Spirit Week Day Three: Wacky Wednesday

CHS students and staff brought the wack to Wacky Wednesday. Mismatching socks and clashing patterns dominated the campus.

Lauren Baddour and Ashley Hong, sophomores, brought

out their wacky cat shirts for the day.

Ryan Severance, math teacher, embraced the day’s

theme with his bold and wacky outfit.

Photos by Cinthya Plazas

Spirit Week Day Two: Terror Tuesday

For the second day of this spirited week, the festive celebration of Halloween served as the theme for students and staff to follow. Inspired by their favorite cartoon or television characters, CHS brought an array of costumes to showcase for the occasion.


Photos by Cinthya Plazas

Spirit Week Day One: Matching Monday

The start of Spirit Week caught CHS seeing double. Students participated in matching Monday by coordinating their outfits to match those of their friends. The popular theme made a comeback this year, following a year hiatus.





Photos by Cinthya Plazas

Shop for schools

In today’s society, there are gift cards for almost everything: restaurants, movie theaters and online shopping. One newly-popular place to get a gift card in Carrboro is a grocery store. This is because of the Grocery Store Card Program, run by Christie Osborne and the Carrboro PTSA.

Osborne, a parent of three who currently attend Carrboro, has run the program since her kids were at Scroggs Elementary. She just recently started with the Carrboro program.

“When we did this at Scroggs, we tripled the amount of money [for the PTSA] in two years, and the person at Carrboro was awesome, so it is now the major PTSA fundraiser,” said Osborne. “We did it before and we were very successful, so we started at Carrboro.”

Funding for Carrboro was very low, and the program has been helping tremendously to reverse that. According to Osborne, the school budget was redone and the PTSA discovered that
over $10 thousand was raised from this program.

Lowes, Weaver Street, Whole Foods and Food Lion are four of the grocery stores involved in the gift card program.

“I’m not quite sure how it all started, but they offer this to any school,” said Osborne. “Not all schools do it, but most do. They have offered to almost all schools where the grocery stores are located.”

Even though the program has been so impactful, few families participate in it. According to Osborne, only around 3 percent of the families participated last year. Osborne and her colleagues—Snehal Patwardhan, Jean Huang, Stephanie Mosteller and Bethany Paine—are all working on increasing the number of families this year by advertising to the other 97 percent of families.

“We are really implementing a new way to change the credit card spending, and we’re still looking to do more,” said Osborne. “A very small percent of the school actually used this, and we still made over $10 thousand. So, we are really trying to reach people through different marketing, and once we are able to get people, we will have much more profit.”

The PTSA is currently working on making the 2017-2018 school year even more successful than the years before and making sure that Carrboro’s specific programs—STEM, Theatre, Student Government and more—get sufficient funding.

In Memory of Mrs. Montoya

Earlier this year, Carrboro High School lost Daphne Montoya, one of the school’s beloved math teachers. Her absence is felt throughout the halls by both the student body and faculty. Today, the JagWire shares a collection of quotes about Montoya.

Jamey Barkdolloni, Resource Teacher who worked with Montoya at Orange High School and CHS

“I was amazed by her abilities to break down complex math concepts into understandable parts for her students. She believed that all of her students could and would be successful if they were willing to put in the time and effort. She attempted to instill that belief in all of her students.”

Juanita Roncancio, a sophomore in Montoya’s class freshman year

“She always chose the students she knew had the right answer to come up and explain, so everybody could understand. As a person, she very strict, but she was also nice. She was the kind of strict that made you like her.”

John Hite, Resource Teacher

“She didn’t want an easy path. She wanted to teach specific classes with students she felt like she could connect with and encourage to reach their full potential. I found that to be very admirable”

Cameron Ferguson, CHS social studies teacher

“I’m a first year teacher here. I didn’t actually know Mrs. Montoya as an adult, but she was my sixth grade math teacher… I wish I could have had the chance to have worked with her.”


Al’s provides second helping

Al’s Burger Shack opened its new Southern Village location on September 18, National Cheeseburger Day, marking four years since the opening of its Franklin Street location.

Known for its juicy burgers and rosemary fries, Al’s has earned many awards and titles, such as Best Burger in the South and Top 5 Burgers of All Time. With all this success, owner Al Bowers felt it was time to expand and open up a new location.

“We’ve always liked the vibe in this community and how tightknit it is,” said Bowers about Southern Village. “About probably two years in, we decided if the opportunity came up [to open a new location], we would do it.”

Bowers admits that the process of opening the second restaurant was much easier than the first due to his connections and large fan-base of loyal customers.

“They all have their challenges and it’s not an easy proposition for anybody, but we have more people in our corner now,” said Bowers. “So that transition should be a lot easier.”

Along with the new restaurant comes new perks including new additions to the menu, more parking, seating and a bigger space to cook a wider range of foods. The Caroline Burger as well as the new Shack Salad will become permanent additions.

With the opening of the new location, Al’s is also creating the Al’s Pals card, a gift card exclusive to Southern Village where parents can add money for their kids to buy food at the restaurant.

Besides all the excitement and fun, Bowers expressed the challenges of opening a small business stating, “a lot of times when a small business is trying to open, the municipalities involved can be a little difficult to work with. It’s unfortunate for small businesses because a lot of what we do takes time and more time means more money, so you’re not really able to concentrate on exactly what you want to do, which is for us is to sell hamburgers.”

Bowers is ecstatic about the opening, but he doesn’t want to stop here. His dreams and goals reach beyond Chapel Hill.

“The plan is to try to expand and replicate it because I feel like we have a concept that we can replicate,” said Bowers.

Even though there were struggles, Bowers was excited to meet any challenge head on. With all the hype and expectations that circled around the time of the opening, he tied up his shoelaces and got to work dealing out his second serving of the best burger in the South.

Meet Ms. Jackson

Every time students walk through the front office, Barbara Jackson, the new receptionist, welcomes them. Some may recognize her as an assistant teacher from Mary Scroggs Elementary.

Jackson moved a couple years ago due to her husband’s job but is now back in the CHCCS School system. She loves the friendliness and professionalism of the staff, teachers and students. She’s the type to keep busy and loves her new job as a receptionist.

“It’s a real homey environment; it kind of hugs you,” said Jackson. “You can tell how much the teachers and the staff here care about the kids.”

She hopes students feel welcome when they walk into the school and that she’s doing her job well.

“I want the kids to feel like they can just come in and not be afraid to talk, and if they’re late, I don’t want them to feel funny,” said Jackson.

As much as she loves her current days as a receptionist, she isn’t used to sitting down all day. An active person, she will have to adjust to her new relatively sedentary job.

She loves to take long walks with her dogs and go to the gym. When she isn’t spending her time outdoors, she likes to spend time with her three sons and enjoys scrapbooking and watching movies. Jackson hopes to continue to help students in the years to come.

Students plan eleventh Underworld

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. On October 31, the Carrboro High auditorium transforms into the Underworld, continuing a tradition as old as the school itself.

The event is a presentational tour during which attendees will see Latin students portray various mythological characters.

Former Latin teacher Sara Clay launched the Underworld to teach students about the mythologies that inspired modern storytelling. Since 2007, the event has contemporaneously educated non-Latin students and showcased the Latin classes’ knowledge and creativity.

Seniors Ben Gerhardt and Sophie Wise, Latin Club co-presidents, organized the Underworld for their second consecutive year. Both hold fond memories of their first Underworld—Gerhardt played Hades, god of the Underworld, and Wise played Tiresias, the blind prophet.

“I remember it was just so much fun to see everyone get really excited,” said Gerhardt. “Sometimes with these group events, people come in and are talking or on their phones, but people really engaged; [the presentations] start so quickly that people just get sucked into it.”

According to Wise, Latin students spend at least a month preparing for the event. Students create a list of characters but remain flexible, adding more characters to account for students’ interests. Once students know whom they’ll portray, they write short scripts.

Students rehearse during lunch before creating a set for the Underworld.

“After a few rehearsals, we decorate with dark cloths, several different rivers and the gates,” said Gerhardt.

Though the process is the same overall, Gerhardt outlines one key difference in this year’s performances: Latin students will hold an additional tour for ESL students. According to Gerhardt, the presentation will involve more conversation and less presentation.

The co-presidents sent an email invitation to teachers in early October, encouraging teachers to register their first- through fourth-period classes. They concluded their email with a suggestion for all students.

Said Gerhardt and Wise, “attendees are encouraged to bring a penny for admittance as this mirrors the practice of being admitted into the actual Underworld.”

Heterogeneous classes for CHS

This fall, Carrboro High School introduced heterogeneous grouping—combining standard and honors courses—into ninth grade English and World History classes. The initiative, intended to help incoming students make informed decisions about their enrollment, may also help reduce the achievement gap.

Within the first nine weeks of the school year, students are able to switch their enrollment between standard and honors. Teachers of these classes define what constitutes honors work and standard work, therefore allowing students to have a better understanding of the level of rigor they want. For example, in English 9, students received a sheet detailing what signified honors level work and how they would earn honors credit.

Within heterogeneous classes, students can help one another. English teacher Anthony Swaringen commented on the change in classroom culture.

“I’ve noticed that students are reinforcing positive behaviors in each other more than what I’ve ever seen in the past,” said Swaringen. “When you don’t have students who are modeling good student behavior—such as how to study, how to effectively read, or how to hold a class discussion—it’s hard to get that going in a classroom.”

World History and Psychology teacher Jacqueline Cerda-Smith added her perspective on blended classes.

“I really enjoy the class climate more this year,” said Smith. “I feel like everybody is more focused, and I’m seeing way less behavioral problems in class overall.”

Blended classes may also help close academic, social and other gaps between students.

“Everyone needs equal opportunities to be successful and not have their opportunities artificially limited by systems,” said Swaringen.

There are also students who want to take honors-level work but don’t see students that look like them and, as a result, find those classes less welcoming.

“A lot of students register for classes based on where their friends and family are registering,” said Swaringen. “I think that’s another place where we see those patterns of segregation, both racial and economic.”

The teachers involved in heterogeneous classes put careful thought into its implementation.

“You can have everybody together in a class and do a pretty terrible job of it,” said history teacher Matt Cone. “People have been pretty thoughtful about what are the different strategies we might use to have success.” He added that simply grouping students by enrollment would be ineffective.

Cameron Ferguson, a history teacher, added how he differentiates work for students.

“For me the difference is how independent students have to work,” said Ferguson. “I will give both students an honors level reading and the honors kids will be responsible for doing it on their own, and I will sit there and help the standard kid.”

Ferguson assured that all students are exposed to honors level instruction within heterogeneous classrooms.

Teachers of heterogeneous classes are also piloting Actively Learn, an online platform where teachers can give students the same reading with different questions or supports. Additionally, students can take separate tests in blended classes.

No concrete plan exists for implementing blended classes in other grades.

“Right now we have the hard research about the transition from eighth the ninth grade, but there’s not a lot of research about heterogenous grouping in upper grades,” said Swaringen. “We kind of have to produce our own case study to show this is something we think would work.”

On Columbus Day, town of Carrboro celebrates alternate holiday

While much of the country is commemorating Columbus Day on October 9, the town of Carrboro has taken a stance against the national holiday. Carrboro adopted the alternative holiday, “Indigenous People’s Day,” in 2015. Indigenous People’s Day was first celebrated on October 10, 2016. Lydia Lavelle was mayor at the time.

The concept of Indigenous People’s day stems partly from the idea that Columbus did not discover America the way some perceive. He and his crew landed in modern day Haiti and the Dominican Republic; while his journey contributed to the subsequent colonization of North and South America, Columbus never actually set foot on either continent.

Many history curriculums and textbooks paint Columbus as a hero who discovered the Americas. However, this portrayal of discovery ignores any dark side of Columbus’s expedition as well as the actions of the Indigenous People of North America, who crossed the land bridge from Eurasia to what is now Canada 15,000 years ago and populated the Americas. In recent years, this concept has been especially debated because of the way the discovery of America is portrayed in schools.

Annie Williams, a social studies teacher at CHS, discussed the complicated history that established Columbus Day. “In the late 20th century [the Italians] wanted to create a holiday for their ethnic group…they picked Christopher Columbus because he was Italian,” said Williams.

The holiday was intended to acknowledge the importance of Italian immigrants to the United States; in years prior, Italians faced a substantial amount of persecution and felt underrepresented.  

As time has passed and the meaning of Columbus Day has evolved, communities like Carrboro are establishing new traditions. Indigenous People’s Day is a concept communities across the country are slowly adopting. The effort to diversify holidays, on both a local and national level, is increasing, and Carrboro was one of the first towns to do so.