South Charlotte

Student graduated from college, then high school

Piedmont Middle School teacher Molly McCarthy got Bouncy Bands for her students. They allow the students to move during class without getting up. She says the bands have helped her students.
Piedmont Middle School teacher Molly McCarthy got Bouncy Bands for her students. They allow the students to move during class without getting up. She says the bands have helped her students. COURTESY OF MOLLY MCCARTHY

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Tori Wentz, 18, received her Associate in Arts degree from Central Piedmont Community College on May 14, before she graduated from Levine Middle College High School in Matthews on May 21.

Levine, one of two Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Middle College High Schools, opened in 2014 and is on the Levine Campus of Central Piedmont Community College. The honors program is part of the CMS Career and College Promise program.

At Levine, Wentz earned free college credit while completing high school. The program is for juniors and seniors, who have to pass a college entrance exam to be admitted, Wentz said.

“I thought the opportunity to gain college credit while in high school was something I couldn’t pass up,” she said. “You’re getting more opportunities inside the classroom and outside the classroom. You get a sense of community you wouldn’t get at a normal high school. Everyone is there to learn.”

Wentz plans on continuing her education at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Making the magazine cover

A dog owned by Charlotte residents Kristen Cone and Tim Snead has been chosen for the cover of the first issue of Dogster magazine.

The magazine, formally Dog Fancy, was recently re-launched, said Melissa Kauffman, senior editorial director for Dogster and Catster magazines.

The Charlotte dog, Marlowe is 15 months old and is a mini goldendoodle. The photo, by Charlotte pet photographer Sarah McGraw, was one of hundreds submitted for the cover, Kauffman said.

“It was a picture that captured that essence of dogginess,” she said. “Once we saw Marlowe, we just knew that was the image.”

The joy seen in the image is Marlowe’s love of the tennis ball the photographer held for him, Kauffman said.

“That’s why we love dogs. They have such joy and live in a moment,” she said.

Cone said she was proud Marlowe’s photo was chosen. “He’s just the best little dog,” she said.

Bouncy Bands

A simple, bouncy addition in the classroom helps students focus on the tasks at hand.

That’s the idea behind Bouncy Bands, rubber-band like attachments for desks designed by Winston-Salem elementary school counselor Scott Ertl that allow students to move without getting up, said Molly McCarthy, a sixth grade teacher at Piedmont Middle School who uses the bands in her classroom.

“It allows them to move around without getting in trouble,” she said.

McCarthy, who has taught for four years, said students do not do well having to sit still for five to six hours a day, especially those with attention deficit disorders.

“We all experience it, even as adults,” she said.

McCarthy applied for a grant through Donors Choose, an online charity where public school teachers post classroom projects for donors to support, to purchase 33 of the bands for all of her desks.

“I wanted every kid to have the opportunity to move around and be able to focus on learning,” she said. “My goal is to make my classroom as movement-oriented as possible.”

McCarthy said movement is important for brain development and gives students an outlet while they listen and write. The bands have made a huge difference in how the students have responded to instruction, she said.

“They actually want to sit in their seats,” McCarthy said. “The kids rave about them.”

Eagle Scout

Chase Bollenbecker, 15, was the first member of Troop 601 at Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in Monroe to earn his Eagle Scout.

Bollenbecker earned the rank after helping mark vaults at the church’s cemetery. A sophomore at Piedmont High School, Bollenbecker said he wanted to do something for the church that charters his troop.

“They really appreciated it,” he said.

Bollenbecker marked nearly 120 vaults by putting metal rods next to the corners so the cemetery committee can easily pick them up with a metal detector when they need to access the vaults. It was something he said the church needed.

Bollenbecker said he was the first of his troop to do a project at the church.

“I enjoyed it because I knew it would help them out a lot,” he said. “It wasn’t the easiest project, but I like things to be challenging.”

Military listings

▪ Army Pvt. Jarrett A. McManus recently graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia.

McManus is the son of Javone R. McManus of Charlotte. He graduated in 2011 from Phillip O. Berry High School, Charlotte.

▪ U.S. Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Jeniffer Y. Mira-Espinoza graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio.

Mira-Espinoza is the daughter of Estela D. Espinoza of Charlotte, and Jorge O. Mira of Los Angeles. She is also the wife of John Cerda. She is a 2001 graduate of West Charlotte High School, Charlotte.

▪ Army Pvt. Alexander T. Whitmore graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning, Ga.

Whitmore is the son of Juile and Ronnie Moore of Pineville. He graduated in 2014 from Camden Military Academy, Camden, S.C.

▪ Paul T. Evans was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army on May 8 after successfully completing the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program and graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University, N.C.

He is a 2011 graduate of Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte.

Evans will be branched to a specific corps in the Army to serve on active duty or in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve. He will attend an officer basic course related to his military occupational specialty or job and will then complete advanced training by attending basic officer leadership courses.

▪ Army Pvt. Brittany C. Spears has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia. Spears is the daughter of Tina S. Spears of Mint Hill.

She is a 2011 graduate of David W. Butler High School, Matthews.

▪ Air Force Airman Kori A. Grier graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio.

Grier is the daughter of Romandez and Shawn Grier of Chester, Va., and granddaughter of Leon Grier, Shirley Elder, Irish Grier, and Ulysses Elder of Charlotte. He graduated in 2014 from West Charlotte High School, Charlotte.

▪ Air Force Airman Ryan C. Taylor graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio.

Taylor is the son of Helen and Gregory Taylor of Charlotte. He is also the brother of Justin Taylor. He is a 2012 graduate of Ardrey Kell High School, Charlotte.

▪ Air Force Airman John E. Fullagar graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio.

Fullagar is the son of Jeff and Windy Fullagar of Charlotte. He is also the grandson of John Gaither III and Marsha Gaither of Mooresville, and Virginia Baird of Florence, S.C., and nephew of Beth and Johnny Gaither of Charlotte. He graduated in 2014 from Myers Park High School, Charlotte.

▪ Air Force Airman Tyler A. St. Clair graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio.

St. Clair is the son of Joanna R. and Kenneth C. St. Clair, and stepson of Betsy Roth, all of Charlotte. He is a 2013 graduate of Ardrey Kell High School, Charlotte.

▪ Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Brandon L. Burgess graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio.

Burgess is the son of Paula L. Coleman of Charlotte, and Kenneth J. Burgess of Gray Court, S.C., and stepson of Paul A. Coleman of Charlotte. He is also the brother of Brittany L. Burgess. He graduated in 2014 from Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, Charlotte.

Amanda Harris is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Amanda? Email her at amanda.d.phipps@gmail.com.

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