first in a regional NJROTC air-rifle competition.

The Elise Elite First Lego League Team, from Elise Middle, was given a nod for winning at the First Lego League State tourney.

A second student from the eighth grade at Southern Middle School, Javion Saunders, delivered the pledge of allegiance before the meeting.

Feature photo of Zayda Williams via Moore County Schools.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.

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