Gaston County schools are a ‘hidden gem’ in the state’s public school system

With obvious pride, Principal Jessica Steiner recently told members of the Belmont Rotary Club that students at Stuart W. Cramer High School won $2.9 million in college scholarships and grants this year.

Two seniors graduated from high school after also completing two years of higher education through Gaston College’s Community College Promise program.

More seniors have completed vocational and technical training programs in a variety of fields, including health sciences, business, trades and industry, welding and others.

Stuart Cramer High School Principal Jessica Steiner with Belmont Rotary Club Past President Seth Sherrin (left) and President Whitney Norton.

Steiner served 14 years in administrative positions at Gaston County schools, including five years as vice-principal at South Point High, four years as principal at Holbrook Middle, three years as principal at Cramerton Middle and now two years as principal at Stuart Cramer High.

She said the biggest challenge of the past year was “helping students rebuild the structure of their study habits after two years of COVID disruptions” to school schedules.

Acknowledging that the pandemic has caused teacher shortages across the country, Steiner said Stuart Cramer has only had three openings in the past year. She credited the good track record for Gaston County schools as being a “hidden gem” in the state’s public school system.

“Despite being the 10th largest district in the state, our schools are like local schools,” she said. “Part of it is because we have great partnerships with our communities here.”

The Belmont Rotary Club, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2025, meets every Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Home2 Suites in Belmont for lunch and a program on local topics. Guests interested in learning more about how Rotary serves the community are welcome.

Ted Hall is a member of Belmont Rotary.

Jeremy S. McLain