September Stroll Pottery Event at TLC

September Stroll Founder and grandfather of TLC student, Mike Lalone, presenting Assistant Director Karen Brinke with $400.

In conjunction with the Heritage Walk in Murphy over Labor Day weekend, TLC was pleased to host the first annual September Stroll.  This pottery invitational was organized by Roy Bamfield and Mike Lalone.  Portions of the proceeds from this art pottery event were presented both to The Learning Center! Charter School and The Sharing Center.

Mike Lalone and TLC student presenting $400 to The Sharing Center.

TLC! is pleased to sponsor and promote the arts and appreciates this generous monetary donation.


Farm to School

What is Farm to School?  According to their website:

Farm to School is broadly defined as any program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers. Farm to School programs exist in all 50 states, but since Farm to School is a grassroots movement, programs are as diverse as the communities that build them.

Click <<<<HERE>>>> to visit the Farm to School website and learn more.  Also watch this video below to see how Farm to School is working in North Carolina.

Short Film on School Lunch

Better School Food
Schools play a key role in providing wholesome meals for kids and promoting food literacy. Parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers can work together to ensure healthy school food for our children. Here are a few ways to get involved:

Eat with your kids. National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day is this Wednesday, October 12. Visit your school’s cafeteria to better understand your child’s mealtime experience. See if you can volunteer in your school’s kitchen to support food service staff and get a behind-the-scenes view of the food prep.
Have conversations. Talks with students, cafeteria workers, and administrators. Find out what challenges your school faces, from kitchen equipment and staff training to sufficient lunch periods for students. The Lunch Box provides resources and tools to engage stakeholders at your school.
Activate students. If you’re an educator, work with students to create a questionnaire to evaluate the school lunch program and open a dialogue with administrators. See the School Lunch Survey in the Nourish Middle School Curriculum Guide for activities and ideas.
Advocate for healthy options. If you’re a parent or teacher, campaign to remove vending machines, processed snacks, fast food, and flavored milk, and make healthy options, like salad bars, available. See Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution for tool kits and ideas.
Take action. Last December President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, reauthorizing and raising the bar on the Child Nutrition Act. But the fight for healthy school food doesn’t end there. Write your elected officials to protect and expand healthy school lunch programs.



2011 Monster Mash and the Old Ogden School — What’s the Connection?



Scooby Doo and haunts from the old Ogden School in the Brasstown /Warne Community team up to make The Learning Center’s Monster Mash 2011 Scooby Doo Where Are You ? and the Ghoul School Mystery Maze (October 29 at The Learning Center campus) possibly the best yet for the  annual, crowd-drawing Halloween attraction. 

As plans for the 2011 Monster Mash began to finalize, the twelve member planning committee settled on the Ghoul School Mystery Maze for the name of the labyrinth-style entertainment that has proven to be the magnet for the night’s festivities since the first Monster Mash that opened to the public in 2005. The director of The Learning Center! soon saw a possible flaw in the tie to the Scooby  Ghoul School cartoon….it is, after all, based on a ritzy, all-girl boarding school, not exactly what says “school” to our mountain region.  She was quick to point out that our area is dotted with the remains of many old schools in various states of disrepair. One such school, Ogden School in the Brasstown/Warne community was actually the second location (1985-1990) of what is now The Learning Center! Charter School.  Director Dyre felt certain that from her own memories of the years spent in this old school environment, along with those of assistant director Karen Brinke and Montessori teacher Regina Swanson, they could contribute to the basic re-creation of the feel and ambience of that old school setting. However, Dyre was certain that if anyone could truly bring the memories of the old school to life on a crisp, fall Monster Mash night, when the air is just right for a stroll down memory lane and an unsuspected bump in the dark that sends one screaming down the halls of the theatrical version of old Ogden School, it would be some of the former students of the early 1920s-1975 Ogden School.

Clay Logan
Some immediate community names came to mind as the search for Ogden alums got under way: David Hyatt, Clay Ivester, and, of course, Clay Logan.  Knowing Logan’s ability to spin a yarn and to create a venue where conversation could flow freely, we settled on our first contact.  Logan promised to bring several of his Ogden cronies to what has now become the legendary Clay’s Corner of Brasstown. Within moments of arriving, Clay welcomed us with an immediate question: “Did you like school?” He went on to say that he certainly did. Of course this was bait for our response question. As educators we wanted to know what specifically caused him to confess years later that he indeed liked school.  Logan answered, “Spin the bottle.” Although he could read the shock on our faces, he just left us to accept that Spin the Bottle was somehow a part of his school setting. He quickly added, “That is until this new girl showed up at school. You see, she was about 300 pounds. She took up two-thirds of the circle and the bottle would almost always land on her…ruined the odds.” As Karen Brinke was reviewing her notes later on that night, she sent an email with this conclusion, “ I guess that “Spin the Bottle” was educational after all….fractions….probability… I knew at this moment that we were in for a very interesting interview.”
Bill Tipton

Clay had invited two other Ogden alumni: David Anderson and Bill Tipton, both students at Ogden from 1946-1954.  We soon found out that these three men had evolved into what is more commonly called the Brasstown Brain Trust. As we took our seats in the circle that is so often filled with young and old, sharing, reminiscing and just enjoying each other’s company at Clay’s Corner,  these three men, and the arrival of a fourth, Ralph Myers, who started at Ogden in 1931, managed to fill our pages with memories that are rich in history. Educators, other staff and students came to life as these living Brasstown legends shared memories of a building and a community that has come to be known as the old Ogden School. This writing is by no means intended to be exhaustive Ogden School research. It is meant to capture the spirit of a community that gathered in Ogden School from the early 1920s through its closing due to consolidation in 1975, continuing into its days as a local mecca for Blue Grass Music, hosting big names such as Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs along with local favorites Colin and Carl Green.

David Anderson

The following listing, in a very random order, pays tribute to the people, their works, concepts of school and education from the early 1920s through 1974, the accomplishments, and the lore that keeps the circle at Clay’s Corner and in other nooks and crannies talking about the old Ogden School:

  • Robert L. Anderson, Sr., one of the sub-contractors responsible for the construction of Ogden School
  • David Anderson’s grandfather, James Buchanan Anderson, helped to build in 1922-1923 the Ogden School building that still sits on Old Hwy.64 in the Brasstown/Warne community.
  • Lucy Hyatt, 1st grade teacher, a name still spoken with respect
  • George Bristol, teacher, was left-handed and could swing a paddle. He was also remembered for the Debate Team that he started in 7th grade and the fact that he brought his own encyclopedias for the students to use.
  • The traveling minister who came to the school every few weeks
  • Ralph Myer’s memory of the boys being sent out to draw water from the well
  • Horace Garrison, last principal of Ogden and known for assuring that Ogden excelled as a school
  • Sports facts and lore: Girls basketball started first.  A boys’ team was eventually added. Basketball was played on an outside court that was part of the rockiest playground in the history of schools. Bill Tipton contends that Ogden had the best softball team around.  I guess you could say swimming was also an Ogden sport, for most attested to sneaking away for a swim in Brasstown Creek.
  • All of our sources for this interview agree that there was some good cooking that came out of the cafeteria.
  • Pot-belly coal stoves to a coal-heated radiator system kept at least some of the cold out of the building.  Male students often had the opportunity shovel coal as an opportunity to refocus or to repent of some wrong done in the classroom.
  • Students could pretty much count on the bus getting stuck up on Trout Cove in the winter months.
  • Subjects included Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Health, Geography, drama and some music. No one could recall science being taught. To pass 6th grade students had to memorize all the states and capitols as well as all the counties in North Carolina.
  • The Yearbook was named the Ogden Eagle.
  • Bill Tipton’s mother was affectionately called a Grade Mother. Basically she mothered everybody in the class and made sure they were well taken care of when it came to class parties and anything else that was needed.
  • According to David Anderson, Uncle Norman, Ogden School maintenance man/janitor was an international entrepreneur specializing in the sale of whiskey and game cocks all the way into Mexico and Puerto Rico
  • Names that were spoken full of strong memory: Opal Lovin, Aubrey Byers, Bob Cunningham and Ida B. Timpson
  • Clay Logan was 24 years old when the school closed and had been serving as the Maintenance Supervisor.
  • A concluding remark that that was made several times as the conversation turned to those times in the history of the building when either the original school closed, the Blue Grass music was no longer heard from the Ogden stage, or the last uses such as The Learning Center!, Southwestern Child Development, or private use came to an end:  “It just sat there….”


Ralph Myers

The old Ogden School….we have captured it for a moment. You will see this piece on The Learning Center!  website and the school’s blog: tlcgrowzone . You may even see portions of it in the area newspapers. If you wish to add to the Ogden information, our blog, TLCgrowzone is the place to comment and share. You may find that there is more life still in the Ogden School Community than you think.  Thanks to the Ogden school for housing The Learning Center! briefly before its move into Murphy.  For the fun of it, come out on October 29, 6:30-10:30 at The Learning Center! campus  at 945 Conaheeta Street, Murphy to run the halls of the maze, to view the spoof we are making of Clay’s Corner,  Warne post office and even the Brasstown Mines. You may be surprised who you find lurking in the theatrical walls of Scooby Doo’s Ghoul School Maze.  For this one night, The Learning Center! Charter School will make sure the spirit of old Ogden School does more than “just sit there.”

World Famous Clay's Corner in Brasstown, NC

By:  Mary Jo Dyre, Director, The Learning Center! Charter School


[Ms. Darea used the study of pumpkins in first grade to introduce the science concepts of force and motion.  Here’s what she had to say.]

This week we learned about pumpkins and what better way to introduce force and motion than watching videos of catapults at pumpkin chunkin’ festivals?!  The kids watched the videos, looked at some pictures, and then were given a shoe box, 2 popsicle sticks, 4 rubber bands, a plastic spoon, a 6 inch piece of masking tape (which they measured), a pair of scissors, and a ruler, and were told to build a catapult in groups of 5.  They were so excited!  I was hesitant, but SO amazed at how well they did with this.  Within 20 minutes each group was testing their catapults with wonderful results!    



Friday was the competition.  Each team gave themselves a name.  Since they didn’t all agree on team names, each group had to vote between two and decide who had the most votes.  We were going to shoot marshmallows but quickly realized this was not going to work so we switched to cap erasers.  Later we talked about how scientists often go through trial and error  to learn what works best.  So, each child in the group launched the eraser from their team’s catapult and the greatest distance was marked with a piece of masking tape with their team’s name on it.  Team Catapult was the winner! 



We measured each group’s distances with yard sticks and wrote down the numbers in our science notebooks.   Back in the classroom we talked about the catapults’ designs and why some shot things farther than others.  We also talked about the amount of force that was put on the catapult and why this might affect how far the eraser flew.  We also compared the shortest distance to the longest distance and took a difference between the two.  It was pretty cool all around.  What a group of little physicists!

Integrating Math and Science

[Ms. Jamie took her 6th graders to the park.  This is what she had to say about the lesson.]

The 6th graders and I took a walking field trip down to the park.  We used pedometers to measure how many steps it would take to get down to the park from the school.  After we walked to the park we then wrote down the numbers of those who wore pedometers and discussed/brainstormed which variables were a factor in why some people had more steps than others.  The list included:  pedometer malfunction, length of stride, bumping or excessively jiggling the pedometer, or maybe taking a few more steps than someone else by walking around a little more.  We then added up all of the numbers and discussed the mean, or average, steps it took to get down to the park.  We ended up with 1228.5 steps.  We had to include some fun, so we had a kickball game and enjoyed the scenic view of the river walk too!

Scenes around campus

4th grade investigations math


4th grade learning about rocks and minerals in science


5th graders running for Town Council as part of Middle REAL


4th & 5th grades visit Hayesville to learn about Cherokee Indian life and culture.


Learning about the Cherokee


6th graders comparing and contrasting "Physical Communities" vs. "Cyber-Communities."

More Freaky Friday Fun

Recently a first grade parent was kind enough to teach the class about corn shelling and grinding.  Each student was able to shell an ear of corn and then grind it so it could be fed to the chickens!  Very neat!






First graders were also lucky enough to be given a hair cutting demonstration from a first grade parent. 

Wow!  How cool is it to be a first grader at TLC?