Education briefs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2015

EnergyUnited seeks applicants for 2015 Rural Electric Youth Tour

EnergyUnited is now accepting applicants for the 2015 Rural Electric Youth Tour, where two local students will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The trip will be June 13-19.

Students who attend the Youth Tour will join 1,500 high school students from across the U.S. to learn about electric cooperatives, American history and the United States government. Students will also visit the historic sites of the nation’s capital.

Not only will this opportunity be a boost on the winning students’ college applications, but all 2015 Youth Tourists will also be eligible to apply for one of three annual scholarships. They include the Gwyn B. Price Youth Tour Scholarship, $2,500; the Katie Bunch Memorial Scholarship, $2,000, and the Youth Leadership Council Scholarship, $2,000.

Applicants must be current high school juniors and a resident of a county served by EnergyUnited, which includes: Alexander, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Stokes, Wilkes and Yadkin. Applicants do not have to receive electric service from EnergyUnited in order to win.

For more information on eligibility or to download an application, visit  The deadline to submit applications to the Youth Tour program is March 15 at 5 p.m.

If you have any questions, contact EnergyUnited at


Cannon upper school students explore interests through Winterm

Each upper school student at Cannon recently participated in Winterm, a week-long intensive course offering that promoted engagement and risk taking.

More than 40 courses were available for students, taught by faculty and staff. There was a great deal of community building, and students now enter the second term with a newly infused energy.

Offerings included a Habitat for Humanity trip to Sea Island, Woodworking and Set Construction, Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness, a Northeast College Tour, Digital Painting, Italy through Art and Architecture and Sewing for a Lifetime, in which students sewed blankets and burp cloths that were donated to the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital and the Cabarrus Women’s Center.


Sacred Heart Geography Bee

Eighth-grader Jason Matthews won the annual Sacred Heart Geography Bee, sponsored by National Geographic.

Matthews will now continue in the competition by taking a written national exam to see if he qualifies for the North Carolina state competition to be held March 27.

The champion from each state is invited to compete in the National Geographic Bee National Championship in Washington, D.C., May 11-13.

The following students are Sacred Heart’s Geography Bee classroom winners.

Fourth grade – Drew Hansen, Kyna Zaldivar, Dayanara Nunez

Fifth grade – Mabel Harrison, Will Webb

Sixth grade – John Coello, Katy Klein

Seventh grade – Cameron Pierson, Hannah Smith

Eighth grade – Caleb Fleeman, Jason Matthews


Hanford-Dole book club

The first-grade students at Hanford-Dole Elementary enjoyed a Ukrainian folktale, “The Mitten,” adapted and illustrated by author Jan Brett, in the school’s media center.

The guest reader was Jodi Rocco, local pre-school teacher and parent of one of Hanford-Dole’s first grade students. Rocco researched Ukrainian culture and folktales and shared with the students many interesting facts and examples that were in the illustrations of the book that she presented.

Rocco told the students her love of reading and she also brought an activity related to the book for all of the students to follow up with at home. Her enthusiasm in sharing the book kept all of the students spellbound.

Hanford-Dole’s Book Club is sponsored by grants from Target Stores, Schneider Electric and CIS-Rowan.

Fran Simpson, CIS site coordinator, did a parent presentation on reading and writing to the parents in attendance as a follow-up on the book that was read.


National Environmental Summit

Catawba College, in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Institute, will be hosting the National Environmental Summit for High School Students July 7-11.

The topic of the summit is “Redesigning Our Future.” Participants will explore the concept of environmental leadership through the perspectives of music, writing, philosophy, theater, history and science. Small group workshops will focus on creating a toolbox of leadership skills needed to create a sustainable world.

The summit is open to students who will be 14 to 17 years of age by the time of the summit.

The student portion of the 2015 summit tuition is $490, which covers most of the cost of meals and lodging for the five day, four night event.

Application for participation can be found by visiting Applications received before April 1 are subject to a discount. Financial assistance is available.


Catawba professor completes consultation project with Macmillan Publishers

Dr. Paul Baker, professor of mathematics and computer science at Catawba College, recently completed a six-month consultation project with Macmillan Publishers.

In conjunction with Stephen Kokoska’s new edition of “Introductory Statistics,” Baker developed an extensive question-and-answer data bank for each of the textbook’s 14 chapters. The questions and answers will be made available to professors who adopt the book and can be presented to students using PowerPoints as well as through the new “clicker” technology.

“My 40 years of teaching introductory statistics (33 of those years at Catawba College) greatly helped me in developing the data bank,” Baker said. “However, ensuring that italicization and other formatting features were consistent with the book was a new experience for me. Even more demanding were the requirements that the questions and explanations match the wording style of the book.”

“The project was more complex than I at first imagined. I learned a lot, and there’s satisfaction in knowing that the project will be used by students all over the country. There’s also a great sense of relief that the project is completed,” he added.


DCCC Small Business Center announces spring seminars

Davidson County Community College’s Small Business Center is offering a wide range of seminars this spring at locations in Davidson and Davie counties. The seminars are free to participants, unless otherwise specified.

“Our seminars and workshops help small businesses be successful, whether it is a new start-up or an opportunity to grow and expand for existing businesses,” says Martha Larson, director, Small Business Center at the college.

The following workshops will be offered at Davie Medical Center: Sales Workshop, parts one and two. Part one of the course will be Jan. 27, and part two will be Feb. 3. Both workshops will run from 8:30 until 10:30 a.m. There is a $15 charge for the two-part series.

For more seminar information or to register, visit the college’s website at


Catawba hires major gifts officer

The Catawba College Development Office has hired Erin Mezgar as a major gifts officer. Mezgar began Jan. 5 and reports to Rex Otey, vice president of development.

In announcing her appointment, Otey noted Mezgar’s eight years of relationship-building experience and knowledge of student and donor engagement.

Employed by Guilford College since 2012, she most recently served as the associate director of annual giving. In that role, she was responsible for annual fund events and engagement activities designed to meet membership goals, including webpage maintenance, direct mail and e-mail marketing plans, and implementation of social media strategies. Guilford’s Phonathon program, including recruiting, hiring and training of student-callers, was also among her work assignments.

Prior to joining Guilford College, she worked as a marketing and membership associate for three different spas in Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem.

Mezgar is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She served for a year at her alma mater as an undergraduate research assistant, helping to conduct a study of nonprofit organizations.