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Home of the Mustangs

Welcome to Mountain Youth School, Cherokee County Schools'
alternative learning school for middle and high school students!

Mountain Youth School News

Graduation will be Thursday, 4 June 2015 at 6:00 pm. The ceremony will be held at First Baptist Church in Murphy, NC. Click here for details.

Student thanks community for supporting blood drive
Israel Gonzalez, the senior who organized a blood drive for his senior exit project, wishes to thank everyone who came out and supported the blood drive on May 12. The event, hosted at Mountain Youth School, was conducted by Blood Assurance of Cleveland, Tennessee, which serves the local tri-state area. It was the school’s first blood drive, with guidance from MHS HOSA teacher Carolyn Crosby. The students and staff of Mountain Youth School, staff from Martins Creek School, and the public participated. Thirty units were donated, which is a large quantity for a small school. We hope to make it an annual partnership.

"Careers in Creativity" artists in schools program a huge success
Four local artists came to Mountain Youth School for a two-day arts in schools program in which students were paired with the artist in the field of their choice. This year’s topics included cartooning/graphic design; fiber arts/crochet; rustic furniture building; and wood-burning. Among other creations, the students created two rustic benches for the school. Many thanks to "Jack" Cassady, Cristen Cameron, Nathan Davenport, and Jo Kilmer for sharing their passions and talents with our students. As the final part of the program, students toured the nearby John C. Campbell Folk School, and several students worked with local artists for their senior exit projects.

Senior Exit Project flowerbed project beautifies campus
During the fall 2013 semester, seniors in Debra England’s and Nathan Davenport’s classes started construction on three raised flowerbeds to beautify the school. The stacked stone beds were completed in early spring, and have now been filled with beautiful plants and flowers. Other landscaping has been completed to improve the appearance of the school at the front entrance and around the sign. The finishing touch will be a Mustang sculpture being hand-created by several seniors to be unveiled the first week of June. Mountain Youth School wishes to thank the Cherokee County Board of Education for supporting the project with grants two years in a row, which helped enable the school to purchase the necessary materials. We invite the public to come and see the improvements.

Thank you to everyone who supported our BBQ fundraiser!
Under Diane Parker’s and Kimberly Worley’s leadership, the school sold more than 200 barbecue dinner plates and dozens of raffle tickets for items donated from Snap-On Tools and Paula’s Jewelers. With a matching grant from Modern Woodmen, the fund-raising efforts were doubled. Mountain Youth School wishes to thank everyone who participated in the effort, which was a huge success.

Music Class led by Volunteer of the Year
Thanks to Evan Dean, volunteer from Shepherd of the Mountains Church, Mountain Youth School has its first music and chorus class. At Mr. Gaither’s request, with Mr. Dean’s help, the students wrote the school’s Alma Mater and will be performing it at the graduation commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 12, along with several other music selections.

Mountain Youth School memories 2013

Student Leadership Council
awarded $500 grant from Board of Education

On January 9, 2014, the MYS Student Leadership Council was awarded a second generous $500 grant from the Cherokee County Board of Education for continuation of the school beautification and community improvement
Student Leadership Council
English IV and Career/Technical Education students are building three raised flower gardens at the front of the school as part of a senior exit project and masonry class. Thank you, school board members and CCS administration, for allowing us to continue to improve our school's image as a part of the Martins Creek community. 

Please view our video by clicking here,
or visit the Mountain Youth School channel on Vimeo at: www.vimeo.com/mountainyouthschool

Mountain Youth School celebrates 81% graduation rate for 2013!
Check out the Graduation page for more details and related documents.

Visit the Support MYS page for other ways you can help our school!

Mustang Pride is running wild! 
See our School Spirit Week photos!

About Mountain Youth School
    Centrally located between the Andrews, Murphy, and Hiwassee Dam communities, our campus is set among the rolling hills in Martins Creek, and serves students from all over the county who benefit from 
personalized education. The campus is home to an average of 75 students per 
year, with approximately 25-50 students at any given time. 
     Mountain Youth School offers students an unique learning experience and tailored support network that equips them to succeed – both in 
school and in life. Now, our students will be among the first to engage in outcomes-based learning tailored to their unique learning styles.
     The mission of Mountain Youth School is for every student to have an opportunity to learn through individualized attention, and graduate with a high school diploma prepared for adult life in the workforce, armed services, or post-secondary education. Our 2013 motto is "Real Life Education That Makes Sense." Our theme for the year, selected by our students, is TEAMWORK. For more details, visit the About MYS page or download our brochure.

Faculty and Staff
    For details on our classroom environment and specific classes, please visit the classroom pages at left. Our staff currently consists of Principal William "Bill" Gaither, Counselor Susan Maxey, Secretary Diane Parker, School Resource Officer Libby Thigpen, five core curriculum teachers -- Sonya Crouch (math), Dr. John Crosby (social studies), Debra England (English), Kimberly Worley (science), and Steve Bias (middle grades) -- as well as a vocational teacher, Nathan Davenport (construction/trades); an exceptional children's teacher, Revonda Simonds (EC); a teaching assistant, Cristen Cameron; school nurse, Heather Watson; and custodian, Lisa Loudermilk.

School Information
    We are proud to be the first 100% LED energy-efficient lighting school in the state of North Carolina. We invite you to visit our campus at 4533 Martins Creek Road any time. Find a map and detailed directions at our Directions link at left. Classes are in session from 8:10 AM-2:30 PM. Please sign in at our main office, and we will be happy to give you a tour. You may also call (828) 837-6775 for details.
    Click here to read Mountain Youth School's newsletter, the "Mustang Moment." Also check out MYS in the News.

Classes, Programs, and Events 
(Please see our Announcements and Events page for more details, or click on subject-specific events)

Spirit Week 2013: Mustang Pride ran wild during Mountain Youth School's annual School Spirit Week, October 29-November 1, 2013. Themes included Nerd/Teacher Day, Decade Day, Costume/Celebrity Day (left), and Western/Camo Day. For more information, visit our Spirit Week page.

"Hogly Pig-ficient" on learning outcomes: In order to generate student excitement about our new learning objectives, and to bolster school pride, we conducted a "Hogly Pig-ficient" event the first nine weeks of school. Each student earned a token of "pig feed" for every objective for which he/she earns "proficient" or "high performing" in his/her classes. Pig feed was placed in the jar of the faculty/staff member of his/her choice. The staff member with the most kernels in his/her jar had to kiss a real, live pig! Principal Bill Gaither and graduation coach Cindi Herr both had to pucker up to our porky friend!
See Spirit Week for more details.

2012-2013 Mountain Youth School faculty and staffCindi Herr, Sonya Crouch, John Crosby, Keith Payne, Lisa Loudermilk, Bill Gaither, Susan Maxey, Diane Parker, Kimberly Worley, Cissy Dougherty, Nathan Davenport (from left). Not pictured: Libby Thigpen, Heather Watson.

Graduation 2013: Mountain Youth School is proud of its 33 graduates in the Class of 2013. See more photos on our Graduation page.

Greenhouse: Our greenhouse produces beautiful flowers and produce every year, thanks to love and care from our vocational students.

Thanksgiving/Veteran's Day: Our most anticipated event, the annual Thanksgiving Dinner and Veteran's Day Celebration unites our armed services veterans and school administrators with our students.

Mountain Youth School students took trips to the Pacesetters Alpine Tower in Marble, NC on September 21, 2012 and on May 10. Western Carolina Pacesetters, Inc., a non-profit organization that serves youth in western North Carolina, is one of the many extracurricular activities offered at Mountain Youth School.

School Spirit: Mountain Youth School has lots of fun, extracurricular group-oriented activities all year, such as our back-to-school pep rally and teamwork event, held on August 30. These students are learning the importance of following directions and trusting in their instructors to guide them by participating in a blindfolded PB&J sandwich contest. For details, visit our Events page.

Making science fun! Students in Mrs. Worley's science classes make wind turbines on March 20. They learn about everything from soils/agriculture to electromagenetism, thanks to special guest Shannon Coleman from the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service.

Careers in Creativity: Students paired with local artists during the two-day  "Careers in Creativity" arts program, sponsored in part by a grant from the Cherokee County Arts Council, on February 6-7.

Learning is fun at Mountain Youth School

From science experiments, field trips, and art contests to guest speakers and banquets, there is something special happening every week at Mountain Youth School.

Located in Martins Creek, Cherokee County’s alternative school is the educational home to more than 30 middle and high school students who benefit from small classroom sizes, personalized education, life and career skills assistance, and hands-on learning.

Thanks in part to new state funding to improve high school graduation rates and student success, the school is able to feature innovative programs, as well as classroom and extracurricular activities. Some of this year’s events include:

• Team-building and personal growth exploration through Western Carolina Pacesetters, including climbing the Alpine Tower;
• Workforce, college, and career readiness through Career Cruising’s interest and aptitude assessments, NC JobLink, and the College Foundation of North Carolina; 
• Interactive science experiments in electricity, soils, conservation and more in partnership with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service;
• Arts and crafts contests and education made possible through the Cherokee County Arts Council and Valley River Arts Guild;
• Drug prevention education and various guest speakers, as well as participation in Red Ribbon Week, through the Coalition for  a Safe and Drug-Free Cherokee County;
• “Beyond Scared Straight” 
behind-the-scenes tour of the Cherokee County Detention Center, led by Sheriff Keith Lovin;
• “Stacked Deck” problem gambling prevention class, made possible through a state grant;
• Annual Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Celebration, “Hot Diggitty Dog Day,” and more.