Stand Up for Public Schools

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Event Focuses on Children with Special Needs

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 12:50:00 pm

The Robeson County Health Department and Lumberton Children’s Clinic recently coordinated an effort to share information and resources to benefit children in the area with specialhealth care needs.

At the “Lunch and Learn” event, Kathryn McDaniel, school nurse supervisor for Robeson County schools; April Oxendine, coordinator of the Innovative Approaches program; and Billena Richards, Carolina Access project manager and Innovative Approaches co-chair; joined Lumberton Children’s Clinic providers for a discussion about the role of school nurses and the need for coordination between each child’s medical home and the school system.

The Innovative Approaches Steering Committee is made up of health care providers, Health Department employees, parents, school nurses, educators and advocates whose goal is to make services more effective in Robeson County for the 10,000 children with special health care needs living in the area.

Special health care needs range from allergies to autism, cerebral palsy to Down syndrome and more. Through the Innovative Approaches Initiative, change is being affected at a systems level, whether by providing support and education for parents, or linking medical providers and the school system to better coordinate care for a child.

The initiative is using a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau to increase access to community-based services; help families join in decision-making for the child’s optimal health; increase comprehensive care within a medical home; increase early screening for special health care needs; and to increase the percentage of youths with special health care needs who receive the services necessary to make appropriate transitions to adult health care, work and independence.

Originally Posted Here

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FCCLA to be Recognized at School Board Meeting

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 4:25:00 pm

During the Elkin Board of Education meeting on Monday, nine members of the Elkin High School chapter of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) will be recognized after recently recently winning gold and silver medals at the State Leadership Conference in Greensboro.

The nine members to be recognized are: Kristen Kartes; Courtney Cobler; Kenya Easter; Emma Aldridge; Makayla Dimmette; Rebekah Cranford; Ellie Hooper; Georgia Longworth; Hannah Freeman will be honored by Kali Teague; and Robin Hooper.

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe will recognize Barbara Long for receiving the North Carolina FCCLA Outstanding Administrator of the Year Award.

Originally Posted Here

Monday, April 14, 2014

Students Hold SAVE Summit to Keep Violence Out of Schools

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Monday, April 14, 2014 at 5:00:00 pm

Providing safer environments for our youth is the goal for a national organization called Students Against Violence Everywhere, also known as SAVE. They held their 14th "save summit" on the campus of N.C. State University Saturday morning.  

Members of SAVE said their whole purpose is to stop violence in schools and communities by engaging, encouraging, empowering and educating youth. 

SAVE members said too many schools are making national headlines for violent attacks. 

"It wasn't the norm like it is today," said SAVE co-founder Angie Bynum.  "I think people are beginning to get conditioned and that's my fear.  Let's not get conditioned. Let's stand up on a table and say ‘no, this is not fair. This is not right.’ My heart goes out to the slayings that have taken place in the past, even the most recent one involving children but we need to start looking into some kind of intervention for children."

That's where SAVE comes in. 

The group started in Charlotte 25-years ago after Bynum's friend, Alex Orange, was killed trying to break up a fight.  Bynum said she couldn't let his death go unnoticed. What started off as one small school group has now blossomed into something bigger. 

SAVE now has more than 2,100 chapters in 48 states and seven countries.

"It's good to see that people actually care and that it's actually doing good in schools and it's a good program to be behind," said Brady Ledbetter, co-chair of SAVE advisory board.

The group hosts workshops on bullying, peer pressure, coping skills and more. 

What's learned here could be lifesaving, but Bynum said there is still work to be done.

Marking the 25th anniversary, SAVE is kicking off a fundraising campaign aimed at raising $25,000 to support chapters and safer schools in more than 125 schools across the country. 

Originally Posted Here

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chatham County Schools Hosts 26th Annual Young Authors Celebration

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Monday, April 14, 2014 at 4:35:00 pm

Chatham County Schools Media Education Program along with McIntyre’s Fine Books and Fearrington Village hosted the twenty-sixth annual Young Authors Celebration for student writers in Chatham County on Tuesday, April 8. The event, which was held at The Barn at Fearrington Village, kicked off with a reception at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s feature author was Sheila Turnage, a Newbury Award Winner, who currently lives in North Carolina. Turnage inspired and engaged students reinforcing that there’s a writer in each of them. Students were instantly hooked as she revealed her secrets for creating believable settings, characters, and stories. After her inspiring presentation, Turnage took pictures with each of the winners to commemorate the evening.

Four students won awards that were in the “Best of” category. J. Allen Smith of North Chatham Elementary School, who wrote “Super Duper Yard Vacuum 5000,” won Best of: Grades K-4. Meera Butalia of Margaret B. Pollard Middle School, who wrote “Saving Simba,” won Best of: Grades 5-8. Eden Bennet of Bonlee School, who authored “What I Love,” won Best Novel. The student author who won Best Overall was J.S. Waters’ Krista Willett, who wrote “9/14/13.”

While walking around the room, attendees had the opportunity to look at books that were on display. Examples of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, along with handmade pop-up books were exhibited.

The event closed with proud parents, principals, and media coordinators socializing and capturing the special evening with cameras.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Solar Panels Light Up Students Interest

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Monday, April 14, 2014 at 3:05:00 pm


Discovery High School U.S. history and physics teacher Jody Dixon developed a strategy to teach students about renewable energy.

“We are very interested in sustainability," he said. "We want to try to figure out what a sustainable school would look like.”

Dixon enlisted the help of the Newton-Conover Education Foundation and its $1,500 Innovations in Education grant.

The grant is given annually to projects that meet measurable objectives and can show sustainability during an extended period of time.

This year, the foundation awarded the grant to Dixon’s class.

“Mr. Dixon’s project to focus on ‘green technology' opportunities at a time when clean energy is a hot-button topic is very timely, and we know Discovery students will benefit from this resource,” foundation chairman Michael Willard said in a news release. “Further, Mr. Dixon’s decision to pursue a project that will not only enhance the career readiness for Discovery students, but also potentially create future cost-savings for the school system makes this a win-win.”

Dixon said he simply wanted to engage students.

“Everything was on them,” he said, pointed to three students who worked on the solar panel.

Dixon said students put in the work to build, install and monitor the solar panel.

“It definitely beats reading about solar panels,” junior Will Kennedy said.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Two Onslow Schools Advance to Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, April 11, 2014 at 4:30:00 pm

Over 800 teams from around the world will compete in the 35thOdyssey of the Mind World Finals; two of those teams will come from Onslow County Schools.

Eight of Onslow County Schools’ teams advanced to the state finals, held April 5, at Wingate University in Charlotte. The OM teams from Dixon Elementary School and New Bridge Middle School performed so well at the state competition, they qualified to move on to the world finals. The teams at the world competition represent the best of the best creative minds.

In Odyssey of the Mind, teams of students work on creative, hands-on problem solving in a competitive environment. Teams compete under one of several long-term problems performed before a panel of judges. Teams are also given a spontaneous problem to solve in a very short period of time. All of the work to solve the long-term problem must be done by the students without any outside assistance, including their coach.

Dixon Elementary Schools’ Odyssey of the Mind team took first place in Division I in It’s How We Rule. New Bridge Middle School took third place in Division II in Drivers Test and they also won a special creativity award which qualified them to move on to the world finals.

At the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals, though the competition is fierce, teams intermingle providing opportunities for students to learn about other cultures and form some lasting friendships. The finals will be held May 28 – 31, at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Originally Posted Here

Friday, April 4, 2014

230 Athletes Enjoy Special Day

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 4:45:00 pm

James Johnson | The Robesonian David Hester Jr. competes on Wednesday in the Special Olympics Spring Games, which attracted about 230 participants. It was the first year competing for the 8-year-old.

More than 200 athletes in Robeson County, young and old, got a chance on Wednesday to demonstrate their special skills.

They competed in Robeson County Special Olympics Spring Games, which were held under sunny skies and 70-degree temperatures at Purnell Swett High School, and offered a chance to win a ribbon — and much more.

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” said William Locklear, a participant and a student at Prospect Middle School, over the loud speaker just before the games. The words he had read were well known to many of the athletes, including 14-year-old Caitlyn Adams.

Adams, who like all participants in the Special Olympics struggles with an intellectual disability, has participated in the Special Olympics games for three years.

“She loves it. She has been coming for a few years now and she just loves getting together with other children and having fun,” said Adams’ mother, Nicole Fairfax. “But she does take the oath to heart. Everyone is a winner here.”

Adams, who won a first place ribbon for the long jump, was at the event representing Littlefield Middle. Though many of the more than 230 participants on hand were there representing Robeson County schools, being in school, or even of school age, is not a requirement to participate.

“To me the most important thing is that you give opportunity to athletes who wouldn’t normally be afforded this opportunity to compete,” said event coordinator Sandra Evans. “A lot of people think that this is just for Robeson County school students, but it is open to any individual with intellectual disability … I have somebody who is 78 years old competing today. She is competing in two wheelchair events.”

More than 1,200 people, including volunteers and family members, cheered on athletes. Also in attendance were Assistant Superintendent Tommy Lowry, Superintendent Johnny Hunt and Pastor Donald Bullard of Harpers Ferry Baptist Church, who read an invocation just before the game.

“We love holding the games at our schools,” Hunt said. “We have done it every year for longer than I can remember. More than 30 years, that’s for sure.”

Besides the long jump, other competitions included the tennis and softball throw, the shot put, running and walking events, as well as wheelchair races.

The annual games are a small part of the national Special Olympics organization that was founded in 1968 as a way of encouraging children and adults with intellectual disabilities to challenge themselves, develop physical fitness and most of all, have fun.

Locally, more than 190 athletes train year-round in five sports, and compete in local, state and regional events. The Special Olympics of Robeson County has partnered with Robeson County Schools for use of facilities and equipments.

Originally Posted Here

Friday, April 4, 2014

North Stokes Students Put Farm to Good Use

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 4:10:00 pm

North Stokes sophomore Nathan Lee (left) and senior Kaleb Marshall check pH and nutrient levels in the hydroponic lettuce garden on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at North Stokes High School in Danbury, N.C. (Andrew Dye/Journal)

North Stokes has the first school farm in the state certified to serve its produce in the school’s cafeteria. Federal regulations require all produce served by schools come from producers with GAP certification – a standard of good agricultural practices set to ensure food safety.

The school received its certification just last week and has already begun using its lettuce crop for lunches. Cafeteria Manager Bertha Amos said she used the first harvest in a salad mix last week.

“It makes a beautiful salad,” Amos said.

The lettuce comes from the school’s hydroponic greenhouse. The plants are grown without soil, planted in a table that continuously circulates nutrient-rich water through the root system. From seed to harvest, the entire process is managed by students in the newly GAP certified greenhouse.

Bell Hall, North Stokes agriculture teacher, said he chose lettuce because it’s relatively easy to grow, his classes can produce a large enough volume to use in the cafeteria and it goes from seed to harvest fast enough (about two months) for students to see the entire process in a semester. In the hydroponic greenhouse, Hall has two lettuce tables, plus tomato and cucumber systems. Those take longer, he said, so students who start them won’t be the ones harvesting them.

While other farms in the state participate in the Farm to School program to supply produce to school cafeterias, North Stokes is the first high school in the state to gain the required GAP certification.

Cindy Marion, director of child nutrition for Stokes County Schools, said she’s made a commitment to getting as much of the system’s produce from the Farm to School program as possible.

The GAP certification allows the school’s child nutrition program to purchase the produce for use in the cafeteria, but it serves another important function as well. It’s an opportunity for students to learn best production practices and gives them a glimpse at what a career in agriculture would entail.

Heather Barnes, marketing specialist for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said more and more restaurants and retailers are requiring GAP certification in efforts to improve food safety and traceability. Learning it now will only benefit students in the future, she said.

“We want to see more young people in agriculture,” Barnes said.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Are You Smarter Than an Elementary Student?

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3:30:00 pm

Which country has the largest border with the United States? Who wrote the children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web? If you can answer these questions, then you just might be smarter than an elementary student. 

Attendees can test their general knowledge, impress their friends, family and co-workers, and contribute to a local non-profit at the third annual Children First/Communities In Schools (CF/CIS) “Are You Smarter Than an Elementary Student?” fundraising event on Thursday, April 10 from 6 pm to 8 pm at the A-B Tech Ferguson Auditorium. Each team is paired with a “celebrity” CF/CIS Learning Center student to test their mental acuity on geography, math, history, and more. The questions for the quiz-show event are taken directly from the EOG (End of Grade) test questions for elementary schools. 

All of the proceeds will benefit Children First/ Communities In Schools – a nonprofit that serves economically disadvantaged children and their families with after school learning centers, a food pantry, emergency financial assistance, case management, and advocacy. 

Last year, “The Bad Apples,” a team comprised of Buncombe County school staff, won the event for the second year in a row. Monica Ponder of the Bad Apples says: “As two-year reigning champions of Children First/CIS “Are You Smarter Than an Elementary Student”, Buncombe County Schools is happy to challenge local businesses and organizations to beat our two year winning streak. This event is a great way for us to have fun while supporting a local organization that strives to improve the lives of local children and families.”   

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Friday, April 4, 2014

First Family Fun Festival Benefit for Local After-School Programs at Watauga High School on Saturday April 12

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 2:45:00 pm

The halls, gym and auditorium of Watauga High School will be filled on Saturday, April 12, not with students making up snow days, but instead with carnival games, popcorn, live music and an auction to support local after-school programs. The inaugural “Family Fun Festival” benefit for Watauga County Extended Learning Centers will be held Saturday, April 12 from 1-8 p.m., featuring entertainment and activities for all ages. 

Watauga Extended Learning Centers are nonprofit programs that provide educational and recreational activities after school hours for students with working parents. 

“We have eight Extended Learning Centers county-wide in all the elementary schools with about 300 students enrolled,” said Pam Shirley, after-school director. 

Proceeds from the festival will go towards scholarships and operational supplies for the programs, which rely entirely on donations and parent fees. 

“Besides the obvious things like crayons, glue and paper, we’re trying to get technology like iPads and laptops for the kids to be able to do their homework,” Shirley said. 

From 1-5 p.m., games and activities will take place in WHS’s gymnasium for small fees, including face-painting, bounce houses, bracelet-making and more, Shirley said. 

“Each afterschool program will be running their own station and that part of the proceeds will go towards that school,” Shirley said. ”It will be affordable, we want everyone to be able to participate.” 

At 5 p.m., an auction will be held in the auditorium with items varying from Appalachian State football, Hickory Crawdads and Carolina Hurricanes tickets to local restaurant gift cards and admission tickets to Dollywood and Tweetsie. 

“We’re trying to make this a community event, it’s not just entirely to benefit us,” said Shirley. 

“It should be fun for the whole community and the kids too.” 

Community organizations like the Humane Society, Fire Department, and Police Department will have booths at the event. 

“This is our first time around so we’re hoping that we can build on this and hopefully make it an annual fun thing for the community to be excited about and come out to,” said Shirley. 

Originally Posted Here

Friday, April 4, 2014

North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives Kick off 20th Year of Bright Ideas Grants

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 11:05:00 am

North Carolina's electric cooperatives are kicking off the 20th year of awarding Bright Ideas education grants to North Carolina teachers and are now accepting grant applications. Nearly $600,000 in Bright Ideas grants will be awarded to educators statewide in the 2014-15 school year to fund creative, hands-on classroom projects that fall outside traditional school budgets. 

"North Carolina's electric cooperatives support the local communities they serve, and Bright Ideas grants are a substantial way for us to help teachers make a different for their students," said Lindsey Listrom, Bright Ideas coordinator for North Carolina's electric cooperatives. "These grants give teachers new resources to invigorate and excite their students, and we believe there is no more important investment than in the education of our future leaders."

Bright Ideas grants are available to K-12 teachers for innovative projects in any subject. Educators can apply individually or as a team by submitting a simple online application. Maximum grant amounts range from $1,000 - $3,000, depending on the sponsoring electric cooperative's policy.

Applications are accepted April 1 through September, with the final application deadline date varying regionally. Listrom noted it could pay to apply early. Teachers who submit their applications by the early bird deadline of Friday, Aug. 15 will be automatically entered to win one of five $100 Visa gift cards.

To apply, teachers must include a budget, explain the creative elements, implementation, goals and evaluation of the project, and have approval from the school principal. Applications will be judged in a competitive evaluation process, and judges will be on the lookout for projects that feature innovation and creativity. 

"Year after year, we are amazed by the creativity and dedication that teachers put into their applications," Listrom said. "We're proud to continue the co-ops' long tradition of supporting educators and investing in the future of our state."

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Winners of Video Contest to be Announced at Event

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 10:30:00 am

The winners of the fourth annual Preventing Distracted Driving Video Contest will be announced April 7 at a red carpet event beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Newton-Conover Middle School Auditorium, 873 Northern Drive, NW, Conover.

The annual contest is sponsored by the Preventing Distracted Driving Committee and the Catawba County Youth Council. High school students from throughout the county were invited to create 60-second videos addressing the dangers of distracted driving. Individuals or teams of no more than five students could submit videos. This year, approximately 200 students participated, creating 14 videos. The videos were judged by the Preventing Distracted Driving Committee.

All videos will be shown during the awards ceremony. The video judged best by the committee will receive the First Place Video Award. The team winning this prize will receive a limo ride and lunch at the Olive Garden, plus $500 for their school.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

High School Students Kick Butts

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 9:05:00 am

Students from Carrboro High, Chapel Hill High and East Chapel Hill High got together on a Saturday to take part in Kick Butts Day and other activities at their schools to encourage their peers to not use tobacco products. All of the students are members of their school’s Tobacco Reality Unfiltered clubs.

The events were part a series of collaborative events between the Orange County Health Department and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools that advocated against tobacco use.

The official Kick Butts Day was March 19 but the students cleaned up butts March 15. They cleaned up thousands and were part of a smoking response team outreach event along Franklin Street in Chapel Hill into Main Street in Carrboro.

Kick Butts Day is observed nationally as a day of activism that empowers young people to “stand out, speak up, and seize control against the tobacco industry.”

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Schools Hold Campaign to Prevent Use of ‘R-word’

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 1:40:00 pm

Ashe County Schools began to “Spread the Word to End the Word” in 2009, as a way to bring light to the county’s exceptional children and encourage people worldwide to stop using the word “retard(ed).”

“We wanted to raise awareness, but it was more than that,” said Kassee Roberts, a teacher at Ashe County High School. “We wanted to shed light on the fact that (exceptional children) are just the same as all of us.”

Roberts said this is the first year Ashe County High School took part in the campaign. Initially, the plan was to promote the event solely at the high school, but as word quickly spread, the rest of the schools in the county, as well as local businesses got involved.

“It brings tears to my eyes,” she said. “We had planned to start (the campaign) small, but it has turned into so much more.”

According to the R-word campaign, organized by the Special Olympics and Best Buddies programs, the “campaign asks people to pledge to stop saying the ‘R-word’ as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rosman Students Recently Celebrate Teen Tech Week

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 11:20:00 am

Teen Tech Week is held annually the second week of March and local teens tuned in at the library as Rosman Middle and High Schools to celebrate.

They joined thousands of other libraries and schools across the country who were celebrating this year's theme "DIY @ your library" to raise awareness about how Rosman Middle and High School creates a space to extend teens' learning beyond the classroom where they can explore, create and share content.

Teen Tech Week is a national initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure that teens are competent and ethical users of technology, especially the types offered through libraries. Teen Tech Week encourages teens to take advantage of the technology at libraries for education and recreation, and to recognize that librarians are qualified, trusted professionals who can help them achieve greater digital literacy.  

"Getting teens into libraries is essential," said School Librarian Sarah Justice. "Offering gaming, access to computers, and online help is important, and letting them know that we can help educate them on how to use these resources will get them in the door. Once they're in the door, we can show teens that with technology at the library, anything is possible."

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Panther Creek SMART Lunch Credited with Higher Graduation Rates

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 12:25:00 pm

Kyano Robinson, 10th grade, works with teacher Tracey Wooten.

Lunch is a very ordinary part of every high school student’s school day. But a lunchtime experiment at the county’s newest high school in Cary has led to extraordinary results — a 94.7 percent graduation rate.

SMART (Students Maximizing Achievement Relationships and Time) Lunch is the vision of Panther Creek High School Principal Rodney Nelson. Its effects, say students, teachers and administrators, are staggering.

The SMART lunch modifies the traditional lunch schedule so that every student and teacher in the school has a one-hour lunch period at the same time. Strict rules are in place regarding where students can and cannot eat. Part of the student population eats during the first 30 minutes while others are in SMART lunch. A bell rings after 30 minutes and they rotate.

Panther Creek High School boasts one of the highest graduation rates in Wake County at 94.7 percent. Students in every subgroup see success at Panther Creek High School, including students with limited English proficiency, African-American students, Latino students, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities, according to data released by the state.

During SMART lunch, students receive tutoring, participate in enrichment activities, make up tests, attend career conversations, meet with college admissions representatives, or participate in clubs and organizations. A schedule is posted of the subject areas holding SMART lunch programs each day of the week.

“If I were to name one thing that gets us those academic results, the achievement levels and the graduation rate, it's SMART lunch,” Nelson said.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Helping Teachers on Casual Friday

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 9:40:00 am

Workers across Lenoir County had the opportunity to have a "casual Friday" by participating in JEANS (Joint Effort for the Advancement of New ideas in Schools) Day.

JEANS Day served as an effort by the The Lenoir County Education Foundation to raise money for teachers to receive mini-grants.

Local businesses and schools were able to pay $5 per person to wear jeans at work for the day.

Wil Hardy said he and his employees at Hardy insurance were glad to participate.

"The grant money goes to some really good situations," he said. "A lot of times teachers pay for things out of their own pockets, so the mini-grants take some of that pressure away."

Laura Lee Sylvester president of the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce said she was pleased with the local business who participated.

"We are excited to come up with a new, easy way to raise funds," she said. "It's a program where individually it's very affordable because it's only $5. When you put that together collectively we can raise a lot of money. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village coming together to come together to raise the money needed to fund the mini-grant program."

Lenoir County Schools Public Information officer Patrick Holmes said the money means a great deal to the school system.

"The money raised comes to the schools as mini-grants for innovative teachers in our system," he said. "Teachers in the past have put those funds to good use by acquiring supplies and learning tools that they couldn't get otherwise."

Holmes said all 17 schools and the central office participated in the program.

Originally Posted Here

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bailey Musicians Earn Recognition

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 9:15:00 am

Student musicians from Bailey Middle School in Cornelius were recognized recently for outstanding performances at various events.

At the South Central District Music Performance Adjudication (MPA) event held at Wingate University on March 14, the Bailey seventh and eighth grade band performed three prepared pieces and one sight-read piece, earning “Superior” ratings, the highest ranking possible, from all four judges.

Prior to taking part in the MPA, The Bailey Middle School Jazz Band attended the Northwestern High School’s Jazz Discovery Festival in Rock Hill, S.C., earlier in March. The Jazz Band played for clinician Will Campbell and students also attended master classes and performances given by The Dave Pietro Group.

At the event in Rock Hill, Bailey Jazz Band students Caitlyn Haponik, Stephanie Kapit and James Shaul were honored for “Outstanding Musicianship.” Shaul also also earned recognition as “Outstanding Soloist” and received a $100 scholarship for being selected the “Best Overall Middle School Jazz Soloist.”

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Rocky River Apparel Development Students Win Top Honors at Fashion Event

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Monday, March 31, 2014 at 4:15:00 pm

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 8.26.10 PM

On February 22nd and March 1st, Rocky River High School’s Honors Apparel Development II Class won first and second place with a $600.00 prize for the best use of recyclable materials at The Recycle the Runway Event sponsored by Charlotte Solid Waste Services, Waste Reduction in Mecklenburg County, and MGR Youth Empowerment.

Students used any materials they wanted to as long as it was on the list of recyclables accepted in landfills.

Seventeen students from the class designed and created the four winning garments.  The winners were chosen based on entries that incorporated the largest amount of recyclable materials.


The Recycle the Runway Event offers an opportunity for high school students in public or private Mecklenburg County Schools to participate and showcase their design skills to create and exhibit outfits, stage decorations and award trophies from items found in a recycling or trash container.

Rocky River apparel teacher Carol Parrish knew this project was something her students could do.

“Since one of the objectives in the Honors Apparel Development II course has to do with taking an item and recycling it, I thought this was a great project to have the students think outside the box instead of using fabric they would use items out of the recycling bin,” she says.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Congressman Mark Meadows Visits Avery County Schools

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, March 28, 2014 at 4:00:00 pm

Congressman Mark Meadows of NC District 11 praised local educators and said Avery and surrounding counties are “ready for business” during a visit to Avery High School, Cranberry Middle and Freedom Trail Elementary on Wednesday, March 19. 

The tour started with a breakfast at Avery High sponsored by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. Rep. Josh Dobson, Sheriff Kevin Frye, Avery County commissioners and other community and nonprofit leaders were in attendance. ACHS teacher Amanda Bean’s culinary arts class prepared breakfast for more than 70 attendees. 

Following the meal, superintendent David Burleson introduced Meadows and presented him with an Avery Vikings baseball cap. Avery Chamber of Commerce director Susan Freeman also presented the congressman with a handcrafted pen. 

Superintendent Burleson said that the culinary arts program is just one example of practical education that ACHS offers.

“Instead of just getting a lot of knowledge, putting that knowledge to work. We have a very strong career and technical education program,” Burleson said.  

Meadows shared his thoughts on education, industry and the economy in Avery.

“When you start to look around at how blessed we are in terms of school systems and leadership, whether it be at the superintendent level or the school board level, we really have something to celebrate. Truly, the education we provide, not only to students at this high school, but extended to Mayland and other places, really sets us apart,” Meadows said.

Meadows thanked Avery ROTC for ushering guests to the breakfast and praised the organization for teaching service to others at a young age.

Meadows said that the High Country is “ready for business” and there is growing interest in Avery and surrounding counties.

“Because we’re a community that cares about others, they want to be a part of that in a corporate environment,” Meadows said. 

Originally Posted Here

Friday, March 28, 2014

Area Students Take Part in Youth Legislative Assembly

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, March 28, 2014 at 1:25:00 pm

The 44th annual Youth Legislative Assembly (YLA) was held in Raleigh March 21-23.

At the mock general assembly, North Carolina’s high school students met to draft bills, engaged in debate and voted on mock legislation; 214 students from 91 schools in 39 counties participated.

Sage Earnhardt, a junior at Trinity High School, was sponsored by N.C. Rep. Pat Hurley and represented Randolph County. In addition to meeting new friends, she worked on a committee about a bill with athletes and drug testing.

Among those presiding over the assembly was Brandon Paul, a senior at South Davidson High School.

Students followed actual procedures used by the N.C. General Assembly and participated in one of 10 committees before gathering for the general sessions. Among the issues debated were an act to prohibit North Carolina teens from eating while driving and an act to restrict the use of offshore drilling in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. A YLA final report will be sent to the governor, members of the General Assembly and other key state leaders.

Originally Posted Here

Friday, March 28, 2014

Student Raises $6.5k for Transplant Recipient

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, March 28, 2014 at 10:45:00 am

From left, Amanda Burton, Brandon Welborn and David Burton as Welborn presents a check of the proceeds for a charity run he organized to help offset medical costs incurred by David Burton, the recipient of a kidney transplant.

An Elkin High School student who organized a major 5K run in Elkin Municipal Park weeks ago presented proceeds from the race, a check of $6,540, to a local kidney transplant recipient.

The check presentation was made at the Elkin City Schools Board of Education meeting held on Monday night.

Brandon Welborn, a senior at Elkin High School, organized the charity run as part of a senior school project. About 250 runners showed up at the event, a whopping number that took race officials by surprise.

The race was dedicated to David Burton, 32, of Elkin, who received a kidney transplant on Dec. 12, 2013. Burton is married to Amanda Burton, 30, a teacher at Elkin Middle School and former teacher of Welborn.

“I did not know what I was going to do for the senior project. I then learned that the Burton family needed help for all of what they were going through…I am really honored for having the opportunity to do this event and to present this check,” said Welborn.

“I didn’t know Brandon,” said Burton. “My wife said that her former student wants to raise money for my transplant costs. I was impressed for a man to step up and do something like that.”

Burton then turned to Welborn and said, “Brandon I have no idea how I will be able to repay you for what you’ve done, but one day I will and I will forever be grateful.”

“He (Brandon) has really gone above and beyond what a student was asked to to. I have watched him since he was a sixth-grader,” Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe said to Elkin’s Board of Education members. “When people ask us as educators what we are most proud of, it’s of those men and women who do great things. Brandon Welborn has done that.”

Originally Posted Here

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Valley Seniors Earn Free 4-Year Education

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 4:55:00 pm

Five students from Halifax County received notice recently they won the prestigious Ethel W. Crawley Memorial Education Fund Scholarship, and thus a fully paid, four-year journey at the North Carolina college or university of their choice.

Winners this year are De’Andre Jacobs and Jessica Carter, both of Northwest Halifax High, Jessica Eason of Roanoke Valley Early College, ShaQuanda Williams of Weldon High School and John “Hart” Evans of Roanoke Rapids High School.

“There were more than 80 applicants for the Crawley scholarships this year,” said William S. Crews III, who manages the Crawley trust that furnishes the scholarship.

This four-year scholarship is open to Halifax County students who maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and other criteria. It was established by Ethel Crawley, a former school teacher.

“She just really believed in education and the arts,” Crews said. “She did an incredible, incredible thing (in establishing these scholarships).”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

East Burke Student Receives National Recognition

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 4:00:00 pm
Emily Shuford
The Burke County Public Schools Board of Education gathered at George Hildebrand Elementary School for a special meeting on Monday night to honor an East Burke High School student for her commitment to the community.
Emily Shuford, a freshman at EBHS, works diligently to serve her community in many ways and has dedicated countless hours of service to support a cause that’s dear to her heart. After her own diagnosis, Shuford began raising funds to support Kidney Disease awareness and research.
Because of her unyielding commitment to service, Shuford was recently selected to receive an engraved bronze medallion as a Distinguished Finalist in the 2014 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Justin Long, on behalf of Prudential Financial, presented the medallion to her at the school board meeting on Monday night.
Shuford’s largest project has been the “Princess with a Purpose” Pageant — an official preliminary pageant of the North Carolina Royalty System that encourages girls in the area to give back. Shuford and her family organized and directed the third annual PWAP pageant in November 2013 to support Rising Hope Farms — a faith-based charitable organization and equestrian facility that offers therapeutic riding.
After completing an application last fall, Shuford was chosen by state-level judges as a PSCA Distinguished Finalist for her outstanding volunteer work.
Based on the number of volunteer hours indicated on her application, she also qualified for the President’s Volunteer Service Award and received personal letters of recognition from many state and federal government officials, including President Barack Obama.
Shuford said she enjoys giving back to her community because she knows how important it is to help those in need.
“A lot of people don’t give back,” she said. “But everybody needs help.”
Despite the attention she has received lately from state and federal leaders, Shuford remains humble and appreciative that her work has inspired her peers to get involved.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Students Compete in Inaugural N.C. Cooking Competition

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 2:40:00 pm

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Eight high schools from around the state sent students to Durham on Monday to compete in the N.C. ProStart Invitational culinary category. The competition was sponsored by the N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation, Golden Corral, US Foods, among others, and also included a business management-focused competition that included eight teams.

All the students involved Monday are enrolled in ProStart classes. The national, two-year program teaches culinary and business skills to high school students.
Scholarship awards were available to the top three teams in each category. The winning teams will also travel to Minneapolis to compete in a national competition hosted by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

“It’s a lot of chaos, but it’s a lot of fun,” Beth Wilsey, a ProStart teacher at Northside High School in Jacksonville, said of the competition.

Students in her class were in their first year of the two-part culinary program, she said, which teaches knife skills and the procedure for butchering a chicken. For the competition, they were preparing pan-seared salmon over couscous, a spinach and strawberry salad, and lemon parfait.

The competition teaches good sanitation practices and teamwork, she said.

“I think it’s important for the kids; they learn time management skills, which is important in any field,” she said.

Barry Oxendine, a culinary teacher at Hoke County High School, said his students started preparing in January for the competition. They had to find a meal that they could make with only two butane burners in one hour. While he said the team went over their time limit, he said the presentation looked good.

“I think it went well,” he said. “I’m happy they finished.”

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

County Students Learn About Local Government

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 12:45:00 pm

Participants in Viz Transylvania celebrated and learned about local governance in Transylvania County at a program, designed with youth in mind on March 12.

The class of juniors from the county's local high schools began their day in City Council Chambers with an historical look at city/county government by Joe Moore, city manager.

They then participated in group rotations, learning about the services provided by the different governmental agencies fromArtie Wilson, county manager; everything you need to know about elections from Karen Brinson, director, Transylvania County Board of Elections; and an overview of partnerships in education, presented by Scott Elliott, assistant superintendent, and Glenda McCarson, dean, Blue Ridge Community College Transylvania Campus.

When Viz Transyl-vania was being created, input was gathered from students who might potentially participate in the program. The planners continued to hear the "What do you do?" question as pertains to the people who hold positions in local government. So, the final part of the morning program was just that. Mac Morrow talked about the roles of the mayor and Brevard City Council and Page Lemel did the same for the Transylvania County Board of Commissioners.

Learning about the county meant participating in a budgeting exercise. Three Viz members served as commissioners. The remainder of the class was divided into three groups of community members whose job was to advocate before the Board of Commissioners for either Arts/Culture & Recreation, Education or Mental Health/ Substance Abuse. This was a public hearing on the budget and they presented their positions and requested budget changes to support their "cause."

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Artists Visit Schools, Inspire Students

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 12:10:00 pm

Last week famed jazz and blues violinist Christian Howes visited Chapel Hill High’s orchestra class. Before 52 students he began a lesson on creativity in music.

“I focus around contemporary music styles and improvisation suing technology to bring the cool factor into string playing,” Howes said.

As he played Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” on his electric violin, the students tapped their feet or nodded their heads to the beat while some quietly lip synced the words.

“In sports you have winners and losers but in the arts, students are ranked by their ability, he said, “but when you introduce this aspect of creativity, it makes the point that any student as an artist can contribute.”

Howes’ arrived at CHHS after appearances in Apex and Raleigh that morning and as part of his nationwide educational tour, teaching improvisation and creativity to classical string musicians. Howes’ visit is a treat in its own right but even more so when monies for new instruments and arts supplies have been cut. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools arts coordinator Theresa Grywalski said that textbooks for the arts and instruments were last ordered in 2006.

“Over the 28 years I have been in the district, I have seen the N.C. Symphony program whittled down so small that only fourth-graders get to go to the symphony presently,” Grywalski said. “My music teachers wanted to build on the symphony experience and they asked the band/orchestra conductors at the high school if there was a willingness to perform for fifth-graders, to build on the symphony experience.”

Even though student interest in the arts remains steady, Grywalski said there is no reason to believe that previous funding levels will be restored.

“The textbook monies from Raleigh have been slashed and teachers are working with old instruments and little funding to replace,” she said. “This is a major cut. We have not yet figured out a way to fix this situation as money from Raleigh for text books will continue, I think, to dwindle.”

The role and impact of the arts is not new but its support in public schools fluctuates, particularly as emphasis continues to grow with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“The arts are important for everyone,” said Jacques d’Amboise. “If you get a child involved in it then they continue as adults and they pass it on to their children. The human race developed the arts to express … wonder, beauty and magic.”

An acclaimed acclaimed NYC Ballet principal dancer-choreographer, d’Amboise visited Northside Elementary last week for the school’s N.C. Arts In Action performance of “Coastal Carolina.”

NCAIA is a local affiliate of d’Amboise’s award-winning National Dance Institute program and works weekly with students to help use dance to build focus, self-esteem, teamwork and leadership skills. He was a special guest who took time to work with some students.

Thyra Hartshorn of Oregon worked with d’Amboise’s son, Christopher, when she was a stage manager for the San Francisco Ballet. Her sister, Tiki Gwynne, was one of the main organizers of the event. Hartshorn was at Northside to watch her niece perform.

“He is such a prominent figure in the ballet world,” she said. “It’s such a treat for a community like this to have someone of his stature work with students.”

“Everything is children,” d’Amboise said to the crowd. “And what’s our purpose as parents, adults and teachers? To make sure they have the best of everything. That’s what they deserve.

“Children have not dispelled belief,” he said. “They still have hope. They still have wonder. And most important, they’re our future.”

Story Originally Posted Here

Friday, March 21, 2014

High School Student Organizes 'Red for Ed' Rally

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, March 21, 2014 at 3:15:00 pm

A New Hanover County student is publicly advocating for a better public education system in North Carolina.

Paul Matney, a senior at New Hanover High School, organized a ‘Red for Ed' rally Wednesday afternoon. Close to 30 people showed up for the rally in front of City Hall in downtown Wilmington. The rally is part of his senior graduation project focusing on the importance of public education.

Matney said he wanted to host the rally in part because of his family ties to public education.

"Both my parents were teachers," Matney explained. "The voucher laws coming out and with education reform such a hot topic, I figured it was the perfect time to do something like this, and I really wanted to make a difference in something that counts right now."

Watching his parents, Matney said the topic of education has grown in importance to him personally. He hopes that more students grow to appreciate learning.

"Those are your future citizens, your future lawyers, businessman, council people; it's fundamental in society to have educated people, and I think that's why it's so important to me," Matney elaborated. "I'm hoping this ignites a chain reaction, and we've got people that will be starting even more rallies and encouraging local politicians to vote on laws that will help education instead of cutting it," Matney stated.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Teen Leadership Newton Program Concludes with Presentations

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, March 21, 2014 at 11:30:00 am

Water treatment methods and improved educational curricula were hot topics for students from Newton-Conover and Discovery high schools as they delivered presentations to the Newton City Council on how to address those issues. The presentations served as the culmination of the Teen Leadership Newton program.

Teen Leadership Newton is an annual five-week program aimed at developing future community leaders. Students are challenged to become the next generation of leaders by learning about the qualities and characteristics of effective leaders. They gain first-hand experience by meeting and holding discussions with governmental, business and non-profit leaders.

“Each year, we have a great time exploring the qualities of everyday leaders,” Newton City Manager Todd Clark said. “This partnership with the schools is a great way to introduce local teens to the leadership opportunities in and around Newton. We look forward to continuing the program with Newton-Conover City Schools.”

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Teen Drug Abuse on the Rise in NC, New Contest Aims to Help

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 2:50:00 pm

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper visited the East Wednesday, kicking off the Stop Rx Drug Abuse competition at North Pitt High School.

The competition is aimed at warning people about the dangers of prescription drug abuse - which he says kills 1,000 North Carolinians each year. This is the third year the Attorney General’s office and other various organizations are partnering together to sponsor the competition.

Any North Carolina high school student can participate in the competition by making a brief public service announcement video for teen prescription drug abuse. Applications can be submitted until April 15th. Rules for the competition can be found online on the Department of Justice’s website, and participants can also download an application.

Speakers at today's event included Cooper, a State Bureau of Investigation agent, and a mother who lost her 16-year-old daughter to a drug overdose in 2011.  

The location of the event was fitting, as North Pitt High School is where two students were rushed to the hospital last month after they were suspected to have overdosed on prescription pills. 

Originally Posted Here