Monday, December 29, 2014

Piney Grove Elementary Students Help Others During the Holidays

Members of Piney Grove Elementary Student Council
During the holidays, students at Piney Grove Elementary helped others in a number of ways.

For several years now, students have participated in a canned food drive for Second Harvest food Bank. This year, students collected eight boxes of food.

“Students had a friendly competition to see which homeroom could collect the most,” said Natalie Rempe, who teaches fifth grade. “Mrs. Henley's fourth-grade homeroom collected the most this year.”  

“In October, we facilitated a penny collection for The Leukemia Foundation through ‘Pennies for Pasta.’” Rempe said. “Olive Garden is a partner with this fundraiser for the community to bring funding to fight leukemia. We were able to collect $1,000 to contribute on behalf of Piney Grove Elementary in Kernersville. Mrs. Brookshire's fifth-grade homeroom collected the most pennies surpassing over $200. 

“Lastly, we just closed out a collection for nursing homes in the communities within the Triad. Shoebox collections redistributes personal need items such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, and other personal need items to the elderly in the community.

“Student Council collected several boxes to donate for this worthy cause. Student Council is always willing to help out with posters to advertise and spread the word for making contributions to the above-mentioned causes and more throughout the year.”

Child Nutrition Department Holds Winter Wonderland Celebrations

Beth Stainback's second grade class at Jefferson Elementary

In December, the Child Nutrition Department had a promotion in which 10 elementary schools competed against each other and all the middle schools competed against each other for the chance for one student to win a bicycle and another student to win a mini luge-sled.

Jefferson Elementary School and Hanes Magnet School had the highest percentage of lunch participation in their divisions. On Dec. 16 at Jefferson and Dec. 18 at Hanes, the schools were decorated with snowflakes, snowmen, banners and such. When students purchased a lunch meal they received a ticket to play snow man toss and then be entered into a drawing for the bike and sled.

At Jefferson, Leo Couture won the mini luge-sled and Adilyn Doub won the bike.
Adilyn Doub

Leo Couture
At Hanes, sixth-grader Alice Chatterjee won the bike and sixth-grader Neasean Byrd won the mini luge-sled.

Alice Chatterjee

Neasean Byrd

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bonus Pictures from Santa's Visit to Lowrance

With Principal Valderia Raynor

With Robin Dodds and Luanna Marshall

With counselor Andrea Woods

With Jill Tackabery

With Dana Caudill Jones, Lori Goins Clark and Mark Johnson

Santa, Toi Pleasants Can Explain

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Commercial Art and Photography Students at Career Center Make Thank-You Cards for People in the Military

Students taking Commercial Art and Photography at the Career Center classes have been making and sending cards to active-duty military troops.

“Commercial Art students are creating the cards (non-holiday themed, more like "thank you for your service"),” said Stephanie Messer, who teaches Commercial Art, “and Photography students from Kate Castleberry and Frank Chodl's classes are submitting their photographs.

“Commercial Art students have been doing this for about seven years. I ask teachers at the Career Center for addresses of service members on active duty. Plus I ask through social media for addresses, and students bring in addresses of members they know. That's how we get our listing of service members to send packs of cards and photos to. 

“Last year, one of our own Career Center teachers, Randy Jones, was on active duty with the Army Reserves over in Afghanistan. He received a bunch of cards and photographs from our students and was very thankful for them. He had even Skyped with my students to let them know about life over there. Mr. Jones is still on active duty this holiday season (but has returned from Afghanistan), and we will be sending him more cards and photographs again this year.

“We keep a world map in class and show the locations we send the cards - global connections!”

East Forsyth High Students Help Out at Bethesda Center and Salvation Army

During the holidays, teacher Dottie Cornatzer-Williams’ students at East Forsyth High School have reached out to others by visiting the Bethesda Center’s shelter for people who are homeless and by participating in Salvation Army projects.

On the night of Dec. 14, 13 members of the East Forsyth Leo Club, which is affliated with the Kernersville Lions Club, went to the shelter on North Patterson Avenue. Club president Caitlin Smith has arranged for Out West Steakhouse in Kernersville to donate food for the meal.

“We served countless people beef tips in a warm, savory gravy, steamed green beans with carrots and mushrooms, and delicious creamy mashed potatoes from Outwest,” Cornatzer-Williams said. “Students donated drinks, rolls and desserts.

“Joyce Zhong headed up a sewing project where she and other club members made warm flannel hats to give to each person to help protect them from the winter woes quickly approaching us.

This was the second time that students had worked with the shelter. “We first heard of the opportunity last year when we volunteered at Gifts of Grace through Morris Chapel in Walkertown,” Cornatzer-Williams said. “Gifts of Grace is a church service project where families in need in the Walkertown area are given Christmas gifts, clothes, etc. to ensure a Merry Christmas. After Gifts of Grace, we asked if there were other activities we could participate with. We first did the shelter last March. It was very rewarding to see the genuine gratitude in people's eyes. We wanted to do it again, and Sherry Gray, who heads the church's shelter program, was able to offer us December. 

Here are some of the thoughts that students had afterward:

Junior Victoria Rivera: "Donating my time to the Bethesda Center has really given me the opportunity to see how lucky we are to live in a community where so many offer to give and help others." 

Junior Dalton Pearman: "It was very gratifying to hear how grateful the people at the shelter were and to see how happy they were on their faces."

Junior Isis Brooks: "It really warmed my heart to see all the smiling faces!"

For the third year, Cornatzer-Williams’ students in the Occupational Course of Study program, have participated in the Salvation Army’s Give a Kid a Coat, Project Angel Tree and Red Stocking Fund.

“Last year alone we worked a combined 530 hours!” she said. “We are still racking them up this year! We average about five to seven students per trip, as their academic and vocational schedules allow.

“While at Salvation Army, we fill Christmas wishes for children from underprivileged families that may need help to make their holiday season merry and bright. We also help fill stocking for the Red Stocking fund that you see at Chick-fil-A's out in the community. Then the highlight of the holiday season comes when we help deliver the Christmas toys to the family.

Here what some of the students participating in that program had to say:

Senior Marco Aguilar: "I like knowing that I am helping others and making people happy."

Senior Daquan Richmond: "I like to work at the Salvation Army because I like to help people and see people smile.  I have a part in making people's Christmas dreams come true."

Reynolds High Students and Teachers Participate in 82nd Annual Production of the "Messiah"

Earlier this month, four teachers and more than 10 students from Reynolds High School were among those who participated in the 82nd annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at Reynolds Auditorium.

“This is an extraordinary experience for young singers to sit in sections of seasoned singers who've been singing this for 30 to 40 years, to work with a great chorus master like David Williamson and to work under amazing conductors that have ranged from Jamie Allbritten to Sir David Willcocks of Cambridge and Kings College,” said Terry Hicks, the choral music teacher at Reynolds.

"I have two former students who have returned to sing, and some of my students sing multiple years. One this year has sung for all four years. It is such a formidable workout for any singer. It is an amazing experience in a very concentrated span of one month.

“It's an outstanding collaboration within our community, a fantastic experience in numerous ways for young singers.”

Hicks, Nicole Beale, Mary Bergstone and Joshua Bragg were the four Reynolds teachers who participated.

Bragg, who teaches chemistry, said that he enjoyed the experience immensely.

“It is very satisfying to take a massive work like the Messiah, learn it, and perform it,” Bragg said. “The people involved are really the best part…In particular, I really enjoyed hearing an excellent group of tenors from Reynolds standing behind me during the performance.”

Hicks worked hard to make the Messiah a success, Bragg said. “He’s really a gem.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Santa Visits Hall-Woodward Elementary While Blitzen & Co. Wait on the Roof

Nora Pauley

When Santa asked the students in Nora Pauley’s kindergarten class who knew the names of his reindeer, Pauley raised her hand along with many of the children.

Her favorite reindeer is Blitzen. “I think the name has a lot of personality,” Pauley said.

In most of the kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classes that Santa visited at Hall-Woodward Elementary School this morning, the response was universally enthusiastic.

Lots of students shouted “Santa!” as he came through the door. In Karen Martin’s kindergarten class, one girl jumped up and down while saying, “Goody! Goody!”

As a gift, Santa gave each student a wrapped book so the greetings were soon followed by such comments as “I got a present.”

And, when he left each class, there were lots of “Thank you, Santa.”

In one class, a boy said, “That was so cool!”

In Pauley’s class, though, Santa had a heckler. “You’re not Santa,” said one little girl.
Santa knows exactly who he is, though, so he was unfazed. And, once the girl opened her gift, she moved on to more important matters, such as flipping through her new book.  

Santa with Jennifer Cobb, Susan Paschal and Tina Long
Each year, the people at the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce invite Santa to visit Hall-Woodward, and, each year, he accepts. Before catching up with students in first and second grade, he visits the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms accompanied by such elves as Jennifer Cobb and Tina Long of the Chamber of Commerce and Susan Paschal, the school’s curriculum coordinator for grades kindergarten through second grade.

This was the last year that Paschal will be making the rounds with him, though. She is retiring and Friday is her last day.

“The grandchildren are calling me,” she told Santa.

In several of the rooms, Santa checked to see whether students knew what his favorite snack and beverage is. Pretty much all the children already knew it was chocolate chip cookies and milk. The students in one class were stumped, though, when he asked what reindeer like for a snack. Carrots, he told them. So now they know.

When Santa came into Emily Terrell’s kindergarten class, students were making holiday cards to take home to family members on Friday. There, a boy asked Santa to “Ho! Ho! Ho!” He did.

Santa with Principal Celena Tribby
Principal Celena Tribby stopped in to say hello to Santa. Her wish? “I want all my babies to be safe and happy and I want my teachers to get a pay raise.”

In Jennifer Miller’s class, a boy told Santa that he had heard that Santa couldn’t eat peanut butter. Santa told him that we wasn’t allergic or anything but that he did avoid it. “It gets stuck in my beard.”

In the hall outside Jeannette Morrison’s class, you could hear students singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” When he came in, they sang it for him again.

“We love it when Santa comes,” Morrison said.

Morrison told Santa that she had told students that he had his ear. “I use it as leverage,” she said.

Santa assured the students that he pays close attention to what every teacher says. “All the teachers are my elves,” he said.

In Shanda Morrison’s pre-kindergarten class, Santa sat down in a rocking chair. When it was time to go, the chair came up with him.

“This might have been a mistake,” Santa said.

Once he was safely extracted from the rocking chair, it was off to the gym where Santa handed out suckers and pencils to the first- and second-graders, and Paschal, in case anyone was wondering, mentioned that the second-grade teachers were participating in Ugly Sweater Day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kindergarteners at Southwest Elementary Head Out into the World to Sing Christmas Carols

This morning, one of the kindergarten students on their way to Clemmons Village I, an assistant-living center near Southwest Elementary School, was Kaye Mullis’ grandson, Kyle Helms.

Mullis, who is the human-resources coordinator at Clemmons Village, was looking forward to seeing Kyle and to seeing the expressions of delight on the faces of the residents – particularly the women – when 70 kindergarteners came through the door.

“Watch their faces when they walk in,” Mullis said.

Marie Nix on right

Kaye Mullis with grandson Kyle
Clemmons Village resident Marie Nix had just finished distributing the holiday gift bags that she had put together with the help of her daughter Shirley Wood. “We play bingo, Nix said. “The money I made from bingo, I just put toward the bags.”

Each of the bags included candy, chewing gum and a pen because, she said, it seems as if everyone who works there is always looking for a pen. Nix wasn’t looking forward to hearing any particular holiday song. “I just like all of them.”

A few minutes later, Principal Matt Dixson came in to see where Mullis wanted the students to gather. That taken care of, he headed back out to the buses. In came the kindergarteners wearing an assortment of holiday hats and reindeer antlers. This was their second of four stops. They had already been to Kaplan Early Learning Center and sung to employees there. After singing carols at Clemmons Village I, they would be headed to Clemmons Village II and then it would be on to Lowes.

Dixson said that going out into the world to sing carols is not only a great way for everyone to kick off the holidays but also a good way to give students experiences in that wider world. And, as a bonus, it fits right in with the curriculum, said kindergarten teacher Tiffany Larson.

By no means was Mullis the only parent or grandparent on hand to hear the students sing “Five Little Snowmen” and seven other holiday songs. Christina Castro was there to see her grandson Michael O’Cana, and Kevin Glass’ mother, Chelsea Beddard, and grandmother, Tandrea Beddard were both on hand.

The “Must Be Santa” song put to rest any doubts about who that fellow with “a beard that is long and white” must be. The students were all armed with jingle bells which they put to good use during – yep, you guessed it – “Jingle Bells.”

When all the clapping was done, the students took a holiday walk over to Clemmons Village II, which is just across the lawn and has a Nativity in the lobby, and performed for another group of delighted listeners.

Sherwood Forest Songsters Sing to Patients at Comprehensive Cancer Center

On Monday afternoon, 66 Songsters from Sherwood Forest Elementary School headed over to the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center to deliver a generous helping of holiday cheer.

One of the people at the center looking forward to hearing them sing was Rick Bethea who comes to the cancer center regularly for radiation and chemo treatments for his throat cancer. A musician himself, Bethea plays the upright bass and other jazz instruments.

Also on hand were a number of Sherwood Forest parents, including Ashley Quarless, whose son Noah is a member of the group, and Lovaner and Wakhia Price, whose daughter Saniya is a Songster.

Ross Claytor on cello
Anne Fulk dances
When the fourth- and fifth-graders arrived in the second-floor lobby carrying such instruments as drums, a cello and a ukulele, music teacher Mary Epperson and Katie Ballard, a Jefferson Middle eighth-grader who helps Epperson with the group, went to work setting up everything. Already there was the Rev. David Fitzgerald, the minister who oversees worship music and the arts at Ardmore Baptist Church. He had volunteered to accompany them on the piano.

Ruth Moskop is in charge of therapeutic music for patients at the cancer center, and, when everything was ready, she welcomed the students and told them that, although some people at the center didn’t feel well enough to come to the concert, the open design of the center would allow the students’ music to carry beautifully through all four floors.

“Your music will make them feel better,” Moskop said.
Jack Boss and Taylor Hardman

Alex Mallison
The students opened with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and then moved on to some other non-holiday songs. For one, student Ross Claytor played the cello while student Annie Fulk danced a piece that she had choreographed herself.

Afterward, her mother, Robin Fulk, said, “It was awesome. She amazes me.”  
When it was time for “Jingle Bells,” student Jack Boss took over for Fitzgerald on the piano. Student Taylor Hardman played piano on “Let It Go,” a song from the movie Frozen, and, on “What Child Is This?”, student Alex Mallison accompanied everyone on ukulele.

Fitzgerald headed back to the piano for such songs as “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Camila Lucia

Chris Bannigan

Then it was time to head back to the bus.

“I thought they sounded wonderful – beautiful voices,” said Moskop. “They did a beautiful job and it was fun to have the different instruments.”

Fifth-grader Camila Lucia said it had been a good experience. She liked knowing that hearing the students might make people feel better. “It made me feel really good inside,” Camila said.

“I really liked it that we got to sing our carols and our songs,” said fifth-grader Chris Bannigan.

As they packed up, Epperson said she had a good time, too. Songsters meets after school. Epperson praised the students for their commitment and thanked Katie, whose mother Kelly Ballard teaches at Sherwood Forest, for all her help with the group.

“I love doing it,” Katie said. 

Bolton Elementary Helps Others During the Holidays

For Bolton Elementary Schools, members of Kindness and Compassion Club led the school’s food drive for Winston-Salem Rescue Mission and penny campaign for Samaritan Ministries.

As school counselor Rinita Williams pointed out: “It only takes 196 pennies to feed one person a meal at the Samaritan Soup Kitchen. In 2½ hours, the soup kitchen provided an average of 395 weekdays lunches in a 47-seat dining room. To feed 450 people one lunch it would take 88,200 pennies.”