Students from Chatham Charter School are enjoying the summer of 2016 in typical ways with camps and family vacations, but several high school students are also attending prestigious summer academic programs as well. The experiences are giving them additional insight into life away from home and, for many, subjects they are considering as college majors and potential career fields.
Seniors Claire Brady and Abby Lewis participated in the American Legion Auxiliary Tar Heel Girls’ State June 12-18 on the campus of Catawba College in Salisbury. During the 2016 session, 231 high school seniors from across the state took part in the 77th session. The North Carolina program is the longest running of its kind in the nation and allows the young women to learn about and actively participate in a variety of areas of government.
Brady commented on the experience noting she appreciated the opportunity and what she learned explaining, “We had to propose bills and defend those to the (mock) House of Representatives and Senate. After hearing different sides, we had to vote or alter the bill. This taught me how to compromise on certain areas as well as accept other opinions and beliefs.”
Nearly 300 high school seniors from across the state committed the week of June 19th to participating in the seventy-sixth annual session of The American Legion Tar Heel Boys' State on the campus of Catawba College in Salisbury. Tyler Haiges and Brenton Hart are among the 2016 participants thanks to sponsorship by the local American Legion chapter. Program content was designed to supplement what the students learned in high school civics classes. Many of the activities center around the processes involved in state government.
From June 18-27 junior Farrah Ritter is attending the National Youth Leadership Forum for Advanced Medicine and Healthcare at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. While there she will participate in mock patient encounters and simulation challenges (where they tackle a diagnosis of a medical issue); work in groups to present projects of areas they study; have a scenario of an epidemic in which they work with the local health department to manage; hear from current doctors in helping them decide if they want to pursue the medical field as a career; and tour the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, the university and at least one trauma center. One of nightly the seminars will concentrate on successful application to a university with strong medical programs. Ritter is interested in a career in the medical field and will use the experience to help in narrowing her focus.
Senior Emmi Farrell is one of just over 100 students accepted to the 2016 Governor’s School of North Carolina in the area of English. From June 19 through July 27, Farrell and 69 other students focusing on English will be on the campus of Meredith College in Raleigh along with other students accepted in other core academic and arts subject areas. A second group of students is assigned to the Salem College site in Winston-Salem. Approximately 650 academically gifted students are accepted each year to the prestigious program, the oldest of its type in the nation. Approximately 35% of applicants are accepted. Governor’s School students participate in three curricular areas with the primary area for Farrell being English. The second curricular area makes connections between all of the academic areas including math, science, English, social sciences, the arts, and world languages. The third area of study takes elements of the other two areas and adds personal experiences, understanding of social worlds, and creates links between them all.
From July 5-29 senior Will Gaines will study at the Summer College in Biotechnology and Life Sciences (SCIBLS) through the NC CALS College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at NC State University in Raleigh. Participants will have hands-on experiences during the four-week, residential experience in campus laboratories using cutting-edge techniques. They will also get to tour facilities in Research Triangle Park (RTP) and meet industry professionals.
During the month of July, senior Jacob Dekaney will become the first Chatham Charter student to attend Summer Ventures in Science and Mathematics. His four-week session will be held on the campus of UNC Charlotte, one of four UNC system schools to host program sites. The highly competitive program for academically talented students is state-funded and focuses on STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Research is a key component of the experience.
Senior Kailee Lamb will be on the Yale University campus July 24-30 to attend an Ambassador Leadership Summit during which students work on developing leadership skills, prepare for college, and learn about opportunities and responsibilities of adulthood in the 21st Century.
Multiple students are also serving in the state Governor’s Page program for a week at a time during the summer break. Young people from across the state help regular staff with a variety of tasks and are able to learn more about state government in the process. Among the Chatham Charter 2016 participants are: Michael Brannon, Luke Gaines, Brenton Hart, Abby Lewis, and Parker Murphy.
Governor Pat McCrory (center) is pictured here with Pages from the week the following Chatham Charter students participated: Abby Lewis (to the Governor's right), Luke Gaines (first on row 3), Michael Brannon (second on row 3) and Brenton Hart (third from left on back row).
(Murphy is on the row behind the Governor, immediately to his left.)
Additional information may be added to this press release if it becomes available.
In addition to their high school and community college coursework, two rising eleventh graders at Chatham Charter School will be part of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Online during the final two years of high school. Emily Colborne and Sarah Mason will be among the participants accepted this year. Students are selected based on grades, test scores, and recommendations.
The program began in 2008 and offers outstanding high school students the opportunity to have a unique experience with the NC School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) while enrolled in their own high schools. NCSSM Online two-year course of study is sequenced and at the honors level. Students take one course during the fall of their junior year and one or two courses each semester that follows. Courses are tuition free. Students earn a certificate for meeting program requirements. Participants can choose one of the following concentration areas: Science, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Liberal Arts, Global Studies, or Applied STEM. There are also other opportunities such as seminar courses and weekend Durham campus events.
Currently, 71 of the 100 North Carolina counties have students enrolled in NCSSM Online. There will be 161 seniors in the Online Class of 2017.
“We applaud Emily and Sarah for their initiative in wanting to further expand their high school experience. The School of Science and Math offerings can allow them to explore additional areas of interest. We will be able to award course credit through a dual enrollment agreement. We look at NCSSM Online as yet another way to enrich the academic offerings for our students so they are as well prepared for college as possible,” said Dr. John Eldridge, Head of School at Chatham Charter.
During an end-of-year staff luncheon on Tuesday, May 17, Head of School Dr. John Eldridge announced the selection of the 2016-2017 Chatham Charter Teacher of the Year.
Kara Root, a high school mathematics teacher with 16 years of teaching experience, was selected by the entire K-12 teaching faculty. In addition to her classroom duties, Root is also a teacher leader in professional development and was one of the first high school teachers to have her classes work with students in elementary grades when the traditionally K-8 school expanded to include high school grades in 2013.
Each year the faculty recognizes a teacher from elementary, middle school, and high school who received the most votes in that grade span. Third grade teacher Mary Key and K-8 physical education teacher Kelly Marshall were honored along with Root.
Root will now advance to the State Charter School Teacher of the Year interviews.
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games came early to Chatham Charter School when elementary and middle school students held their own version of the international event on campus May 10-12. Physical education teacher Kelly Marshall created and organized the theme around annual field days. Inspired by wanting to encourage further interest in physical activity, Marshall used the school event as a springboard to the real Games in Brazil this August.
“I hope that the students will recognize many of the traditions of the Olympics we discussed and modeled during our ceremonies when they watch the 2016 Summer Olympics,” said Marshall.
The goal was not only to education students about the upcoming Olympics, but also for teachers to collaborate in a comprehensive study of the Olympics. In art the students made flags used in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies; the music teacher explored how the arts are important in highlighting the culture of the host country during Opening and Closing Ceremonies; and the regular classroom teachers discussed things like geography during the preparation stage.
The students discussed the Olympic Creed, Motto and took the Olympic Oath that promotes good sportsmanship. Marshall was particularly pleased to see the level of competition the teachers inspired in their students and how they all carried good sportsmanship lessons they use in PE class into the Games. She also noted how K-12 students were involved in the special events either as participants or volunteers. In addition, teacher Enrique Cachafeiro made the award medals on the school’s 3D printer.
Third, fourth and fifth grade male and female November Turkey Trot winners served as torch bearers looped the perimeter of the campus field that served as the site of the Games. National rodeo competitor and 2016 senior Sarah Scott was waiting with her horse on the cross country trail to take the torch and serve as the final leg of the torch run. She handed the torch off to the school’s first foreign exchange student, Henrique Bitencourt, who is from Brazil. Bitencourt then lit the mock cauldron (aka tiki torch) to kickoff the games. The national anthem of Brazil followed and the ceremony concluded with Bitencourt speaking in Portuguese to welcome the students and other attendees to the Chatham Charter Olympic Games of 2016.
The K-2 field day consisted of 20 activity stations. The grades 3-5 & 6-8 field day involved team competition with events being cooperative in nature.
The Closing Ceremony began with the “athletes” (students) marching into the venue to Olympic Fanfare. Each class marched in carrying the flag of a participating country. The ceremony included students performing choreographed jump roping and the cup game, the announcement of medal winners, the official closing of the Chatham Charter 2016 Olympic Games.
Commencement video link
On Saturday morning, May 14, with nearly 400 people in attendance, students, family members, staff and the community participated in a historic event at Chatham Charter School as the first graduating class received diplomas during Commencement. The Class of 2016 with 18 members will likely be the smallest in school history as well because future classes will have approximately 50 seniors.
The service featured two student speakers, Summer Gaskins and Morgan Southern, who were chosen by their peers. Gaskins spent all but one school year at Chatham Charter and Southern came to the school in 2013 when the high school expansion opened. Gaskins shared class memories while Southern delivered a class challenge.
“Today is an awesome, unique, and exciting day. Our families, teachers, and friends are here to cheer us on through a meaningful chapter in our lives. As we move into the next phase of our lives, let us cherish our memories, hold on to friendships, honor all those who have touched our lives and molded us into who we are today. Let us share our wonderful talents with those around us, and work together toward a bright future,” said Gaskins.
Southern encouraged her classmates to keep pursuing their dreams; to work hard and persevere; to invest in themselves; and to keep moving forward in spite of any obstacles they may encounter.
“You all are the future and have minds and bodies capable of achieving the impossible so give yourself credit, and don't compare yourself to others. Our steps in life differ in distance and in size and in the types of footprints they create, but each and every one of those steps is a magnificent leap for each and every one of you. Remember that when you start to compare these steps that we all have leaped distances incredible for each of our lives,” said Southern.
A special Commencement choir sang an a cappella setting of The Irish Blessing by Joyce Eilers Bacak before diplomas were awarded. Graduates were congratulated onstage by the school administrative team, school founder Julia-Brent Milholen, former Headmaster Ronnie Joyce, Board of Directors Chair Kathy Wilson, and CCCC Director of Secondary Partnerships. As the graduates left the stage, they gave a “nod to the Knight” as a gesture of appreciation.
The Class of 2016 pioneered the high school program that is based on a middle college concept. Juniors and seniors take courses in the state Career and College Promise (CCP) program in partnership with Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) that gives them the ability to earn over 40 college transfer courses. The classes are considered “dual credit” because they also help the students simultaneously meet high school graduation requirements. Many seniors at Chatham Charter will complete one of the “pathways” of study, something not achieved by the majority of students across the state in the CCP program. Chatham Charter builds its high school master schedule around the CCP.
“Members of the Chatham Charter Class of 2016 earned a grand total of 455 college credits over the last two years. These young people have earned an array of scholarship money. To date the total is $221,229 annually which will translate to $884,916 over the duration of their college career. With only one local scholarship having been announced at this point, we anticipate a final total to be significantly higher,” noted Dr. John Eldridge, Head of School.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) has recognized three high school teams in the Knights Athletic Department at Chatham Charter School for having team grade point averages that were among the highest in the state. Athletic Director Clint Fields accepted the awards on behalf of the teams during a state meeting on Thursday, May 5.
The recognitions were compared to teams across the state of the same sport in every classification (1A through 4A). The Knights men's basketball team won the NCHSAA/NC National Guard Scholar-Athlete Award for having the highest team GPA in the state for its sport. The volleyball and wrestling teams each had the third highest GPA in the state.
“We made a commitment to stress the importance of balancing academics and athletics when we opened the high school expansion in 2013. Our student-athletes know they cannot practice or play in a game or match on a weekly basis if their grades are below standard. We watch them grow and achieve more because of it. It validates our stance even more when honors like this come from the NCHSAA,” said Fields.
All eight of the varsity teams from the fall and winter sports seasons qualified for Scholar-Athlete Team recognitions. The team had to have a combined GPA of at least 3.1 (unweighted). The results of the spring sports season have not been finalized.
During the 2014-2015 school year the men’s soccer team won the highest state GPA award.
“It is rewarding to see the priority we place on academics also being recognized at the state level in athletics. We set high expectations for our students, and they rise to the occasion. Our coaching staff is equally supportive of players representing the true meaning of student-athlete,” commented Dr. John Eldridge, Head of School.
The Athletic Boosters will hold a meeting o in the gym on the mezzanine. The organization will hold elections for officers at this meeting, so please make plans to attend.
During its annual Athletic Recognition Ceremony held Sunday afternoon, May 1, in the school gym, the Knights Athletic Department recognized athletes who played sports in fall, winter and spring sports seasons.
High School Cross Country (Girls’ and Boys’) - MVP: Sarah Mason and RJ McKoy
Middle School Cross Country (Girls’ and Boys’)
High School Varsity Boys’ Soccer - MVP: Baggio Rodriguez
Middle School Soccer
High School Girls’ Varsity Tennis - MVP: Brenna Underwood and McKenna Nixon (Co-MVP)
Middle School Girls’ Tennis
High School Junior Varsity Volleyball
High School Varsity Volleyball - MVP: Kayle Jordan and Lexie Culberson (Co-MVP)
Middle School Volleyball
High School Junior Varsity Boys’ Basketball
High School Varsity Girls’ Basketball - MVP: McKenna Nixon
High School Varsity Boys’ Basketball - MVP: Jason Foulks
Middle School Girls’ Basketball
Middle School Boys’ Basketball
High School Cheerleading - Most Spirited: Lexie Culberson
Middle School Cheerleading
High School Wrestling - MVP: Chris Brannon
Middle School Wrestling
High School Baseball - Most Valuable Person: Henrique Bitencourt
Middle School Baseball
High School Golf - MVP: Hart Farrell
High School Girls’ Soccer - MVP: Landin Eldridge
Middle School Girls’ Soccer
Middle School Softball
High School Boys’ Tennis - MVP: Jay Dunn
Middle School Boys’ Tennis
Multiple student-athletes earned All-Conference honors in the Central Tarheel Conference in which Chatham Charter is a member school. They were:
Landin Eldridge, Cross Country and Tennis
RJ McKoy, Cross Country
Cordell Wanless, Cross Country and Soccer
Baggio Rodriguez, Soccer
Allie Grace Culberson, Tennis
Katya Langdon, Tennis
McKenna Nixon, Tennis
Brenna Underwood, Tennis
Lexie Culberson, Volleyball
Jason Foulks, Basketball
McKenna Nixon, Basketball
Cade Culberson, Baseball
Brenton Hart, Tennis
Seth Hayhurst, Tennis
Samuel Trogdon, Tennis
Other special honors included the recognition of the:• Central Tarheel Girls' Tennis Player of the Year - Katya Langdon
• Central Tarheel Girls' Tennis Coach of the Year - Kelly Eldridge
• Central Tarheel Girls' Tennis Champions: Chatham Charter team
• Boys' Basketball team for having the highest GPA in the sport of state teams that are members of the NC High School Athletic Association
• Female Athlete of the Year - McKenna Nixon
• Male Athlete of the Year - Cade Culberson
Meet the Class of 2016: senior pictures
Chatham Charter School held its first annual Senior Honor Night on Sunday evening, May 1, on campus. The event recognized various achievements of its first g
Math teacher and event coordinator Kara Root opened the ceremony by saying, “Three years ago we all started on this journey together to start a high school. You, seniors, helped form it into the high school it is today by setting the expectations. Your input on decisions and suggestions for improvement will benefit students for years to come. Of all the skills you have developed since August of 2013, adaptability is perhaps the one that will serve you best in the future. We have enjoyed watching each of you grow into the wonderful young men and women that you are today,”
Keynote speaker was Peyton Holland, a Chatham County native and resident who has been involved with the high school students and staff since it opened in 2013. A graduate of Northwood High School and NC State, he studied in France during graduate school before he took a job leading the NC SkillsUSA organization. Holland spoke about three “B’s” in life: believe, behave, and (be) bold.
Dr. John Eldridge, Head of School, recognized students who will graduate with honors. The school will recognize summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude instead of valedictorian and salutatorian. Summa cum laude, with highest academic honor, is for students who have a cumulative GPA of 4.26 or higher. They are: Auburn Allen, Lexie Culberson, Summer Gaskins, Sarah Scott, and Morgan Southern. The Magna cum laude honor is for students who have a cumulative GPA of 4.0 to 4.25. Sarah McNeese earned this honor level. The Cum Laude honor is for students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.75 to 3.99. They are: Canaan Birchett, Melanie Handley, and McKenna Nixon.
With diploma endorsements the State Board of Education recognizes students who have gone above and beyond high school graduation requirements.The College/UNC Endorsement indicates readiness for entry into a four-year university in the University of North Carolina system. Eligible students must have completed a prescribed set of courses and have at least a weighted 2.5 grade point average. Seniors who earned this endorsement were: Auburn Allen, Canaan Birchett, Caleb Chaney, Lexie Culberson, Jay Dunn, Alexis Earley, Summer Gaskins, Melanie Handley, Sarah McNeese, McKenna Nixon, Cassilyn Parnell, Cameron Pate, Sarah Scott, Tyler Shelton, Morgan Southern, and Justin White.
The NC Academic Scholars Endorsement indicates that students have completed a balanced and academically rigorous high school program preparing them for post-secondary education. In order to qualify for the NC Academic Scholars Endorsement, students must meet seven criteria including having at least an unweighted 3.5 grade point average and completing four elective credits in a concentration area. One senior, Morgan Southern, earned this endorsement, having a visual arts concentration.
Beginning their junior year, students at Chatham Charter have the opportunity to begin taking college level courses at Central Carolina Community College through the Career and College Promise Program. Students may choose to take courses in the Associate in Arts Pathway, Associate in Science Pathway or one of several Career and Technical Education Pathways. All 18 members of the Class of 2016 at Chatham Charter have taken courses in the Career and College Promise program.
The following students were recognized for completing all courses in the Associates in Arts Pathway that contains a minimum set of 32 college transfer credits: Auburn Allen, Canaan Birchett, Lexie Culberson, Summer Gaskins, Sarah McNeese, McKenna Nixon, and Sarah Scott.
“Our CCCC partners tell us it is uncommon for students to be able to complete a pathway due to the rigorous requirements while also completing high school graduation requirements. Several of you came within one course of completing a pathway. Whether or not the pathway was completed, they all have worked incredibly hard and have shown massive growth in what we refer to as the “unwritten curriculum”. The curriculum many students, and adults for that matter, fail to acquire, and often leads to leaving college early. Study skills, time management, prioritization, and knowing how to work with a variety of teachers who all have a different set of expectations,” commented Eldridge to the seniors and their families during the event.
Sean Blackmon will earn a certificate in the CCCC Automotive Systems Technology program after completing two years of coursework that includes a hands-on auto shop experience on the Pittsboro campus. He will officially receive his certificate during a CCCC ceremony on May 12.
Four students have been Chatham Charter students for nearly their entire education to this point. They are: Auburn Allen, Summer Gaskins, Hayden Hamrick, and Tyler Shelton. These students were enrolled at the school from kindergarten (and some from pre-k) to eighth grade and returned for their tenth through twelfth grade years when the high school opened. (The high school was being built during their ninth grade year.)
For the past three years, students at Chatham Charter School have created and/or participated in various clubs and organizations. Each nationally recognized organization presented its senior members with a cord that will be worn during Commencement, thanking them for their service.
Beta programs help prepare our young people for life beyond high school and empower them to be successful leaders of tomorrow. We live out these ideals through our motto: Let Us Lead by Serving Others. The Chatham Charter Senior Beta Club participates in a wide variety of service projects each year that benefit our school, as well as our community. This club also attends and competes at the state Beta Club convention in Greensboro. Senior members are: Auburn Allen, Lexie Culberson , Summer Gaskins, Sarah Scott, and Morgan Southern.
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management industries. Students compete in regional, state, and national competitions related to one of those fields. Three seniors have participated in DECA. They are: Auburn Allen, Lexie Culberson, and Jay Dunn.
Student Government Association (SGA) has served as a voice for the students. It created various activities and events to raise funds and provide students with unity and spirit, as well as serve as the first prom committee. Senior members are: Lexie Culberson, Summer Gaskins, Sarah Scott, and Morgan Southern.
In addition, this year the high school at Chatham Charter inaugurated a House system by dividing the student body into four Great Houses that competed in academics, athletics, participation, and effort. Each senior received a cord of his or her House to wear at Commencement.
Financial awards the senior class has received as of the ceremony were listed in the program. To date the Chatham Charter Class of 2016 of 18 students has earned an annual total of $280,979 in scholarship money, which equals a total of $883,916 over the duration of their college career. The event program is attached to the bottom of this press release and has an order of service as well as a detailed list of financial awards seniors have received to date. Students are still waiting to hear the results of many local awards.
Physical Education teacher Kelly Marshall is bringing the 2016 Olympic Games to Chatham Charter before summer begins through annual K-8 field days with an Olympic theme. Parent volunteers are needed for the Middle School Field Day on Tuesday, May 10. Please contact her at email@example.com if you can volunteer.
Tuesday, May, 10, 2016
8:15 - 11:30 a.m. - Middle School Field Day
2:00 p.m. - Opening Ceremony for K-5 students
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
8:30 – 11:30 a.m.- 3-5 Field Day
Thursday, May 12, 2016
8:45 – 11:00 a.m. - K-2 Field Day
2:00 p.m - Closing Ceremony for K-5 students
Here is an interesting link showing different torch runs: