NOTE :: "Celebrate N.C. Schools" feature stories contained on this site are for historical purposes only. While each story was accurate on the date it was published, it may be outdated when viewed.

Below are some innovative programs in North Carolina school and districts that have made local, state and national headlines. To see your program featured here, contact Vanessa Jeter.

JUNE 2016

SERVICE CLUB’S FUNDRAISING FOR CAPS AND GOWNS FAR EXCEEDS GOAL (The State Port Pilot) Thanks to the St. James Service Club’s latest service project, 20 to 30 students at each of Brunswick County’s three traditional high schools were able to purchase career-ready outfits and caps and gowns in time for awards and commencement ceremonies.

Club members chose this unique service project after learning that students who could not purchase caps and gowns would not be allowed to walk during commencement ceremonies.

When club members met with guidance counselors and graduation coordinators from each school, they also learned that several students were unable to afford “dress clothes” to wear underneath their graduation gowns or to end-of-year awards ceremonies, club president Stephanie Macaluso explained.

The service club immediately put out donation buckets and spread the word via emails, newsletters and other means to raise money for the “Garments for Grads” fund, thinking they would raise between $500 and $1,000, Macaluso said.

“We had an outpouring,” she noted. “We raised just shy of $12,000,” allowing each school to not only provide assistance to this year’s graduates but to have funds set aside for the next few years as well.

CTEC’S ENGINEERS IN THE MAKING (Times-News) Don’t you hate it when your toast doesn’t pop up far enough? Or your ice scraper isn’t getting the job done on a freezing winter morning?

Burgeoning engineers from the Career and Technical Education Center’s Engineering Design & Development course may have the solutions.

Students presented their problem-solving prototypes Wednesday afternoon. Nick Kuczkowski, Samantha Luu, Austin Hurdle and Garner Flemming are four of the first six students to complete all honors levels of Project Lead the Way, which includes Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Engineering Design & Development.

TWO RIVERS NAMED WATAUGA COUNTY’S FIRST NORTH CAROLINA GREEN SCHOOL OF QUALITY (High Country Press) Two Rivers Community School, a K-8 public charter school in Boone, recently received the NC Green School of Quality award from the NC Green Schools Program, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in the state’s schools from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

It is the first school outside of Buncombe County to achieve the certification in Western North Carolina.

Under the auspices of the Center for the Environment at Catawba College, the NC Green Schools Program helps teachers connect and share ideas, offers resources and tools to help them start green initiatives and recognizes schools that meet specified goals.

The NC Green School of Quality Award is given to schools that are taking active strides in improving and maintaining sustainable practices and implementing a robust environmental education curriculum.

OBSERVER ALL-STAR SCHOLARS: HOW THEY ARE INSPIRED TO ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS (Charlotte Observer) They aspire to be doctors, scientists, engineers and teachers. But what stands out most about the 2016 Charlotte Observer Seniors of the Year is what they have accomplished.

Two created programs to help teach girls about engineering. Another helped start a prom for people with disabilities. And a third uses his art to advocate for the LBGT community.

What inspired them? Teachers and family, more than anything. But the aspirations of the Class of 2016 also took root in their own experiences.

BOOK DRIVE BRINGS READING HOME FOR SUMMER (The Wilson Times) A group of elementary school children shuffle through a box of donated books, choosing which five they will have the opportunity to take home for the summer.

According to the Communities in Schools of Wilson County executive director, Bridgette Akins, five is the magic number. “Data shows that reading five books helps students retain information over the summer,” said Akins.

The new and gently used books were collected during the annual Give Five- Read Five book drive put on by Communities in Schools this spring.

This year Communities In Schools in Wilson County collected 2,150 books for students at Vick, Hearne, Barnes and Winstead elementary schools.

HIGH-TECH SCHOOL GEARS UP (The Wilson Times) Parents and families took videos and snapped photos as students filed into Beddingfield High School’s auditorium while the processional played. But this wasn’t graduation day. It was a day of commitment.

On Tuesday, 67 incoming freshmen attended a small ceremony for the new Wilson Academy of Applied Technology. Students signed a contract of commitment and pledged to become the first class to graduate from the early college in 2021.

This school will give students a chance to not only earn their high school diploma but graduate with an associate’s degree in applied engineering technology, all the while gaining hands-on skills to enter the local workforce.