Tear-filled eyes, congratulatory hugs and proud parents filled the auditorium at the Citizens Center on Thursday night as high school seniors were awarded for excellence.
Lincoln County’s top 40 students from all four high schools were recognized at the Academic Achievement Awards.
Chair of the Education Committee Brad Rivers led the night and laughed as he mentioned hoping to get smarter from being around “the brightest in the county.”
In addition to the certificates each recipient was given, four other scholarships were presented to students as well.
Kara Dellinger was the big winner of the night, taking home two of the four awards —
the James “Bo” Moore Chamber Scholarship and the S. Ray Lowder Scholarship. Dellinger, from North Lincoln High, will be attending Lenoir-Rhyne University to study neonatal nursing.
Dellinger was all smiles and tears as she accepted the awards, and heard Mark Lawing read excerpts from her application essay aloud to the audience.
Olivia Pearson, of West Lincoln High, received the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation Free Enterprise Scholarship. She will be awarded $1,500 for her first year and $750 for her sophomore year at N.C. State.
The Lincoln County Homebuilders Scholarship was award to West Lincoln’s Connor Sigmon and North Lincoln’s Joel Marquardt.
Aside from Dellinger, the Chamber scholarships were also awarded to Casey Reed, of East Lincoln, Alan Silva, of Lincolnton High, and Cody Taylor of West Lincoln.
Dr.Jim Watson, a previous Lincoln County Schools superintendent, ended the night with his speech that took the audience back to the years the graduating students were born, ‘93 and ‘94. He reflected on gas prices, pop culture and social issues of the time and congratulated the group on their success, “setting the stage for the next phase of life.”