Lake Norman & Mooresville

Lake Norman: Students’ milestones include winning competitions and trips to Europe

SouthLake Christian Academy

STEM competition: A team of students from SouthLake Christian Academy’s Introduction to Engineering class finished second at the annual TEAMS STEM competition, held by the North Carolina Junior Engineering and Technology Society (NCJETS) on the campus of UNC Charlotte on March 14. SouthLake Christian juniors and seniors Andrew Garner, Will Huss, Bailey Jones and Madison Monroe came in second out of 13 teams participating in the challenge. SouthLake Christian’s ninth and tenth grade team featuring Josh Dutton, Logan Johnson, Tyler Lewis and Jacob Watson also competed at UNCC but did not place in the top 3.

TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) is an annual STEM competition challenging students to work collaboratively and apply their math and science knowledge in practical, creative ways to solve real everyday engineering challenges. Over 200,000 students compete at locations around the country. The competition at UNCC consisted of three categories: Essay, Multiple Choice, Design Challenge.

NCJETS is a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Lee College of Engineering Department of Engineering Technology.

North Mecklenburg High

Congratulations: The debate and speech team won two state championships April 2. The competition, held at a high school near Fayetteville, drew 550 students from 32 schools. Anna Cloud and Aneesha Raj were named state champions in varsity public forum debate and June Yom was state champion in dramatic interpretation. The team coach is social studies teacher Christopher Rocca.

Lincoln Charter School

Odyssey of the Mind World Finals: A team of six students will be attending the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals Competition at Michigan State. This is the first time in school history that a team has qualified for a chance to compete in this international event. The third- and fourth-graders will travel to East Lansing, Mich., May 24-28 to present their performance along with 900 teams from around the world.

The team members competed in the Vehicle division of the competition at both Regional on March 4 and North Carolina Statewide Finals on April 1. Carissa Ralph, Silas McConnell, Luke Malta, Ella Plemmons, Mallory Pajtas, Robbie Stoffel, guided by coaches Jason Pajtas and Lisa Ralph, have been working since October on this program. The team members were challenged to create three unique vehicles, which had to travel a distance of 16 feet, as well as to create an original skit to be performed in front of an audience.

Lincoln Charter School formed seven teams for competition this year with a total of 45students participating in the program. The Odyssey of the Mind program incorporates problem-solving, creative writing, hands-on technical skills, humor and performance skills. For information on the Odyssey of the Mind program, please visit

Hopewell High School

Career Day: Students from the Engineering and Hospitality Academies took part in a Speed Dating Event with local business owners and managers at the Annual Hopewell High School Career Day on April 5. Thirty five area businesses participated in the event which was coordinated by the Lake Norman Education Collaborative. Visit Lake Norman, the Lake Norman Economic Development Commission, and Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce sponsored the program which featured approximately seventy students.

“The Lake Norman Education Collaborative Speed Networking event provides opportunities for students to interact with professionals in career areas of interest. They help give students a better understanding of the day to day challenges they will encounter in that field,” said Melinda Bales, Huntersville town commissioner, who co-chairs the Education Collaborative with Steve Gilbert from Omega Learning. “It also gives business leaders an opportunity to plant seeds of interest in their companies and also access their future talent pool.”

The Lake Norman Education Collaborative will be partnering with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools North Learning Community to host an Education Summit: Partnerships with a Purpose on April 25 at Christ Community Church, 16301 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville. For information visit or call 704-892-1922.

SouthLake Christian Academy

Students explore Europe during spring break: High school students traveled to Europe to see the historical locations they learned about while in class. A group of 24 students and 10 adults visited France, Italy and Spain from March 17-28, while 19 students and their chaperones toured castles and World War II concentration camps in Germany and Prague from March 1-8.

One group of SouthLake Christian students spent two days in Barcelona, Spain, and two more days in Madrid, Spain, before leaving for France, finally ending the trip in Rome, Italy. This was the fourth European trip that SouthLake Christian Academy History Department Chairwoman Danielle Handlogten helped organize for her history students.

“It was a historical trip to visit the places we studied in class,” said Handlogten. “It really brought history to life for our students. We spent a lot of time studying the Roman Empire, and it was incredible to see their faces light up when they saw Michaeangelo’s master, the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum and the Roman aqueducts.”

SouthLake Christian Academy Social Studies teacher Donovan Law was the point of contact for the trip to Germany and Prague, organized by an international leadership conference called Global Next. With the conference’s curriculum in mind “How To Build a Life: Intelligent Life Strategies,” students explored the Dachau Concentration Camp, Neuschwanstein Castle and the site of the 1932 Winter Olympics in Germany, followed by a trip to Prague to appreciate its historical locations such as the Old Town Square, home of the Astronomical Clock and the Charles Bridge, commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357.

“Visiting the Dachau Concentration camp was very sobering, because you are overcome by how big it is,” said Law. “Dachau was supposed to be one of the smaller concentration camps. It was the first place we went and it was very, very emotional. It’s an overwhelming place.”

This is the second consecutive year that SouthLake Christian Academy students have attended the Global Next Leadership Conference. This year, students were asked how they want their life to look, and taught how to build on it intelligently using Christian values. The course helped students identify their passions and personal strengths to build a life in an authentic way. After the session of self-discovery, the course taught students how to put the right foundation in place – their purpose, passion, people, plan and the prediction for their future of success.

“We looked at the ways that our students could fulfill their passions – as in the things that are important to them – and leave a lasting legacy that will make a difference in their life,” said Law.

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