Visiting Artist Creates Giant Beetle at Learning Center

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Who knew what an old trampoline, some creativity and old-fashioned know-how could turn into? That’s what 5th grade students at The Learning Center! Charter School were saying after they teamed up with visiting artist, Jeff Menzer.

 

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Asheville based artist, Jeff Menzer, visited the school back in February to plan projects he and students would be implementing on campus this spring. Menzer specializes in creating “Re-Art” Sculpture, figurative sculpture, and environmental installations using found objects and industrial discards.

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Menzer worked with the students to brainstorm some ideas for the project with the idea that it would eventually be a bug or insect themed art piece.

 

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Menzer returned to the school recently to turn discarded trampoline parts into art pieces that will become part of the school’s “Outdoor Learning Center” program. The large-scale art piece project serves to involve students in the design process, involve students in collaborative problem-solving of environmental issues through the creative process, and to complete an art piece that has now been permanently installed on campus.

 

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As the trampoline was being taken apart and the parts rearranged, the idea for a beetle began to develop. This concept tied into the 5th grade science ecosystems unit and also the math curriculum as students had to figure out lengths for sections of the beetle structure and the size the beetle needed to be relative to the garden area.

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Each student contributed a name for the beetle sculpture. The two names that were chosen were a common name: The Junkyard Beetle, and the scientific name: Schoolias Beetilus. School director, Mary Jo Dyre has her own nickname for the beetle sculpture. “I like to call it ‘VW.’”

Learning Center Visits Asheville, Chattanooga

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The Learning Center! Charter School’s sixth, seventh and eighth graders hit the road on March 14 for a three-day end-of-year class trip to Asheville, NC.

At the same time, Learning Center fourth and fifth graders went the opposite direction and headed to Chattanooga, TN for their class trip.

The Asheville trip, led by teachers and staff including, Ryan Bender, Julie Johnson, Heidi LaCentra, and Cheryl Catuto, started with a visit to Conundrum Escape Room where students participated in a challenging escape room, working together to solve the puzzle of how to “escape” in under an hour.

Next on the agenda, braving the snow and cold, students explored downtown Asheville and Grove Arcade where they enjoyed unique shops and architecture.

Highlights of the trip included The River Arts District for a tour of potters and a painters studios, and a visit to the opulent and historic Grove Park Inn, built in the early 1900s. Students also enjoyed a variety of cuisine. Some restaurants they enjoyed included Ichiban Hibachi Restaurant, Indian delicacies at Mela, and an Asheville institution, The French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

Students found time for exercise at Asheville Fun Depot, an Arcade & Adventure outpost. Members of the group scaled the climbing wall, played laser tag, drove go-karts, played mini golf, and tested skills in the arcade.

Meanwhile, not to be out-done by their counterparts, fourth and fifth graders enjoyed their class trip in Chattanooga with a visit to the Chattanooga Aquarium and IMAX theater. Students toured the aquarium and attended a fun classroom activity called Plankton Power. They watched an Imax presentation about our incredible oceans.

TLC Celebrates Earth Day

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Students across The Learning Center campus celebrated Earth Day in April by taking a walking tour with Restoration Coordinator, Tony Ward, of the Hiawasee River Watershed Coalition. He taught students how our town monitors and improves water bodies in our area.  Students learned about environmental issues and our local ecology along the river including the efforts being made to stop erosion along the rivers, the benefits of trees, and native and evasive plants.

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Have Bored Teenagers at Home This Summer?

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The Learning Center! Charter School has discovered the secret weapon for teen inventors that’s catching on across the country. Four years ago, the school teamed-up with California based high-tech education company, Table Top Inventing to challenge area students with hands-on experiences in emerging technologies. The company’s traveling science workshops, called Engineering Camp, is the brain-child ofTable Top Inventing founder and CEO, Steve Kurti, who grew up in and around Murphy and Franklin, NC.

Each year, The Learning Center! partners with Table Top Inventing as part of the school’s themed summer enrichment offerings.Engineering Camp is designed to challenge students and inspire a generation of kids to be tinkerers, explorers, innovators, and deep thinkers.

According to Table Top Inventing, “Teens that join Engineering Camp develop the tools to thrive in a challenging environment. Some of our past campers, who had never been exposed to engineering, ended up pursuing degrees in STEM-related fields after attending. Hands-on experience, team-building exercises, fun and challenging environments — Engineering Camp has it all.”

The Learning Center! in Murphy, NC is one of nine stops across the U.S. for Engineering Camp, for rising sixth graders to twelfth graders. For four days, from July 17-20, from 9am to 4pm, Murphy area Engineering Camp students will be immersed in hands-on learning, using emerging technologies such as 3D printing, 3D CAD design, artificial intelligence, programming and physical computing in a fun and challenging environment.

Spots are limited, so call The Learning Center! Charter School at 828.835.7240 for more information and sign up your bored teenager now!

For more about The Learning Center!, visit naturallygrownkids.org

The Celtic Company Concert

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On April 3, 2017, The Celtic Company with Susan Clearman performed traditional Celtic music for all students at The Learning Center. John Maschinot played the uillean pipes.  They are smaller than the great Highland pipes and powered by a bellows operated by the player’s arm. Susan played the accordion and Evan Kenney played guitar and banjo. They performed with singer/step-dancer Olivia Bradley who performed traditional Irish dance as well as played the bodhran, the traditional Celtic hand drum.

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The authentic, traditional music was available to our students thanks to the Brasstown Concert Association and the Jackie Ward Foundation. Students couldn’t help but to tap their feet and clap along to the wonderful Irish singing and dance!

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Spring Musical — The Adventures of Fearsome Pirate Frank

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The annual spring drama production showed May 5-7, 2017 to sold out crowds in the school’s Black Box Theater.  The story of the the stage actors playing pirates being kidnapped by Fearsome Pirate Frank and her crew was a rousing comedy filled with talented actors perfectly cast for their parts. These students spent months learning lines, songs and dances and their hard work paid off in the incredible final production!

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A special thanks is owed to the stage hands, make-up crew, sound and lighting team. Also, the hard work of Director, Ryan Bender, Musical Director, Judy Coleman, and Assistant Director, Cheryl Catuto, is both recognized and greatly appreciated.

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Finally, this production would not be possible without the support of the Jackie Ward Foundation which seeks to enrich and enhance an otherwise general education by introducing students to the life-changing power of the Arts, while promoting business, entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering  and math education.

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Annual Spring Musical THIS WEEKEND!

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The Learning Center! Charter School’s drama group, “The GrowZone Players” is “battening down the hatches” in preparation for this year’s upcoming spring musical, The Adventures of the Fearsome Pirate Frank. The school will offer 3 performances; Friday, May 5th, Saturday, May 6th at 6:30pm and Sunday, 7th at 2pm.

Tickets are on sale now at The Curiosity Shop Bookstore, downtown Murphy and at the school office, call 828-835-7240. You can also purchase tickets on the school’s website.

The musical will be performed in the auditorium on The Learning Center campus. Those attending the Saturday, May 6th performance will be treated to a special ceremony during intermission honoring the life and legacy of Jacqueline Marie Ward, 1950-1997.

After-Event Celebration and Fundraiser

Following the play on Saturday May 6th, make plans to attend a ticketed event celebrating the life and legacy of Jacqueline Marie Ward at The Murphy Arts Center, 33 Valley River Ave. This event includes entertainment by stand-up comedian, Karl Snow, a raffle, hors d’ oeuvres and cash bar. Proceeds from the musical will be used to purchase a multi-use stage and riser system for the school’s auditorium.

Want to Go?

The musical will be performed in the auditorium on The Learning Center campus 945 Conahetta St, Murphy, NC. Three performances (6:30pm); Friday, May 5th, Saturday, May 6th and Sunday, 7th at 2pm. Purchase tickets now at The Curiosity Shop Bookstore, downtown Murphy, online or call 828-835-7240.

Visiting Artist Plans Recycled Art Project for Campus Gardens

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Back in March, Ashevile based artist, Jeff Menzer, visited The Learning Center to plan projects he and students will be implementing on campus this spring. Mr. Menzer specializes in creating “Re-Art” Sculpture, figurative sculpture, and environmental installations using found objects and industrial discards.  This spring he will work with our students to turn discarded trampoline parts into art pieces that will become part of The Outdoor Learning Center.

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This large scale art piece project serves to involve students in the design process, involve students in collaborative problem solving of environmental issues through the creative process, and to complete two art sculptures, one a shelter and one large bug, that will be permanently installed on campus.