Carter County schools seek community support ahead of competition

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Students from four Carter County high schools are getting ready for the annual Battle of the Build, working towards what they hope will be their third straight win. However, one aspect of the competition requires the community’s support, and it is going on right now.

Junior Heather Grindstaff at Hampton High School said there is a popularity vote on Facebook prior to competition day.

“If you have a Facebook page, go to the Battle of the Build,” Grindstaff said. “Find a post that says ‘Support Carter County Schools’ and share it.”

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The competition is gearing up for its third year, bringing school systems throughout the region to the test. Carter County high schools, including Unaka, Happy Valley, Hampton and Cloudland, have been gathering at Unaka to work on their latest project.

“Carter County has been very successful,” she said. “This is a unique opportunity.”

David Arnett’s class in Hampton joins with James Monroe’s class at Happy Valley, Scotty Johnson’s class at Unaka and Sam Potter’s class at Cloudland. Arnett said this year’s competition is a chance to set a high standard for the region.

“We feel we have to go above and beyond the last few years,” he said.

In addition, he said all the work comes from the students themselves. He and the other instructors simply provide support.

“When we are judged, they do not ask me any questions,” he said. “The students do all the hard work.”

This year, Isaacs Pools and Spas sponsored Carter County’s team, and Arnett said he wanted to thank Lowes for donating the supplies they needed for this year’s project.

While the team members themselves work towards the glory of victory at the end of February, the community’s popularity vote online will result in a cash prize for the winning school district.

“It is a lot of hard work,” McKinley Kuhn said. “We may be rivals, but when it comes to the competition, we all work together.”

Nick Swiney said participating in the competition would not be possible without the community’s support.

The competition itself will run from Saturday, Feb. 22, through Sunday, Feb. 23. Sunday’s awards ceremony will begin at 3 p.m., according to their website.