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Good News Spotlight February 7, 2017
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High School Academic Derby

The Onslow County School System has a rich history of providing students with academic enrichment events and competitions to enhance the regular curriculum. One of the longest running of these academic competitions is Academic Derby. For over 30 years, Academic Derby has provided students with the opportunity to participate in a team-oriented, multi-disciplinary academic competition.

This year’s High School Academic Derby winning team went undefeated and they are taking the trophy back to their high school for the first time. That team is from Dixon High School.

Coach, Ashleigh DeMartin, and her team, Pauly Herrera, Danielle Gartman, Austin Brewer, Kittrece Cade, Nick Sanders, Daniel Cucino, Alex Gartman, Sandy Lin, Rhiannon Schmidt and the team captain, Jamison Weaver were recognized by Mark Bulris, director of Title I Services, and he presented them with their trophy.


Elementary and Middle School Geography Bee Winners


Tiebreaker rounds determined both the middle and elementary Geography Bee top spots this year.


Students from across the district answered questions to determine how well they know the world. Contestants earned their spot at the annual district wide bees by being the top winners at their school-level geography bees.


Students answered challenging questions about various topics including U.S. State Capitals, U.S. Cities, World Geography, Cultural Geography, Continents, Economic Geography, and Odd Items Out.


Fourth and fifth grade students competed Dec. 1, at Stateside Elementary School. After a nine round tiebreaker, we had two students finish in first place. Susanne Long, director of Curriculum, Research and Global Development Services recognized the following students; Garrett Fincham, a fourth grade student at Dixon Elementary coached by Joanne Watson and Megan Farrelly, a fourth grade student from Hunters Creek Elementary, coached by Ambrosina Guareno. Logan Walters, a fourth grade student at Swansboro Elementary, coached by Kerry Galletti, secured second place.


Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students competed Dec. 8, at Trexler Middle School. Five students remained after seven rounds, requiring a tiebreaker. Long recognized McKenzie Bulris for earning first place and her coach Joe Armenta. Bulris is an eighth grader at Southwest Middle, After the second tiebreaker, Joseph Vela, an eighth grader from Dixon Middle, coached by Christopher Brothers, received second place and was also recognized.


This is the third year Onslow County Schools held elementary and middle school geography bees to test the geography skills of students, help promote geography education, and foster students’ knowledge of the world around them.


Long congratulated all the students who participated in the bees.

Southeast Region Principal of the Year

The beginning of this month OCS was notified that Northside High School Principal Maria Johnson was selected as the 2017 North Carolina Southeast Region’s Principal of the Year. She was named Onslow County Schools’ Principal of the Year last October. Dr. Lesley Eason, Associate Superintendent of Instructional Services, recognized Johnson.

Cindy Rigsbee, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction regional education facilitator for the Southeast Region, traveled to NSHS to help make the surprise announcement to Johnson and students. She shared that among the many reasons the selection committee chose Ms. Johnson was the way she embraces and adapts to the military community, her passion and commitment to Onslow County Schools, and her high expectations for students and staff.

Johnson has 27 years as a teacher and administrator in the OCS district, and has served as Northside’s principal for the past six years.

 She graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and began teaching English. She earned a Masters of School Administration Instruction and Leadership from East Carolina University and a Masters of School Administration Curriculum Specialist degree from ECU.

 Under Johnson’s leadership, Northside High School was validated as an AVID National Demonstration site in 2015 by AVID Center. It is the first high school in North Carolina to receive the designation. Northside High School is the only school in the district to exceed growth for the last five years.

 The southeast region is comprised of 12 school districts and approximately 250 principals. Johnson will now compete against seven other regional winners for the title of North Carolina Principal of the Year. The state winner will be announced in May.



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