Concerns are expressed about girls’ basketball traveling to California

School board recognizes graduating seniors


White County School Board held their regularly scheduled meeting, on May 9, at which time they gave accolades to a couple of graduating seniors.

The board recognized Kiera Stanley for 13 years of perfect attendance. During her time from kindergarten through her senior year, Stanley never missed a day of school or had more than two tardies during a single year. The board recognized Stanley with a plaque honoring her accomplishment and presented her with a Silver Round from Citizen’s Bank, in Sparta. They also presented her with statements made by some of her teachers over the years, commending her on not only her attendance but also her exceptional work in the classroom. They also announced that during the Senior Awards program the following day she would be receiving a $250 scholarship from First National Bank.

Board members also recognized Max Simmons as the first-ever White County High School senior to serve as a Student Member of the School Board. The board presented Simmons with a certificate and then took turns expressing their individual thanks for his time.

“On behalf of the White County School system, thank you for your time,” Kurt Dronebarger, director of schools, told Simmons, adding that the senior had other things he could have been doing with his time but chose to willingly serve his fellow students by being their school board representative. “[Thank you] for giving us your wisdom as a student and sharing how the decisions we make affect the students.”

As for Simmons, he said he was appreciative of the opportunity.

“Thank you, Mr. Wilson. You recommended me for this position. It has been an interesting experience,” Simmons said, addressing Greg Wilson, the White County High School principal who suggested to the board that they start a student representative program. “I’m proud to have been the first senior in this position. I know that there will be a lot of students that will come after me, but I hope we started out strong. I’m glad that you gave us an opportunity to have a voice.”

The board members all agreed the experience was a positive one, and they are excited to continue the program. Board members said they learned more from the two student representatives this year than the representatives probably learned from them. They also stated they were impressed with the maturity level and willingness of both Simmons and the board’s junior representative, Joy McGill, who will return next school year.

During May’s meeting, the board also approved travel requests for the high school’s FFA program so members of the school-sponsored organization can attend a leadership camp at Camp Clements this summer. They also approved a request by the high school cheerleading team to attend a camp, in Gatlinburg, in June of this year.

However, the board decided to table a request by the White County High School girls’ basketball team for permission and funds to travel to a tournament in Destin, Florida, in December 2024. A couple of board members said they had received concerns from constituents about the amount of money spent on last year’s trip to California, only to have WCHS play teams that were in a league-level beneath the White County team.

Principal Greg Wilson told the board members last year’s tournament participation was an unavoidable change in schedule because of the passing of the planned tournament’s promoter. The team was then moved to another tournament as their fees had already been paid. The tournament was, in fact, at a level beneath which the Warriorettes usually play.

Dronebarger spoke about the currently requested tournament, saying that while it is impossible to tell exactly which teams will be in attendance, the Destin tournament is one that both the boys’ and girls’ high school teams have participated in in the past. It was also stated that because of the proximity of Destin, Florida, to White County, Tennessee, driving would be an option rather than having to purchase plane tickets. However, he did suggest that Wilson confer with Michael Dodgen, the Warriorettes’ head coach, and present more information to the board at the next meeting.

Before the meeting adjourned, Chairman Bob Young reminded board members they would be presenting Dronebarger with the director’s evaluation next month and asked them to be sure to complete those and return them in a timely manner. He reminded the board they would be using the current evaluation model for this cycle but that a new model would be developed for next year.

The next regular meeting of White County School Board will be 6 p.m., June 13, at 528 Hale St. There will be a special meeting at 6 p.m., May 30, dealing with the 2024/2025 fiscal year budget.          


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