There’s still time to help Vance High have a yearbook for the ages

In January, we reported that a dedicated team of Vance High students and their advisor hoped to pull off the seemingly impossible – create A TRULY SPECIAL YEARBOOK: A yearbook spanning two years, since the pandemic wiped out last year’s yearbook. A yearbook created almost entirely online, since Vance students just returned to campus on March 15. And a yearbook every student can afford, even those with families struggling to pay bills. How are the yearbook students doing? The YEARBOOK TEAM has nearly finished the book, says their advisor, but more money is needed to provide low-cost books. YOU still have time to help these dedicated teens make their IMPOSSIBLE DREAM a reality. See details below on how you can help. Update from the yearbook team advisor Vikki Harmon, Vance’s first-year media coordinator and yearbook advisor, gives this report on the yearbook staff’s progress. “Face to face has been sort of a see-saw effect. Yes, we are excited to have scholars back in the building, but we are still very nervous about the virus and worried about our own families and kids. “It has also been challenging for teachers to teach via Zoom and in person, but we are pushing thru with the last 9 weeks starting on Monday. We can almost see the finish line for this year!” Dedicated yearbook staff nears the finish line “The yearbook staff is still trekking thru this unprecedented year, and I am extremely proud of my yearbook class! “As a new teacher at Vance, I’ve worked tirelessly to build relationships with my students and establish myself as a member of the Vance...
Some University City charter schools still taking applications

Some University City charter schools still taking applications

Some public charter schools in University City recently closed their application process for the fall 2021 school year. But there is still time to apply at several others, if you hurry! As of Feb. 22, 2020, the following charter schools in University City continue to take applications, according to their websites. Most schools will end their application process in the next few days or weeks, so contact the school immediately about applying if your child is interested in attending next fall. Mallard Creek STEM Academy Grades K-8 9142 Browne Road, 28269  980-288-4811 Pioneer Springs Community School Grades K-9 9300 Bob Beatty Road, 28269  704-494-0777 United Community School Grades K-8 1406 Suther Road, 28213  980-819-0555 Chartered schools – What they are, how to find the right one North Carolina has licensed hundreds of tax-funded charter schools in the last decade as a way to provide more choices in public education. Mecklenburg County alone now has 32 charter schools, including seven in University City. Schools must meet state standards but can focus on specific themes, such as outdoor learning, hands-on learning, science-focused learning and even learning in a structured quasi-military environment. Students must apply and be accepted to attend. That process typically includes a lottery, when the number of applicants exceeds the school’s capacity. Most schools accept applications from November to early February or later; lotteries typically take place shortly after the application deadline.   Learn more about NC charter schools For a general overview of chartered schools, visit the NC Department of Public Instruction’s Charter Schools website. The website offers a complete list of charter schools, both via an interactive...
These Vance High students are dreaming big – They need our help

These Vance High students are dreaming big – They need our help

Just about every part of the high school experience at Vance High has gone virtual or gone away since March 16, 2020, the day that COVID-19 shut the schoolhouse doors across North Carolina. Students haven’t returned to Vance High classrooms for 10 months and counting. In the year of Zoom, Facetime, virtual lessons and televised graduations, faculty member Vikki Harmon and her team of 21 students are determined to give Vance High teens one iconic and lasting memory of their time together, even while apart, even in the pandemic. Their passion? To publish an honest-to-goodness, paper-and-ink Zebulon B. Vance High School 2021 Yearbook. The book also will include a “flashback” section of last year, since the pandemic wiped out the 2020 yearbook, too. Their bold dream? To sell the yearbooks at a price that all students can afford, regardless of their family’s financial hardships due to the pandemic. Your challenge? To help make that dream come true. The biggest need by far is money, but there are other ways you can help, says Harmon, the yearbook advisor. With the book due to the printer on March 15, the yearbook staff needs plenty of support to get across the finish line. Learn more. Contact Vikki Harmon for details at vikki1.harmon@cms.k12.nc.us. Do it today, if possible. Every day counts, especially for our teens in this year of virtual living and...
Teens’ hopes fly high in NASA Challenge

Teens’ hopes fly high in NASA Challenge

The future of NASA exploration – or at least the dreams of several teenagers – recently flew down the dirt-bike track at Hornet’s Nest Park. The teens, members of the Vision Builder Adventures program, were testing their emerging entry in the 2021 NASA Rover Challenge. “Testing the Rover was wild and awesome fun!” said Marshall George, a student leader with Vision Builders. Johnny White founded Vision Builder Adventures 14 years ago to help area youth learn and have fun through projects. That vision fits perfectly with the Rover Challenge. “Each year, the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge features an engineering design challenge to engage students worldwide in the next phase of human space exploration,” the Rover Challenge website says. “The competition challenges high-school and college students to create a vehicle designed to traverse the simulated surface of another world.” The Vision Builder Rover team comes from several area high schools, including the Cato Middle College High at Central Piedmont Community College’s Cato Campus in University City. The team includes: Warren Floyd, sophomore at Olympic High School Marshall George, senior at Central Cabarrus High School Major George, junior at Central Cabarrus High School Jacob Kim, senior at Audrey Kell High School Hannah White, CATO Middle College High Last year, Vision Builder took a large group of students to the NASA center in Alabama. “This time, we’re taking the kids who are able to do the fabricating and able to do all of the other activities” required to design and field a competitive rover. “These are sharp kids!” Months of work The Vision Builder team began working on the project in...
Help Mecklenburg plan for our collective future

Help Mecklenburg plan for our collective future

Do you care about improving our parks, schools and social services? Be sure to add completing the Mecklenburg County Budget Survey to your December to-do list. Your responses could influence next year’s county budget priorities. Here are details about the survey as well as other ways you can learn about the county budget, the budgeting process, and how you can take part in shaping the final budget for Fiscal Year 2021.   Resident Budget Priority Survey (available through Dec. 31) Share your budget priorities for the budget year starting July 2020 (Fiscal Year 2021) by ranking services by level of importance. Learn how the county allocates and manages the current $1.9 billion operating budget, which funds: most parks and park programs throughout the county; a sizable part of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools budget; and numerous social services. The survey must be submitted by Dec. 31 and is limited to Mecklenburg County residents. The county says that most people complete the survey in 10-15 minutes. Online survey – To complete the survey online, click here. Paper survey – To complete a paper copy of the survey, click here for a list of 20 public libraries including University City Regional Library where paper surveys are available. You may download a Spanish version of the survey at the same link.   Balancing Act Budget Simulator The county offers an online Balancing Act Budget Simulator to help the public better understand the complex process of making choices on what to fund with limited resources. Using the simulator, you can learn details about Mecklenburg County revenue sources and expense categories in the current budget...
Mallard Creek High to host CMS information nights

Mallard Creek High to host CMS information nights

Mallard Creek High will host information meetings about the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools budget and curriculum options. If you can’t make the meeting there, you can attend sessions at other schools on different dates. Here are the details.   Learn about the budget and share ideas Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is holding community-engagement meetings to discuss development of the 2019-2020 operating budget. Employees, parents and community members are invited to attend, learn more about the current budget climate and give input on budget priorities to support academic success for all students. The meetings will be held: April 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Mallard Creek High, 3825 Johnston Oehler Road, Charlotte. April 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Crown Point Elementary, 3335 Sam Newell Road, Matthews.   Learn about curriculum options Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will adopt a guaranteed viable curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year. Parents, employees and community members are invited to attend sessions to help choose tools and resources for English language arts for grades K-8, math for grades 6-8 and NC Math 1, 2 and 3. The sessions will be held: April 8, Independence High, 1967 Patriot Drive, 6-8 p.m. April 9, South Mecklenburg High, 8900 Park Road, 6-8 p.m. April 10, West Charlotte High, 2219 Senior Drive, 6-8 p.m. April 11, Mallard Creek High, 3825 Johnston Oehler Road, 6-8 p.m.April 12, Spaugh Administrative Center, 1901 Herbert Spaugh Lane, 10 a.m. to 2...