Education briefs: First graders at North Hills Christian School become archaeologists for a day

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2022

SALISBURY – Members of the first grade class of North Hills Christian School are learning how archaeologists uncover artifacts from history to learn more about ancient civilizations and how they lived.

During their activity, students dug through dirt to uncover items such as aluminum cans, books, VHS tapes, and putty. After they uncovered all of their items, students worked together to decipher what someone from the future would learn about first grade in 2022.

Students decided that the putty, books and movies would show someone from the future how students learn in school. An aluminum can would show them how food is stored. And a cell phone would show them how people communicate with friends and family.

“Students love when learning becomes real to them,” teacher Annette Gurley said. “We could have read about archeological digs and artifacts and how they teach us about ancient civilizations, but becoming active and ‘digging’ into our learning makes it so much more fun and exciting. They were made to think about what people could learn about our civilization by the artifacts they discovered. I love the fact that young children have such a passion to learn.”

The archaeology simulation engaged the minds of Gurley’s first grade class to ensure and encourage active learning in the community.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools educator nominated for National LifeChanger of the Year Award

SPENCER – Former North Rowan High School principal Meredith Williams has been nominated for the 2021-2022 National LifeChanger of the Year award.


Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, LifeChanger of the Year recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 educators and school district employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

Williams, who is a consultant for the school system now, was nominated by an anonymous colleague for her leadership throughout the district and community. When North Rowan High school was threatened by closure from the district because of low student numbers, Williams rebranded the culture and atmosphere, and the school was rebranded as the Center for Entrepreneurship and Design. It offers challenge-based learning and design classes, where students have gained skills such as empathy and the opportunity to work on communication and collaboration skills.

“Mrs. Williams is committed to a nurturing atmosphere with high moral and ethical standards. She promotes respect, empathy, collaboration, and effective listening as the cornerstone foundation of North Rowan High School,” Williams’ nominator said.

Each school year, LifeChanger of the Year receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Eighteen individual LifeChanger of the Year awards will be given
during the 2021-2022 school year.

• 1 Grand Prize Winner – will receive $10,000 to be shared with their school/district.

• 4 Grand Prize finalists – will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.
• 10 LifeChanger Award winners – will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school/district.
• 1 Spirit Award winner – This award is given to the nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for their nomination. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.
• 1 Capstone Award winner – This award is given to a nominee retiring at the end of the 2020-21 school year. The winner will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school or district.
• 1 Spotlight Award winner – This award is given to a nominee in a specific discipline each year. For 2021-22, the Spotlight Award will be given to a school nurse. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school or district. Winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals and will be announced in early 2022.

Nominees must be K-12 teachers or school district employees. To be considered for an award, nominees must make a positive impact in the lives of students, enhance their school or district’s atmosphere, culture and pride, demonstrate exemplary leadership at the school and/or district level, possess a proven record of professional excellence, show commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning, and adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards.

To view Meredith Williams’ LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, or to nominate someone from your school community, visit

Governor’s school gets a new western campus at Winston-Salem State University

RALEIGH – The western campus of the North Carolina Governor’s school will have a new home beginning this summer, moving from High Point University, where it was located for the last three years, to Winston-Salem State University.

The N.C. State Board of Education was updated on the new site for the selective residential summer program for gifted and talented rising high school juniors and seniors. The new campus represents a return of the Governor’s School to Winston-Salem, where it began at Salem College in 1963.

The move also marks the first time a Governor’s School campus has been located at one of the state’s public universities. Meredith College in Raleigh has hosted the eastern campus of the summer program since 2000.

NCDPI is currently reviewing more than 1,700 applications from upper high school students from across the state, with about 700 of the state’s most academically gifted and talented rising high school juniors and seniors to be selected for the 2022 session.

Local school superintendents, along with directors of charter and private schools initially nominate students to attend Governor’s School. The program is open to rising seniors, with exceptions made to include rising juniors in selected performing arts areas.

Each school system, charter school and private school is allotted a certain number of nominations based on its 10th and 11th grade populations. There are 10 specialization areas for nomination: English, Spanish, mathematics, natural sciences, social science, art, choral music, instrumental music, theater, and dance.

Faculty and staff of the Governor’s School include distinguished teachers and professionals from public and private schools, colleges and universities across the country. Others are independent artists and scholars.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College announces student impact grants

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College students recently got a chance to enjoy a free lunch and relaxation activities as they prepared to take final exams, thanks to a Student Impact Grant funded by the Rowan-Cabarrus Foundation.

The College’s Tutoring Center, Wellness Center, Student Life and Library partnered to provide “Exam Jam,” where students were offered food, tutoring assistance and exam review, arts and crafts, relaxation activities and a chance to win prizes.

Five Student Impact Grants have been approved for 2021-2022. The Rowan-Cabarrus Foundation awards the grants each year to employees who submit proposals for unique student support projects.

The following individuals were awarded by the college for this academic year.

• Deanna Dixon, Tutoring Center director, was awarded $1,000 for Exam Jam. In addition to lunch, de-stressing activities and tutoring opportunities, exam survival kits are distributed, containing tutoring resources, test preparation tips, and healthy snacks to support students as they prepare for the end of the semester.

• April Cosner, TRIO Student Support Services coordinator, was awarded $1,500 to coordinate assistance for TRIO students, who are first-generation, low-income and/or have a documented disability.

• Misty Moler, Student Support Services director, was awarded $500 for Project Stress Relief, which focuses on overall student well-being through events that teach strategies for minimizing stress and increasing self-care skills.

• Jennifer Board, Early College High School liaison, was awarded $700 for “Forming Ongoing Cobra Understanding and Support” nights for juniors and seniors at the Cabarrus Tech Early College High School. F.O.C.U.S. events invite students and their families for workshops and guest speakers on a variety of topics based on student needs, ranging from post-secondary and collegiate planning to supporting students in social and emotional development and learning.

• Laurie Robb, Instruction and Outreach librarian, was awarded $1,000 for “Connect to the Library” which includes engaging student programming focusing on various themes.

Over the past six years, the Rowan-Cabarrus Foundation has awarded 31 Student Impact Grants totaling nearly $30,000.