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The Cherryville Eagle

Gaston Together facilitates 2019 Commissioners School “Movers & Shakers” session

2019 Commissioners’ School, “Movers and Shakers” Group (left to right): Front row – Jack Mulvey (Cherryville), Maria Morales (North Gaston), Payton Pittman (Bessemer City), Aidan Gant (South Point), Rachael Medici (East Gaston), and Grace Haughton (Stuart W. Cramer). Back row – Kenna Matheney (Gaston Christian), Kylin Starr (Piedmont Charter ), Ben Barnes (Hunter Huss), Rylee-Grace Burgess (Cherryville), Giovanni Bernal (Hunter Huss) Breyonna Gordon (Ashbrook), Faith Sanders (North Gaston), Katherine Allen (Ashbrook), and Emily Hendricks (Piedmont Charter).

On June 26, Gaston Together facilitated a session for the “Movers and Shakers” group of the 2019 Commissioners School. Fifteen students spent the morning participating in a mini-town hall community forum.  

The session was held at First United Methodist Church, “Greene House” in Gastonia. Student participants represented Ashbrook, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Stuart W. Cramer, East Gaston, Gaston Christian, Hunter Huss, North Gaston, Piedmont Charter and South Point.   

Donna Lockett, Executive Director, provided a brief overview of the work of Gaston Together to begin the program.  She reminded students who were living in Gaston County in their third-grade year that they also participated in Gaston Togethers “Pride in Gaston” Traveling Tour, a program designed to build community pride in young students. Dwayne Burks, a member of Gaston Togethers clergy association, the Gaston Clergy & Citizens Coalition, conducted the session.   

Students worked in rotating small groups with discussion centered around their role as future leaders.

They discussed: Leadership, it’s definition, value and current impact on a local, national and international level.  Students also took a deeper look at our current state of life in Gaston County. One team demonstrated what is good about Gaston County. A second team provided insight into the current challenges in Gaston County from their perspective. A third team looked at needed improvements in our county.

Traditionally, the team that wins this presentation competition receives a basket of goodies – snacks and fun trinkets such as “clappers” and volleyballs. The winning team demonstrated challenges facing Gaston County.  They created a skit around teenage drug abuse. The team was composed of Kylin Starr (Piedmont Charter), Rylee-grace Burgis (Cherryville), Giovanni Bernal (Hunter Huss), Breyonna Gordon (Ashbrook), and Katherine Allen (Ashbrook).

Formed in 1997, Gaston Together was organized as a catalyst for positive change in Gaston County. Its purpose is to bring people and resources together to tackle big community challenges such as building community pride, creating a pool of potential future leaders for Gaston County, building bridges of unity across racial, ethnic and gender lines, and creating a culture of wellness for our citizens.