South Charlotte

School news

East Mecklenburg High School teacher and coach Brian Zurhellen, left, recently donated a kidney for the benefit of former East Meck student Christian Dunbar.
East Mecklenburg High School teacher and coach Brian Zurhellen, left, recently donated a kidney for the benefit of former East Meck student Christian Dunbar. East Mecklenburg High School

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Compiled by Cindy Stern


East Mecklenburg High

Organ donor: Brian Zurhellen donated a kidney for the benefit of former East Meck student Christian Dunbar. The English teacher and baseball coach was not a perfect match for Dunbar but worked with a transplant matching organization that matches donors and recipients though a paired exchange program. Zurhellen’s kidney went to a Charlotte recipient, who had someone donate to a recipient in Michigan, who then had someone donate the kidney for Dunbar. The transplants took place in November. Zurhellen resumed teaching in his classroom. Dunbar is recovering at home and is a biology and pre-med student at Central Piedmont Community College.

Jay M. Robinson Middle, Myers Park High

Dance competition: At the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activities dance competition state final, Jay M. Robinson earned third place and achieved a good rating in the middle school contemporary/lyrical category. Myers Park earned fifth place in the high school jazz/hip-hop category and received an excellent rating. The event was held Dec. 5 at Wakefield High School in Raleigh.

Arts competition: At the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activities Fourth Annual Art Showcase, Anthea Adcock received first place in painting, Samhitha Muppana received first place in printmaking and Morgan Casey and Ava Christian won first place in photography and computer-generated work, respectively. Jay M. Robinson is the overall middle school state champion. In the high school division, Myers Park students Ava Evans and Hunter Koch received first place in mixed media and photography, respectively. Myers Park placed fifth overall in the high school division.

Queens Grant Community School

Culinary events: Queens Grant middle school students won a cooking competition held at the Art Institute of Charlotte Nov. 21. The school was evaluated for the group’s teamwork and for the culinary qualities of the chicken fajita and salsa dish the students prepared. The team also participated in the “Kids Cook with Heart” class designed by the American Heart Association to promote healthy cooking and eating.

Country Day School

Athlete signings: Seven Country Day students committed to play college sports at NCAA Division I schools. Trent Alley will play baseball for Furman University, John Donohue will play men’s lacrosse for Colgate University, Riley Harrison will play women’s lacrosse for the UNC-Chapel Hill, Kathryn Holland will play field hockey for the UNC-Chapel Hill, Carrie Lewis will play women’s soccer for North Carolina State University, Natalee Palmer will play women’s lacrosse for Dartmouth College and Lucy Pedlow will play women’s lacrosse for Cornell University.

Providence Day School

Service activity: Providence Day juniors removed invasive plant species from the Joe W. Brown Memorial Park during a November class trip to New Orleans. The trip included cultural explorations of the region and supported curricula in the students’ U.S. history classes.

Charlotte Christian School

Spelling bee: Hannah Brandon has won the school’s spelling bee for the second year in a row. She competed against 33 students in grades three through eight. Samuel Castelan is the first runner-up in the bee. Brandon will now represent the school in the Mecklenburg County Independent School Spelling Bee in January.

Covenant Day School

Green thumb: Covenant Day School in partnership with Philips Academy and Mission of Hope International School won the Green Thumb Challenge grant. Students will use the grant to purchase a biochemical soil testing kit to analyze Mentha piperita growth in an 800-gallon greenhouse aquaponic system. The challenge grant is sponsored by Gardener’s Supply Company and the Green Education Foundation to promote gardening and sustainability.


National Board ranking: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has been ranked second in North Carolina and fourth in the United States for 2015 in the total number of educators who have achieved National Board certification. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards calculated the rankings. In addition, the National Board ranked North Carolina as number one in state rankings with 20,677 board-certified educators. National Board certification requires a multi-year process to strengthen educational knowledge, skills and practice.

All schools

School options lottery: The CMS online school options lottery is open and will close at 10 p.m. Jan. 25, 2016. For information and an application, visit:


Clover High

Art competition: Clover High student Anthony Parenti received first place at a high school competition at the York County Center for the Arts in Rock Hill earlier in December. Other CHS participating students were Emma Williams, Meagan Gillikin and Grace Tong. The students study under teacher Christopher Davis.

Clover High

Horse judging competition: The Clover High team placed fourth in the FFA’s Horse Evaluation Career Development Event at Lander University Dec. 5. The Lady Blue Eagles team included Dallas Nivens, Mackenzie Campbell, Jessica Killian, Hannah Burton, Catherine Faulkner and Brenna Allen. The school competed against 20 teams that were required to judge four classes of horses, provide two sets of reasons, identify tack and breeds of horses and present two team activities. The team is coached by Kelsey Anderson.

Oakridge Middle

Robotic competition: Four school teams competed in the Cherokee regional robotics qualifier event. The E-Wasters team earned first in presentation and the Diplomats earned second in robot performance. All four teams scored in the top 20 in the table run event. Two teams will now advance to state finals.

York School District One

Little Free Library: Members of York School District One, Family Trust Federal Credit Union and The Early Learning Partnership of York County recently dedicated a Little Free Library. The large-mailbox-size library is located in front of the York Parenting Partnerships Resource Center.


Marshville Elementary, Shiloh Elementary

Technology grants: Each school won a $25,000 technology grant as a result of the 2015 Belk Bowl Innovation Lab contest. The competition awards the funds to be used by schools to remodel their current media center to create innovative learning spaces and to improve reading efforts. Winning school representatives will receive on-field recognition at the Belk Bowl game on Dec. 30.

Cuthbertson High

FFA competition: The school’s FFA Veterinary Science team placed fifth in the state at the Vet Science competition Nov. 21. Team members included Morgan Attwood, Rachel Gionis, Rachael Holzman, Nicole Manalis and alternate Andrew Osterberg. The competition included a written exam; math, handling and restraint and clinical practicums; and an identification section of multiple dog breeds, vet equipment and parasites. Ben Shumate is the FFA team advisor.

Marvin Ridge High

DECA event: Forty Marvin Ridge High students recently competed in the DECA district event. The participants competed in different categories that included a test and a role-play event. The following students received awards: Savannah Anderson, Michael Cacossa, Patrick Megginson, Brandon Kelly, Jack Bitcon, Chandler Jenkinson, Matt Lorenzo, Jeffrey Schular, Alex Cognac, Yash Shah, Shane Gravelle, Carrie Devens, Nishanth Singaraju, Grace Garcia and Emily Dillon.

Piedmont High

Student signing: Kyrah Phelix has committed to play softball for Appalachian State University. Phelix was selected to the All Southern Carolina Conference team, All Union County First team, All District Region 6 team and All-State team.

Porter Ridge High

Robotics event: Two school teams, the Piratech and the Pi-Bots, competed at the Inaugural Fall Robotics Classic held Nov. 21. Piratech won the innovation award and the Pi-Bots earned second in the skills competition. Piratech members include team captain Andrew Lanier, Frank Bellini, Logan Howard and Jeremiah Strickland. Pi-Bots team members include team captain Luis Medero, Kenneth Woo, Mason Young and Jailon Strickland. The teams are sponsored by Porter Ridge drafting teacher Kait Batchelor.

Sun Valley High

FFA dairy evaluation events: Sun Valley FFA members placed fifth out of 68 in the 2015 North Carolina FFA State Dairy Evaluation Career Development Event (CDE) held Nov. 24 in Wake County, N.C. Team members included Noah Adamczyk, Allyson Neely, Emily Hartis and Emmanuel Alvarez. In the Dairy Evaluation Junior CDE, the school placed second out of 53 teams. Team members included Tori Adamczyk, Gracie Corey, Macie Collins and Trevor Cochran, with Tori Adamczyk earning the second highest individual award. Dale Cochran is the FFA advisor.

FFA vet science: Sun Valley FFA members placed fourth out of 58 teams at the State FFA Vet Science Career Development Event held Nov. 21 in Sanford, N.C. Team members included Allyson Neely, Sierra Simmerman, Jessie Thomas and Noah Adamczyk. Simmerman placed as the fifth highest individual in the state. Doug Latta is their FFA adviser.

All schools

UCEF scholarship: The Union County Education Foundation is accepting applications from seniors for the 2016 scholarship program. The application deadline is Feb. 26. For a scholarship application, visit: