Friday, December 28, 2012

Young Achiever shares news of recent success

This week, we get an update from Young Achiever Ashleigh Thornton.

Ashleigh, a senior business major at UNC Charlotte, created her own line of hair care products: NoireNaturals.

Seventeen Magazine recently selected Ashleigh as one of three winners in their “Make Your Own Money” young entrepreneur contest. As a result, Ashleigh was featured in the magazine’s November issue.

Recently, Ashleigh found out another bit of large news. She is one of 10 North Carolina high school and college student-teams selected as a finalist for N.C. State University's Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation. 

About 30 teams of high school and college students from across North Carolina submitted their innovative ideas. Students were chosen based on their community improvement ideas.

Finalists now have the challenge of producing videos explaining their ideas in more detail. The two winning teams will each receive a $5,000 grant to put their ideas into action. Chosen teams will be announced Feb. 11 at the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

National Geographic announces photo contest

Grab your camera and start shooting!

National Geographic Student Expeditions has announced its second annual National Geographic Student Photo Contest.

High school students are invited to submit a photo that conveys what exploration, discovery or adventure means to them. They must accompany their photo with a 100-word written description of the moment captured and why it was significant.

The grand prize is a summer 2013 London Photography Workshop, including roundtrip airfare and program tuition, valued at about $7,250.

The second- and third-place winners will receive gift certificates to the National Geographic Store for $250 and $100.

The contest is open to U.S. residents currently in grades 9-12. Submissions will be accepted until Jan. 15, 2013. A winner will be selected and notified via email by Feb. 8, 2013.

To submit a photo, visit

Friday, December 21, 2012

First grade student honors grandmother

Idlewild Elementary School student Elizabeth Stabler-Tarver is taking a stand against Type 1 diabetes.

Stabler-Tarver is a first-grader whose grandmother passed away from the disease, so now she is helping raise money for JDRF Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes.

The kids' walk helps promote awareness and generate funds for children with Type 1 diabetes.

So far, Elizabeth has raised $540. She collected donations from around the world, including from Iraq, Afghanistan, New York, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Collectively, Idlewild Elementary raised more than $1,000 for diabetes research.

For more information about JDRF, visit

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Put STEM classes into action

Those searching for an outdoor spring activity can look no farther. The third annual N.C. Gravity Games Soapbox Races opened registration for its April 13 event.

The races will be held at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Lenoir, and are open to middle and high school students across the state.

Using science, technology, engineering and math skills, students will design, build, and race soapbox cars. Google and Appalachian State University are sponsoring the event.

College students and community members also can participate in the electrical-powered racer category.

Quick facts:
What: The Third Annual N.C. Gravity Games
Who: Middle school, high school and college students, business leaders, ASU representatives, N.C.-based Googlers and community members.
Where: Lenoir.
When: April 13, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.
Time: 8:30 a.m.
The registration deadline is March 15. Space is limited so those interested should register at

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rockin' out for a cause

Several local kids jammed out recently for a standing-room-only crowd to raise money for charity  No Stomach for Cancer.

The band, called Wacko, is made up of Owen Buettner, a sixth grader at Bradley Middle School; William Buettner, an eighth grader at Bradley Middle; Dane Chelcun, a seventh grader at Pine Lake Prep; Aidan Walsh, a third grader at Park View Elementary; and Collin Walsh, a sixth grader at East Mooresville Intermediate.

In October, the group played an hour set of rock and roll hits at the Charles Mack Citizens Center in downtown Mooresville, to raise money for the charity. They collected more than $600 for the stomach cancer cause.

Wacko has been playing regional shows for about two years. Michael Walsh said the band placed second at the Denver Fireworks Festival Battle of the Bands contest this summer. And on Nov. 3, the group hosted another benefit show for No Stomach for Cancer, at Pine Lake Prep.

Photo: William Buettner plays bass (left), Dane Chelcun on guitar, Owen Buettner on guitar, Aidan Walsh plays drums, and Collin Walsh sings. Photo courtesy of Michael Walsh.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Senior distributes epilepsy information

Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology student Morgana Shorter spent the month of November promoting epilepsy awareness.

Shorter, a senior and three-sport varsity athlete, enlisted the help of friends to educate students about epilepsy. Morgana wanted to learn more about the brain disorder after one of her family members was diagnosed with the disease last year.

So she provided her peers with basic information one needs if they see someone having a seizure. She distributed an epilepsy awareness packet to teachers and staff at Berry, and she also spent her lunch hours handing out flyers and talking to students.

Here are Morgana's tips:
* Place a person having a seizure on his or her side.
* Prevent her or him from hitting his or her head.
* Do not force anything between her or his teeth.
* Do not hold her or him down.
* After the seizure, speak calmly to the person, explaining what happened.

Photo: Morgana Shorter speaks to one of her peers about epilepsy. Photo courtesy of Deb McLean.

Friday, December 7, 2012

New student enrollment deadline is today for CMA

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' new student enrollment deadline is today. 

To participate in the first student-assignment lottery in the spring, students must enroll by Dec. 7. Parents are required to enroll children: 1.Who are entering pre-kindergarten in 2013-2014. 2. Children starting kindergarten in 2013-2014 and did not attend a CMS pre-kindergarten program. 3. Older students who will be new to CMS.

Students entering kindergarten must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 31, 2013. To enter pre-kindergarten, students must be 4 years old on or before Aug. 31, 2013.

In order to enroll in CMS, families must provide three documents to show proof of residency. These include: A copy of a lease or a record of the most recent mortgage statement; a utility bill dated within the past 30 days; and a valid driver’s license or vehicle tax bill.

Families who plan to send their child to home school do not have to register by Dec. 7, but are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible.

For more information on the new student enrollment deadline, click here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Observer's Holiday Card Contest deadline extended

Grab the glitter and glue and get ready for the Observer’s 11th annual Holiday Card Contest. We invite children ages 4-17 to enter original artwork reflecting the holidays. Seven winners will see their work published on the front page of the Observer.

Who’s eligible? There are four age categories: 4-7; 8-11; 12-14; 15-17.

When is it due? Online entry deadline: midnight, Dec. 7. Mailed entries must be postmarked or dropped off in the lobby of the Observer, 600 S. Tryon St., by Dec. 3.

How do I do it? Entries should be about 6 inches by 6 inches, using any medium. For online entries, click on the link below to upload and enter the necessary information. For mailed entries: On the back of each card, write: your name, age, mailing address with ZIP code, school, daytime phone number and parents’ names. Please type or print legibly. Include a photo of yourself suitable for publication.

Holiday Card Contest
The Charlotte Observer
P.O. Box 30308 Charlotte, NC 28230

The fine print: One entry per person. Only winners will be contacted by the Observer. Entries cannot be returned. Children of Observer employees are not eligible to enter.

How do I upload the card? It's simple. Click here to go to the submission page. Your entry won't automatically go online. It will be reviewed by an editor, and then will join the online slideshow.

Card pictured: 2010 entry by Davis Frazier, of Waxhaw.