Friday, March 30, 2012

Victory Christian Middle wins science bowl

Each year, thousands of middle and high school students from across the nation compete for a chance at winning the U.S. Department of Energy's National Science Bowl.

And at this year's regional level, the Victory Christian Center Middle School science bowl team earned the winning title at the competition held at Discovery Place in late February.

Students on the VCCM team include: Caleb Brockman, Gabriel Moore, Mialique Daniel, Breanna Jenkins and Stevie Sweeney.

Victory Christian was among eight teams to compete at the regional competition. Their win secured them an all-expenses-paid trip to the national competition in Chevy Chase, Maryland April 26 through April 30.

There, they will compete against 115 middle and high school students at the national level.

The middle school level of the National Science Bowl began in 2002 and includes two types of competitions: academic math and science, and a model car race. The race helps provide students with a hands-on experience in the STEM field.

While competing, students challenge their skills of science and math and their understanding of global energy and environmental challenges.

Photo courtesy of Treva Farmer.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Last day to think big, submit ideas

All young inventors out there - today is the last day to enter brilliant ideas into the "Wouldn't It Be Cool If..." contest.

Youths ages 10 to 15 can enter the contest until today at 4 p.m., by submitting an invention idea and discussing how math and science can make their invention a possibility. Invention ideas have no limits and can be anything youth think can make their community better.

The "Wouldn't It Be Cool If..." national campaign is a contest hosted by Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds and FIRST, founded by artist Connect A Million Minds is TWC’s five-year, $100 million philanthropic initiative to get students excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Ideas can be submitted by individuals or teams of two or three. The public will then be invited to go online to vote for favorite inventions. Vote totals will be used as a judging criteria.

Finalists will move on to St. Louis in April, where they will present their ideas to judges as part of the FIRST Robotics Championship. From there, one winner will receive the grand prize of collaborating with Fahrenheit 212, one of the nation's pre-eminent innovating consulting firms.

The winner will work with Fahrenheit 212 for several months to help develop their winning idea and create a business model.

So start thinking and submit ideas online today by 4 p.m.!

Photo: Kaleah Walker and Donovan Walker discuss their group's invention idea. Diedra Laird -

Friday, March 23, 2012

Students get first-hand glimpse of hunger

In a few weeks, 83 eighth grade students at Saint Mark Catholic School will get a glimpse into what it means to be hungry.

Students will take part in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine to fight hunger on March 30.

Each year, thousands of students across the nation unite to participate in a 30-hour famine event. During the famine, students experience hunger first-hand and then work to raise funds so that others do not have to go hungry.

A portion of the funds raised by the students will go to help needy families in the United States. Last year, students at Saint Mark Catholic raised $11,000.

To support or donate to the students at Saint Mark Catholic and their initiative, visit their website. To create a World Vision 30 Hour Famine team at your school, click here.

Hunger Facts from World Vision:
- A child dies from hunger-related causes every 8 to 12 seconds. That equals about 11,000 children younger than 5, killed every day.
- Globally, 925 million people are hungry.

Photo: 2/27/2010 More than 100 teenagers participated in the 30-hour fast at St. John's Episcopal Church. They raised money to fight world hunger and funds went to World Vision. Laura-Chase McGehee.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CMS hosts Transition Fair for students, parents

Throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, there are about 500 middle and high school students with special needs.

These students are prepared and given the tools they may need to succeed after high school, but it can still be a challenging transition for parents and students.

But on Thursday, students and their parents will have the opportunity to come together for the 15th annual Transition Fair from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the East Mecklenburg High School cafeteria.

At the exhibit-style fair, there will be about 30 agencies, colleges and local businesses available to share resources and answer questions.

For more information about the Transition Fair, contact Laura Norris at 980-343-2632, or email

Friday, March 16, 2012

Charlotte goes green for St. Patrick's Day

It's that time again, time to celebrate one of the more recognized patron saints of Ireland - St. Patrick.

And this year, there's plenty to do if you're a kid. Families can start their St. Patrick's Day just before noon uptown on Saturday at the 16th annual Charlotte Goes Green Festival.

The day will kick off with a parade at 11 a.m. at Tryon and 9th street and will stretch south to Tryon St. and 3rd. Street.

Following the parade of shamrocks, leprechauns and bagpipers, youth can head over to the Kids Zone at 3rd Street, where rides and inflatables will be set up. There will also be balloon artists and hands-on crafts. For those a bit older, the festival will offer Eurobungy.

Below is a list of the day's entertainment schedule. In the meantime, do you know of any St.Patrick's Day events that you would like to share? Leave them here in a comment to let others know about more Irish fun!

Entertainment schedule:
12 p.m. – 12:20 p.m.
Rince Na’ Eireann Dance School

12:30 p.m. – 12:50 p.m.
Grandfather Mountain Pipe & Drums

1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Federal Clan Kings

1:45 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
Announce Parade winners

1:50 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
Walsh - Kelley School of Irish Dance

2:20 p.m. – 3:05 p.m.
Belfast Boys

3:10 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Rince Na’ Eireann Dance School

3:40 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Federal Clan Kings

4:35 p.m. – 4:55 p.m.
Walsh - Kelley School of Irish Dance

5:05 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Belfast Boys

Photo: Female members of the Charlotte Irish Dancers parade down Tryon Street as part of the St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 3, 2010. By Laura-Chase McGehee.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hickory Grove Christian alum wins honors for photography

Avery Thomas found her passion for photography when she attended a high school media conference with hundreds of other students.

Each year, high school students from across the state gather for the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association's Summer Institute at UNC Chapel Hill. There, the best-of-the-best are recognized for their work in the journalism field.

Today, Avery is a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill and she continues photography as a hobby. The Hickory Grove Christian School alum is also being honored by the Quill and Scroll International Honor Society for a national first place award in the academic photo division for high school journalists' yearbook competition.

Avery was one of 12 to win the national award and this is a first for Hickory Grove.
Avery Thomas’s winning photo captures student Coleman Devore in AP Chemistry. It was featured as the dominant photo for the Academics divider in the high school yearbook.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Young Achiever becomes a Buckeye

A few months ago, I came across a senior at Garinger High named Elexus White.

Elexus fills many molds. She's an employee, an athlete, a charitable giver, a homecoming queen and a journalist. But most importantly, she is focused on making a positive impact in her community and school.

“When I got (to Garinger), I needed to take charge. Garinger is not a school filled with hoodlums and criminals. We have smart kids who want to make a difference and go somewhere in life,” she told me.

And when I asked her what her goal was after high school, her answer was simple - she wanted to attend Ohio State. She was sitting in a school conference room with an Ohio State necklace draped around her neck when she first told me this.

She mentioned the blog she writes about Ohio's basketball star, Jared Sullinger, and all of the Ohio State memorabilia she has at home. And on homecoming night, she sat in the stands wearing a black and red leather Ohio State jacket over her purple gown.

I knew she was serious about this school.

The other day, I received a text message from Elexus saying she had received her long-awaited reply from Ohio State - she's officially a Buckeye.

Congratulations Elexus, we hope you continue to reach all of your goals and set the bar high for yourself!

To take another look at Elexus' story, visit Young Achievers.

Photo:Garinger High senior Elexus White (left) is caught off guard as her name is announced as the 2011 homecoming queen Sept. 30. Photo by Adam Jennings:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Teen lives out 'Racing Dreams'

Annabeth Barnes, 16, from Hiddenite, is a young race car driver with ambitions to make it in NASCAR.

In her short career, Annabeth Barnes has racked up 17 championship titles and has driven go-karts, Bandolero cars and limited late models. In 2011, Annabeth transitioned to late model stock cars and raced for the first time at Hickory Motor Speedway.

And she is no stranger to being in the spotlight. While racing at Hickory Kart Fest, a camera crew stopped Annabeth to ask her about racing. Annabeth was one of dozens filmed that day, but the only girl chosen to be featured in a documentary called “Racing Dreams,” executively produced by actor/wrestler Dwayne Johnson, “The Rock.”

Continue to read Young Achievers for the full-length story on Annabeth. And view "Racing Dreams" online through March 24.

Photo: Courtesy of

Friday, March 2, 2012

Teens 'geek out' during Teen Tech Week

Students and adults prepare to tap into their inner geek, as March 4 kicks off the sixth annual Teen Tech Week at Mecklenburg County libraries.

By participating in events and classes, teens across the country will be able to learn about their library's non-print resources. This year's theme: Geek Out @yourlibrary.

Here's how to get involved:

March 4-10
Teen Choice AwardsCast your vote for your favorite ways to enjoy movies, songs, music videos, video games and TV shows. Put your choices in the ballot box available in the teen area. There will be a raffle for prizes at the end of the week. Beatties Ford Road Library, Cornelius Library, Davidson Library,Scaleybark Library and Sugar Creek Library.

How Secure is Your Password?This event is held at North County Regional Library from 5 to 7 p.m. According to a November 2011 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, about one in three online teens reports sharing one of their passwords with a friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Compete against other teens to see who has the hardest password to break.

March 6-7
Science Library
This event is held at several locations. Celebrate Teen Tech Week by putting science skills to the test. Replicate complex structures quickly and efficiently by working in groups using the Neocube. Compete against other teens to see who will be the reigning science wizard.
West Boulevard Library:March 6 from 4-5 p.m.
University City Regional:March 6 from 6-7:30 p.m.Beatties Ford Road Regional Library:March 7 from 3-4:30 p.m.
Hickory Grove Library:March 7 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Mountain Island Library: March 7 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
South County Regional Library:March 7 from 6-7 p.m.

March 7
Our Stories
Event at ImaginOn on March 7 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Teen Tech Week partners with the Light Factory to help community members learn the art of taking conceptual portraits by exploring the self through a personal lens. Materials will be provided, but registration is requested.

March 8
Build a Computer
Event held at ImaginOn on March 8 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Design Tech partners with Tech Week to help teens building a desktop workstation. Supplies will be provided, but registration is requested.

March 10
Teen Tech Tutors
Event held at the Morrison Regional Library on March 10 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Adults and youth come together to learn about new technology.

To learn more about Teen Tech Week, visit or call 704-416-4660.