School news

Harris Road Middle School’s group New Beginnings won first place at the state finals in Winston-Salem.
Harris Road Middle School’s group New Beginnings won first place at the state finals in Winston-Salem. CABARRUS COUNTY SCHOOLS

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Compiled by Gina Smith

Cabarrus County Schools

JDRF fundraising: Fundraising efforts by Cabarrus County Schools have raised awareness and more than $27,000 for JDRF so far this school year. Carl A. Furr Elementary doubled its original goal, bringing in nearly $10,900. Other schools that participated in the fundraising efforts are: Bethel Elementary, Beverly Hills Elementary, Cabarrus County Schools Central Office, Charles E. Boger Elementary, Cox Mill Elementary, Harold Winkler Middle, Harris Road Middle, Harrisburg Elementary, Long School, Mount Pleasant High, Pitts School Road Elementary, R. Brown McAllister Elementary, Rocky River Elementary, W. R. Odell Elementary and Winecoff Elementary.

Jewelry design contest: The fifth annual Ellis Jewelers Future Designer Contest received 137 entries from Cabarrus County Schools students this year, with three winners recognized during a ceremony on May 20. The winners were: high school division – Anissa Thaddeus, Concord High; middle school division – Alexa Smith, J.N. Fries Magnet Middle; elementary division – Foster Nelson, Cox Mill Elementary. The Ellis Jewelers Future Designer Contest asks students to design a piece of jewelry. Winners have their designs brought to life and receive the piece of jewelry as part of their award. Ben Mirabelli, an art teacher at Concord High, Meredith Farrell, an art teacher at J.N. Fries Magnet Middle and Jessica Lizarazo, an art teacher at Cox Mill Elementary were also recognized and presented with the inaugural Inspirational Award at the ceremony. Ellis Jewelers is in downtown Concord.

Final report cards: Final report cards for the 2014-2015 school year will be available or distributed as follows:

Elementary Schools – Report cards will be distributed the last day of school. For schools that offer electronic report cards, parents may access report cards on the last day of school.

Middle Schools – Reports cards will be mailed to students’ homes by June 18. For schools that offer electronic report cards, parents may access report cards online no later than June 11.

High Schools – Report cards will be available for student pick up by June 25. For schools that offer electronic report cards, parents may access report cards online no later than June 20.

Royal Oaks Elementary

Teacher of the Month: Heather Campbell of Royal Oaks Elementary was named the Hilbish Ford Teacher of the Month for May. Tim Vaughn, general manager of Hilbish Ford, Cabbarus County Schools superintendent Chris Lowder and Glenda Jones, assistant superintendent of Human Resources, recognized Campbell during the May meeting of the school board. The monthly award recognizes outstanding teachers in the school system during the school year. Selected teachers receive an award of $250. For details or to nominate a teacher, visit

Harris Road Middle

Show choir win: During its first year as a show choir, Harris Road Middle School’s 29-member group New Beginnings won first place at the state finals in Winston-Salem. New Beginnings was formed in December. In March, the show choir competed in the Western Regional competition where its first-place performance advanced the group to the state show choir event. New Beginnings took home the state champion title along with awards for Best New Show Choir, Best Vocals and Best Choreography. In addition, seventh-grader Anna Rose won the award for Best Female Vocalist.

J.N. Fries Magnet Middle

Professional development grants: Seventh- and eighth-grade humanities teacher Jeffrey Natoli was recently awarded two professional development grants in U.S. history for opportunities this summer. Natoli received a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to attend a two-week teaching seminar on “News Media and the Making of America” at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass. Natoli also received a grant from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to attend a five-day seminar on “Colonial Encounters: Indians, Europeans and Africans” at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, directed by John Demos, Samuel Knight Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University. Both seminars are designed to increase content knowledge for K-12 teachers, instruct educators on how to access and use digital historical resources and improve student literacy skills.

Wall Street Journal story: Eighth-grader Natalie Clarke was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal after attending the Bank of America shareholders meeting May 6 in Charlotte. During the meeting, Natalie asked Bank of America chairman and chief executive Brian Moynihan whether or not women are paid fairly at the bank. To read the story by Christina Rexrode, visit

Northwest Cabarrus High

Musical theater recognition: Northwest Cabarrus High School student Lauren Hunkele, received the award for Best Actress during the fourth annual Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as the Blumey Awards, on May 17. Hunkele won the award for her performance as Jo March in Northwest Cabarrus High’s production of Little Women. Musical productions from 39 high schools in the Charlotte-metro area were considered for the awards, which are presented by Wells Fargo.

Kannapolis City Schools

Cabarrus Arts Council Breakfast: Students from Kannapolis City Schools participated in the annual Cabarrus Arts Council Breakfast on May 22. The A.L. Brown High School Dancers, directed by teacher Ashlyn Sumner, performed for the crowd of 800 guests at the Embassy Suites and Cabarrus County Convention Center. A.L. Brown High student Tyler Johnson, who performs with the A.L. Brown dancers, spoke to the audience about how he found his calling with dancing and performing instead of with traditional sports activities. Students from Woodrow Wilson Elementary and Jackson Park Elementary schools also performed in a chorus under the direction of Heather Pichette.

Shady Brook Elementary

New bikes: Academy Sports and Outdoor and McMullan and Co. Real Estate recently donated nine new bicycles with helmets to Sarah Chapman’s special needs class at Shady Brook Elementary. Enough bicycles were donated for each student in the class to have one to ride. Shady Brook Teacher Assistant Cynthia Fink arranged for the bicycles to be delivered as a surprise when the students returned from a field trip.

Kannapolis Middle

Outdoor classroom: Kannapolis Middle School recently received a new outdoor classroom from a partnership among Kannapolis City Schools, the Cabarrus Health Alliance and the Refuge Church. Kannapolis Mayor Pro Tem Ryan Dayvault was among those who helped cut the ribbon on the new classroom on May 20. The outdoor classroom includes benches made from stumps, a teacher desk, chalk board and clipboards for students. It also includes tables that were built by the carpentry class at A.L. Brown High School. Kannapolis Middle School students who are part of the Cabarrus Health Alliance’s TRAIL program were also involved in building the outdoor classroom. TRAIL is a pregnancy prevention program sponsored by the Cabarrus Health Alliance that operates at Kannapolis Middle. TRAIL students turned the effort into a service learning project. Teachers will sign up to use the outdoor classroom just as they would any other specialized space in the school. Each students will likely get to use the space about six times during the school year.

Cannon School

Commencement: Ninety-six seniors of the Class of 2015 took part in Cannon School’s 14th Upper School Commencement on May 22 on the Central Green of the school’s Poplar Tent Road campus in Concord. The commencement address was delivered by Cannon alumnus Deeona Gaskin, a graduate of the class of 2004. Gaskin earned an undergraduate degree from Yale University, a law degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. Clark “Trip” Goff of Davidson, son of Sarah and Clark Goff, delivered Cannon’s valedictorian address. Kelli Baker of Concord, daughter of Kristin and Scott Baker, delivered the salutatorian address.