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Good News Spotlight October 3, 2017
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Good News Spotlight October 3, 2017
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Eagle Scout Recognition

Good News Spotlight is not just about highlighting school accomplishments.  OCS also likes to recognize students for an achievement earned outside the classroom. Brent Anderson, director of Community Affairs recognized and congratulated Swansboro High School sophomore Scott C. Parry for having achieved Eagle Scout rank. 


He also invited young Scott's father to join them because he was part of the story he was about to tell on how the boy chose his project.   


Eagle Scout is the highest advancement ranking in Boy Scouting.  Only four percent of Boy Scouts are granted this rank after a lengthy review process. To earn this rank, one must earn a specified number of merit badges and plan, develop, and complete a community service project.


Young Scott and his father both earned Eagle Scout rank, but until Scott C. decided to go for it, he didn’t know his father, a retired Marine who served in the Corps 26 years, also earned the title.  His mom told him when he was discussing it with her.


Dad explained his project – in 1988, when he was 15 years old and the same age as his son, he made Easter Baskets for an orphanage in New York.


Young Scott decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and made 100 Easter Baskets for Falcon’s Children’s Home and Family Services in Falcon, NC.  As most children do these days, he put his own twist on the idea.  He replaced the Easter Baskets with beach pails and shovels so the children would have something they could use.  Each pail contained candy, a coloring book with crayons and bubbles.


It took a lot of work and planning, and many generous donations from the community, but 220 hours later he had earned over $2,000.


Both were congratulated on their title.  Young Scott is now focusing on earning additional badges having to do with conservation.  


Financial Awards Recognition

OCS Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Hollamon, was called to the podium to be recognized for receiving a financial award.


Onslow County Schools has received yet another award for financial management.  This award is in addition to the two awards for Excellence in Financial Reporting that were presented at the September Board meeting.


Recently, the North Carolina State Board of Education recognized Onslow County Schools for the outstanding manner in which the district managed its financial transactions of state public school funds totaling over $134 million dollars for fiscal year 2016.


Of the 115 school districts in North Carolina, Onslow County Schools was one of only 13 districts to receive all three of these financial awards in one year.


TOY Finalists and TOY

Each year schools select their Teacher of the Year.  Those selected are invited to compile a portfolio of their experiences to compete for Onslow County Schools’ Teacher of the Year.  The OCS TOY Committee reviewed portfolios of all those teachers to determine the top 10. Interviews were conducted on those top 10 semi-finalists. Following the interviews, the committee narrowed the field down to five finalists.  Classroom observations were conducted to select which would be the 2017-18 TOY.



Deputy Superintendent Dr. Beth Folger recognized the five finalists  and their principals.

Cason Justice, a five-year social studies teacher at Swansboro High School.  (Chris Andre)

Cynthia Tucker, a 14-year OCS educator and four-year ELA teacher at Richlands High School.  (Brad Staley)

Stacey Horne, a 17-year educator, 13 of which in OCS schools and 8 years as a K-3 teacher at Meadow View Elementary.  (Kelly Clarke)

Sharon Grunden, has served OCS 21 years, these past 13 as an ELA teacher at Trexler Middle School.  (Lynn Jackson)


She then congratulated Nicole Martin, chosen as 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year.  (Maria Johnson)


Ms. Martin is a biology and AP Environmental Science teacher at Northside High School.  This is her fourth year of teaching at Northside.  In addition to teaching she is the advisor of Northsides’ Science Club, Science Honor Society and Key Club. She also coaches the school’s Science Olympiad team.


She is a member of the Association of American Educators, Science Teachers Association and NC Science Teachers Association.  Her appointments include Onslow County Secondary Science Honors Reviewer, New Student Orientation Director at Northside HS, Guidance Advisory Committee, Teachers Leading in the Profession Member and STEM Academy Advisory Committee.


In her professional biography Martin said she is a voracious reader and from an early age she loved learning. Many of her favorite books centered on characters that were not only action heroes, but also scientists.  Literature became her first step to becoming a teacher.  In high school, she fit in every science class possible. By the time she entered college there was no doubt in her mind she would pursue science, particularly biology.  Through countless hours spent alone in laboratories for work studies and research she reached the conclusion that laboratory work was not for her.  She still had a passion for science, but found helping others much more rewarding.  We are so happy that lead her to choose a career in teaching and lifelong learning.


Next, she will go on to compete at the regional level.  Winners at the regional level move on to compete for North Carolina Teacher of the Year.


JCMS Teacher Recognized by Honored

Honored, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing and rewarding exceptional K-12 teachers across America celebrated and shined a spotlight on a teacher who has come to us just this year from Lenoir.  Each month, Honored shines a spotlight on a teacher who has changed the life of a single student.  In August, that teacher was Sequoia Aldridge.


Mrs. Aldridge, joined Dr. Folger at the podium.


Mrs. Aldridge’s journey to teaching is quite interesting.  She retired from the Marine Corps after serving 30 years.  In the article written about her last month, she talked about joining Teach for America after she saw her daughter frustrations with school and lack of mentoring.  She decided she could inspire success through the service-focused leadership style she developed as a Chief Warrant Officer.  Her hands-on approach to teaching transformed the academic trajectory of her students.  She was nominated for the recognition by Teach for America.


Aldridge is teaching sixth grade science at Jacksonville Commons Middle School.   In the article written about her she described herself as a teacher, mentor and life coach who happens to teach science.


Teachers selected by the organization are given a profile story at Honored.org and receive a $5,000 check to spend however they like. In addition, Honored provides each recognized teacher with a $1,000 grant to give to any teacher or school in the country looking to fund a school or class project.


Aldridge gave that $1,000 to a teacher at a school with a majority of low-income students that needs a new computer for classroom projects. The money should be enough to cover the cost of that computer.


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