SES Feted in Style over U.S. News Ranking

Sharon Elementary School Feted in Style over U.S. News Ranking
Posted on 12/21/2023

A variety of community and Alleghany Highlands Public Schools leaders arrived at Sharon to support a surprise party in the style of a pep rally to honor their accomplishment.  Students and staff from Alleghany High School supported the celebration by providing cheerleaders, music from the Alleghany High School Band, and participation from the color guard.  

On Nov. 29, AHPS was notified that Sharon Elementary School had been selected as one of 100 best elementary schools in Virginia by US News & World Report.  There are 1,037 elementary schools in Virginia, and by US News & World Report criteria, Sharon ranked a very impressive fourth in math. The online publication ranked Sharon 93rd among elementary schools in the Commonwealth. 

Students were particularly impressed that the Wednesday celebration allowed them to walk through the Alleghany Cougars inflatable tunnel recently donated by Highlands Community Bank, Dr. Brown and Associates, and the Alleghany Athletic Club.  

Wide-eyed upon seeing the tunnel set up for them, students excitedly ran through it as the AHS Band played rep-rally style music. Students later commented about how honored they felt.  AHS football players assisted in the set up and take down of the tunnel.

“We continue to be so pleased with the hard work of Sharon students, staff, and families,” said Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson, leaders of AHPS.  “All of our schools and the entire Alleghany Highlands community have much to celebrate, and all our kids have truly benefited from everyone’s support.”

The celebration was supported by several community partners including financial support from The Alleghany Foundation.  Teachers were provided with lunch, and students were treated to special snacks. The school received a silk flower arrangement as a present, and the physical education program was provided with a gift of Alleghany Cougar cornhole boards. 

“It was really fun,” said fifth grade student Mandolin Craft.  “I had never seen the Cougar tunnel before, and I liked the band.  I really liked the cheerleaders and the way they cheered for us.  It was a very fun surprise getting to run through the tunnel!  I really am thankful for the people who made this happen.”  

Sharon’s honor reflects the hard work of many parties, including students, staff, families, and community partners.  Recent principals at Sharon Elementary School include Sherman Callahan, now the AHPS Director of Elementary Instruction; Ty Dobbs, now the Athletics and Activities Director for the division; and Chris Jones, current principal and former assistant principal and football coach at Covington High School. 

“I think the surprised look on our students’ faces was very memorable and the surprise of our staff was refreshing,” Jones said.  “There were many thanks for the effort on behalf of so many people to make this take place.  I think everyone really enjoyed it!”

The high school students brought excitement with them to the elementary school.

“My girls said it was pretty awesome seeing the students get pumped up during the pep rally. Go Packers!” said Kim Jefferson, AHS varsity cheer coach.

The celebration was initially planned for Dec. 15, but a water pressure issue forced the closure of Sharon on that date.  All parties involved in the plans for the surprise party had to work very hard to help keep the event under wraps.  AHPS was pleased to be able to schedule the celebration before students left for winter break. 

Participants in the Wednesday celebration noted how the community has bonded since the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division was created in July 2022. AHPS came about through the merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. 

“Sharon Elementary has worked hard and done many wonderful things to be able to achieve this honor,” said Adam Eggleston, AHS director.  “I am glad the band is able to be a part of the community of people who come together to help those achieving excellence in the schools. We are always honored to be there for these moments.”

AHPS is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington. The school division serves approximately 2,700 students.

AHPS news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools and on Instagram at ahpublicschools. Information is also available at  

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.