Mobile Dairy Classroom visits Southern Vance

The Mobile Dairy Classroom from the Southland Dairy Farmers association, based in Texas, visited with Career and Technical Education students at Southern Vance High School during three class periods on September 20.


Courtney Bumgarner of the association, led each of the presentations to students. Her mobile classroom included a trailer, which is the “on the road” home for Clarice the Holstein cow, who is part of the presentations.


Bumgarner talked about the process of milking a cow, noting that most cows now are milked by machines with the process taking about eight minutes as opposed to 30 minutes when a person milks by hand.


She also shared with students the details of dairy production and the importance of dairy products and milk to our diet.


The mobile classroom is one of several across the United States provided through the farmers’ association. Bumgarner, who is based in Greensboro, visits schools across North Carolina. The Mobile Dairy Classroom makes presentations to students free of charge.


Dr. Laike Green, agriculture teacher at Southern Vance High School, arranged for the Mobile Dairy Classroom to visit at the school.

Aycock Elementary School will host My School Color Run

The students of Aycock Elementary School will host the inaugural community wide My School Color Run on Saturday, October 14th, 2017 at 10:00 am to raise money for their school. The My School Color Run is an un-timed fun run for all ages and fitness abilities.

Along the route, participants pass through vibrant color zones, making it a “colorful experience.” Additionally, each pre-registered participant is provided with a single powder color packet that will be thrown in the air at the final color celebration at the finish line. “Rather than sell goods, we want to engage the entire student body in a fitness initiative that aims to encourage a life-long healthy way of living,” says Aycock Elementary PTA. Participants that register by Friday, September 29th will receive a t-shirt, race bib, and individual color packet. You can sign up for the run by visiting or by completing a paper registration form. Business sponsorship opportunities are also available. Please contact the event organizer for more information.

At A Glance WHAT: My School Color Run for Aycock Elementary School WHEN: Saturday, October 14th, 2017 at 10:00 am WHERE: Aycock Elementary School 305 Carey Chapel Rd., Henderson, NC 27537 REGISTER: CONTACT: Aycock Elementary PTA – 252-492-1516

Dabney Elementary collects donations for Hurricane Harvey Relief

Students, parents and staff members at Dabney Elementary School collected over 1,800 basic personal items for donations to needy families affected by Hurricane Harvey in southeastern Texas.

The donations will be transported to Texas through the Salvation Army with local chapters of the organization ensuring that families who need the items the most will receive them.

All classrooms in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade donated items for the hurricane relief project. Donations included personal hygiene items, washcloths, towels, toilet tissue, paper towels, facial tissues, baby diapers, bottled water and much more.

Scarlett Ellis, who works in Exceptional Children’s classrooms at Dabney Elementary, coordinated the effort at the school. She was assisted by teachers and students in collecting and counting the items.

Vance County Board of Education presented Gold Bell Award

The Vance County Board of Education was presented with the Gold Bell Award from the N.C. School Boards Association (NCSBA) during the District 3 meeting for the organization in Chapel Hill on September 13.

The Gold Bell Award is a prestigious award presented by the NCSBA to boards after all of their members have successfully completed extensive training.

The local Board of Education members earned the award after each of the seven members completed 12 hours of training from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

The Gold Bell Award was presented during the district session held at Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill, and attended by representatives of 16 public school systems in the North Central Region of the state.

Members of the Vance County Board of Education who earned the award are Chairwoman Gloria J. White, Vice Chairwoman Darlynn Oxendine, Margaret Ellis, Dorothy Gooche, Ruth Hartness, Clementine Hunter and Edward Wilson.

#VanceCoProud – We Inspire 2.0

— courtesy Vance County Schools

Vance County Schools has begun a “We Inspire 2.0” initiative for the 2017-2018 school year as the district’s second year in training local educators on how to effectively use technology to enhance daily classroom instruction with students.

The district hosted a “Draft Day” event for this year’s initiative in the Board Room of the school system’s Administrative Services Center during the afternoon on September 12. Superintendent Anthony Jackson, wearing his “VCS Proud” baseball cap, led the festivities. He individually called up the 52 local educators involved in this year’s initative. The team of educators, which includes school administrators, teachers, counselors and media specialists, will participate in training sessions throughout the school year. The sessions will be led by blended learning experts from the Friday Institute on the campus of N.C. State University.

Educators walked the red carpet at our blended learning “Draft Day” and signed a “We Inspire 2.0” pledge banner while Superintendent Anthony Jackson, background in cover photo, called their names.

Costs for the training sessions are funded through a three-year grant secured by the school system from the Golden Leaf Foundation.

During “Draft Day,” the educators walked down – and many actually danced down – a red carpet to the front of the Board Room where they signed a “We Inspire” pledge banner to commit their time and talents to the blended learning training sessions and to lead blended learning efforts with their colleagues in their respective schools. This year’s participants join another 50-member group of educators who went through the training last school year. Together the cohort groups form a strong leadership team to lead technology teaching and learning in their schools.

All educators in Vance County Schools have laptop computers to use in classroom instruction. With the presence of computers, interactive SmartBoards and additional technology devices in local classrooms, they are able to have students engaged in technology enhanced instruction that actually compliments the efforts of teachers. Many of our students also have laptop computers, iPads, smart phones and other devices they can use in their classrooms at school and at home.

#VanceCoProud – Excellence in Education

— story and photos courtesy of Vance County Public Schools

Vance County Schools presented its top education awards to individuals during the school system’s “Excellence in Education” banquet held on September 6, at McGregor Hall in downtown Henderson.

Kedecia Stewart sits in her new car.

Kedecia Stewart sits in her new car.

Kedecia Stewart, a fourth and fifth-grade math teacher at Pinkston Street Elementary School, was presented the award as the school system’s 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year. Stewart was selected from an outstanding field of 16 teachers for the district award. Stewart is a native of Jamaica and has been teaching at Pinkston Street since August of 2013. She joined the Pinkston Street staff as a participant in the Visiting International Faculty (VIF) program and had taught in Jamaica since 2005.

Dave Genetti, owner of Toyota of Henderson, presented a 2018 Toyota Camry to Stewart for her use during the next year as our Teacher of the Year.

Kristen Boyd, 2017-2018 Principal of the Year, left, and Dr. Jacqueline Batchelor-Crosson, 2017-2018 Assistant Principal of the Year, hold their trophies after receiving their awards.

Kristen Boyd, 2017-2018 Principal of the Year, left, and Dr. Jacqueline Batchelor-Crosson, 2017-2018 Assistant Principal of the Year, hold their trophies after receiving their awards.

Kristen Boyd, principal of Aycock Elementary School, was named the Vance County Schools’ 2017-2018 Principal of the Year. She received the award after leading Aycock Elementary School to another successful year in 2016-2017. Aycock Elementary has the highest overall achievement score for all local elementary schools for N.C. end-of-grade testing with an almost 80 percent proficiency rate. Boyd is now in her fourth year as the principal of Aycock Elementary. She was the school’s assistant principal for seven years prior to becoming principal and was a teacher at Aycock from 2001-2007. She has been nominated for the Principal of the Year award several times.

The 2017-2018 Assistant Principal of the Year award was presented to Dr. Jacqueline Batchelor-Crosson, who serves as the assistant principal at both L.B. Yancey and Pinkston Street elementary schools. Batchelor-Crosson was a finalist for the award for the 2016-2017 school year. L.B. Yancey Elementary showed the highest growth in student performance for last school year among local elementary schools and Pinkston Street has the third highest proficiency rating for its students in the district based on state standards. Batchelor-Crosson has been an assistant principal and testing coordinator with the school system, mostly at Pinkston Street Elementary, since July 2014. She also has served as the assistant principal at New Hope Elementary School. Prior to becoming a school administrator, she was a teacher at Pinkston Street Elementary for eight years.

For the first time, the school system named a Beginning Teacher of the Year. Estelle Mangum, a fourth-grade teacher at L.B. Yancey Elementary School, was selected as the award recipient. Mangum had a solid year in 2016-2017 in leading her students to academic achievements.

Estelle Mangum, 2017-2018 Beginning Teacher of the Year, poses with Superintendent Anthony Jackson after accepting her award.

Estelle Mangum, 2017-2018 Beginning Teacher of the Year, poses with Superintendent Anthony Jackson after accepting her award.

An audience of almost 200 people, including teachers, school administrators, local school officials, city and county leaders and community representatives, attended the event and enjoyed a nice meal during the banquet held in McGregor Gallery at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center.

Darlynn Oxendine, vice chairperson of the Vance County Board of Education, and Dr. Anthony Jackson, superintendent of Vance County Schools, presented the awards to the honoreers. They were joined in the presentations by Dr. Cindy Bennett, assistant superintendent, and Joy Suther, 2016-2017 Assistant Principal of the Year and the assistant principal of Dabney Elementary School. Crystal Richardson, 2016-2017 Principal of the Year and the principal of Clarke Elementary School, was unable to attend the event.

Joining Stewart in receiving recognition as Teachers of the Year for their respective schools were Kelly Smith of Aycock Elementary School; Fe McCoy of Carver Elementary School; Cynthia Arthur of Clarke Elementary School; Justin Wrenn of Dabney Elementary School; Tina Terry of New Hope Elementary School; Faye Crawford of E.M. Rollins Elementary School; Kevon Grant of L.B. Yancey Elementary School; Julia Morton of E.O. Young Jr. Elementary School; Alfreda Murphy of Zeb Vance Elementary School; Katrina Tunstall of Eaton-Johnson Middle School; Rosalia Cervantes of Henderson Middle School; Mary Soriano of STEM Early High School; Joannie Aldridge of Northern Vance High School; Brandelyn Breinig of Southern Vance High School; and Ana-Maria Topliceanu of Vance County Early College High School.

An outstanding group of 2017-2018 Teachers of the Year from our schools join together for a group photo at our banquet.

An outstanding group of 2017-2018 Teachers of the Year from our schools join together for a group photo at our banquet.

Additional Principal of the Year nominees were Dr. Carnetta Thomas of L.B. Yancey Elementary School; Kristian Herring of Zeb Vance Elementary School; and Rey Horner of Southern Vance High School.

For the Assistant Principal of the Year award, Angela Pugh of Henderson Middle School, also was nominated.

Along with Mangum as nominees for the Beginning Teacher of the Year award were Regina Durham of Dabney Elementary School; Rachel Bradshaw of New Hope Elementary School; Conetta Terry of Pinkston Street Elementary School; Sikera Alston of E.M. Rollins Elementary School; Julia Hicks of Zeb Vance Elementary School; Anthony Davis of Eaton-Johnson Middle School; Trevor Kirby of Henderson Middle School; and Peter Hasselburg of Southern Vance High School.

A special selection panel of local school administrators chose the award winners after nominees made PowerPoint presentations and answered questions, with the exception of the Beginning Teacher of the Year nominees who submitted essays.

Kedecia Stewart, 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year, reacts as Dave Genetti, owner of Toyota of Henderson, presents her with a 2018 Toyota Camry to drive this year during her reign.

Kedecia Stewart, 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year, reacts as Dave Genetti, owner of Toyota of Henderson, presents her with a 2018 Toyota Camry to drive this year during her reign.

Special Message for Eaton-Johnson Students

— courtesy Vance County Public Schools

Students in grades 6-8 at Eaton Johnson received a special message during three separate assemblies from Dentis Shaw, founder of the “Love, Forgive. Please Stop the Violence,” organization on September 5.

Shaw (shown in the accompanying photo) talked with the students from the three grade levels during sessions held in the school’s gymnasium. He was introduced at each session by the school’s new principal, Travis Taylor, who told the students that one of his goals as the leader of the school is to ensure their safety. When Shaw took the microphone, he spoke with passion to the students. He led them in chants as a commitment to stop bullying and to always think before they act in a situation that could escalate into violence.

“Violence is not the answer,” he told them. “You need to talk to each other and to other people you may have differences with. Things are never solved in a good way with violence. Guns and other weapons are not the answer to solving problems.”

He also urged the students to always respect the opinions of other people. He added that it is essential that they each respect themselves, their parents or guardians, family members and friends.

“If you have a special person you can talk to about problems, you need to do that,” Shaw said. “Talking through things is always a good option. You want your opinions to be heard and you need to remember that other people want you to hear them. So, listen to them. Talk it out.”

Shaw told the students to live by what he calls “the five word quote.”

That quote is, “I value myself and others,” he added.

Shaw drove his bright, pink vehicle with “Love. Forgive.” printed in large lettering on the sides and front to Eaton-Johnson. The Warren County native, says he plans to continue to spread his message of preventing bullying, stopping the violence and love and forgiveness throughout Vance County and the region.

High School Football Tonight (Thursday)

The Northern Vance High School football game versus Beddingfield is tonight.  That game was scheduled long ago.

The Southern Vance High School football game at North Lenoir originally schedule for Friday night has been moved up to tonight due to the threat of heavy rain.

Listen Live on WIZS 1450 AM or online starting at 6:45.  Spread the word.  The remainder of the season schedules are posted below as well.

Vance County Schools closes Western Vance High School Building

Vance County Schools has officially closed the Western Vance High School building on Poplar Creek Road near Henderson.

The facility will no longer be used to house instructional programs by the school system. Superintendent Anthony Jackson recommended relocating the programs currently housed at the Western facility to available unused space on the campus of Henderson Middle School. This recommendation was approved by the Vance County Board of Education at its meeting on June 12.

With the board’s action, the AdVance Academy formerly housed at Western Vance was relocated to a two-story building on the campus of Henderson Middle School (HMS) on Charles Street in Henderson. The school system’s Youth Empowerment Academy also has been moved to the same location and will use a portion of the first-floor area of the building. The Youth Empowerment Academy, a successful middle school intervention program, had been located in a portion of the old two-story building across from Eaton-Johnson Middle School on Beckford Drive in Henderson.

The decision to close the Western Vance facility was made to save operational costs for the school system and to utilize available space on the HMS campus. 

“As the board of education continues to look at strategies to improve the efficient use of resources, we will intentionally look internally for opportunities to maximize the use of all available tools as we continue working to improve student achievement,” Jackson said.

The two-story building, located to the right of the main entrance to HMS, has been updated to accommodate the academies. New flooring and painting were completed throughout the building. Improved lighting and new ceiling tiles also have been installed as part of our district-wide energy improvement project. Furniture and equipment from the AdVance Academy, Youth Empowerment Academy and Evening Academy were moved to the new location, as well. Art panels designed by students from Southern Vance High School will be placed on the entrance wall facing the street and will provide just a glimpse of the modern feel of the facility. This site will focus not only on strong academics, but on social and emotional development for students. It will provide clubs, workplace experiences and visits to universities and colleges to ensure students understand the opportunities available to them upon graduation.

Principal Stephanie Ayscue is leading a staff of core teachers at AdVance Academy, where approximately 90 high school students complete much of their course work using a blended learning model of both face-to-face and online instruction in a technology-infused environment where students and staff are consistently encouraged to be innovative. Dr. Ralphel Holloman continues as the coordinator for the Youth Empowerment Academy, which serves middle school students with a team of instructors and community volunteers who provide a multitude of experiential opportunities for the middle school students as a means of helping them choose a career pathway. The Evening Academy, coordinated by Kerry Morrison, will continue to provide another option for middle and high school students who need an alternative pathway to complete their high school experience. All of the programs at AdVance Academy are presented using blended learning models in collaborative environments where students are given opportunities to choose their pathways to graduation.

The academies operate separately from Henderson Middle School. The main entrance to the academies is located on the front of the building facing Charles Street. Signs have been erected at the entrance to direct visitors.

Vance County Schools celebrates Day 1 of 2017-2018 School Year

Approximately 5,400 students reported today for their first day of classes for the 2017-2018 at 15 Vance County Schools with all indications that the day ran very smoothly at all school sites.

They join the approximately 600 students already in school since early August at E.M. Rollins Elementary School and Early College High School. After the Labor Day holiday, over 300 pre-kindergarten students also will be attending classes in our 10 elementary schools.

Students arrived at elementary, middle and high schools with their book bags and other school supplies, ready to begin work for the new school year. School administrators and educators greeted them prepared for the new year as well, since they had started work for the year on August 17 and had their classrooms ready to go.

Superintendent Anthony Jackson continued his tradition of riding the bus with a kindergarten student for the first morning. Today, he accompanied Za’Khiyah Durham, who attends Aycock Elementary School, on her first bus ride to school.

At Aycock Elementary School, administrators, teachers, counselors and others greeted the students outside the school’s main entrance with lively music playing and waving purple-and-gold pom poms. School staff members later led all of the students in a “Pep Rally” held in the school’s multipurpose room as a way to get the school off to an energetic start.

The AdVance Academy opened to about 80 students in its new location on the campus of Henderson Middle School. The school system’s Youth Empowerment Academy also occupies a portion of the same building.

The STEM Early High School also opened in a new location, along the 600 Hall area at Southern Vance High School.

Both new locations provide the schools with additional space that is more convenient for students, parents and staff members.

No real issues or problems were reported at any schools. Several schools also had new students to enroll today for the school year.