May 22—HIGH POINT — Six seniors, one from each of High Point's public high schools, were honored recently during a virtual Student Leadership Awards ceremony.
Principals, school officials and High Point business leaders signed on from their home computers to recognize the academic achievements and community service of each student as well as their future aspirations.
The event was hosted by High Point Schools Partnership, a volunteer-led initiative of the Guilford Education Alliance that brings together local business leaders, educators, nonprofits, parents and other entities in support of local schools.
The awards date to nine years ago, when Matt Thiel had an idea about sharing the honor a teacher had given him through a watch recognizing his academic achievements and leadership when Thiel graduated high school. Now president of Signature Wealth Strategies in High Point, Thiel has never forgotten the power of that gift — and the knowledge that a teacher believed in him.
"Looking at that watch over the years has reminded me that I came from a caring community," said Thiel, co-chair of the High Point Schools Partnership. "It continues to remind me who I am and where I am from."
Thiel wanted to pass on that same support to another generation of students. He started by giving a watch to one High Point senior in 2013. Thiel also wanted to highlight some good news coming from High Point schools. What started with one student has now grown to six.
"Each year, it's an honor to celebrate a diverse group of High Point seniors who've excelled as leaders in their schools and in the community," Thiel said. "This year, more than ever before, honorees have had to overcome a lot to succeed and we wanted them to know we are very proud of them."
Principals at each of the six GCS high schools in High Point were asked to pick one student to honor. The 2021 Student Leadership Awards honorees are: Hamideh Abdollahi (Andrews High), Elijah Kennedy (High Point Central), Yina Morales (Kearns Academy), Dasha Hedrick (Middle College at GTCC), Alex Henson (Penn-Griffin School for the Arts) and Mostafa Alhumaiden (Southwest Guilford).
During the program, students were presented with engraved watches donated by Simon Jewelers and High Point Jewelers and Fine Gifts.
"Every time students look at their watches, I hope they are reminded that the High Point community is always here to support them, now and always," Thiel said. "These students are our future."