Stand Up 4 NC Public Schools

Friday, March 27, 2015

Career-Minded Students Take Part in Competition

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, March 27, 2015 at 3:35:00 pm

On Saturday, more than 100 students from across the Public Schools of Robeson County put their skills to the test during the district’s Battle of Careers. The second annual competition featured students from the school system’s seven high schools, as well as students from the Career Center’s Trade and Industrial classes.

After each of the 17 events, students were judged on the demonstration of applied skills taken directly from learned Career Technical Education curriculum. Two of the students in the Soldering Showdown were Matt Branch, a senior at Fairmont High School, and Joseph McCormick, a junior at South Robeson High School.

McCormick, who won first place, says he really enjoys working with soldering tools.

“I have seen my grandfather work with this equipment for years and it has inspired me to enjoy soldering and other things of that nature,” he said.

McCormick says that he hopes to attend the University of North Carolina when he graduates from high school.

Branch said that he decided to take the soldering class as part of his future career.

“I plan to pursue a two-year degree from Robeson Community College and continue my education at Lincoln Technical College in Lincoln, Tennessee,” Branch said.

Soldering was among a slate of events that included Landscape Design, Frame by Frame Animation, Creating A Brochure, Culinary Food Art, Toys That Teach, Recycle and Redesign, CPR/First Aid, Health Careers Display, Promotional Billboard Presentation, Life Savers, Network Design, Welding, Engine Repair & Design, Building Our Future, Computer Assembly and Diagnostic Testing, Photoshop Design, 3D Modeling, Electrical Wiring, and The Final Four of Masonry & Safety Guards.

Herman Locklear, the Career Technical Education director for the Public Schools of Robeson County, says he hopes the event sparks an interest in students to choose a career and not a job.

“The Battle of Careers is designed for students to showcase their performances of the different career areas they are being taught in,” Locklear said. “It illustrates potential workers for the future.”

Battle of Careers took place at the Southeastern Agricultural Pavilion in Lumberton, and parents and business leaders attended the free event to watch the students perform.

Originally posted on The Robinsonian


Friday, March 27, 2015

Student Scientists Vie For State, National Awards

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, March 27, 2015 at 11:15:00 am

Transylvania County Schools young scientists are taking their presentations on the road to earn prizes at regional events, and in March, they are traveling to state-and national-level science competitions. Starting in Wilmington on Monday, and heading to Raleigh and Durham for weekend events, these students are earnestly seeking invitations to prestigious national contests.

On March 23, TIME 4 Real Science students from Brevard High scored high again at the NC Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (NCJSHS) in Wilmington, N.C. This competition focuses on a specific area of students' research projects, the oral presentation and poster.

All first and second place winners at this event advanced to the NC Science and Engineering Fair (NCSEF) at Meredith College in Raleigh on Saturday, March 28.

According to Brevard High School teacher Jennifer Williams, the Science Fair is modeled after a poster session at a scientific meeting where students present their scientific research project. Most successful projects are accompanied by a scientific paper. Brevard's TIME 4 Real Science puts an emphasis on individual research and independent inquiry.

"Each year, top projects from NCSEF are selected to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair, the I-SWEEEP (International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering, and the Environment) Project) Olympiad and the Genius Olympiad," said Williams.

Read full article at The Transylvania Times


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jones Student is Named Award Recipient

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 3:20:00 pm

A Jones Intermediate School fifth grader’s shyness has become a reason to say “why not” instead of “why.”

School officials report Paxton Reece’s ability to push aside her qualms and step up to the plate has earned her the Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Award.

The $500 scholarship makes her the third student from the Mount Airy School district to receive the award, which also draws national attention to the student and school system. Paxton had to submit recommendation letters, an essay and demonstrate community service to be considered for the award.

Members of the North Carolina Association for the Gifted And Talented who nominated Paxton for the award indicated Paxton turns this willingness to seize opportunities into service to others.

Paxton said her willingness to take a risk stemmed from dancing with Dance Works Studio at age 4. In spite of her withdrawn reputation, she gave a firm yes when asked to do a solo part. Later, roles on stage in “Seussical,” and “Cinderella” at the Andy Griffith Playhouse followed.

She said she discovered her enthusiasm drew people to her and gave them confidence as well. Paxton has sought out leadership roles in the Jones student government, the Bear Den, the Leader In Me program’s lighthouse team and in organizing tutoring programs for fellow students.

“I like to help people,” said Paxton. “When they don’t know how to act I want to help them become a better person.” She explained that shyness has helped her to better understand the obstacles classmates may be facing and how they feel.

Teachers indicated Paxton has always been academically ahead of her grade level and her age, showing a maturity in being a leader for visible organizations and in spending extra hours at school helping teachers and working with small groups of students struggling in reading or math.

She was invited to Freedom School last year at Jones which focuses on helping low achieving children in grades K-4. This involved spending six weeks working as a tutor for five hours each school day. Paxton, an active member of the Mount Airy Girl Scouts, mentors Brownie troop members weekly.

Paxton said many of these scouts are third graders at Jones and have followed her example and are participating in student government and working hard to make good grades. She said she hopes to attend the University of North Carolina and become a pharmacist.

She indicated she has been able to help more at the school since her mother, Sally, was hired as a teacher which allows her to stay longer after school daily. Classmates and teachers also noted her use of humor to make her charges feel comfortable.

She said she hopes to continue on with her community service through her school career and on into university and be a “big sister” to younger children who can use her support and influence. Paxton plans on continuing her participation in programs including the Hungry Bears Backpack program, Adopt an Elderly Person for Christmas and the Hungry Bears Zumba-thon.

“Although leadership gifted-ness is not a tested entrance into the Academically and Intellectually Gifted (A.I.G.) program, Paxton exemplifies the qualities of leadership and service that will enable her to continue to make a contribution to her community,” wrote Curriculum Advancement Program Specialist Kathy Ratcliffe in one nomination letter for Paxton.

Originally posted on The Mount Airy News


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Students Teach About Drug Dangers

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 8:55:00 am

Surry County Schools Prescription Drug Abuse Student Taskforce member Abigail Martin talks with Pilot Mountain Elementary kindergarten students in Kim Bowman's class about how candy and prescription medications look similar. This is the fifth year task force members have planned and held events in schools. Students pictured are, from left, are Kylie Coke, Joshua Barr, Les Adams and Nada Elsharkany.

Surry County Schools are hoping to spark a culture change among local families to combat prescription drug abuse. This year marks the fifth year a student task force has planned and held programs shared in schools.

The task force’s efforts this year included training more than 18 middle and high school students to go into elementary schools and speak about prescription drug abuse. The group, which designates March as Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month, is up against grim statistics. Task force members have visited 32 kindergarten classrooms in 11 elementary schools over the past two weeks teaching how candy and medicines can look similar.

The effort is also a partnership with the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center’s Project Lazarus and local law enforcement agencies. Information was sent home in all elementary school folders which included county wide medication take-back locations and questions for parents to review with children.

Surry County ranks fourth in North Carolina for substance abuse related deaths with medication misuse ranking first among causes of accidental deaths in the state. This is the second year Pilot Mountain Middle School eighth grader Abby Key has participated. She said observing the impact of prescription drug abuse on friends and their families helped motivate her to participate in the effort.

“I love kindergarten kids and their energy and loudness,” said Key, who admitted she was surprised to learn of prescription drug abuse being a leading cause of so many deaths, particularly among children. “We had meetings and came up with our scripts and practiced presenting them. The second classes we’ve done today went better that the earlier ones. I was scared I’d say something wrong. Learning when you are young is so important.”

Key said she had originally considered being a teacher but is now looking at professions involving “very little kids or bigger kids.”

“My goal when I came on board (with Project Lazarus) was to get the news out in a multi-generational way,”said Project Lazarus Surry Coordinator Karen Eberdt. She explained the tattoos given participants and brochures will inspire parents to ask questions and begin important conversations about prescription drug abuse. She said this task has been made difficult by parents who are short on time because of work demands and unaware of the dangers.

Read full article on The Mount Airy News


Friday, March 20, 2015

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards 2015

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, March 20, 2015 at 12:10:00 pm

Local students recognized for their talents take home huge honors in the National 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Monday, the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists and Writers announced the winners. Charlotte area schools are included in the Mid-Carolina Region and won huge accolades. A total of 8 gold medals and 25 silver medals were awarded to area students - 19 of which were given to students at Charlotte Mecklenburg high schools.

This process started with more than 300,000 students, grades 7-12, submitting their artwork or written pieces for judging on the regional level. In February at Knights Theater, the Gold Key winners were announced.

The Gold Key winners were then entered in the national competition. The different national awards are; Gold, Silver, American Visions & Voices, Portfolio Silver with Distinction and Portfolio Gold Medals.

Any national attention is significant for these blossoming artists and writers, but these awards set the bar pretty high with some icons of the art world have won these honors over the years.

Artists like Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, and Steven King, were recognized in school by these same awards. It's been a long running tradition of celebrating excellence in art and writing since 1923.

Read full article on WBTV


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sugarloaf Elementary School Leadership Showcase is This Friday

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 12:45:00 pm

Sugarloaf Elementary students are inviting the media and local community to take a peek into their classrooms for the 2015 Sugarloaf Leadership Showcase – a series of student-led workshops explaining how leadership is incorporated into everyday learning at the school.

Principal Peggy Marshall said, “Every student will have a role either directly or indirectly in the showcase, from creating the invitations, to creating the artwork for the folders,” given to guests. Other students will serve as tour guides, or help create name tags and thank-you cards for visitors.

The second annual Leadership Showcase is a chance for students to demonstrate through speeches, projects and personal journals how they’ve embodied the leadership lessons taught through Steven Covey’s The Leader in Me program and its “7 Habits of Happy Kids.” 

Marshall said the students will share activities they perform in the school’s student interest clubs. “We have 34 clubs,” from sports and dance clubs to a stock market club and morning announcement team, Marshall said. “We’re trying to develop the whole child.”

“We’re also going to do a parade of nations,” representing the 15 different countries represented by Sugarloaf students, Marshall said. 

“Our students are so excited,” she said, adding that administrators and teachers from all over North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee will be attending the Leadership Showcase. “We’ve got several business partners in our county that are coming, too,” Marshall said. 

Originally posted on WHKP


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Technology Helping Guilford County Student Diagnosed with Leukemia keep up with classwork

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 3:40:00 pm

A Guilford County student is becoming more accustomed to using her tablet to access classroom assignments and messages from other students.

Lilli Hicks has been out of school since she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in December.

Lilli hopes to be able to keep up with her friends so she doesn’t fall behind a grade. GCS was able to work it out so she can keep her tablet at home in order to keep up with assignments and stay in touch with classmates.

The district was awarded millions in Race to the Top money for every middle school student to receive an Amplify tablet, and the technology is making it a bit easier for Lilli to do school work.

“What I like about having the tablets and this is for any student, is that videos can be sent of lectures, and notes can be sent from teachers,” explained Megan Putnam. She is the Personalized Learning Coordinator for Brown Summit Middle, where Lilli goes to school.

The tablets gave GCS students some problems last year, but Putnam says they’re working out well now. They’re learning new things every day.

Latin teacher Jessica Runtz said the EdModo program allows students to communicate with one another on a social network supervised by staff.

“So Lilli will post to update them that she’s going back into the hospital for another round of chemo, or she might post saying she’s getting out of the hospital. All the kids are quick to post back to her and send her encouraging notes, and tell her how much they miss her,” Runtz added

“I’d really like to see how that’s going to enhance Lilli’s experience and enhance to teacher experience so we can all learn from it and be role models for other districts and other schools,” Putnam concluded.

Originally posted on Fox 8


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Durham Seniors Receive Human Rights Award

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30:00 am

Two seniors were recently recognized at the city of Durham’s Human Relations Award Ceremony at the Hayti Heritage Center.

Durham School of the Arts senior Vernondo Garcia-Carroll and Middle College High School at Durham Tech senior Sary Lili Martinez received the Human Rights Youth Award, which recognizes individual or groups under 18 for demonstrating an understanding of and commitment to human relations in Durham.

The City of Durham’s human relations awards are sponsored by the Human Relations Commission and the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department Human Relations Division.

Vernondo is a participant in Student U and Durham Art Guild Mentoring, the EPA Climate Control Certification Program, the Environmental Science Summer Program at Duke University, Mars Outreach Program for North Carolina Students, Duke Robotics, the Duke Talent Identification Program and the N.C. State Design Camp.

He is a bass player for the DSA Jazz Band.

Sary came to Durham seven years ago from Honduras speaking no English.

She has since volunteered to provide bilingual services to connect and facilitate meetings between families and Durham Public Schools.

She also volunteers as a community advocate with the Enlaces program serving Latino DPS students.

Originally posted on the News & Observer


Monday, March 16, 2015

Student Puts Service at Forefront of Education

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Monday, March 16, 2015 at 4:00:00 pm


High school students have plenty to worry about with going to class, taking notes, doing homework, keeping up with reading and studying for tests. Add in 12 different school clubs and community service with various Lee County organizations, and you get Lee County High School senior Emanuel Cruz's schedule.

The clubs Cruz, 17, dedicates his time to are, among others, the Quiz Bowl team, Chess Club, Leo Club, Key Club, the Student Government Association, the Senior Committee, the SAGA Club, the National Honor Society, the Math Honor Society and the Student Advisory Council.

He also works with the Christian United Outreach Center and volunteers at various rest homes and hospices throughout Lee County.

It is this dedication to service that earned Cruz the first-ever Superintendent's Extra Effort Award from Dr. Andy Bryan.

"I wanted to take another opportunity to recognize people who do good things within our school district and make a difference," Bryan said of the award. "It can be a student, it can be an educator, it can be a community member. I just wanted to recognize people who support our schools and do good things here."

"I like to represent my school in a positive light," Cruz said Friday on his way to Chess Club. "I get to talk to a lot of different people through my service. With the Leo's Club, I get to work with the Sanford Lions Club and learn how to talk to and interact with people older than me."

"[Cruz] is a great kid," said LCHS Assistant Principal Frank Thompson Jr. "He's a great example of what clubs and other extracurricular activities can do for students. When students get involved in these sorts of things, they tend to be more involved in school as well."

While Cruz needed no recognition for his efforts to get involved and make Sanford a better place, he was overjoyed Bryan chose him for the Extra Effort Award.

"Being the first person to receive the award is a great honor," Cruz said. "I was just amazed that the superintendent chose me out of everyone to receive it."

Read full article on The Sanford Herald


Friday, March 13, 2015

Wendell & Zebulon Elementary Magnet Schools Nationally Recognized

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, March 13, 2015 at 3:30:00 pm

Two elementary schools in eastern Wake County have received national attention for their magnet programs, including Wendell Creative Arts and Science Magnet Elementary, which earned a place in the top tier of schools.

Magnet Schools of America recognized 23 schools in the Wake County Public School System with the Magnet Schools of Merit Awards. Wendell Elementary placed in the top category – “Magnet Schools of Excellence” – one of five schools in the county to earn the recognition.

Zebulon Gifted and Talented Magnet Elementary was recognized as one of 18 “Magnet Schools of Distinction.”

Wake County has 41 magnets and they have seen significant recognition by the national organization over the past four or five years. Magnet schools are public schools that often emphasize a themed curriculum like science or world languages and also focus on diversity and reducing pockets of poverty.

Zebulon Elementary received the “School of Excellence” award last year, and Wendell Elementary had been listed as a “School of Distinction” for the past two years. The latter award recognizes those schools which meet the basic rubric judged by a national panel of educators, while the highest award is given to schools with particularly admirable ways of meeting the rubric.

Read full article on the News & Observer