Education briefs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 11, 2014

“RENT” acting turns into action for Rowan Helping Ministries

In Catawba College and Lee Street Theatre’s recent collaborative production of “RENT,” acting turned into action when the performers who played homeless people solicited members of the audience for money.

The result, after seven offerings of the show, was a donation of $205 to Rowan Helping Ministries.

“RENT” highlights the importance of each individual within a community, just like the tent city that the characters of the play live in. The production honed in on the importance of community and seemed a perfect opportunity to do more than just entertain theater-goers, said co-director Justin Dionne, managing artistic director or Lee Street Theatre.

“Chris Zink (professor and chair of Catawba’s Theatre Arts Department) suggested we do this and designate Rowan Helping Ministries as the nonprofit recipient,” Dionne explained.  “Our audience did a lot more than play along – they gave generously – the result of a good idea and kind hearts combining is Rowan Helping Ministries will receive some much-needed funding.”

Dionne and Elizabeth Homan, an associate professor of theater at Catawba, co-directed the production of “RENT” that played three shows at Catawba’s Hedrick Little Theatre Nov. 13-15 and four shows at Lee Street theatre Nov. 20-22. The production’s cast included Catawba Theatre Arts students, Catawba alumni and community members.


West Rowan FFA

November was a busy month for the West Rowan chapter of FFA.

On Nov. 10, the group held its monthly meeting, which included a roping contest and a chili meal.

Josh Mcswain won the inexperienced division of the roping competition, and Noah Teeter won the experienced division.

During the month of November, the chapter collected canned food and nonperishable items to donate to Rowan Helping Ministries and held a competition between each class. A total of 554 items were collected and will be donated to Rowan Helping Ministries.

Several of West Rowan’s FFA members also participated in the Holiday Caravan Parade on Nov. 26, walking beside and riding on a decorative parade float showcasing local agricultural concepts by season.

A number of FFA members received recognitions during the month of November.

The FFA Member of the Month for November was Clint Euchner.

Several Career Development Event teams competed throughout the month.

The Land Judging team, consisting of Sam Kennedy, Matt Myers, Carson Gray and Wyatt Martin, placed first in the region.

The Senior Dairy Judging team, consisting of Sam Kennedy, Jonathan Luther, Breanna Estrada and Morgan Bullock, placed second out of 60 teams. Sam Kennedy was the seventh-highest individual out of 200, and Morgan Bullock was the 10th-highest individual.

The Junior Dairy Judging Team, consisting of Victoria Moore, Chloe Cox, Chloe Bolick, Macy Burleyson and Brittany Alexander, placed 10th out of 50 teams, with Victoria Moore placing 10th individually out of 158.

The Vet Science team, consisting of Tyler Myers, Morgan Bullock, Abby Martin and Natalie Winecoff, placed first in the region and first in the state.


Catawba English professor presents at conference

Dr. Aaron Butler, assistant professor of English at Catawba College, recently made a presentation and chaired a session at the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association Conference.  This was the organization’s 25th annual conference, and it took place November 6-8 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Butler’s paper was entitled “Shakespeare’s Law and Order,” and it examined the depiction of criminal justice issues in some of Shakespeare’s plays in contrast to contemporary crime dramas.

Butler also chaired a panel called “‘Twice-Told Tales:’ Re-imagining the Medieval and Early Modern in Postmodern Works.”  This panel examined films with connections to works such as “Hamlet” and “Paradise Lost,” as well as those based upon the legend of King Arthur.

Butler teaches various writing and literature courses at Catawba, including ones focused on Shakespeare’s dramatic works, and his students have had the opportunity to attend productions of plays at Catawba College and other places such as the Paul Green Theatre in Chapel Hill and the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia, home of the American Shakespeare Center.

In the spring semester, Butler will offer students in his Shakespeare and Tudor Drama class the chance to travel to Staunton to see plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The class will also be attending the Catawba College Theatre Department’s production of Shakespeare’s play “The Comedy of Errors,” which will be presented in Hedrick Little Theatre Feb. 24-28.


DCCC Davie Campus to provide industrial technology skills training

The Davie Campus of Davidson County Community College is responding to a need to provide a skilled workforce for new and expanding industries in Davie County by offering an industrial technology skills course for prospective employees beginning Feb. 2.

Students completing this introductory course will not only be prepared for employment, but will also be able to enter advanced manufacturing and apprenticeship programs at DCCC. Classes will include both face-to-face and online instruction.

The course introduces students to the repair and maintenance of electrical and mechanical systems as well as physical structures of commercial and industrial institutions. Topics covered include safety, PLC/sensors, drive systems, motor repair, hydraulics and pneumatics, basic welding and basic electricity.

Companies such as Ashley Furniture, Pro Refrigeration, Dunlop Tyres, Ingersoll Rand, Hampton Inn, Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Campus, Lee Jeans, Funder America, Avgol and CCP Global have all expanded or opened new facilities in Davie County over the past several years. All need employees with proven skills in industrial technology.

“Workforce development is high on the list of priorities for every site selection project we see,” says Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission.

For more information or to register for the Introduction to Industrial Technology course, contact Kim Smith, program director, Workforce and Continuing Education at DCCC, at 336-751-2885 or visit the Davie Campus at 1205 Salisbury Road in Mocksville.


Davidson County Community College students awarded Golden LEAF Scholarships

Eleven students from Davidson County Community College will receive scholarships through the Golden LEAF Scholarship program for the North Carolina Community College System.

The Golden LEAF Scholarship program, designed to help North Carolinians attend the state’s community colleges, is funded through a $750,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.

The scholarship can be used for tuition, books, fees, supplies, transportation and childcare related to attending classes during the 2014-15 academic year and industry-recognized credential testing expenses that address skill gaps upon course completion.

Students awarded scholarships from DCCC and their programs of study are Latoya Abel of Cooleemee, who is studying business administration; Christopher Brown of Mocksville, who is studying industrial maintenance; Christy Davis of Mocksville, who is studying practical nurse education; Mischael DeVault of Mocksville, who is studying criminal justice; La’Stella Gray of Cooleemee, who is studying business administration; Devin Lambeth of Advance, who is studying welding technology; Marty McEwen of Mocksville, who is studying industrial maintenance; Patricia Osborne of Mocksville, who is studying to be a nursing assistant; Ethan Page of Morganton, who is studying to be a nursing assistant; Pedro Villavicencio of Mocksville, who is studying to be a nursing assistant; and Krista Webb of Mocksville, who is studying accounting.


Sacred Heart’s bon voyage update 

One of Sacred Heart Catholic School’s first-grade classes is studying geography in a unique way.

Last week, each student sent out a stuffed animal that will travel the world. This week, the class received a letter from Kennedy Goodman’s stuffed animal, Koala Bear, that flew to Miami, Aruba and New York.


Professional development for teachers

The North Carolina Association of Educators, in partnership with Catawba College, will host a Regional Professional Learning Day on Feb. 28.  There will be sessions for classroom teachers, student NCAE members and beginning teachers, National Board Certification Candidate Support Institutes and leadership development.

Deadline to register for the event is Feb. 18. All sessions will provide participants with lunch, materials and a certificate noting a time-value of five contact hours, or 0.5 CEUs. To register and view full agendas, visit


DCCC Phi Theta Kappa card project to bring holiday cheer to veterans

The Davidson County Community College Tau Beta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa will bring a little cheer to a group of area veterans by delivering handmade holiday cards to the VA Medical Center in Salisbury.

The organization is encouraging students, faculty and staff to participate in the project by placing art supplies such as paper, markers, stickers, glue and glitter at locations around campus for use in creating holiday cards for the veterans. Their goal is 200 cards to distribute at the hospital.

The project has personal meaning for Darlene Trahan, vice president of service for Phi Theta Kappa, whose husband is a military veteran.

“We did something similar to this when we lived in Florida a few years ago, and I remember it meant a lot to the veterans and also touched a piece of my heart,” Trahan says. “I’m sure there are other members of our campus community who have family members who have served our country as well.”

Phi Theta Kappa members will personally deliver the cards to the veterans on Dec. 18 as they participate in a night of holiday cheer planned by the hospital.

“We’ll be singing Christmas carols and having a festive time with these wonderful men and women who have served our country well,” Trahan says. “It’s Phi Theta Kappa’s honor to do something for the veterans who have done so much for us, and the cards are just a little token of appreciation to let them know we’re thinking about them this holiday season.”