Our Affiliated Site: Valle Crucis Elementary School in North Carolina


facts about valle crucis: 

  • Grades Served: Kindergarten – eighth grade
  • Facility Description: The primary building is an old stone edifice, comprising an auditorium, a library, and classrooms. An additional, newer brick building on the same campus houses additional classrooms, a cafeteria, and a multi-purpose gymnasium. Outside, there are tennis courts, playgrounds, and athletic fields.
  • Education: The teaching staff is fully-certified, and the instruction conforms to the requirements of the state of North Carolina. Additionally, Valle Crucis Elementary has developed a nationally renowned “Lighthouse Project,” which is a program that tests new ways of individualizing teaching and learning at the elementary school level. Due to its success, educators from other regions come to observe it and adopt similar methods in their own schools.
  • Meals: A nutritious breakfast and lunch are served daily. Over 50% of the students are eligible for the Federal Free or Reduced-Price Meal program.
  • Medical Care: A part-time nurse monitors students’ health and provides treatment as the need arises.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Activities include a comprehensive athletic program, a school band, and a variety of social clubs.

Nestled in North Carolina’s western mountains, Watauga County draws thousands of tourists each year due to its spectacular scenery. It is not a new attraction. In 1842, a visiting Episcopal bishop found himself looking down from the Appalachian highlands to a valley where three streams converged to form the shape of a St. Andrew’s cross. He called the place Valle Crucis – Vale of the Cross.

Today, the area’s wealth of breathtaking beauty belies the tragic poverty that plagues its residents. Due to the remoteness of this region, industry development is limited, and most families are forced to either make a meager living on subsistence farming or commute up to 60 miles to and from jobs elsewhere. The income levels and standards of living for the majority of Watauga County residents are some of the lowest in the nation. Unemployment is on the rise, and children also feel the debilitating effects of poverty, as many parents struggle to afford such basics as clothing and food. For this reason, Valle Crucis Elementary School serves as a beacon of hope for the surrounding community. Its faculty strives to provide each child with a quality education — the key to breaking the cycle of poverty — and the opportunity for students to rise above the difficult circumstances from which they come.