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Mecklenburg County trustees convene
SoVaNow.com / October 17, 2012Project-based learning was touted by Mecklenburg County Superintendent of Schools James Thornton as he briefed trustees on the results of his strategic planning meetings with parents, business leaders and school personnel.
Thornton, speaking at Monday’s Mecklenburg County School Board meeting, said students at every level wanted “hands-on student centered learning” in a state of the art facility.
Summarizing the academic programs described by the parents, teachers, and business community, Thornton said they want students who are “Academically proficient — college and workforce ready — globally aware, independent, responsible learners and citizens — critical and creative thinkers and problem solvers.” He said they also stressed the need for students to be computer/technology proficient upon graduation.
In short, Thornton made a case for expanding the project-based learning program to all grades, not just grade 6.
One area of concern Thornton did not address was that of students who come to school hungry. Before the School Board meeting, Thornton had large note sheets hung around the room reflecting the thoughts of those who participated in the strategic planning meetings. Several sheets contained concerns about the number of students in Mecklenburg County who are not getting enough food at home.
Additionally, Thornton agreed to look into a concern raised by student Kevin Murphy, who serves as the Bluestone High School liaison to the School Board. Murphy expressed frustration that some of the new computer-based learning programs, such as My Big Campus, are being incorporated into the lessons before students are trained to use these programs.
In other business, Trustees authorized Thornton to seek an additional $150,000 appropriation from the Board of Supervisors to purchase a building and land adjacent to Chase City Elementary School and to pave additional parking lot space at South Hill, LaCrosse, Clarksville and Chase City elementary schools.
Trustees Dale Sturdifen and Glenn Edwards both expressed concern with the sum being sought, believing the amount to be inadequate. Thornton felt the monies being sought was sufficient and added that because the schools recently returned $140,000 to the Supervisors, he believed the request should be granted.
Trustees viewed several presentations from various student groups. Their object was to show the importance of project based learning, collaborative learning, and the utilization of 21st century skills in the classroom.
Justin Roberts, Damir Hector, Josh Lloyd and Dymond Gordon from Bluestone Middle School performed a “rap” they wrote about integrity.
Park View Middle School’s Ladasaha Robertson shared her experience in learning of creating a world and then converting the map into a globe.
Edward Jones, Keely Downey, Chasitee Baskerville and Shophie Sherwood from Bluestone Middle School shared a literature lesson that ended with students creating a shadow box that summarized the story they read, instead of writing a traditional book report.
Finally, seniors from Park View High School studied the problem with childhood hunger and asked trustees and the audience to “assist those who are hungry, and find ways that you can help.” The students, as part of their learning experience, collected money for the Bread Box in South Hill and donated over 100 cans of food to the organization.
Christopher Emeka Nwaokocha of Park View High School and Kevin Murphy of Bluestone High School, the two student liaisons to the School Board, were named Seniors of the Month for their respective schools.
The Senior of the Month Program honors students who have made outstanding contributions to their school and/or community through their actions and the examples they set for others through acts of courage, determination, kindness and sacrifice. The students are nominated by staff members and are selected by the members of the Senior of the Month committee.
Nwaokocha is a Governor’s School student, a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. While in school, he is active in the Beta Club, DECA, Spanish Club, FBLA, Student Council, and is one of the starting running backs for the Park View Dragon football team. In addition to his many school activities, Nwaokocha volunteered with the booster league basketball and the Yellow Jacket football program and assisted the football team with cleaning up Centennial Park. This past summer, Nwaokocha helped Mecklenburg County Public Schools with their lawn care needs at South Hill Elementary, Park View Middle, and Park View High School and moved classrooms for teachers at Park View Middle School. He also is an active member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, where he is an altar server and lector.
After graduation , Nwaokocha plans to attend Duke University in its pre-med program. His goal is to attend medical school and specialize in orthopedics and complete a fellowship in sports medicine. His long term goal is to get a Master of Business Administration degree and become a hospital administrator.
Murphy, who has a GPA of 3.56, is a member of the varsity boys baseball and cross country teams. In his spare time, Murphy plays on the Tri-County Rockies, a traveling baseball team. This tournament team plays throughout North Carolina year round. He has a love for the sport and it allows him to interact with his friends.
Murphy is also a member of the Delayed Entry Program for the Marines and has physical training every Thursday. He also attends pool functions every second Saturday of the month in Danville for the Marines. Upon graduation Murphy will be attend Boot Camp in Paris Island, South Carolina, before beginning four years of active duty.
After completing active duty he will begin four years of reserve duty where he will attend college through the MECEP program in order to become an officer.
When asked about the influential people in his life, Murphy stated, “I look up to my father. He is a good man who is smart, works hard, understands me and treats me as an adult.” He is the son of Jimmy Collier of Buffalo Junction.
Students Devan Holloway and Daytwan Small were honored for their valor saving the life of their bus driver and other students. The driver unknowingly suffered a stroke while bringing the students to school on Sept. 24. Holloway and Small were able to stop the bus, oversee the safety of the driver and other students on the bus before help arrived.
Bus driver John Wayne Hendrick was also honored for his valor, keeping a cool head and avoiding what could have been a tragic accident involving a tractor trailer that nearly collided with a bus full of elementary school students.
Presenting a plaque to Hendrick, Assistant Superintendent for Education and Finance, John Keeler said, “His quick thinking and his clarity of thought in a pressure situation helped in preventing a bad event. After the event, [Hendrick] completed his run and safely unloaded the children at South Hill Elementary. Thanks to his help and the grace of God no one was injured.”
Finally, 13 Mecklenburg County students were honored for their winning entries in the 2012 Agri-Science competition held October 9, at the South Central Fairgrounds in Chase City. They were:
Elementary Division (Grades 3-5):
Honorable Mention: Erin Bailey (Lacrosse Elementary)
Third Place: Cameron Shook (South Hill Elementary)
Second Place: Catie Tuck (Clarksville Elementary)
First Place: Sarah Storm (Clarksville Elementary)
Division I (Grades 6-9)
Honorable Mention: Christopher Newcomb and Lewis “Bradley” Edmonds
(Bluestone Middle), and Haley Michael (Park View Middle)
Third Place: Meredith Clary (Park View Middle)
Second Place: Jasmine Aleman (Park View Middle)
First Place: Grace Eckler (Bluestone Middle)
Division II (Grades 10-12)
Third Place: Matthew Carter (Bluestone High)
Second Place: Summer Fink (Bluestone High)
First Place: Macey Mills (Bluestone High)
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