'Run Too Overcome' Saturday in Davidson
A community wide effort to generate financial support for — and raise awareness of — efforts to provide far-reaching educational opportunities for special needs students hits full stride this weekend in Davidson.
Hough players stage Honk-ing fun musical
A student production of Honk! the Musical will have a three-day run next weekend at Hough High School on Bailey Road in Cornelius. The Hough Drama and Music Department will team up for the production with shows set for Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 28-March 2. Nightly shows at the school theater will begin at 7. A Saturday matinee performance will begin at 2 p.m.
Honk! is a music-filled presentation of the story of the "ugly duckling." Suitable for all ages, the event features a fun-filled and entertaining frolic through the barnyard.
Tickets, available at the door, will be $8 for students and $10 for adults.
Hopewell JROTC tops in academics
The team representing the Army JROTC program at Hopewell High School in Huntersville claimed top honors in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools JROTC District Academic Bowl held last week.
The competition, featuring teams from 20 schools, was held Feb. 7 at the Marie G. Davis Military & Global Leadership Academy in Charlotte. Members of the victorious Hopewell squad were Janiece Davis, Mack Ranson, Tiffany Tran and team captain Savana Melton along with alternates Kenneth Tran and Evan McMellon. The academic team's instructor at Hopewell is Sgt. Maj. Cleveland Penn.
Hopewell's Army JROTC operation is led by Col. Mike Puckett with other leadership staff that includes Penn and 1st Sgt. Daniel Ferriero. The program is in its 11th year at Hopewell. The JROTC is open to students in every high school grade, from freshmen to seniors, and 234 student cadets take part in the overall program at Hopewell.
Cadets from various aspects of the program participate in competitions and events throughout the state and beyond during the school year, culminating with the Superintendent's Cup in April, which honors outstanding programs from throughout CMS.
O'Shea earns art education honors
A teacher from Hough High School in Cornelius has been selected as the 2013 Southeastern Region Secondary Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association.
Marjorie O'Shea, a language arts and ceramics instructor at Hough, will be presented the award at the NAEA National Convention March 7-10 in Fort Worth, Texas.
This award, determined through a peer review of nominations, honors the exemplary contributions, service and achievements of an outstanding NAEA member annually at the Regional level within their division.
"This award is being given to recognize excellence in professional accomplishment and service by a dedicated art educator," says NAEA President Robert Sabol. "Margie O'Shea exemplifies the highly qualified art educators active in education today: leaders, teachers, students, scholars and advocates who give their best to the profession."
NAEA is the professional association for art educators. Members include elementary, secondary, middle level and high school art teachers; university and college professors; education directors who oversee education in the country's fine art museums, administrators and supervisors who oversee art education in school districts, state departments of education, arts councils; and artists throughout the United States and many foreign countries.
Students display character, class
Two students from neighboring Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Huntersville were among 10 quarterly honorees for "doing the right thing" at school.
Bill Chen, a student at J.M. Alexander Middle School, and Jessie Morales, a student at Blythe Elementary, were saluted during the CMS "Do The Right Thing" ceremonies held at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.
Chen, a sixth grader, found $40 at the school and turned it in to school officials. The money wasn't claimed, but instead of keeping it after it was returned to him, Chen directed the funds to the school's on-going Habitat for Humanity campaign. Morales, a fifth grader, was recognized for volunteering to let an autistic student borrow his coat.
The Charlotte Fire Department and CMS coordinate the Do The Right Thing program, which salutes CMS students for acts displaying character and integrity.
Team seeks video hits in robot event
The deadline for robots to be "bagged and tagged" for the official 2013 FIRST Robotics competitive season was earlier this week, but the unofficial competition began ahead of time in the Harlem Shakes video competition sponsored by robot parts supplier AndyMark. Teams were asked to produce and post a creative video and the team with the most views by Tuesday, Feb. 26, will be declared the winner.
The FIRST Robotics Team 3196 from Pine Lake Prep in Mooresville is among those vying for the title.
The PLP team's video, which shows the importance of being creative as well as hard working, can be accessed on YouTube at www.youtu.be/xsn9ukKyULY. Last year, the PLP entry was a "dean's list" winner at the robotics competition's World Championship.
Nationals next for area artists
Representatives from local schools made strong showings in the regional Scholastic Art & Writing event. Three students from Hough High School and one from Lake Norman High earned regional Gold Keys and advanced to the national level of the annual art competition.
Keenan Bushinski, Brandon Jones and Graham Merrifield from Hough and Dana Herrault from Lake Norman each earned multiple citations at the regional level. Herrault was the most heralded of the region's young artists, earning Gold Key honors for her overall art portfolio and five individual awards for submitted drawings. Bushinski, Jones and Merrifield all earned honors in the photography category as well as individual honors for creations in various artistic mediums including ceramics, and film and animation.
Works by regional winners join other creations by students from across the country for national judging in New York. National winners will be announced next month.
Degrees, honors for WCU locals
Local residents were among the winter graduates and fall semester academic achievement honorees at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.
The WCU winter graduating class included 638 students, with 182 of the class earning honor-graduate status. The list of graduates includes Huntersville residents Wendy Lindsey, bachelor of science in nursing; Grayson Cesena, criminal justice; Scott Sharp, masters in human resources; Amy Bruining, master in education; and Gregory Vandetta, masters in project management. Kelsey Williams from Cornelius, psychology; and Mary Cozens from Davidson, a Cum Laude graduate in education; also completed their studies.
WCU graduates from Mooresville included Danielle Barkiewicz. education; Chandler Elliot, education; Savannah Hager, education; Brittney Malone, social work (Cum Laude); Lauren Moore, hospitality/tourism; Samuel Read, history; Bradon Rupinski, mathematics; Joshua Story, communication; and Ashley Strohmeyer, masters in public affairs.
Dean's List honors, for students earning at least a 3.5 grade point average out of a possible 4.0 while taking at least 12 credit hours, were presented to Mary Benson and Lee Sechrest of Cornelius, Mary Cozens of Davidson and Huntersville residents Austin Kopen, Gina Ricciardelli, Erika Swanger, Jessica Thiry, Ashley Todd, William Todd, Jonathan Williams, Kimberly Williams and Matthew Wronsky.
WCU graduates Barkiewicz, Elliot, Hager and Malone also earned Dean's List recognition along with fellow students from Mooresville Britney Besecker, Mikaela Bilohlavek, Brett Bowen, Sara Brandt, Melanie Burzlaff, Emma Castanho, Carl Drawdy, Victoria Giles, Brandt Hale, Abigail Hillson, William Khang, Dakota Parker, Daphne Pile, Kyle Smith and Mary Snodgrass.
Students salute LNC counselor
A counselor at Lake Norman Charter High School in Huntersville has earned praise from the young people she helps every day. Lucy Smith was recognized recently by the student body at LNC for outstanding efforts to help students gather information to make informed decisions about their future paths.
For three days last week, students at North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville were able to experience involvement in the national political process. In a mock election organized by the school’s NAACP Club, every student had the chance to weigh in on the presidential election. It was the latest example of at-school opportunities made possible by North Meck’s innovative club project.
Natiwya Saddler, a senior and president of the school’s NAACP chapter, says the club adopted the project as a way to encourage fellow students to learn more about the candidates and become more familiar with the voting process.
“We wanted to get students more involved and better informed about both candidates,” Saddler says, adding that club members created and displayed posters outlining each candidate’s platform. “We wanted students to take part and have the experience even though we’re not old enough to vote yet. We wanted everyone to have a voice.”
And giving everyone a voice and the chance to participate — whether in a mock election, a photography program or an ultimate Frisbee competition — is exactly why North Meck’s unique club program was established.
As Saddler and her fellow club officers — Olivia Freeman, vice president; Sabrina Moore, secretary/treasurer; and Sydney Neely, historian — organized ballots and urged students to take part in lunchtime voting, Principal Matthew Hayes outlined the only high school program in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools offering students the chance to take active roles in extracurricular social and community service activities during regular school hours.
“Involvement in these types of clubs and programs is important,” Hayes says, “but if a student has a transportation issue, a job, plays a sport or has other scheduling conflicts before or after school, they usually end up missing out. This lets every student take part. They get to choose what interests them and, as long as they are performing well in the classroom, they get to stay involved in their club.”
The club program at North Meck is the culmination of communication and cooperation between students, faculty members and the administration, and it all began when students jumped at the chance to — in Hayes’ words — “shift the culture here at North Meck.” In a search for 10 students to serve on the Principal’s Advisory Board, Hayes received nearly 100 applications. Hayes says administrators culled the list carefully, finishing with group interviews until finally settling on “22 outstanding, strong and focused ladies and gentlemen.”
The group proposed a list of clubs and every North Meck student had the chance to sign up. By tightening and tweaking schedules, administrators were able to set aside 50 minutes each Thursday and Friday morning as enrichment periods. During these segments of the regular school week, students who need help in particular subjects can get added instruction from teachers, while students in good standing in the classroom have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of club activities.
There are mentoring groups and a photography club, as well as a step club and various recreational groups that focus on basketball, Frisbee and even archery. There are between 15 and 20 clubs active now and discussions ongoing about establishing new clubs throughout the school year. And without trying to mask his own pride, Hayes says there are more than 50 students in the “Viking Pride” club who spend most of the enrichment time cleaning up and beautifying the school grounds.
“The ideas, the management of the clubs and the projects they tackle, it all belongs to the students,” Hayes says. “Faculty members and administrators help in any way we can, but the students are the leaders. The program is designed to let them experience their freedom as young adults and to not only give them a voice, but to give them a sense of ownership in the clubs and the school.”
Hayes adds that students who undergo regular faculty reviews to determine if classroom enrichment is needed are also pushing each other to maintain good standing in the classroom in order to stay involved in the clubs.
“The kids are motivating each other,” he says. “We’ve had students come to the teachers for help before they get too far behind because they don’t want to miss out on the clubs. They understand it’s their responsibility, it’s their club.”
To emphasize his point, Hayes references the four NAACP Club officers staffing the cafeteria voting booth.
“Those girls didn’t have a teacher to report to, they didn’t have anyone watching to see if they were late,” he says. “They are there because they know it’s their responsibility and something they want to do.”
In fact, while finishing up the mock election (no surprise a landslide victory for Barrack Obama) club members were already talking about future projects.
“This is just one of the things we’re doing,” Freeman says. “We’re going to sponsor a canned food drive to help local families and we’re hosting programs on domestic violence and driving awareness. We’ve got a lot of things planned.”
That active participation is exactly what North Meck students and faculty members envisioned when the at-school club program was created: students jumping at the chance to be involved, working with each other and doing whatever it takes to make sure their voices are heard.