Class Notes

Mar. 10, 2014 @ 09:57 AM

Riverside’s robotic team state champs
A team of students from Riverside High School recently competed in their first NC State Vex Robotics Competition (VRC) Championship with their robot “Jolly Roger.”
Ranked 19th in the state at the start of the competition, the Riverside team formed an alliance with two robotics teams from JM Robinson High School in Concord, which went on to win the competition.
All three teams have qualified to represent North Carolina in the World Championship next month in California.
Riverside’s VEX Robotics team was led by senior John Kish.
Other upperclassmen on the team are junior Taylor Sollie and sophomores Noah Haskell and Cable May.
The Riverside team was rounded out by freshmen Aidan Alguire, Victoria Arevalo Arana, Ben Bartnik, Chandler Berry, Justin “JC” Castillo, Johnny Foraker and Matthew James.
In addition to winning the state championship, the Pirates crew also won the competition’s coveted Sportsmanship Award, and was singled out by judges for their teamwork and positive spirit, plus the growth they had shown throughout the robotics competition season.

Library reps named
Three students from the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics have been named Student Library Ambassadors and will represent North Carolina libraries at the National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C., May 5-6.
Jacob Botros,  Marlisha Blakeney and Brenna Loendorf were among 15 students from across the state who won a statewide contest sponsored by the Legislative and Advocacy Committee of the North Carolina Library Association by submitting essays, videos, web pages or poems proclaiming the value of libraries.
The students, their parents and state library leaders will visit North Carolina’s congressional representatives to deliver a message about the importance of libraries.   

IMS to offer Mandarin Chinese
Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, International Montessori School will introduce an immersion program in Mandarin Chinese for pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) 3-year-olds. 
The program will grow along with its first class of students, adding a grade per year to become a full Montessori classroom for ages 3-6 years old.
At the same time, IMS will expand its Spanish- and French-immersion classrooms. Currently pre-K to third grade, those programs will expand a grade each year to include fourth grade in 2014-2015, fifth grade in 2015-2016, and sixth grade in 2016-2017.
For additional information, contact Amanda Copeland at, or call 919-401-4343.

Smith wins black history bowl
Smith Middle School recently won the sixth Annual Black History Knowledge Bowl sponsored by the Mu Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Participants were students in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program from Culbreth, McDougal and Smith Middle schools in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro school system.
The Knowledge Bowl was established to stimulate interest in African-American history, encourage student success, and recognize those students who demonstrate superior knowledge and recall of African-American history.
The second place team was Culbreth Middle School.

Stop Rx abuse contest
North Carolina high school students can help fight prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths by entering a video contest sponsored by Attorney General Roy Cooper and the N.C. Department of Justice.
Cooper is partnering with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, the North Carolina Parent Resource Center, and the Governor’s Institute on Substance Abuse to sponsor the third annual Stop Rx Abuse contest.
Students are asked to create 30 second public service announcement videos on the topic of teen prescription drug abuse.  All students enrolled in grades nine through 12 in North Carolina are eligible to enter and the top three entries will receive prizes. 
To participate in the Stop Rx Abuse contest:
-- Produce an original video and upload it to YouTube.
-- Send an email to that includes a link to the video, your name, grade level, and school name.
-- Complete the application and release form (available at and submit them along with a transcript of the video.

‘Give Five – Read Five’
State Superintendent June Atkinson has launched the second annual statewide “Give Five – Read Five” campaign.
As a part of the campaign, the N.C. Department of Public Instructions is encouraging parents, business leaders and community members to donate five new or gently-used books to their local elementary school.
The books will be sent home with children over the summer break to help preserve literacy skills gained over the course of the school year. 
During last year’s campaign, 74 elementary schools across the state collected 123,152 books and sent them home with students when the school year ended.

Hillside Class of 1963 offers scholarship
The Hillside Class of 1963 is taking applications for a onetime $500 scholarship for a graduating senior from the traditional school.
Graduating seniors should contact their senior counselor for an application.
The firm deadline is April 15. If you need information, contact Helen Featherson, chair of the Scholarship Committee at or 919-225-0374.

‘High School 101’
Next year’s ninth-graders and their families can learn how to start their high school careers on the right foot at the Durham Public Schools “High School 101” event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Riverside High School.
Students will learn how to plan for success, including understanding graduation requirements and learning how to register for classes.
Special interest topic sessions for students and families will include athletics and eligibility, driver’s education, fine arts and career-technical education career choices, transportation, child nutrition and student services.
Families may register for “High School 101” at
For information, contact the DPS area office for high schools at (919) 560-2550. Riverside High School is at 3218 Rose of Sharon Road in Durham.