Wilkes middle school support

Gathered in the Wilkes County Board of Education meeting room are, from left, Pam Huffman, West Wilkes Middle School principal; Dr. Heather Freeman, North Wilkes Middle School principal; Tammy Whitworth, Window World chairman and chief executive officer; Rodney Graham, Central Wilkes Middle School principal; Sandra Burchette, East Wilkes Middle School principal; and Mark Byrd, Wilkes County Schools superintendent.

North Wilkesboro-based Window World announced a continuation of its support of the local community by pledging $100,000 apiece to the four Wilkes County middle schools, funding one per year over a four-year period.

In a meeting with the four Wilkes middle school principals on March 29, Window World Chairman and CEO Tammy Whitworth said she believes it’s important for a company to give back to its local community.

Whitworth and Wilkes County Schools Superintendent Mark Byrd said the money would be spent on facility upgrades or new construction.

West Wilkes Middle School was the first recipient and used its funds to purchase a new digital marquee. West Middle Principal Pam Huffman said it was installed where the previous marquee stood in front of the school. Huffman said the new marquee will be used as a communication tool and to recognize student accomplishments.

The schedule for the other three middle schools to receive their $100,000 is still being determined, said Morgan Mathis, Wilkes Schools information officer.

Central Wilkes Middle School Principal Rodney Graham said he plans to use the funds to construct a restaurant-quality outdoor dining facility for students with perforated picnic tables and shade structures.

Dr. Heather Freeman, North Wilkes Middle principal, said a new digital marquee will be installed in place of the school’s current marque. “This will help us increase our volume of communications with students, parents and the community that are visible as you pass by the school,” said Freeman.

East Wilkes Middle School Principal Sandra Burchette said options for using the funds are still being considered. She said they include constructing a school/community walking track, continuing upgrades to the baseball and softball fields or partnering with the East Middle Athletic Booster Club to build a permanent field house/concession stand between the baseball and softball fields.

In 2020, Window World completed its fulfillment of a four-year pledge of $100,000 per year to each of the four Wilkes high schools to help address facility needs.

Wilkes Central High’s funds supported construction of the Window World Universal End-Zone Building. It includes the Todd Whitworth Concession Stand, named in memory of Whitworth’s late husband. Dr. Dion Stocks, Wilkes Central principal, said Window World’s support allowed the school to have a facility with a changing/locker area for guest football teams; indoor practice facilities for wrestling, softball and baseball; updated restrooms; and concessions for guests. “We are very grateful for the tremendous support and generosity of Ms. Whitworth and the Window World corporation. This has made a significant impact for our community.”

East Wilkes High School used its funds to resurface the school’s tennis courts and renovate its softball stadium, including providing new dugouts for home and guest teams and a press box. The funds also paid for laser-leveling the athletic fields to address drainage issues, work that is underway. Dr. Chad Mann, East High principal, stated, “We are very grateful for the generosity of Window World. This funding allowed us to make some much needed upgrades to our facilities.”

At North Wilkes High School, the money fully funded football field press box renovations; fieldhouse and weight room improvements; removal of trees from around the tennis courts; repairing bleachers in the new and old gyms; new football equipment; new wrestling mats; and band building windows. It also paid for half of the cost of a new tractor for the athletic department. North High Principal David Johnson stated, “This was a major cosmetic improvement to our overall campus.”

At West Wilkes High School, the money was used to buy volleyball nets, uprights and a safety stand. It also funded fencing, repairs and new entrance gates at the football field, plus the bleachers were repaired, pressure washed and painted. A washer/dryer was bought for the field house and a new LED sign was installed at the school entrance. West High Principal Amanda Pruitt said, “The West Wilkes High School community greatly appreciates the support we have received from Window World. We have been able to complete safety upgrades for several areas of our school and athletic facilities as well as install signage at our main entrance to assist with keeping our community informed and updated on our events and activities.”

Superintendent Mark Byrd thanked Whitworth and Window World, and said that by completing the commitment, Window World will have donated over $800,000 to assist Wilkes County Schools over an eight-year period.

“This is just another example of the support that our school system receives from our community that many around us do not. We are very fortunate to have many in our communities who want to see our students and our schools excel,” Byrd added.

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