Awards and Recognition


11th grader, Aydan Lawler, won 1st place in the City of Gastonia’s Downtown Art Contest for her painting Girl in the Gears.

The piece will be on display at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia for one year beginning this summer.

Piedmont's Class of 2021 Senior Spotlight Series

Caleb Hathaway

A passion for science is a noble one to see in our seniors who are moving into the next phase of their education. Caleb Hathaway has made an impact in the areas of science and math for many years now, volunteering with the AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Scholars program, and the Schiele Museum in Gastonia. He has participated in the UNC Charlotte STEM Pre-College program designed for students with above average academic achievements in math and science. Additionally, he was selected for the Biogen Community Lab program, a hands-on, STEM-centered opportunity for high school students pursuing biotechnology.

Caleb will graduate from PCCS this June having maintained over a 4.0 GPA and plans to finish his Associate degree from Gaston College. He has already gotten a head start on those college credits while in high school thanks to the College Now program. After that, his goal is to transfer to NC State and major in physics before going on to earn a Ph.D. specializing in quantum physics. He explains, “I see math as a foundational language for all science and engineering, and as a method for understanding the way the world functions.”

Caleb has always enjoyed math and science, but finds a creative outlet with music as well. He fondly recalls his years studying with band teacher, Mr. Cole, as a percussionist: “I found my continued love for music and composition while performing at Piedmont and other stages such as at Carowinds and MPA.” In his spare time, Caleb composes his own original music for piano which he uploads and shares online.

A bright and innovative student, Caleb Hathaway has earned a top spot in the senior class of 2021. He is the portrait of a Piedmont graduate.

When Alessandra Sanders graduates this spring, she’ll have earned not only her high school diploma, but her Associate in Science degree from Gaston College. She was able to accomplish this thanks to Piedmont’s partnership with the College Now program. Through this opportunity,  high school juniors and seniors are able to enroll in courses and earn college credit — tuition-free — all from a Piedmont classroom. 

Alessandra’s dual degree, along with her spot as a top senior, is the result of her extraordinary effort and dedication throughout her years as a Piedmont Patriot (which she has been since Kindergarten!). She is a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, Jr. Heart Board, Band Council, and is the founder of Piedmont’s Speech and Debate club. Outside of school, she volunteers with Elevation Church on the worship team and with their eKidz program. 

After graduating in June, Alessandra plans pursue Business Administration at UNC Asheville. “Business is an industry of growth,” she says, “which I believe will allow me to utilize every part of what has been instilled in my character as a PCCS graduate.” 

As a senior, Alessandra’s favorite class this year has been chemistry with Mrs. Barber. “Mrs. Barber made the transition to virtual learning during the pandemic feel a lot less overwhelming.” Overall, the high school experience can seem like a lot to manage, but Alessandra offers the following advice for rising freshmen: “Have a plan, write it in your planner, stick to it, and don’t give up. You’re stronger than you know.” 

Alessandra Sanders is an inspiring student whose kindness and character will take her far. Representing the Class of 2021, she is the portrait of a Piedmont graduate.

Alessandra Sanders
Leah Bivens

When she was 15 years old, Leah Bivens joined the Civil Air Patrol with the Gastonia Composite Squadron. Through this U.S. Air Force auxiliary program, cadets gain confidence and fitness, develop leadership skills, and set goals that will help them lifelong. Now, three years later, she has earned the rank of Cadet 2nd Lieutenant and soars as an outstanding Piedmont senior. 

Leah’s goals after graduating Piedmont are to pursue a career in filmmaking. She is considering both UNCC and UNCW for the fall and is excited about the possibilities open to her. 

During her years at Piedmont, Leah was inspired by a variety of classes and teachers. One that stands out as a favorite is Mrs. Starnes, her American History teacher. “I love Mrs. Starnes,” Leah recalls. “She made everything she talked about either interesting or wholesome. It really was a gift to have her for a whole year.” In addition, new friendships made through fine arts helped Leah to grow, developing not only her talent, but her overall character. She is thankful for Piedmont’s theater and dance programs that contributed to a well-rounded high school experience. 

Piedmont is proud to recognize Leah Bivens as a top Senior Patriot of the class of 2021. She is the portrait of a Piedmont graduate.

 Piedmont Community Charter School is recognized as one of the “Best High Schools” by U.S. News & World Report.

What does that mean? U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best High Schools badges are awarded to those whose attendees demonstrated outstanding outcomes above expectations in math and reading state assessments, passed a diverse array of college-level exams and graduated in high proportions.