TLC Hits New York City Days 1 & 2

Natural Bridge, Virginia

Day one of the trip meant meeting at The Learning Center! to board the bus at 5:30am.  Once loaded we headed out and stopped for a few hours at the Natural Bridge in Virginia.  This naturally created land form was both awe inspiring and beautiful.

After 19 hours on the road, we arrived in Elizabeth, NJ a bit before 2am.  We’d have to wait until morning to get our first glimpse of the city.


First experience in NYC!

First stop?  The Cathedral of Saint John in Upper Manhattan.  Stunning!

Cathedral of St. John, Upper Manhattan, NYC
The gothic architechture was amazing!
The whole crew before heading to our next location.

Next was a stop at the Tomb of Ulysses S. Grant along the Hudson River.

The Tomb of Ulysses S. Grant along the Hudson River
Just chilling.

A quick (relatively speaking since driving anywhere in NYC doesn’t happen quickly) trip through Harlem on our way to the Natural History Museum.

Drive through Harlem.

Headed out on foot to Times Square

You could feel the excitement among the students as we headed out to Times Square.  Okay.  Okay.  Yes, the adults in the group were equally excited.

Times Square!

Yes there really are that many people EVERYWHERE in New York City!

Dinner at Planet Hollywood

A nice welcome from Planet Hollywood.

After dinner we saw Wonderland in the Marquis Theater.

After dinner it was on to see the Broadway musical Wonderland.  It was incredible!

Tomorrow I’ll share day 3.

The Big Apple

<div class=\"postavatar\">The Big Apple</div>

This blog is going to be quiet this week because I’m headed to New York City with grades 6-8th.  But don’t despair!  You can keep up with all that we are seeing and doing over on The Grow Zone twitter page.  Want to tweet with us?  Use hash-tag #tlcnyc and I’ll be sure to share your tweets with the whole TLC crew in the Big Apple.

New Junior Beta Club Inductees

This past week eleven new students were inducted into Junior Beta Club at The Learning Center.

The National Junior Beta Club is an organization for 5th-8th graders and seeks to promote the ideals of character, service, and leadership among students, and to reward students for their academic achievement.   To be eligible for the club, a student must have an academic average of 93 or above.

Great job students!


Earth Day Science Fair Winners from TLC!

Each year in honor of Earth Day, Tri-County Community College hosts an Earth Day Science Fair open to all 6th – 8th grade students in Cherokee County.  Under the guidance of TLC Science teacher Ms. Emily, 6th-8th grade students at our school enter this Fair.  This year TLC students earned high praise and awards for their entries.

Our school brought home the following awards:

  • Sixth grade 1st place in tradtional science
  • Sixth grade 1st place in Earth Day Relevant division
  • Seventh grade 1st place traditional science
  • Seventh grade 2nd place traditional science
  • Seventh grade 1st place creative science
  • Seventh grade 2nd place creative science
  • Seventh grade 1st place Earth Day relevant division
  • Eighth grade 1st place traditional science
  • Eighth grade 1st place Earth Day relevant division
  • Eighth grade 1st place creative science
  • Eighth grade 2nd place creative science
  • And, best in show!

Wow!  We are so proud of you all!  Way to go!

Cherokee County Transit teams up with TLC!

Recently TLC! forged a new community partnership with Cherokee County Transit.

Since our school does not have a busing system, we have to rely on parent volunteers to drive students on trips and special events.  However, sometimes it isn’t possible to find enough drivers necessary.


Bingo!  Cherokee County Transit to the rescue!

TLC! and Henn Theater partner to suppport the arts

A handshake and a smile was all that was needed to complete a partnership between TLC! and the Henn Theater.
With cutbacks in arts programs across the country, the need is especially great in this community. The Learning Center! Charter school is filling that gap with local community and business support.
“Our parnership with The Henn Theater enables our students to experience drama electives in a stage environment.” Said school director Mary Jo Dyre.
The school, in turn, actively supports the theater by providing volunteers and publicity for events which will range from guest speakers for school fund raisers to chorus programs, fusion ensemble performances, strings elective performances and drama. The school plans to utilize the theater’s back-stage area for set design and for actors to wait in the wings during a performance.
“We are providing our strong force of parent and community volunteers who are eager to promote the arts within our school and our community,” added Dyre.

Stringed Instruments at TLC!

Students in our stringed instrument program are learning far more than just how to play great music.  Studies show that learning a string instrument at an early age impacts brain development!


These students also learn to relate music to other things such as science and math.  Plus they develop coordination and fine motor skills.  Not to mention important social skills, group coordination, self-discipline and self-initiative.

Instructor Dr. Vern Richardson

TLC! is incredibly lucky to have Dr. Richardson as our dedicated instructor.

Dr. Vernal E. Richardson’s career as a teacher and professional musician spans nearly 50 years. After graduating from Indiana University in 1956, Dr. Richardson received a position in the First Violin Section with the Atlanta Symphony for one season before entering pilot training with the US Air Force. He served as pilot of a B-47 jet bomber from 1956-59. Dr. Richardson then returned to Indiana University, where he received a M. M. in Violin and Conducting.

From 1959 to 1989 Richardson filled the role as Assistant/Associate Professor at various colleges and universities and as Orchestra Director at two high schools. He frequently served as adjudicator in festivals and as conductor of community and all-state string orchestras. He received his D. M. A. from Catholic University of America in 1977. Additionally, he performed as violinist in approximately 2000 commercial recordings, many of which received gold records for sales in excess of one million.

Dr. Richardson came to Atlanta Public Schools in 1989. He was selected Teacher of the Year at E. R. Carter Elementary in 1993 and has had a number of performances and residencies at Emory University. He has directed the orchestra programs at Inman Middle and Grady High Schools for the past four years. Under his direction the orchestras at both schools have regularly received Superior ratings at festival, and several of his students have been selected for All-State Orchestra positions.

Mighty impressive Dr. Richardson!


My favorite part has got to be walking into the Dining Commons during practice.  The tiny violins are precious.  Even better is the beautiful music coming out of them!

8th Grade Visits Hazel Creek and Proctor, NC

Hazel Creek, located on the North Shore of Fontana Lake, is one of the most remote areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It was the location of many thriving communities until the Tennessee Valley Authority forced the residents to leave their homes to make way for the Fontana reservoir in 1943.  Although the TVA never used this 44,000 acres of Swain County as part of the Fontana project, they did not offer to return it to the original owners.  Instead they gave it to the National Park Service and it became the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

TLC! 8th graders visited the Hazel Creek area as part of their Venture Out Program.  North Carolina curriculum requires 8th grade students to study our state history and our school’s Venture Out Program couples the study of North Carolina history with travel and real life experiences.

Proctor is a former town located on Hazel Creek named after the first white settler to the area.  Not only do these students get to learn this history but they get to see and touch actual artifacts as well.

I look forward to seeing this nearly inaccessible area when my children are in 8th grade!


7th Grade Travels to Study Lichen

7th grade classroom for a day!

There are many species of algae and fungi, but when certain species of fungi join with certain species of algae in a symbiotic relationship, they become a unique organism called lichen.


Our 7th graders had the unique opportunity through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Service to participate in the Lichen Program.

Lichens are used as bioindicators of poor air quality. Monitoring lichen composition is important in order to detect the loss of biodiversity as pollution intolerant species die and are replaced by more tolerant species.



During this study students observed and identified the growth forms of the lichens on assigned trees and determined the percentage of coverage of each form.

TLC! 7th graders were incredibly fortunate to spend a day in this diverse outdoor classroom.