Education briefs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 5, 2015

Piedmont Natural Gas and Charlotte Knights to offer scholarship program

Piedmont Natural Gas announced it has partnered with the Knights to present The Charlotte Knights STEM Scholarship Program.

Piedmont and the Knights will award three $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors from the Charlotte region who plan to attend college and pursue studies in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math. The scholarships will be presented during an on-field ceremony at BB&T Ballpark July 23.

“Supporting STEM education in our communities is a focus area for Piedmont Natural Gas, and America needs more students with strong STEM skills to remain competitive in the global economy,” said Timothy Greenhouse, managing director of community relations for Piedmont Natural Gas. “Piedmont is excited about partnering with the Charlotte Knights to expand the educational opportunities for some of our region’s brightest young scholars.”

High school seniors enrolled in the following counties are eligible to apply for the scholarship: Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan and Union counties in North Carolina; and Chester, Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina.

Interested students can find more information, including eligibility guidelines and application materials, by visiting Completed applications must be submitted by May 1 and can be emailed to or mailed to: Charlotte Knights, Annual Scholarship, 324 South Mint St., Charlotte, N.C. 28202.


Local dance teams collect awards

The North Rowan High School Dazzling Emeralds Dancers and the Salisbury Parks and Recreation Triple Threat Dance and Theater dancers won first place in every category they competed in at a Fever Productions Cheer and Dance Competition in York, South Carolina.

They were also awarded the overall dance champion award, scoring the highest amount of points in the entire dance portion of the competition.


Catawba student offers children a chance to put together a bird house during Friday Night Out

Children will have a chance to put together birdhouses for use in Catawba College’s Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve during two upcoming Friday Nights Out in Downtown Salisbury.

Thanks to the efforts of Catawba College senior Eli Wittum, these bird houses will be placed in the preserve and be mapped so the children who assemble them and their families can see the benefits of their efforts.

Colleen Smiley, another Catawba student and a National Wildlife Federation Fellow, will also be on hand for both Friday Night Out events, offering children a chance to make craft bird feeders for them to take home.

Wittum, an environmental science major, and his peers will be on hand between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. March 6 and April 3 in front of Downtown Catawba’s storefront at 100 W. Innes St. in the Plaza Building, Suite 103.

Wittum will have donated and pre-cut birdhouse materials available for interested children and their families to assemble. He will also provide literature to the children and families about the hazards of littering on birds of prey and renesting hatchlings.

While Wittum developed this stewardship project as a capstone to his academic coursework at the college, donations have made it possible. Lumber for the bird houses was donated by Shaver’s Wood Products of Cleveland and Dan Nicholas Park, while Lowes Home Improvement provided screws, nails and hinges.  Students at West Rowan High School volunteered to cut the lumber and pre-screw holes to allow for easy assembly of the birdhouses using only a screwdriver.

Wittum has also used some of the donated materials to assemble three Southern Flying Squirrel boxes and three Screech Owl boxes that will also be placed in the Ecological Preserve at Catawba and mapped.


WRSS Student News Team receives State Blue Ribbon

The North Carolina School Public Relations Association awarded a state blue ribbon to the Rowan-Salisbury School System for marketing the 2014-17 Strategic Plan.

The WRSS Student News Team, under the supervision of Director of Digital Innovation Andrew Smith and South Rowan High Assistant Principal Amie Williams, created a video that unveiled the new strategic plan, as well as the district’s new logo, motto, vision and mission. Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody presented the new strategic plan at a Rowan County Community Forum in May 2014. Since that time, the video has been shown throughout the district and community.

The award was presented to the WRSS team at the February regular meeting of the Board of Education.

This is the second consecutive year that the WRSS Student News Team was presented with a state blue ribbon for marketing. WRSS student members represent a student from each of the six traditional high schools and the early college high school.


Rachel’s Challenge coming to West Rowan Middle

West Rowan Middle School students will hear Rachel’s Challenge on March 12 during the school day.

Rachel’s Challenge is a movement inspired by the writings of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine school shootings in 1999. The organization was started by members of her family.

That evening, parents and members of the West Rowan community are invited to a community event that will feature the speaker from the school assemblies. The message will equip students and adults with information and resources to ensure that the school is a safe, caring and supportive learning environment.

The community event starts at 7 p.m. and is not recommended for children younger than sixth grade due to the subject matter.


Rowan-Salisbury E3 Customer Service Awards

Rowan-Salisbury employees may be nominated to receive the “E3 Customer Service Award” for achieving the extraordinary for student success. Below are the employees recognized for the month of February during the Celebrations portion of the Feb. 23 school board meeting: Yvonne Bostian, teacher at Corriher-Lipe Middle School; Sonya Mulkey, licensure in human resources; Becky Goddard, technology facilitator at Bostian Elementary School; Renee Cunningham, media coordinator at Knollwood Elementary School; and Cheryl Lange, media coordinator at Corriher-Lipe Middle School.


Salisbury Academy earns regional recognition in Mathcounts competition

Salisbury Academy’s Mathcounts team placed fifth in a recent regional competition, with one student earning a spot in the top five for the individual competition.

“I’m extremely proud of how the team competed. They worked very hard to prepare, and we saw excellent results,” said Mathcounts coach Margaret Hattaway, eighth grade math and Salisbury Academy technology facilitator.

The Mathcounts program engages middle school students of all ability and interest levels in fun, challenging math programs, in order to expand their academic and professional opportunities. The program shows students how math has meaning and value beyond the confines of the classroom.

The team, made up of Roshen Amin, Tom Bristol, Lila Harry and Katie Leckonby, earned fifth place in the regional Mathcounts competition.

Those four students along with Isabella Almazan, Caitlin Hattaway, Cheyenne Kober, Marshall Overcash, Nicholas Peltz and Patrick Smith also participated in the individual competition. Two students placed in the top 25 percent of individual competitors. Amin earned fourth place and Bristol earned 22nd place. Amin will advance to the 32nd Annual State Mathcounts Competition March 20 at the North Carolina School of Math and Science.


Salisbury Academy students compete in region and state-level science fairs

Salisbury Academy will send one student to the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair this month with another having earned a biotechnology award at the Region Six Science and Engineering Fair.

“Projects like this allow students to explore special interests as well as practice the methods and presentation skills required of all scientists,” said Katie Reefe, middle school science and math teacher. “There is still value in these opportunities even in a time when computers and engineering seem to be more popular because they emphasize fundamental inquiry that are the basis of all true scientific research.”

Eight Salisbury Academy students participated in the school-wide science fair, all qualifying for the Region Six Science and Engineering Fair held at UNC Charlotte in February. Students who competed included: Wade Robins and Jack Heilig, Alex Barr and Riley Peltz, Caroline Price and Caroline Colwell, Tom Bristol and Patrick Smith.

Fifth-grade student Tom Bristol earned second place for his project that determined the conductivity of metals and how far they can make a spark travel. Bristol has advanced to the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair to be held at Meredith College later this month.

Seventh-grade student Patrick Smith earned a biotechnology award for his project, Probiotic Cultures and Saccharomyce Cervecia in Agrobiology. This experiment looked at how probiotics inoculate soil.

“As a teacher, I will always encourage and support students who want to reach goals outside of the traditional curriculum,” Reefe said. “We are looking forward to continuing our participation as long as these opportunities are available.”


Crosby Scholars academy for sixth graders

The second academy for Crosby Scholars sixth-grade students will be held on Saturday, March 14, 1-4 p.m. in the Ketner Business Center at Catawba College. Students will attend workshops in team building and goal setting.  The final sixth-grade academy will be held on Saturday, March 21, 1-4 p.m. at Catawba College. All Crosby Scholars students are required to attend one academy per year. Students should register through their student portal at or call the office at 704-762-3512.


Urbanization and migration in North Carolina

North Carolina is experiencing profound demographic changes: our state’s growing population is increasingly diverse, we face looming impacts of population age, and there are widening disparities between urban and rural counties. These changes impact everything from school enrollment and voting behavior to health care, housing, and transportation.

At the next Catawba College Community Forum, Dr. Rebecca M. Tippett, director of Carolina Demography at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will provide an overview of past and future population trends in North Carolina, with specific attention to the greater Salisbury region.

Tippett is a summa cum laude graduate of Ohio State University, with master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology from Duke University.

Her areas of expertise include population estimates and forecasts, migration, and indicators of economic well-being. Tippett’s past work includes designing and implementing surveys for state agencies to meet federal reporting guidelines, forecasting population trends to determine the demand for new schools, and evaluating the success of different estimating methodologies for the U.S. Census Bureau. She writes and speaks frequently about the impact of demographic and social trends in North Carolina.

The next Catawba College Community Forum will be March 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Tom Smith Auditorium of Ralph W. Ketner Hall for some important insights into future population trends and the challenges they may present for North Carolina in general and the Salisbury area in particular. Admission, as always, is free.

Tthe weather-related cancellation of the February forum with Dr. Racelle Weiman and her presentation on “Women in the Holocaust” has been tentatively rescheduled for Oct. 20.  More specific information will be forthcoming in the fall.


Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizens

The Elizabeth Maxwell Steele Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has presented the 2014-15 Good Citizens Awards to high school seniors Katherine Wolfe, Melissa Lore, Carla Yost and Brianna Caraccio. These students have been chosen by their schools for exemplifying the qualities of a Good Citizen: dependability, service, leadership and patriotism.

Katherine “Katy” Wolfe, the daughter of Kris and Kristine Wolfe, is a student at Salisbury High School and plans to attend South Carolina University and major in pre-pharmacy with the intent on earning a doctor of pharmacy degree.

Wolfe is a student athlete with a number of academic and service recognitions. She’s also very involved in her church, and strives to lead by example as she promotes and uphold the values on which this country was founded.

Brianna Caraccio, the daughter of Frank and Jennifer Caraccio, is a student at North Hills Christian School and plans to attend Salem College to major in elementary or middle school education and participate in mission work.

She has been in the all county and honors chorus and is a member of North Hills’ volleyball team and a number of service organization. She also works at Patterson Farm on the weekend and tries to display patriotism in her everyday life by being a good citizen, abiding by the rules of the land and loving the country.

Carla Yost, the daughter of Jeff and Michelle Yost of Gold Hill, is a student at East Rowan High School and she plans to major in biochemistry after graduation to pursue a career in the medical field.

Yost is devoted to community service projects at school, church and other leadership organizations. She has also been honored by her peers, who named her “most friendly” in senior superlatives.

Melissa Lore, granddaughter of Joann and Jerry Romans, is a student at North Rowan High School. She plans attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and to become an elementary school teacher and eventually obtain a master’s degree.

She’s achieved a number of academic honors and is on several athletic teams, including varsity cheerleading and cross country. Lore is battalion commander of JROTC and JROTC color, tutors underclassmen and takes part in other community service activities.

Lore shows her patriotism through JROTC and community involvement. She also believes it is important to try to be a positive leader to peers, to lead in a way that will motivate them to achieve something greater than themselves.


Rowan-Cabarrus Community College partners with national HR association

CONCORD — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has partnered with the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management, to offer courses to help human relations professionals prepare for the society’s new competency-based certification.

Society for Human Resource Management announced in May 2014 that it was developing a new certification based on the Society for Human Resource Management Competency Model, which identifies eight behavioral competencies and one technical competency – human relations knowledge or human relations expertise – that human relations professionals need to advance their careers and improve the effectiveness in the workplace.

The first course will begin on March 7 and conclude April 25, just in time for the beginning of the May-July testing window.

The first exam for the new Society for Human Resource Management certification will take place in May 2015.

Society for Human Resource Management has always focused on making sure human relations professionals were seeking and attaining certification, and the Society for Human Resource Management certification preparation programs are designed to maximize success – both on the exam and in career development.

For more information on SHRM certifications, visit Further details about the spring test prep course may be found at, or by contacting Allison Kitfield at 704-216-3546.


Sacred Heart students travel the world vicariously through stuffed animals

Jennifer Dunn’s first-grade class at Sacred Heart Catholic School is really traveling with their reading, writing and geography lessons.

After reading and discussing “Oh, the places you’ll go!” by Dr. Seuss, her students packed up their favorite stuffed animals and sent them on a journey around the world.

As the stuffed animals travel to new places, recipients are to send a postcard or email and pictures back to the school to let the students know that their furry and fluffy friends are safe and sound.

Fluffy, a stuffed cat, visited Paris, France.

She helped the students learn history as she visited the Eiffel Tower and went to the top, the Lourve Museum, Notre-Dame de Paris, Pope Jean Paul II statue and Sacre-Coeur Basilica.

Fluffy’s first stop was “Musee du Lourve” where she saw the glass pyramid in the front of the museum. At Notre-Dame, she learned that Notre-Dame stands for “Our Lady” in English and was built for the Virgin Mary more than 800 years ago and took more than 100 years to build.

She also saw the new bronze statue of Pope Jean Paul II in the gardens there that was given “by the Russian people.” Finally, she visited Sacre-Coeur, which means “Sacred Heart” – a church on the highest hill in Paris built over 100 years ago.

If Paris, France wasn’t exciting enough for Dunn’s class, they also learned of Samy’s adventures in Spain.

While vacationing, Samy the bear sent students pictures of the Puente Nuevo Bridge in Ronda, Spain.

He also sent pictures of the Troglodyte cave homes outside of Gaudix, Spain. These cave houses are up in the hills and are in what they call the Troglodyte Quarter of the city. Hundreds of people still live in these cave houses, and British and American tourists have even bought them as holiday homes. This part of Spain is hot during the day but gets cooler at night. The cave houses were perfect for this climate as they kept cool during the day, but were warm at night.

Today, most of these cave houses are not what you would expect. Their owners are not living back in the Stone Age, carrying water and making fires from branches they collect in the woods. Instead, the Guadix cave houses have most of the modern conveniences of any 21st century house. You’ll see ones with marble floors, fully fitted kitchens and bathrooms, cable TV and Internet.