Monday, October 28, 2013

Writer of Historical Fiction Works with Students at Northwest Middle School

On Thursday, Oct. 24, author Laura M. Elliott worked with students at Northwest Middle School. Elliott wrote such books as Under a War-Torn Sky, A Troubled Peace and Annie, Between the States.

“Mrs. Elliott first visited Northwest two years ago and spoke to the Falcon Book Club about her books during a luncheon,” said Ronetta Snyder, the school’s media coordinator. “During this year’s visit, Mrs. Elliott had breakfast with the Battle of the Books Team while answering questions about her personal life and her professional life as a writer.  Mrs. Elliott’s book Under a War-Torn Sky is on this year’s Battle of the Books list for middle schools in North Carolina.”

Later, Mrs. Elliott spoke with all the seventh-graders in an assembly in the auditorium. 

“To begin with, Mrs. Elliott asked the audience questions about World War II to gauge their knowledge,” Snyder said. “Throughout the assembly, Mrs. Elliott focused on the soldiers in World War II. She mentioned how the soldiers fit in the B-24 bombers, how the French Resistance helped the Allies, and the clothes the pilots wore.  Periodically, Mrs. Elliott would answer questions from the audience.

“The assembly ended with Mrs. Elliott telling a story of how she researched the grain fields in France for Under a War-Torn Sky. She lay down in the field to imagine a soldier hiding from the Nazis. Then a huge bug crawled up her pants leg. She never finished this story…”

Fall Festival at Cook Elementary School and Thank-You Breakfast for Those Who Helped

The 300 people who came to the fall festival at Cook Elementary School on Oct. 18 got a chance to visit with people from the Winston-Salem fire and police departments, the athletic department at Winston-Salem State University and the mascot for the Winston-Salem Dash baseball team while eating popcorn and pizza and listening to music provided by African drummers, DJ Joshua Moyer and others.

“I played some old Motown and some newer rap and everything in between,” Moyer said.

Shanika Y. Gray, the parent involvement and business partnership coordinator at Cook, organized the festival, and, on Oct. 25, she held a thank-you breakfast at Cook for everyone who helped out. Many of the volunteers at the festival are part of 1st Serve, a volunteer group with First Presbyterian Church that has been helping out at Cook for some time. Volunteers work on the grounds, help teachers with bulletin boards and such, and drop by to have lunch with students who are their “lunch buddies.”  

“We were called to be good neighbors,” said Danielle Lamphier, who is the co-chair of 1st Serve, said at the thank-you breakfast. “We have a pretty large group of people that love this school and have developed some great relationships here.”

Help from the volunteers is priceless, Gray said. “Our volunteers are the foundation of what we do here.”

A number of businesses also provided supplies and items for a silent auction. The festival raised about $800, which will be used to cover such expenses as student field trips, Gray said.

Gray had a long list of people to thank: Winston-Salem Police Department; Winston-Salem Fire Department; Winston-Salem State RamMobile, Athletic Department and Department of Lifelong Learning; Urban League Young Professionals; Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.; Psi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, Inc.; First Presbyterian Church; Reynolda Rotary; Experiment in Self Reliance; Forsyth County Public Library Bookmobile; YMCA of Northwest North Carolina; DJ Bobby Shields; Hauser Rental; Sam's Club; The Fixx Hair and Nail Studio; Blend Masters Barbershop; Crown Barbershop; Ultimate Autobody; Wake Forest University; Food Lion; Bojangles; Chick-Fil-A; Domino's Pizza; DJ Dichotomy; Winston-Salem Dash; Spa Nails. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Assistant Principal at Ashley Elementary Writes Book that Helps Students Prepare for Tests

Alicia Bailey reads her new book to students
In the Friday, Oct. 18 issue of the Winston-Salem Journal, reporter Arika Herron writes about a new book by the assistant principal at Ashley. Here is an excerpt:

Alicia Bailey, the assistant principal at Ashley Elementary School, wanted to make sure her students were prepared test time came.

Important end-of-quarter tests start next week. And Bailey, the 2012-2013 N.C. Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year knows, has seen plenty of students in her own school and across the district who get nervous on test day. Among them is A’najah Williamson, an Ashley third-grader.

"I get nervous every time,” A’najah said.

In an increasingly data-driven world, students are tested often, Bailey said. But all that testing doesn’t necessarily translate into kids who are more comfortable taking tests, she said. Bailey spent seven years in the classroom before moving into administration. She knows firsthand how apprehensive some students can be on test day.

"Sometimes kids get nervous when they have to take a test,” Bailey said. “I wanted to help them overcome their fears.”

So instead of turning to practice tests or pep talks, Bailey returned to an idea she developed when she was still a classroom teacher – a story based on a character named Runru Kangaroo.

Like so many of her students, Runru the kangaroo is a nervous test-taker.

"It’s about a kangaroo that goes on an adventure,” Bailey said of the story, which she recently self-published as an illustrated children’s book.

"Runru Kangaroo and the Adventures of Test-Taking” follows Runru on the biggest day of the school year – test day. While Runru’s friends are excited and confident, Runru isn’t so sure.

"Everyone will do a good job, expect for me,” thinks Runru at the start of the story.

For the complete story, go to Winston-Salem Journal

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thanks to BookMarks, 200 Students and Teachers Going to See Lemony Snicket

Thanks to BookMarks book festival, 200 students and teachers from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will be on hand Tuesday when Lemony Snicket talks about When Did You See Her Last?, the  second book in Lemony Snicket's All the Wrong Questions series.

Jackie Pierson, the school system’s program manager for library media services, said that seeing an author in person helps students connect with a book.

“It’s hugely engaging for the kids,” she said. “It makes a book come alive.”

With support from Wake Forest University, BookMarks is presenting Lemony Snicket at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in Wait Chapel on the Wake Forest campus.

A news release from BookMarks says, “All the Wrong Questions has reunited Snicket with his longtime representative, Daniel Handler, author of the Printz Honor-winning young adult book, Why We Broke Up, which was described as ‘beautifully rendered’ by the New York Times. Mr. Handler is also the author of The Basic Eight and Adverbs. Lemony Snicket is the author of the thirteen books in A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

The Los Angeles Times called Lemony Snicket's All the Wrong Questions "a Pink Panther-esque page turner." The New York Times said, "It has more twists than a soft-serve ice cream cone." Booklist proclaimed, "Please, it's Lemony Snicket. Enough said."

In the fading town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, young apprentice Snicket has a new case to solve when he and his chaperone are hired to find a missing girl. Is the girl a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? Was she seen last at the grocery store? Or could she have stopped at the diner? Is it really any of your business? These are All the Wrong Questions.

Tickets to the event are still available. Tickets for general admission are $15. Tickets that include a copy of When Did You See Her Last? are $25. Tickets can be purchased through    

Lemony Snicket will sign both books in his All the Wrong Questions series after the event. He will sign only one additional backlist title as well – so pick your favorite! Books will be available for purchase beforehand through BookMarks and from Wake Forest University Bookstore at the event. 

Carver High School JROTC Program Takes Top Honors

In the Wednesday, Oct. 25 issue of the Winston-Salem Journal, reporter Arika Herron writes about the JROTC program at Carver High School. Here is an excerpt:
It sounds like the stuff of the Wild West, but throw in two dozen highly disciplined students and formal military drills, and it’s a typical day for the Carver High School’s Army JROTC program.
The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps isn’t just about the drills, though. It’s designed to teach students about citizenship, responsibility and service. In the classroom, students study such subjects as ethics, communications and leadership. Those who chose to participate in the extracurricular team, though, go further. They learn the drills and compete against other schools.
For years now, Carver’s drill team has stood out as one of the best. This year is no different. The team took home the top honor among more than a dozen teams at a recent drill meet in Scotland County.
They’re preparing for a larger meet in two weeks in Morganton.
"They work really, really hard,” said 1st Sgt. Marvin Slade, director of the Carver program.
For the complete story go to Winston-Salem Journal

Friday, October 11, 2013

Jackie Pierson, School System's Program Manager for Library Media Services, Receives State Award

Jackie Pierson
Jackie Pierson has been awarded the Frances Bryant Bradburn Distinguished Service Award by the N.C. School Library Media Association.

This award is given to individuals for their “noteworthy contributions to school library programming,” for their lifetime advocacy for school library/media coordinators and programs, and for their continuing contributions to the N.C. School Library Media Association (NCSLMA).

Pierson has worked as a school librarian in both South Carolina and North Carolina and has been the District Level Program Manager for Library Media Services for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools since January, 2001.

She has served on various state committees, including the revision committees of the evaluation instrument for school library media coordinators and the 2010 Information and Technology Essential Standards. Pierson has served as an adjunct instructor at University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s School of Library Studies, teaching the Media Supervision Course.

She has also been a part of a national scholarship committee sponsored by American Library Association designed to attract minority candidates into the library profession. Through the state school library professional association, she coordinates the state K-12 Book Award Programs and the Battle of the Books programs. She serves on the conference planning committee and will serving as a “floating mentor” this year to new school librarians across the state as part of NCSLMA’s Emerging Leaders grant program. 

Pierson received the award at the association’s state conference, held in Winston-Salem on Oct. 4. Frances Bradburn was a Director of Media and Technology at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and is considered a role model for 21st-century school librarians.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

2012 Reynolds Graduate to Perform with U.S. Naval Academy Men's Glee Club at Reynolds Auditorium

Jude Ampolini with family members
When the U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club performs with the Winston-Salem Symphony at Reynolds Auditorium on Nov. 9, Jude Ampolini, a 2012 graduate of Reynolds High School, will be among those performing. Ampolini is now a first-year midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy.,

“I participated in musical programs all through high school. I was in the Reynolds a cappella group for four years and had the privilege of directing it my senior year. I have many fond memories of performing at Reynolds Auditorium including with the Winston-Salem Symphony in their 2011 concert We Will Rock You! The Music of Queen,” said Ampolini. “I am looking forward to performing once again with the symphony and, even more importantly, I am excited to bring some of my new best friends at the Academy home to Winston-Salem and enjoy some true southern hospitality.”

The Men’s Glee Club will perform a variety of songs, including choral-symphonic classic, hit songs from Broadway and military pieces.

Among the pieces to be performed are the “Star Spangled Banner;” A Broadway Salute to the Navy featuring songs from On the Town, Pirates of Penzance and South Pacific; The Flying Dutchman: Norwegian Sailor’s Chorus, by Richard Wagner; Soldier’s Chorus” from Faust; Victory at Sea: Symphonic Scenario for Orchestra, by Richard Rogers; “Hymn to the Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan, by John Williams; Ave Maria; Naval Hymn: Eternal Father, Strong to Save; Battle Hymn of the Republic and more.

 “This concert is a perfect way to honor our active military and veterans on the eve of Veterans Day,” said Robert Moody, the symphony’s music director. “I have conducted three performances with the Glee Club in other locations and I can promise you that this concert will be truly memorable. In fact, most of their performances sell out. It is not only a pleasure to hear them sing, but it is also an honor to listen to the astonishing talent of these young midshipmen. It is easy to forget that they are not professional musicians but are instead members of our armed forces preparing for active duty.”

The Winston-Salem Symphony is presenting the concert as part of its Plugged-in Pops Series. The performance is scheduled to begin 7:30 p.m. Reynolds Auditorium is at 301 N. Hawthorne Road. Tickets range from $15 to $62 and are available in advance by calling the symphony box office at (336) 464-0145 or online at Winston-Salem Symphony 

West Forsyth High Student's Art Appearing on 5,000 Bookmarks

Aivee Ybanez
Aivee Ybanez, who is a freshman at West Forsyth High School, is the winner or the 2013 Student Art Contest sponsored by BookMarks book festival and Art for Art’s Sake (AFAS).

Ybanez’s artwork was printed on 5,000 bookmarks that are being distributed throughout Winston-Salem and surrounding counties

Ybanez was an eighth-grader at Clemmons Middle School when she created the art that won. In September, she was recognized at the BookMarks Festival of Books and Authors.  

“The AFAS Art Selection Committee was very excited with this year’s competition,” said Julie Knabb, vice chairman and art director of Art for Art’s Sake. “The number and quality of the student entries this year was outstanding. The winner clearly captured and defined the joy of exploring imagination through reading.”

Ybanez enjoys art because of its “unique ability to create and destroy.” She has won several awards both in school and in the state for her art and writings. She is interested in art as well as the field of forensic sciences and has taken an interest in anthropology and psychology.

Art for Art’s Sake builds, educates and celebrates Community through Art. Arts on Sunday, held during the months of May and October, features arts, crafts and music and is held on Trade Street in the Downtown Arts District. Visit Art for Art's Sake for more information.

BookMarks engages and inspires readers and writers of all ages, champions literacy; promotes cultural diversity through reading; and offers enrichment and education through literary experiences celebrating books and authors. Visit BookMarks for more information.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Student Art in October 2013 Issue of Forsyth Family

In the October 2013  issue of Forsyth Family magazine, you will find art by:

1) Magdalis Pena, who is in third grade at Hall-Woodward Elementary School. Her art teacher is Joanna Smith.

2) A group of students at Meadowlark Middle School. Their art teacher is Heather Dutton.

3) Elizabeth Anthony, who is a junior at Reynolds High School. Her art teacher is Phil Benenati.

4) Kinza Branch, who is a junior at East Forsyth High School. Branch's art teacher is Molly Peterson