Friday, April 27, 2012

Give a penny, lend a hand

A little bit of change can add up.

Students at Davidson Elementary School found out that little bit of change can turn into $12,306.03, to be exact.

The elementary school helped raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients program, with proceeds going to help fund blood cancer research and aid patients.

The students at Davidson Elementary have participated in the program for five years and have collected about $25,000 total throughout the years.

But with this year’s drive total, Davidson Elementary raised the greatest amount of money collected by any elementary, middle, or high school in the state of North Carolina in the history of the Pennies for Patients program, according to the program.

To register your school in the Pennies for Patients program, visit

In the meantime:
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spanish skills earn Country Day junior national award

Each year, a select 12 students from across the nation are chosen to receive the Junior Travel Award.

Because of his achievement on the National Spanish Examination, Robert Vann, a junior at Charlotte Country Day School, has won the 2012 Junior Travel Award for his excellent demonstration of skills in the Spanish language.

The national award is valued at more than $3,000. A small group of students become eligible for it by earning a high score on the National Spanish Examination. Select students then submit samples of their written and oral work in Spanish to a selection committee.

As part of the award, Vann will travel to Mexico in July with the 11 other winners.

Photo: Robert Vann stands with his Charlotte Country Day School Spanish teacher, Paty Prieto. Photo courtesy of Lee-Anne Black.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Junior makes perfect score on SAT

Every year, college hopefuls sharpen their math and reading skills in preparation for the SAT - an exam that will test their college readiness.

In fact, close to 2 million high school students completed the exam in 2011, according to College Board.

Of those test-takers, 384 aced the exam with a perfect score of 2400.

Josh Mu, 16, a junior at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, is one of the elite to make a perfect score.

“This is my third time taking it,” Josh said. “I was quite happy.”

In preparation for the exam, Josh said he enrolled in Kaplan courses and studied often. On test day, Josh said he wasn't nervous about the exam, but he was worried about being able to see the test - he had to have his eyes dilated at the doctor that morning.

Luckily, he said, it didn't harm his scores.

And while he excelled in all aspects of the exam, he said the math portion of the test came easiest to him.

“It always seems logical and there is always an answer,” Josh said.

His advice to future test-takers: “Relax and hope for the best.”

Aside from doing well in school, Josh also stands out in the chess community. In March, Josh took first place in the North Carolina Scholastic Chess Championship. He then advanced to the National level competition held in Minneapolis in mid-April, where he tied for 18th place.

Photo: Josh Mu (left) won the 2012 N.C. State Scholastic Championship in March. Photo courtesy of Joyce Mu.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Free samples, door prizes at health fair

If you're looking for tips and tricks on how to stay active and healthy, the Ardrey Kell High health team may be able to provide a few solutions.

On a mission to increase health awareness in the community, the health team is hosting a Community Health Fair on Thursday.

The event will run from 5-8 p.m. and is located at Ardrey Kell High, 10220 Ardrey Kell Rd. It is free and open to the public.

More than 40 vendors will be present to give away free samples and door prizes. Vendors include TCBY, Extreme Pita, Power Performance Yoga, Susan G. Komen and Harris Teeter, among others.

For more information, contact Jennifer McVicker at or call 980-343-0860.

Photo: Todd Sumlin -

Friday, April 13, 2012

Stumped on our math question?

This week, we heard from a Young Achiever with a special gift of solving equations and excelling in math.

After all, Lloyd Liu scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT - as a seventh grader.

In the story, we challenged readers with a practice math question from Lloyd's MathCounts School Handbook.

We posed this question:
Q: If a set of seven positive integers has a mean of 5, what is the greatest possible integer in the set?
The answer: 29.

A few of you were stumped, so we went back to Lloyd's math teacher, Andria Sullivan for an explanation:

For seven positive integers to have a mean of 5, the sum of the integer must be 7*5=35. If one of the integers is to be as great as possible the other 6 would have to be the least possible meaning 1. Therefore 1+1+1+1+1+1+29=35. So, the greatest integer is 29.

Want to continue to test your math skills?
Here is another problem to keep you busy:

Q: Marika shoots a basketball until she makes 20 shots or until she has made 60 percent of her shots, whichever happens first. After she has made 10 of her first 20 shots, how many more shots in a row does she have to make to be finished?
See below for answer.

Question source: MATHCOUNTS School Handbook 2004-05.
Photo: Lloyd Liu, 13, a seventh grade student at Randolph Middle. Photo by Brittany Penland.
Question answer: 5.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sandwiches go a long way

Helping someone in need can be as simple as making a PB&J sandwich.

At least, that's the mission behind Lucia Wallace’s charity work. Lucia is a sixth grade student at Anami Montessori whose role in the classroom is “sandwich coordinator,” - a title she came up with on her own.

As the sandwich coordinator, Lucia plans and implements service project to benefit the Urban Ministry Center. In this case - making sandwiches to send to those in need at the center.

Her first project two years ago generated 100 sandwiches. That number quickly grew and Lucia started making about 300 sandwiches and serving drinks and cookies at the center.

Today, with the help of fifth grade classmate Emma Geis, Lucia is working to coordinate an effort to make 1,000 sandwiches for Urban Ministry Center. This project will involve the parents and all of the children at Anami Montessori.

To donate to Lucia's cause, call Anami Montessori at 704-556-0042.

Contact me:
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Photos: Courtesy of Betsy Scott.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Teen attorney shares goals

This week in Young Achievers, we learned about a group of teens who participate in Assistance League’s Mecklenburg County Teen Court - an alternative justice system for first-time youthful offenders, ages 10 to 15.

Youth offenders are granted a second chance when they admit guilt and agree to be tried and sentenced by teens in the teen court program. By successfully completing the teen court hearing and sentence requirements, the offender avoids a permanent criminal conviction for the crime committed.

Get to know an attorney:
Here, we learn more from teen attorney Tiffany Adams, 14, a sophomore at Davidson Day.

Q: How long have you been a part of teen court?
I have been participating in teencourt for about four or five years now, and have been an attorney for almost two years.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of teen court?
As a Teen Court attorney, the most challenging part of this program is that it tests your skills. Just like an actual attorney, you must be able to process information and react quickly, think on your feet, you must have good communication skills and be able to interact with people.

Q: How did you first become interested in the program?
My mom received a flyer in the mail about it and showed it to me, and I'd figured I would try it out. I was into the Law and Order-type shows back then, and I wanted to be able to go into a courtroom and see what it was like!

Q: What have you learned from the program?
I have learned so much, and still am! You learn the consequences of certain actions and you get to learn from the mistakes that the defendants have made, while helping them to do the same. It's a learning process for both the volunteers and the defendants. You learn from each other!

Q: Do you plan to pursue law?
I am definitely considering it, but I’m not positive. I’m considering something that has more to do with politics than actual criminal defense, but I don’t have a certain career path mapped out.

Q: How difficult is it to defend or prosecute students your age on the stand?
In the beginning, it is a little difficult - and honestly, a little scary when you have to go up in front of the courtroom because it's something that you aren't used to. However, after you get some experience all of that goes away, I don't even get nervous anymore!
There will be some difficult cases where the defendant isn't very remorseful, or there really isn't much for you to work with as an attorney. But if you look at the difficult parts of the case as a challenge and not focus on the negative, your overall performance in the courtroom will improve.

Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?
I love to have fun, so I laugh a lot. Whether it’s joking around with my fellow teen court attorneys, at school, or at home, I can always laugh at myself and always find something funny in a situation.

Q: Do you have a motto in life that you tend to live by?
"Do one thing every day that scares you." By Eleanor Roosevelt. I try to live by that quote. I try to take advantage of all the chances I have because I don't like to regret not doing something if I've had the opportunity to do it.

Q: How can other kids in the community be successful?
The easiest way to put it is to be involved. You can’t get anything done without getting yourself out there and getting involved with your community and school. You aren’t going to be successful in what you’re doing if you just sit back and watch.

Contact me:
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Charlotte OM teams travel to World Finals

Each year, hundreds of Odyssey of the Mind teams from across the globe compete for first place in the World Finals held in May.

In the 2011 tournament, more than 800 teams earned an invitation to the competition held in College Park, Maryland. And the 2012 tournament is just around the corner.

Multiple Charlotte-area Odyssey of the Mind teams competed in state finals March 31 at Wingate University and secured a spot in this year's World Finals competition May 23-26 at Iowa State University.

At the Odyssey of the Mind state finals, four teams from Myers Park High won their categories, plus one placing second, and all five advance to World Finals.

Three Unionville Elementary teams also advanced. Other area teams headed to Worlds by finishing first or second in their divisions are Beverly Woods Elementary, Carmel Middle, Charlotte Latin’s Division III team, Community House Middle, Lake Norman Charter, Lake Norman High, Mount Mourne IB, Sharon Elementary, Trinity Episcopal and Torrence Creek Elementary.

Best of luck to the teams as they travel to Iowa to represent their schools and Charlotte!

Photo: Fifth grade students from Trinity Episcopla, Heath Byrd, Amelia Faison, Shap McCoy, Malik McRae, Tate Pollock, Davis Ryan and Olivia Te Kolste, will represent Trinity in the tournament.The team, known as the "Odyssey Angels," is led by teacher and OM coach Monica Charlton.