Some of their days started as early as 5:45 a.m., and some stayed until the Election polls closed, but teachers Beth Layne and Allyn Beth Motley said their Halifax County High School students didn’t mind.

Thirty students spent the day helping the electoral board with elections in November.

“I’d like to commend them for their unselfish service,” said Layne.

Juniors and seniors who participated were Taylor Gilbert, Ashante Lea, Shea Carey, Madeline Freshour, Abby Hill, Chanze McDowell, Taylor McKinney, Jalyn Matthews, Hayley Beadles, Emily Garner, Kristina Morton, Abby Dunn, Joseph Duffer, DeMeisha Canada, Ayanna Williams, Misaje Truesdale, Kayla Easley, Alexis Hubbard, Andrea Beverly, Maelyn Edwards, Ellie Hall, Aysha Barksdale, Fa’Desha Boxley, Morgan Epperson, Kendall Foushee, Kay Griles, Maci Henderson, Megan Lewis, Jamie Shelton and Christia Woods.

These students were recognized by ED-1 trustee Kathy Fraley, Layne and Motley as well as county registrar Heather Harding, and electoral board members Paul Smith, Harry Jones and Ellen Kent at the Halifax County School Board meeting Monday evening.

“Tonight is a first for many reasons,” said Fraley. “My first opportunity to say thank you to a group of young people who have experienced something that no other students in Halifax County have experienced.”

She also thanked Harding, Smith, Jones and Kent as well as Layne and Motley.

“Thanks go out to their government teachers for preparing them to go out and do what they did with confidence. Halifax County Public Schools is grateful for your service to our county and you make us proud to serve you in our capacity. I look forward to seeing you do wonderful things in the future,” said Fraley.

Motley, who has taught for 20 years, said she was proud of the students.

She said it was important for them to be involved with local government as that is what is going to impact their daily lives the most.

In addition to the students who were recognized for helping at the polls, Eli Evans also was recognized by board members and Rick Burtner, CEO of Propel GPS.

Propel GPS “is an IoT Cloud-Based Technology Company delivering a proven ROI specializing in wireless asset management and sensor monitoring with state of the art information technology,” according to its website.

Burtner said Evans has been working with the company after meeting through the Southern Virginia Higher Ed Center, and had been tasked with finding a camera for under $99.

When he couldn’t find one, Evans made one.

He used 3D printing at the higher ed center to create a camera that can mount onto doors, and Burtner said that it is dynamic in that the way the camera is shaped and mounted can be changed, and its features can be changed.

The CEO of Propel GPS said the plan is to have Evans come work for them, and then he oversee a new group of interns next year.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg said they plan to use Evans’ cameras at the high school and Sinai Elementary.

Other high school students also took the time to spotlight various programs at the secondary school to school board members Monday evening.

Cadet Major Elizabeth Long shared information about the JROTC program, which she said makes up 7.9% of the high school population.

This year, she said, cadets have volunteered 42 hours at their adopted school, Sinai Elementary, six hours picking up trash and six hours at Cluster Springs field day.

She shared information about drill and radar competition including a competition in Gretna where they placed third.

Members of Cometbots, the high school’s robotics team, also shared information about the process they use to form robots and compete.

Sarah Beth Talley and Tyree Taylor spoke on behalf of the leadership class, and talked about how the class allows for its student to grow and improve his or her character.

Band instructor Domenic Stephens also spoke on behalf of the chorus and band.

Members of the school board also were recognized for Virginia School Board Association school board appreciation month, and clerk Robin Mahan and Joyce Townes, deputy clerk, also were recognized.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at