North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, Attended Annual Spring Musical

North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, read poems and sang songs as part of opening night intermission of the charter school’s annual spring musical on May 4, 2018.

Graced with the presence of poets, so it was at the opening night of Oh Horror! It’s Murder at The Learning Center Charter School on May 4. That’s because North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, attended and provided intermission entertainment.

Stephenson grew up on a farm in Benson, North Carolina and says that most of his poems are a product of that environment. He has written many poems about the farm, the foxhounds his father hunted and the streams, fields and trees of his childhood home. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and went on to study law at University of Pittsburgh and University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2001, the state of North Carolina awarded him the NC Award in Literature. He has gone on to receive the Bellday Poetry Prize, the Oscar Arnold Young Award, the Zoe Kincaid-Brockman Award, the Brockman-Campbell Award, the Bright Hill Press Chapbook Prize, and the Playwright’s Fund of North Carolina Chapbook Prize.

He has also produced a poetic documentary titled, Plankhouse as well as numerous books of poems including Middle Creek Poems, Carolina Shout!, The Persimmon Tree and Possum.  He and his wife, Linda, have also recorded four musical CDs.

Mary Ricketson and Joan Howard with Ridgeline Literary Alliance and North Carolina Writers Network-WEST accompanied Stephenson to the annual spring musical at the charter school.

Stephenson shared with the school’s Executive Director that during this year marking the 50th Anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council, what a pleasure it was to see firsthand that the arts are alive and well in the far west at The Learning Center Charter School.

The school will host Stephenson on its campus again in the fall as a guest assembly presenter.

2nd Grade Visits Local Museum

On April 6th, Second Grade visited the Cherokee County Historical Museum. The children were able to learn about our local history and they were able to see many artifacts that relate to Cherokee County and the surrounding areas.

The children also learned about the Trail of Tears and the hardships Native Americans faced at this time in history.

The children asked a lot of relevant questions and had a great time seeing and hearing about our local history.

Innovation Tech Camp Set – June 11-14

The Learning Center Charter School is one of nine stops across the U.S. for Innovation Tech Camp for rising sixth through twelfth graders. For four days, from June 11-14, Innovation Tech Camp students will be immersed in hands-on learning. They will use emerging technologies such as 3D printing, 3D CAD design, artificial intelligence, and computer programming in a fun and challenging environment.

Innovation Tech Camp was co-founded by California based Debby and Steve Kurti who like to inspire a new generation of tinkerers, explorers and innovators. Originally from Franklin, Steve and his wife have hosted the camp here in Murphy since 2014.

Each year students at the camp are presented with a complex fictional scenario. The group is then placed onto varying teams to ultimately solve the problem by designing equipment, programming robots, 3D printing components and navigating a solution through trial and error.

“We create challenges worthy of their intellect with tools powerful enough to hold their attention,” said Debby Kurti. “This is the best experience to jumpstart your teen’s curiosity and technical skill.”

Innovation Tech Camp is part of the Kurti’s nonprofit organization called Curious Student Foundation.  The Foundation helps provide scholarships for kids eager to attend camp.  The Curious Student Foundation never turns away kids that cannot pay. In fact, about 50% of students at the Murphy based camp receive funding each year through their scholarship program.

To learn more about Innovation Tech Camp set for June 11-14, 2018, visit www.naturallygrownkids.org/innovation-tech-camp.   You may register online at that address. Feel free to call 835-7240 to find out more and inquire about scholarship opportunities.

Field Day TOMORROW, Friday, May 18th

We love to celebrate a great school year with our annual Spring Field Day. Students will get muddy and messy during the day, as we like to play as hard as we learn! Students must wear dress code clothes and shoes, and should bring a towel. They will be messy when you pick them up, so it might be a good idea to bring an extra towel for the car as well.

Our School Awarded $1,000 Grant From NC Beautiful

The Learning Center Charter School was awarded a $1,000 grant from NC Beautiful on February 13, 2018.

NC Beautiful has been part of the state’s environmental preservation community for 40 years, supporting awareness, education and beautification efforts across the state. The organization concentrates on hands-on and merit-based programs designed to empower North Carolina citizens to preserve the natural beauty of the state.

Since 2003, the charter school has provided outdoor education for all of its students.  The grant money will be used to enhance four outdoor learning spaces: 1) the front terraced garden; 2) a side garden plot; 3) the aquaponics garden; and 4) a new compost area. In addition to gardening tools such as clippers, shovels and gloves, additional mulch and soil will be added to the listed planting areas.

School Director, Mary Jo Dyre, said, “In this age where “screen time” heavily outweighs “green time,” we carefully craft a school day that allows our students to be outside getting their hands in the dirt as often as possible.”

Outdoor Learning Coordinator at the charter school, Emily Willey, added, “I am so thankful for the NC Beautiful Grant to provide us the funds to continue to maintain the garden beds and the tools to facilitate our spectacular outdoor program. These green spaces provide a much needed opportunity for our students to interact in a real way with the ecosystem around them while also gaining important skills and insights across their academic curriculum.”

Steve Vacendak, Executive Director of NC Beautiful, seen at far left, presented a $1,000 check to a portion of The Learning Center Charter School’s student body on February 13, 2018.

Walking Tour of Local History

In early Spring, our middle school students immersed themselves in local history as they strolled though town as they learned of the unwritten stories and significance of many local landmarks and memorials.

Lead by the Cherokee County Paranormal Society, the historical tour started downtown at the Charters for Freedom monument on the square. The students were treated to lively stories. Stops included The Miners & Planters Bank (now Cruise Planners), Cherokee County Courthouse, the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, Harshaw Chapel and Cemetery, and “Angel Eye.”

Interested in learning more?  Contact the Cherokee County Paranormal Society to schedule your own tour.

 

3rd Grade Works With and Learns From High School Students in Heritage Project

High school students at Tri-County Early College High School (TCEC) work on large scale Project Based Learning (PBL) projects throughout each school year. During the third quarter of this school year, that large, school wide project was termed the “Hometown Heritage” project.

TCEC students worked individually or in groups with local residents who know skills, crafts or have specialized knowledge of our geographic area and cultural history. Students took up to ten weeks to plan, research and create their projects. In total, there were 47 different projects ranging in subject matter from natural remedies, Cherokee bow making, hide tanning, to canning, folk songs, weaving and more.

One group, seen here, focused their studies on Appalachian quilt making. In addition to learning about how to make a quilt, these high schoolers also learned about the necessity of quilts, supplies used in times of economic hardships and the social aspect quilt making encompassed.

An additional component of their project included finding a way to encourage young people in our community to become interested in our local heritage as well.

These TCEC students decided to present to our third graders about interesting things about our local heritage and asked each student to create their own quilt block representing something important to them and their unique heritage. Those quilt blocks were then sewn into a quilt and presented to the class.

The quilt is now a beautiful artifact of what the high school and elementary students learned and helped bridge the gap between older and younger generations. The quilt will ultimately be displayed permanently on campus.

Our Own Winter Olympics

The official 2018 Winter Olympics have long been over but not so in the minds of students at The Learning Center Charter School. That’s because students studied, crafted, planned and participated in their own Olympic Games back in February.

Over the course of three weeks, students studied the history of the Olympics, studied Geography when choosing countries to represent, and got up close and personal with the science behind bobsleds as they engineered and constructed their own. The brainchild of PE teacher, Shelley Dockery, the Olympic Games engaged students so much so that many teams participated in after school work sessions.

The Olympic Games began with the running and lighting of the torch followed by a parade of athletes around the school.  Second graders took turns relaying the torch and two kids from the class that consistently display exemplary character and sportsmanship had the honor of placing the torch in the cauldron. Third graders created an Olympic ring banner that was carried behind the torch. Fourth through eighth graders divided into teams representing nine countries that proudly displayed their flags and native costumes during the parade. Kindergarten and first graders cheered and waved flags during the parade. As the parade approached the gym, each country was announced to a panel of Learning Center alumni judges who decided “Best in Show.” The entire school was present to watch the bobsled and curling competitions while iceless dancing, biathlon and speed skating competitions were performed the following day during PE classes.

“Students took real ownership of the Olympic Games,” said Dockery. “This has been the best, most productive, 100% participation STEAM PE project yet!”

The acronym, STEAM, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Agriculture, and Math.