Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hey teens, looking for volunteer opportunities?

Want to help others, but don't know where to start?

Simone Bernstein, a student at St. Bonaventure University, created a website a few years ago to help teenagers find local volunteer opportunities. It began in the St. Louis, Mo., area but the site's listings expanded nationally in 2012.

The website, Volunteen Nation, lists 42 volunteer opportunities available to teens within a 50-mile radius of The Charlotte Observer's ZIP code. Some listings accept volunteers as young as 10.

You can check it out at

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cannon School junior to sing at Carnegie Hall in honors choir

Jessica Abel, a junior at Cannon School in Concord, is one of the 300 students chosen to perform in this year's High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

She'll sing as an Alto 1 in an honors choir on Feb. 9. The choir will have rehearsed their performance in the two days before.

In a release, Morgan Smith, the program director, said the Series processes thousands of applications every year.

Jessica said in an email that she's very excited to sing in New York City. "Being selected to perform at Carnegie Hall is an absolute dream come true," she wrote.

She studies music at school and is a member of the Cannon Belles Women's A Capella. Jessica will also play the lead role of Beatrice in Cannon's upcoming production of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." The show runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Country Day junior has sights on bright lights

Mary English Moore, a junior at Charlotte Country Day, has released two music videos online and is getting ready to release another, called "Like a Dream."

Her other two songs, "At It Again," and "Make This Last," have more than 99,300  and 51,800 hits on YouTube, respectively.

Mary, who performs as Mary English, has been a part of Theatre Charlotte's Junior Cabaret, CPCC's "Aladdin" and N.C. Dance Theater's "The Nutcracker." She's also been in a couple of Children's Theatre productions and "Godspell" at Country Day.

At school, Mary, 16, is a big sister with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and part of the Aquilifers Club, which involves members, chosen by past volunteer work and GPA, volunteering at school events and with city agencies. She's also a Special Olympics volunteer and youth leader at Myers Park Presbyterian Church.

Watch "At It Again" here:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

McCrorey YMCA to host MLK Teen Summit

Looking for a way to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?

The McCrorey YMCA will host its second annual Martin Luther King Teen Summit Monday. Teens will discuss and learn about social justice, higher education, entrepreneurship and civic engagement.

The keynote speaker with be Chavis Gash from Dream Builders Communications, Inc. He will reflect on the turbulence of the 1960s and talk about the power of education, networking and choosing the right friends to make dreams come true today.

The event is free to attend and will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., after the 20th annual MLK Holiday Prayer Breakfast.

The McCrorey Family YMCA is at 3801 Beatties Ford Road in Charlotte.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Necklaces for Hugh McManaway show all ages can recycle

Drivers at the intersection of Providence and Queens Roads might have noticed Hugh McManaway donned some colorful accessories earlier this week.

Fourteen Myers Park United Methodist pre-school students (age 3) strung together dozens of applesauce bottle caps to give the well-known golden statue a bright necklace. They painted a poster propped atop his feet reading, "Children of Charlotte: You can recycle too!" 

"It's a great reminder to kids that they can recycle," said Carrie Day, one of the teachers of the class. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Teen radio program taking applications for third season

Teens have 10 days left to apply for "Turn It Up: Teen Radio Program."

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, in partnership with WFAE and Carolina's School of Broadcasting, invites students ages 12-18 to apply for the program's third season.

Students chosen will meet every Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. for Feb. 15 through June 12 with the goal of producing a 30-minute program each month. Students spend the first three Thursdays researching and interviewing, the the fourth creating the audio program.

Teens produce some of their audio at ImaginOn's studio, which has a sound booth and editing equipment.

To apply, visit Applications are due Jan. 26.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

South Meck students to have 60s-inspired fashion show at Bechtler

Courtesy of the Bechtler.
A group of South Mecklenburg High students are taking a retro fashion show --  with a modern twist -- uptown tonight. In their Apparel, Interior Design and Art classes, they've worked for the few past months to create fashion and interior design pieces inspired by the late 1960s.

They'll show it all off this Tuesday night at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art uptown, called "Modern Runway." The pieces will be a contemporary take on the style of the late '60s.

The theme stemmed from the museum's current exhibition, "Modernism in Changing Times: Works for 1968." To get an  idea of what the late 1960s were like, students studied the exhibition and events of 1968.

Doors open at 6 p.m. to view the interior design vignettes, and the catwalk begins at 6:30 p.m.

To reserve a spot (reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis), email with the full name of the person attending.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Gaston Day senior to debut plays in Spanish

Laura Gaddis, Mason Farmer, Nana Boateng and Nolan Dee
rehearse "La Cajita Azul." (Photo courtesy Holt Harris)
Porter Yelton, a senior at Gaston Day, said he was inspired last year to produce his own one-act plays in Spanish after watching a similar performance at Providence Day.

He spent two weeks last summer writing them, which he's titled "La Cajita Azul" (The Little Blue Box) and "Estudiantes Atrapados" (Trapped Students).

Gaston Day students (who have had at least two years of Spanish instruction) will perform the plays at the school at 7 p.m. Jan. 18. The show is free, but any donations will be given to Latin American charities.

Porter, who has taken Spanish classes since the eighth grade, said he has worked to refine the plays' dialogues with the help of his Spanish teacher and a native-speaking student. There will be English subtitles displayed for non-Spanish speakers during both acts.

"It is my hope that my efforts (as well as the hard work of my cast members) will generate a unique enthusiasm for the Spanish language in the Gastonia area," Porter wrote in an email.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Calling middle- and high-school aged aspiring actors

Northwest School of the Arts will host a Young Actors' Symposium this weekend (Jan. 11 and 12).

Middle and high school students can sign up online for various workshops, which range in cost from $10-50. Money raised will go toward repairs for the school's LaBorde Theatre.

The workshops will be led by theater professionals and will cover several topics, including do's and don'ts of auditioning, how to make a demo reel and delivering monologues. Students attending can also get their head shots taken by Northwest student photographers.

Many sessions are also open to parents. Andy Lawler, the school's arts director, said if openings are still available, people can also register the day of the sessions. For more information, visit