Monday, December 31, 2012

Teachers Invited to Special Night at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

Brooke Haycock

On Thursday Jan. 24, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) will hold its second Teacher Night. Admission is free.

The evening will include a one-woman show by Brooke Haycock, the artist-in-residence for The Education Trust in Washington. Haycock bases her performances on interviews with students and teachers.

Teachers Night, which is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m., also offers the opportunity to take a tour of SECCA exhibits, to pick up materials designed to connect contemporary art of the classroom and to have a little something to eat and glass of wine while talking with other teachers.

SECCA’s Education Curator, Deborah Randolph, is organizing the Teacher Night project. The first Teacher Night was held in August. SECCA is at 750 Marguerite Drive in Winston-Salem. You will find SECCA online at SECCA 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ashley IB Magnet Students Dance to Raise Money for The Children's Home and School Hurt by Hurricane Sandy

Through a “Winter Wonderland” dance, students at Ashley IB Magnet Elementary School raised a total of $170 for The Children’s Home and for a school devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

“With the funds raised, we were able to donate $70 in gifts to The Children's Home,” said Serena Adkins, a kindergarten assistant. “Student Council officers went yesterday to drop off the gifts and were given a tour and learned more about what The Children's Home does and why children have to stay there. I think it was very eye-opening for our students and they had some really good questions. Hopefully it was a lesson they will keep forever and will share with others what they learned.

“We will also be donating $100 to a school affected by Hurricane Sandy with the rest of the money raised.” 

Students at Reagan, Mount Tabor, Reynolds, West Forsyth Help People Who Are Homeless

Reagan students wearing T-shirts (Photo by Amber Bryant)
As a way to help people during the holidays last year, Reagan High School students Nick Nictakis and Jam Sulahry, with support from Hanesbrands Inc., organized a friendly competition called the Forsyth County High School Sock Exchange to collect socks for people who are homeless. “We wanted to do something different,” Sulahry said.

Last year, Reagan competed with Mount Tabor to see who could collect the most socks. “It was a good feeling so we definitely wanted to do it again,” Nictakis said.

This year, they extended the challenge to Reynolds and West as well. “We wanted to step it up,” Nictakis said.

Students at all four high schools accepted the challenge, and, altogether, students collected more than 500 packages – about 3,000 pairs of socks – along with T-shirts and underwear. Hanesbrands offered to give $500 to each school that collected a minimum of 150 packages of socks and underwear, with a total of $1,000 going to the high school that collected the most. The winning school was Reagan, which collected 201 packages of socks, underwear and t-shirts. Mount Tabor High School, which collected 193 packages of socks and underwear, placed second. The prize presentation will take place during the Mount Tabor/Reagan basketball game on Feb. 5.

In addition, at Reagan, Hanesbrands donated Reagan T-shirts screen-printed with the message “I Gave the Shirt Off My Back” that students could buy for $6 each, with all proceeds going to area shelters. Through sales of 473 T-shirts, Reagan raised $2,838.

Hanesbrands is also supporting another sock drive – the Lash/Chronicle Junior Varsity Tournament Sock Drive. The tournament is a competition among the junior-varsity teams at 13 high schools in Forsyth County (Atkins, Carver, East Forsyth, Glenn, Forsyth Country Day, Mount Tabor, North Forsyth, Parkland, Reynolds, Reagan, West Forsyth, Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy and Walkertown). Family, friends and supporters are encouraged to bring socks to the tournament, and the school that collects the most socks will win $500. Hanesbrands will provide the prizes, as well as match the sock donations from each school. The winning school will be announced on Saturday, Dec. 22.

“We’re thrilled to support these young people and this incredible outreach,” said Cheryl Lindsay, Hanebrands’ director of global diversity and community relations. “This is about helping others, and also developing well-rounded citizens. These students are taking a leadership role in helping build their community, and that's something we’re incredibly proud to be a part of.”

The socks and underwear will be given to Samaritan Ministries, Bethesda Center for the Homeless, The Salvation Army Center of Hope and the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission.  

Wiley Middle Students Collect Food for WS/FCS Social Workers' Food Pantry

Each year, Wiley Middle School holds a Holiday Food Drive. This year, the Holiday Food Drive, which ran from Dec. 3 to 14, collected about 2,000 food items that have been donated to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Social Workers' Food Pantry. All of the food will be distributed to families with children in the school system. The project was organized by Wiley's Student Leadership Team.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gibson Elementary Students Sing and Give Gifts at Local Retirement Community

On Friday Dec. 14, students from Gibson Elementary School visited a local retirement community where they sang carols and visited with the residents. They also gave gift bags to the residents. The gift bags were from the third-graders. As a project, the third-graders had earned a dollar at home by doing a job or extra chore and then used the money they earned to buy gifts. The students also wrote about what it felt like to earn money and use the proceeds to help others.

Director of Federal Programs and Strategic Planning Is Finalist for National Award

Kim Morrison
Kim Morrison, the school system’s Director of Federal Programs and Strategic Planning, is a finalist for  the Women in Leadership Award given by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).

Morrison, who has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is one of two finalists in the category of Central Office or Site-Based Personnel. This award recognizes talent, creativity and vision. The winner will be announced at the AASA national conference in Los Angeles in February of 2013. 

For more information about the association, go to

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Southeast Middle Students Hold Book and Toy Drive

Amber Hand, Vivian Le, Katlyn Bullard, Alvin Carlisle, Julie Mosqueda
Southeast Middle students, such as Vivian Le, Katlyn Bullard, Alvin Carlisle, Amber Hand and Julie Mosqueda, are happy about participating in the school’s holiday book and toy drive.

“It’s nice to give things to kids who don’t have as much as we do,” said Katlyn.

“When you feel like they don’t have anything, it makes you sad,” Amber said.

“It’s good to have something to open Christmas day,” said Alvin.

Rachel Holmes, Julie Mosqueda, David Brown, Jennifer Wells
Amber is a big fan of sports so she thought it would be good donate a soccer ball. Katlyn brought in a copy of a book she really likes about a girl who thinks her new neighbors might be werewolves. (They are.) Julie likes chapter books a lot, so she, too, decided to donate books.   

Officer David M. Brown, the Kernersville police officer who serves as the school’s School Resource Officer (SRO), organized the drive in partnership with Lisa Turner, the media coordinator, and the teachers in the music department: Rachel Holmes, Jennifer Wells and Gene Mabry, who was recently named the school’s Teacher of the Year.

In the past, students in the Jaguar Book Club collected books and found it a satisfying experience, Turner said. “They said, ‘Let’s do it again.’” Students made posters for the hallways. 

Brown sent letters home with parents. About 1,000 of the 1,300 students at Southeast participate in the music program, and Brown went to all of the music classes and invited students to participate. “My kids were very excited about going out and picking out something,” Wells said. “They were excited about being able to help.”

Students are continuing to bring in items. On Thursday, everything will be turned over to Impact Triad, a nonprofit organization that works with young people in the Kernersville area. Brown first organized a toy drive last year and was pleased with how it turned out so he wanted to do it again this year.

“It was a lot of work but it was worth it to put some smiles on some kids’ faces,” Brown said.

Ashley IB Magnet Cheerleaders Participate in Holiday Parade

On Dec. 1, girls in the Lady Explorers cheerleading squad at Ashley IB Magnet School participated in the Winston-Salem Jaycees annual Holiday Parade in downtown Winston-Salem

The members of the Lady Explorers are in grades three through five. Halima McCaskill, a second-grade teacher assistant at Ashley, and Koby Gilbo, a high school student who goes to Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, coach the program. The Lady Explorers are matched with a teacher-mentor and work toward building confidence and self-esteem.  The Lady Explorers also help with Ashley IB's recycling program and raise money for Ashley's BackPack Program and other programs that help others.

Cheerleading practice is held once a week after school.  The Lady Explorers have many opportunities to perform at school assemblies, basketball games, and PTA nights.  This was the first year for participation in the Winston-Salem Jaycees' Holiday Parade and a wonderful time was had by all.
Coaches Halima McCaskill and Koby Gilbo

Spotlight on Media Assistant at Griffith, Cook and Kimberley Park Elementary Schools

Cyndi Pigg
Each month the Classified Advisory Council puts the Spotlight on a classified employee. For December, the spotlight is on Cyndi Pigg, who works as the Media Assistant in three Elementary schools – Griffith, Cook and Kimberley Park. 

“I also serve as Griffith Elementary’s Webmaster. This is my fifth year as a Media Assistant. Before my employment with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system, I worked in IT as a Computer Programmer for Wachovia Bank and owned my own Web Design business.

“Both of my parents were school teachers in Greensboro. When I was growing up, I enjoyed helping them with things like putting up bulletin boards and grading papers.  Also, my parents have always been avid readers.  Newspapers, books, and stacks of magazines are still in abundance on the tables in their house.  I can still remember them reading to me as a child, and lying around reading with them, when I was older.  I credit my parents for my love of books and reading and my ease and familiarity with the public school system.   

“After my sons were born, I took some time off of work to become a full-time stay-at-home mom. Then, when they were older, I began volunteering in various roles at Sedge Garden Elementary, where both of my sons attended school. One of those roles was to shelve books and help with circulation in the Media Center, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Jan Hagborg, the (now retired) Media Coordinator recognized a good fit and encouraged me to apply for a position as a Media Assistant.  I’m very thankful that she did – This has been the most satisfying job that I have ever had. What could be more rewarding than working in a place that helps a child develop a love of reading!

In my spare time, I enjoy reading (of course), playing in the hand-bell choir at church, needlecrafts, walking, hiking, and geocaching, a world-wide treasure hunt played by using a handheld GPS unit.”

You will find the Classified Advisory Council page at Classifed Advisory Council

Monday, December 17, 2012

Forsyth Middle College Students Stuff Stockings for Salvation Army

Student Rena Hooker and Principal William Wynn Load Stockings
Through the G.I.V.E. (Give, Initiate, Volunteer, Encourage) Initiative, students at Forsyth Middle College are participating in the Salvation Army Stocking Stuffer Program. 

Students filled stockings to be given to children in the community. Each student had the option of designing his or her own stocking. “The G.I.V.E. Initiative allows the Forsyth Middle College Community to give back in a variety of ways which not only benefit Forsyth County and the world beyond, but the entire student body as well,” said Rena Hooker, the founder of the G.I.V.E. Iniative.

On Friday Dec. 13, Hooker and her mother delivered more than 35 stuffed stockings packed with variety of items from toys to toiletries to the Salvation Army office in Winston-Salem.

Southwest Elementary Students Bring Holiday Cheer to Neighbors at Kaplan Early Learning

Beth DeFeo dropped by Kaplan Early Learning Co. this morning to hear her daughter Evie join the other kindergarteners from Southwest Elementary School in singing holiday songs to the Kaplan employees.

Evie has been working hard at home for the past few days to get ready, DeFeo said. “She has been singing ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ over and over. Those reindeer have some interesting names.”

It has been more than 20 years since Janice Council, a now-retired kindergarten teacher, first made arrangements with Kaplan, which is just down the road from Southwest, to come by and sing some holiday songs. With a few exceptions, kindergarteners have come to Kaplan every year since.

“It makes our Christmas – seeing little kids,” said Mike Miller, Kaplan’s showroom manager.

This morning, such employees as Lisa Raines, Pam Marty and Beth Miller gathered in the informal concert area that had been set up the warehouse space off the showroom. “It’s a great way to start the holiday,” Raines said. A few minutes later, about 55 students under the leadership of music teacher Gloria Allen got off the activity bus and trooped in.

“Rudolph” and the other songs, which included a Hannukah song in which they spun as if they were the four-sided tops called dreidels, got an enthusiastic response from the employees. “Love it,” said Miller. The annual experience is a lot of fun for the teachers, too, said kindergarten teacher Debbie Dosek, who has been coming since 1989.

The stop at Kaplan was part of a whirlwind tour. Earlier in the morning, the kindergarteners sang at two assisted living communities – Clemmons Village I and Clemmons Village II. The residents enjoyed the experience so much that the staff talked with kindergarten teacher Tiffany Larson about the possibility of coming back for Valentine’s Day and other occasions. And, on Thursday morning, they are scheduled to head over to West Forsyth High School.

On the way out, several of the kindergarteners wished the adults they passed a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. A little girl at the end of the line told the adults she thought it would be a good idea for them to wish her a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. So they did.  

The Children's Center & Graylyn Share a Holiday Tradition

For more than 20 years, the Children’s Center and Graylyn International Conference Center have had a holiday tradition: One morning during the holiday season, everyone at the Children’s Center, which shares the Graylyn estate with the conference center, heads over for a sing-along – and a holiday cookie or two.

“It’s something our staff looks forward to each year,” said Tracy Geiger, Graylyn’s corporate account manager.

“Seeing the smiles that come over their faces is amazing,” said Becky Currin, the sales and catering manager.

Graylyn goes all out with staff members serving the children from silver trays and Santa stopping by for a visit. This year, the children and adults at the Children’s Center made their visit on Friday morning. After coming through the main entrance, many of the children stopped by the elaborate gingerbread house that Graylyn set up at the foot of the stairs before heading to the sitting room where everyone was gathering. There, long-time volunteer Ed Locke played holiday songs on the piano while everyone found a place to be.

Mike Britt is the executive director of The Centers for Exceptional Children, which includes the Children’s Center and the Special Children’s School, and, once everyone had gathered, he thanked the people at Graylyn and said, “It is wonderful to be back here for one of our absolutely favorite traditions.”

Ian Hargis, the music teacher, then led the children in lively songs with such lines as “Christmas makes me smile” and “I want to be an elf.” After that, the staff at Graylyn circulated with silver trays laden with cookies.

One of the bonuses of the annual experience, said Principal Carol Kirby, is having everyone from the school in the same room at the same time, something that doesn’t happen in the day-to-day of the school.

“It’s like a family gathering,” Kirby said. “It’s rare that we can do that. It’s really special.”

Santa, portrayed by Curtis Largen, came. Hands shot into the air when he said, “Who would like a gift from Santa?” He gave each child a small stuffed elf.

Kay Sages, who has been volunteering at the school for three years, said she savors every day spends with the children. “We have the best kids in the whole world,” Sages said. “Everyone is beautiful.” 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa and the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce Elves Drop by Hall-Woodward Elementary

Jamarion Jones Visits with Santa
On Wednesday, Santa and four elves visited Hall-Woodward Elementary School. With the kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students, Santa stepped unannounced into their classrooms. Each time, his arrival created a sensation. Smiles exploded on children’s faces. “Woo-hoo-hoo!” called out one little girl.

Santa created a second wave of excitement when he told the children that they could open the gift-wrapped books he was handing out right this very instant. Not quite able to believe their good fortune at being invited to open a present this very second - Wow! - some would ask again just to make sure.

Paper would shred. Wonderful books would be revealed. And then, in a swirl of red velvet, Santa would be off to the next classroom. Make sure to keep an eye out for the cookies and milk he would be leaving out for him, one boy called.

“Santa, I love you!” called out another boy.

Santa turned back and said, “I love you, too.”

Carlos Hernandez-Mendoza gives Santa a hug
Moments such as that made Santa’s visit to a holiday gift to the adults as well as the children. “That will keep a smile on my face for the rest of the week,” said Andrea Howell, one of the elves.  

With the first- and second-graders, Santa set up shop in a rocking chair and let the students come to him one at a time. Second-grader Jamarion Jones knew who Santa was, of course, but he had never been so close. “It was my first time on his lap,” Jamarion said afterward. “I was nervous.”

When it was second-grader Carlos Hernandez-Mondoza’s turn, he gave Santa a gift. He stepped back and sang “Feliz Navidad.” After finishing the final line, “I want to wish you a merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart,” he gave Santa a hug.

Santa’s visit came courtesy of the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, which has a close relationship with Hall-Woodward. “They support us in so many ways,” said Principal Celena Tribby.

Throughout the school year, volunteers from the chamber come to tutor students, and, at the holidays, elves from the chamber accompany Santa for a visit. This year, Santa was Cliff Snider, who has been portraying Santa for years, and the elf contingent included chamber employees Howell, Jennifer Cobb, Tina Long and Angela Breathette.

After their visit with Santa, students waited for the rest of the students in their class to have their turn with him. “This will be the buzz for the rest of the afternoon,” said Virginia Hill, who teaches second grade. “They are beaming from ear to ear.”

While the students visited with Santa, some of the adults talked about what they would ask Santa for if given the chance.

“I would just ask Santa that he would give all these children a safe and wonder-filled Christmas,” said Susan Paschal, the curriculum coordinator for kindergarten through second grade.

Tribby’s wish: “To give all of my children the opportunities they deserve.”

Others’ wishes were along the same lines. If, by any chance, Santa had a leftover wish sitting around after taking care of the students, second-grade teacher Rachel Harris would be delighted to have him pay off the mortgage on her house. And teacher assistant Darlene McCracken grabbed a moment with Santa to ask whatever happened to that pony she had asked for as a girl.  

When it was time to go, Santa passed by some fourth-graders as he walked toward the front door of the school. A couple of them wondered aloud whether he was going to get into a car and drive away or climb into his sleigh. Tribby invited them to join her at the front of the school to see for themselves.

Mystery solved. He climbed into a PT Cruiser. As Santa drove past the school, he lowered the window and waved to the students.

East Forsyth Students and Teachers Sort Toys at Salvation Army Christmas Center

Members of Family Community Leaders of America with teacher advisers
After school on Thursday, seven members of the Family Community Career Leaders of America (FCCLA) at East Forsyth High School and three of their teachers headed over to the Salvation Army’s Christmas Center on Peters Creek Parkway to help sort toys that will become holiday gifts for local children.

Their job for the afternoon was to sort through bins that had come into the center that were filled with a jumble of donated toys and to separate them into toys for boys and toys for girls and, in the process, to come up with a tally of the total number of toys. A couple of the students, armed with clipboards, took charge of keeping a tally while the other students and teachers went to work sorting.

Nikki Carmac, the club’s president, said that she was happy to be there. “It just makes you feel good knowing your are putting your hands on someone’s Christmas present who might not have gotten one.”

Looking around at the room filled with donated toys and clothes, she said, she was also impressed by how much people had donated. “It’s nice to know that our community gives.”

“I have learned people are very generous,” said club member Shamaya Crosson.

By the time the season is over, more than 7,000 children in Forsyth, Yadkin and Stokes counties will have received presents through the center. This is the third year that the club has supported this particular project. “This is something the kids ask to do each year,” said Greta Hegstrom, one of the three family & consumer science teachers joining the students at the center. The others were Jolie Gregory and Bethanye Carrigan.

Club member Alexis Gentry said that she had been looking forward to the volunteering at the center. “This is exciting,” she said.

“This is my second year doing it,” said Sherry Clark. “I enjoy helping out the community.”

The other students – Ladaisa Dow, Victoria Rivera and Khadeeja Johnson – offered similar reasons for participating. Johnson said that participating in the club has been a good experience. “It helped me build friendships and get close to people,” she said.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

WS/FC Graduate Living in China Talks with Students at Philo-Hill Magnet Academy

Heather Scales, John Tackabery, Lan Liu
Still recovering from a 17-hour flight from China and a disorienting 12-hour time change, John Tackbery dropped by Philo-Hill Magnet Academy today to meet with the eighth-graders in Lan Liu’s Chinese class.

Among other things, he talked about what a good idea is for students, as these students are, to start learning Chinese while still in middle school. “There are a lot of opportunities if you are an American and speak Chinese,” he said.

Liu pointed out that also means the opportunity to make good money. Heather Scales, the school’s magnet resource specialist, talked about how, for the students who already speak English and Spanish, adding Chinese would make them particularly attractive to businesses looking to do business internationally.  

Tackabery, who graduated from Mount Tabor High School in 2008, is the son of Jill Tackabery, who is a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. Tackabery became interested in China while he was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A minor in entrepreneurship and study abroad sent him to Beijing to work with a British company that put together specialized travel packages. Deciding that he wanted to learn the language, he took a language immersion program in Shanghai.

Tackabery graduated from Carolina in 2012 and returned to Shanghai to work for a company that imports such foods as Hershey’s chocolate syrup. He is home for the holidays and to renew his visa.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Piney Grove Elementary Students and Superintendent Hop in a Model T and Motor to 1925

Don Martin and Natalie Strange with Piney Grove Elementary Students
When Superintendent Don Martin dropped by Piney Grove Elementary School this morning to read the first chapter of The Secret School to the students gathered in the gym, he made a point to stop along the way and talk about any words he thought some students might not know.

He made stops at such words as “privies,” “miserly” and “humiliated.”
“If you are humiliated, how do you feel?” he asked the students.

“Embarrassed,” suggested one student.

“Embarrassed, exactly,” he said and returned to the novel by Avi. Set in rural Colorado in 1925, it tells the story of a 14-year-old girl named Ida Bidson who secretly keeps a school going after the head of the school board decides to shut down the one-room schoolhouse when the teacher has to leave before the end of the school year.

Afterward, students said they appreciated Dr. Martin making sure that they understood all the words.

“I think he was good at explaining the words we didn’t know,” said Jacqueline Inscho, a fourth-grader.

“It was good,” said fellow fourth-grader, Tyler Williams.

Natalie Strange, the media coordinator at Piney Grove, was dressed for the day as a teacher might have dressed in 1925. She invited Dr. Martin to read the first chapter as a way to kick off a reading project for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. In the coming days, they will all be reading The Secret School.

“I really want to start,” said Jacqueline.

Joe Huygens with his 1917 Model T
 The chapter that Dr. Martin read opens with Ida, who is in the eighth-grade, and her younger brother, Felix, driving a Model T to the one-room school house. Ida has sit on her knees to get high enough to see out of the car, which means that Felix has to crouch in the floorboard and operate the pedals. So he can’t see where they are going.

The students had no trouble visualizing that Model T. Strange invited Joe Huygens, a member of the Old Salem Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America and of the Tarheels Model T Club, to visit the school on Monday with his 1917 Model T. So they had just spent time with a real Model T.

Before he began reading the chapter, Dr. Martin talked to the students about how much he enjoys reading. “I read every night before I go to bed,” he said.

They were suitably impressed when he told them he was more than 900 pages into his current book. (Winter of the World by Ken Follett, he said when asked later.) “All the people in the book are my friends now,” he said. “I’m going to miss them.”  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

W-S Prep Principal Recognized at Wake Forest Basketball Game

Richard Watts
At the Saturday basketball game between Wake Forest and Seton Hall, Wake Forest Athletics presented Richard Watts, the principal at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, with its Community Service award.

During this season, Wake Forest Athletics has been honoring heroes in the community by asking the fans to nominate those who have exemplified extraordinary service to any of our local Triad communities.  At each home men’s basketball game, Wake Forest Athletics presents the award to someone.

At the Seton Hall game, Watts was honored, and Assistant Athletic Director Mike Odom presented him with a commemorative certificate.

Watts was the 2011-12 Principal of the Year for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. It was the second time he has won the award; he was also named Principal of the Year in 2001 when he was principal of Gibson Elementary School.

Watts has been principal of Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy since 2007 and has worked for WS//FC Schools for almost 30 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Community Supports Operation Santa at Kernersville Elementary

Lisa May and Becky Carter
In the Thursday Dec. 6 of Kernersville News, features & news editor Wendy Freeman Davis writes about Kernersville Elementary School’s Operation Santa, an annual program that helps families in the school’s community during the holidays.

School social worker Lisa May and guidance counselor Whitney Frack are coordinating the program this year. Support for the program is coming from the Triad Blackhawks youth and adult lacrosse program, Kernersville Medical Center and other community businesses and organizations. Last week, Blackhawks representatives presented Principal Becky Carter with a check for $3,500.

“The Kernersville community working together – that is what makes our community so different and so special,” Carter told Davis.

“We really have a special ‘something’ that happens here in Kernersville..not only at Christmas but all year long!” May said.  “I am happy to be a part of such a giving community!”

Carter and May volunteered at the Blackhawks’ “Stick It to Hunger” lacrosse tournament. Operation Santa operates under the school’s Christmas Relief Fund. Anyone interested in donating to the Kernersville Elementary School Christmas Relief Fund may get in touch with May at (336) 703-4100 Ext. 51214 or

Hanes Student Speaks at Exceptional Children Conference.

Sam Dempsey introduces Asha Gandhi
Asha Gandhi is a girl with an extraordinary brain. She is also a girl with limited vision and hearing. Her exemplary approach to dealing with the challenges she faces prompted the N.C. Council for Exceptional Children to give her its Yes I Can! Award earlier this year.

At the time, Asha was a fifth-grader in the highly academically gifted program at Brunson Elementary School. She is now a sixth-grader at Hanes Magnet School, and, in November, she spoke at the council’s annual conference. When asked how she felt about speaking at the conference she said, "I felt like I was making a difference by changing the thoughts of teachers about the deaf-blind."

Asha’s parents are Sanjay and Lauren Gandhi. “Sanjay and I were excited that Asha had this opportunity and were pleased that she was willing to address a group, especially one this size, about what is often a personal topic for her,” said Lauren Gandhi. “Opportunities like this help her learn to be a better self-advocate, and hopefully an advocate for others with challenges as well.”

In her speech, Asha talked about the particulars of her disabilities and some of the ways in which she uses equipment to help her. She talked about Ashley Bristow, the teacher assistant in the exceptional children’s program who works with her. “Without her I probably would not even be here right now,” Asha said. And she talked about all the others who also help. “I have had countless people help me and get me to where I am today.”

She went on to say: “But still being deaf/blind is a challenge.  Sometimes it is very hard for me to understand what people are saying and I do not hear an important comment.  I may miss out on something cool that is being shown to the others.  This makes me feel a bit lonely and left out. So I may respond inappropriately because I may not have heard what you said correctly.  That can cause a huge social difference sometimes.

“Deaf/blindness makes everyday a challenge. But I have risen above it successfully.  Even though it is a challenge, I live my life much the same as you do.  I live my life thinking about my abilities not my disabilities. But even though I am proud of who I am, the problems that come with it are stressful. But thanks to God and the lasting support of friends, family, and school, I have overcome deaf/blindness and am fulfilling my potential.”

After she finished her prepared remarks, she said, "One last word.  I do not need to be shown pity or sympathy--only commitment, praise, and positive encouragement.  If you do show pity or sympathy on me--fine--but, I will do something!" 

You will find the story we wrote about her after she won her award at Asha Gandhi


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Socks, Songs & Elves

Holiday Tree in Lobby of Adminstrative Building
We invited people in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools community to let us know some of the ways in which students, staff and others in the school community are reaching out during the holidays. Below are some of the activities that we have heard about so far. If your school or organization is doing something, please let Kim Underwood know. You may reach him at

Reagan High School, Mount Tabor High School, Reynolds High School, West Forsyth High School - Last year, Reagan student Nick Nictakis – along with the Hanesbrands and the Josh Howard Foundation - organized The Forsyth County Sock Exchange challenge in which students at Reagan and Mount Tabor worked to see which student body could collect the most socks for people who are homeless. This year, Reynolds and West have also accepted Nictakis’ challenge. Hanesbrands will provide a $500 donation to each school that collects at least 150 pairs, with $1,000 going to the school that collects the most.

The Children’s Center – The Children’s Center shares the grounds of the Graylyn estate with Graylyn International Conference Center, and each year everyone in the school heads over to the conference center during the holiday season for a sing-along with their neighbors. This year, they will be making their visit on the morning of Dec. 14.

Southeast Middle School – SRO (School Resource Officer) Officer D.M. Brown of the Kernersville Police Department, Media Coordinator Lisa Turner, the members of the Jaguar Book Club and the Music Department are coordinating a toy and book drive. After the drive ends on Dec. 12, the toys and books will be turned over to Impact Triad, a Kernersville nonprofit, for distribution.  

Forsyth Middle College – Through the G.I.V.E. (Give, Initiate, Volunteer, Encourage) Initiative, students will participate in the Salvation Army Stocking Stuffer Program. Students will be filling stockings to be given to children in the community. Each student has the option of designing his or her own stocking. “The G.I.V.E. Initiative allows the Forsyth Middle College Community to give back in a variety of ways which not only benefit Forsyth County and the world beyond, but the entire student body as well.”  

East Forsyth High School - On the afternoon of Dec. 13, student volunteers from the Family Community Career Leaders of America (FCCLA) will be heading over to the Salvation Army distribution center to help box toys for families in Forsyth County.

Southwest Elementary School - On the morning of Dec. 17, kindergarten students will be going to the Kaplan Early Learning Co. and to a retirement home to sing Christmas carols.

Sedge Garden Elementary School – In partnership with TE Connectivity and First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, the Sedge Garden Elementary community will be providing gifts and food cards to families in the school through its Angel Tree. This is an annual program that, in the past, has helped 30 or more families each year.

Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce & Hall-Woodward Elementary School – Each year since 1999, the Chamber of Commerce, which provides tutors at Hall-Woodward, has bought a book for every kindergarten student and a pencil/candy for every first- and second-grade student there. Santa and his trusty elves (Rodessa Mitchell, Jennifer Cobb and others from the Chamber) visit the school and give the students their presents. This year, they will be dropping by on the afternoon of Dec. 12.

Central Office - The Forsyth County Chapter of the Association of Educational Office Professionals (AEOP) has been collecting toys, clothing and other items for the Love Out Loud Gift Mart at Old Town Elementary School. It is also providing volunteers for the Gift Mart. The Gift Mart is sponsored annually by Bridges Church, the partner organization for the BackPack program at Old Town, which supplies weekend meals for students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Woman Uses Stuffed Animals to Help Students Learn about Emotions

Karen Cuthrell
In the Wednesday Dec. 5 issue of the Winston-Salem Journal, reporter John Hinton writes about Karen Cuthrell using 12 stuffed-animal characters to teach children at Kimberley Park and Ashley elementary schools about healthy ways to express emotions. Her long-term goal It help them succeed and to stay in school.

Cuthrell’s pilot program, called The Feeling Friends, will last through May 2013. Each animal character represents a human emotion such as love, joy, nervousness, angriness, and sadness. She is instructing 300 kindergarten students and fifth-graders at Kimberley Park, and 15 second- and fourth-graders at Ashley.

Journal photographer Lauren Carroll took the photos. For the complete story, go to Winston-Salem Journal

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Spotlight on Guidance Secretary at Winston-Salem Prep

Thomasine Malloy

Each month the Classified Advisory Council puts the Spotlight on a classified employee. In November, it recognized Thomasine Malloy, the guidance secretary at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy. 

Malloy has been employed with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools for 16 years.  Before coming to Winston-Salem Prep, she was a second secretary/local assistant at Gibson Elementary and a kindergarten assistant at Kimberley Park Elementary.

Mrs. Malloy is widowed. She and her late husband have three children and two grandchildren.

“Although her job title is that of Guidance Secretary, Mrs. Malloy wears many hats!  The school nurse is only on campus on Mondays and Fridays at WSPA. Mrs. Malloy assists students with their medical needs in absence of the school nurse. She also assists the assistant principal with transportation appeals and bus stop requests.

“Mrs. Malloy’s dedication to helping young people is evident in everything she does at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy
on a daily basis.” 

You can find the Classified Advisory Council page at Classified Advisory Council

Student Art in the December issue of Forsyth Family Magazine

By Roselyn Hernandez-Chavez, Speas Elementary School

By Yi Yi Ma, Hanes Magnet School

By Abby Gomes, Kimmel Farm Elementary School

By Violeta Clavell, Parkland High School
In the December 2012 issue of Forsyth Family Magazine, you will find art by four students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Roselyn's art teacher is Robbie Disher. Yi Yi's art teacher is Barbara Butryn. Abby's art teacher is Marsha Thrift and Violeta's is Melissa Moore.

The Artist's Corner appears on page 88.