CTE students wow with presentations

On Tuesday, May 16, seven upperclassmen from the Honors Advanced Studies class presented a year’s worth of research on a topic of their choice to friends, family, students and staff.

Their presentations covered a wide variety of creative subjects, including architecture, photography and two different types of animation—2D (traditional) and 3D.

Each student met with a local mentor throughout the year who works in their field of interest. Julie Francis, the Honors Advanced Studies teacher, paired some students with adults she already knew wanted to participate in the exchange, while other students reached out to prospective mentors on their own.

The project was entirely student-led with only minimal guidance from Francis. She explained that the presentations were so successful because they allowed students to explore something they are truly passionate about, no matter the subject.

Senior Emma Richardson spent the year researching traditional animation, something she plans to continue studying in college next year at UNC School of the Arts. Her interest in animation comes from her passion for art (specifically drawing) and a desire to pursue this passion professionally.

“I’m interested in the development of characters in stories, and I have a background in art, so I hope to apply this to to a job,” said Richardson.

Junior Jack Clemens chose to study something he was less familiar with: web design. His interests come less from a professional goal and more out of curiosity.

“[Web design] interested me, but I didn’t really know how to do it,” said Clemens.

The students acted as professionals, dressing up in business attire and wearing microphones in order to be heard by the auditorium’s sizable audience. Principal Laverne Mattocks and Vice Principal James Hopkins both attended the presentations and asked the students questions.

During her presentation, Richardson explored older and newer technology for traditional, 2D animation. She also talked about personal experience she has with different animation tech- niques and shared a storyboard for a character she created.

Junior Ethan Reid also focused the year on learning animation techniques, but he studied 3D animation. He explained the differences between 3D and 2D, as well as important movement patterns to keep in mind when creating a final product.

Reid concluded his presentation with an example of a successful animation which follows the 12 rules for creating realistic 3D movement, as well as an unsuccessful example to contrast.

Francis emphasized the fact that, for all the students, preparing for the presentations was no easy task.

“They have been practicing really hard to show you what they learned this year,” said Francis before presentations commenced.

Whether or not they plan to continue pursuing these passions, the students’ knowledge and engagement with the audience serve testimony to the amount of work they dedicated to their projects.

In C-Town’s Own Words: Boro Blowout

English teachers kick off opening ceremonies, singing “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Photo by Mireille Leone


Francine and Elizabeth Ollila compete together in the Sibling Contest. Photo by Mireille Leone

“[The opening ceremonies] were awesome! I was talking to my friends and was like ‘only at Carrboro would this happen.’ It was really cool. The pie-eating contest was crazy, and I did not think Ms. Montgomery was going to win. But she took it home.”

Gabby Adams, junior


The inflatables, stationed outside in the courtyard, were a hit among students. Photo by Gaby Alfieri


Lisa Rubenstein, English teacher, taught students to make guacamole during her sessions. Photo by Gaby Alfieri

“I think it’s going really well. I think the opening ceremony is a good way to get everyone hyped and get more people to participate in Boro Blowout, and everything this year is very organized. The students and advisors have worked really hard to make sure today goes seamlessly. It looks like everyone’s having fun, having safe fun, and I’m glad we are able to continue this tradition.”

Dr. LaVerne Mattocks, Principal


Students had the opportunity to participate in a variety of science experiments. Photo by Mireille Leone

“Today’s pretty fun and hype! A lot of people kind of underrated this before today, but I think it’s turned out great. And being dunked [in the dunk tank] is really fun. It’s a great way to cool off. Also, it’s super awesome to be able to meet new groups of people!”

Jenna Livers, freshman


Juniors Emily Joashi, Chad Osborne, Erin Johnson, Izzy Benson and Dorie Speer decorate and enjoy cupcakes. Photo by Gaby Alfieri


CHS prepares for Boro Blowout

Slip and slides, dunk tanks, soccer, food and tie-dye. For students, Boro Blowout on April 28 will provide a day to relieve stress and have fun with friends.

SGA has stationed representatives at tables in the Commons to aid with online sign-up for sessions during the day. Each session will be a 50-minute block, with time to change in between sessions.

Students can coordinate their sessions with friends or choose sessions with activities that best suit their interests; at Boro Blowout, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. For dance fans, there’s the so-called Dance Battle of the Decades, and students who would rather be outside can enjoy inflatables, soccer or ultimate frisbee.

“The dodgeball tournament is my favorite thing about Boro Blowout. It’s time when you see students getting competitive and really creative in forming their outfits to team names,” said SGA President-Elect Niya Fearrington. “I think it’s important for students and teachers because it’s a perfect opportunity for students and teachers to have a stress free day with no academics right before we prepare for finals.”

SGA and students alike look forward to Friday’s event, and those looking for more information about Boro Blowout can refer to social media outlets for CHS.


Administrators: They're Students Too

Dr. Mattocks

After seven years of working on her dissertation, Principal Laverne Mattocks received her Doctorate in Leadership Perspectives on June 21, 2016. Due to this, Carrboro High School students have referred to her as “Dr. Mattocks” since the start of the school year.

The process involved choosing a topic, researching it and then writing a paper. Dr. Mattocks did all of this work while maintaining her position as the principal of Carrboro High School, causing the process to take longer than it does for most.

“It mixes educational psychology with the laws behind what we call IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,” said Mattocks. “So, I wanted to look at the disproportionate placement of African American males in the disability categories.”

When she researched this issue of disproportionality, Mattocks found that the success of these schools came from the leaders of the schools believing they could make a difference and then acting on it. Mattocks believes that even acknowledging the problem of disproportionality can help to mitigate the problem in schools.

Mattocks found that the strong leaders, who believed they could change their school and had strong relationships with faculty and staff, were more successful in addressing the problem.

Although Dr. Mattocks worked on her dissertation while she serving as principal, she was sure that the writing process never distracted her from making CHS the best it can be.

“Other things did take a second seat because I wanted to do a really good job my first couple of years here, so I couldn’t work on it very much, I was always focused on Carrboro,” said Mattocks.

While she did not allow herself to work on her dissertation at CHS, Mattocks found that as long as she allotted her time properly, it was easy to avoid working on it at school.

“I wasn’t ever able to write here, because I couldn’t get in that frame of mind. Often I would go home, or on the weekends, as I said, to reflect on just the job, I often found inspiration to start writing” she said.

While Dr. Mattocks took a long time to complete her dissertation, she feels it has been worth it. Why? Because she believes there will always be students who need her and other teachers to push them to higher levels of learning.

Dr. Mattocks and Dr. Hawkins. Photo by Olivia Weigle

Dr. Hawkins

On January 24, Assistant Principal Spencer Hawkins successfully defended his dissertation on equity in school scheduling, earning him a Doctorate of Education this academic year. Receiving the degree involved a year’s worth of research, culminating in a presentation to a committee of academics and education professionals.

Hawkins’ research investigates which classes three high schools in North Carolina assign their highest quality teachers. He determined teacher ability by combining elements like years of experience and number of advanced degrees.

Although many factors affect educational outcomes, previous research indicates that the quantifiable measures he uses in his metric still have a clear impact on outcomes in schools. Further, this methodology makes his process replicable, possibly across larger districts.

Hawkins chose to study equity in scheduling because of the lack of scholarly research he found on the topic.

“I wanted to fill a hole, fill a gap,” Hawkins said. “I feel like I’ve done that.”

Moreover, the fact that no one, to Hawkin’s knowledge, has attempted research like this before means he could later turn his 278 page dissertation into a book.

Ultimately, Hawkins found that in certain departments of all three schools, higher-quality teachers disproportionately teach higher-level classes, like honors and advanced placement. White and financially advantaged students are overwhelmingly more likely to take these classes. Therefore, he argues, assigning teachers classes is an issue of racial and economic equity.

As the creator of Carrboro’s master schedule, Hawkins hopes to learn from his research. He is interested in gathering data on Carrboro teachers for the metrics determining teacher quality discussed in his dissertation. He also plans to share his dissertation with the schools he studied.

As the first college graduate in his family, Hawkins is proud of what he has accomplished.

Melissa Barry: Teacher of the Year

Recently, Carrboro awarded the Teacher of the Year title to Melissa Barry. In Barry’s sixth year teaching at CHS, she finds this award a true honor as it represents a place and profession that are both close to her heart.

Some spend all their lives searching for their true passion or calling in life. For Barry, she always knew she wanted to become a teacher.

“When I walked into my first day of preschool in the Bronx, I knew that [teaching] was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Barry.

Barry received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and went on to earn a Masters in Parent Education and Family Support from Wheelock College in Boston, MA. Her career in teaching began with early childhood education and elementary education, and Barry now finds her love for teaching in special education at CHS.

Melissa Barry, CHS Teacher of the Year, plays volleyball with her student, Samantha Mpozampirwe. Photo by Mireille Leone

In working at CHS, Barry most appreciates the sense of community. According to Barry, everyone possesses valuable qualities and skill sets, and Carrboro’s close-knit community provides the ability to nurture this sense of value through education.

“To me, that is what education is all about: the ability to foster a sense of com- munity,” said Barry.

In all professions and paths of life, people learn from role models or sources of inspiration that help shape their interests and who they become. Two of Barry’s most significant role models include her first grade teacher and her high school calculus teacher. To this day, she can recall their first and last names without hesitation, demonstrating the impact both teachers had on Barry as she pursued her passion in education.

“I was always attuned to the profession,” said Barry. “Along the way I have found people that inspire me and that I aspire to be more like.”

Barry loves that teaching is full of creative license with priceless opportunities to develop something new every day. In her six years at Carrboro, Barry has only repeated one lesson plan, truly maximizing her use of creativity in teaching curriculum.

With her accomplishments in teaching, Barry continues to work toward new goals to improve her teaching as well as the overall learning environment at CHS.

“I hope that I do a really good job of creating a classroom community where my students feel valued and respected,” said Barry. “I want to be able to translate that equally well with the staff in a way that they feel their visions and goals can be a force to shape our community.”

CHS Students Strive for Consensuality

This April, the CHS Women’s Rights Advocacy Club (WRA) will present the second annual presentations on rape culture and consent. The club intends to raise awareness about consent, especially for teenagers who may regard the topic with less severity and less information.

The presentations, which former co-presidents Jocelyn Buckley and Allie Walter created last year, provide information about rape and the importance of consent that goes beyond typical knowledge. The WRA will show the presentations again this year to both teachers and students.

The discussions focus mainly on the gray areas of consent. According to a 2015 Washington Post poll, there is still confusion surrounding the topic; the college-aged popualtion is roughly split on whether nodding or removing clothes signifies consent. They outline NC laws about consent in hopes that students will fully understand the legal limitations. Students don’t always have a clear idea of what constitutes consent. Many would also argue that in the digital age particularly, there is an emphasis on hookups and electronic relationships that can create uncertainty when it comes to boundaries.

Information taken from a 2015 Washington Post poll of college students.

The presentations for teachers will also focus on how to deal with the subject of rape or sexual assault in the classroom, as some students can be personally affected by the topic. The goal is to show teachers how to approach the topic of rape, and also how to react to students who may come to them to talk about their own experiences with sexual assault.

Sophomore Nina Neiswender is the president of the WRA. She views these presentations as an important step in educating consenuality and related issues.

“I think that [these presentations] are important because sometimes there are questions that people don’t know how to ask, or people are afraid to ask, and information can get easily skewed based on where it’s coming from,” said Neiswender.

According to her, the club members will specifically inform the students about sexual assault and how to navigate relationships safely and consensually.

“The purpose is to really make sure that everyone has a full understanding of the laws and what they can do to prevent sexual assault, and to make sure everyone is being responsible,” said Neiswender.

The club will show the presentations before prom, in late April, and during lunch in the auditorium. WRA club members encourage people to attend, citing the importance of spreading awareness about these serious issues. If you’re interested in what the club is doing and want to know more, club meetings are held Monday during lunch in Ms. Olsen’s room, or E118. Anyone is invited to join Carrboro’s WRA club.

Spring and Summers Select Shows

One the favorite past times among CHS students is going to concerts in the spring and summer days. Whether it be a more intimate concert in the Cat’s Cradle, or a sellout show in a large venue, CHS students know how to appreciate good music. Here are some of the best and most popular acts heading our way in these warmer months.

The Chainsmokers, The PNC Arena
May 24

The Chainsmokers exploded into the top 40 scene this past year, but their concerts feature more EDM and electronic than their pop songs played on the radio. With hit songs such as “Paris” and “ROSES” The Chainsmokers will perform at PNC Arena on May 24.

Glass Animals, Red Hat
June 6

Glass Animals’ unique sound emanates a calm, relaxing vibe. After releasing their sophomore album How To Be a Human Being, Glass Animals are going on a North American tour. The band has performed at music festivals like Glastonbury Music Festival, and will participate in Bonnaroo this June.

Chance the Rapper, Greensboro
June 7

For Chance the Rapper, one tour was not enough after releasing his Coloring Book album. After success from his first official album, Chance the Rapper is now coming to NC for the second time in one year.

J. Cole will perform in NC on June 18. Photo courtesy Live Nation

J. Cole, Cone Denim Entertainment Center
June 18

North Carolina native J. Cole is seen around the triangle all the time, whether it’s at the mall or at UNC vs. Duke basketball games. On June 18, J. Cole will be performing in his home state. J. Cole’s world tour for his new album 4 Your Eyez Only will be overflowing with people this summer.

Sam Hunt, Walnut Creek
July 28

Even if you don’t like country music, there is nothing like going to an outdoor country concert in the middle of the summer. Sam Hunt’s “15 in a 30” tour summer concert would be the perfect occasion to let loose and have fun this summer! With hits like “House Party” and “Break Up In A Small Town” this concert will be great to go to with your friends, dance and have a good time.

John Mayer, Walnut Creek
August 16

John Mayer is known for being one of the most talented guitar players in recent years. From my own experience, seeing John Mayer perform live is euphoric. Although he is a one man band, his soothing sound never fails to captivate his audience.

John Mayer will be at Walnut Creek Amphitheater on August 16. Photo courtesy Live Nation

SGA Election Goes Into Second Round of Voting

Carrboro students voted today for candidates to represent them in the Student Government Association (SGA) next academic year. After counting votes, the SGA announced that the positions of Student Body President and Treasurer are still up in the air.

To win, a candidate had to garner the majority, not just plurality, of the votes. But candidates only achieved majority votes for a few of the positions: vice president and secretary. Students can re-vote for the remaining two positions tomorrow, this time choosing between the top two candidates in both categories.  SGA will announce the winners of all positions on April 28.

Mr. Schendt announces a secondary voting round on his Twitter page. Photo courtesy @SchendtCHS

Niya Fearrington and Joe Zhang will be the two choices for President, and Cameron Farrar and Ojas Patwardhan are the two finalists for Treasurer.

All four candidates learned of tomorrow’s run-off at the end of the school day. For Zhang, who had a lacrosse game after school, the afternoon was a rush; it involved coordinating a time to meet with Mr. Schendt, hearing the results and then quickly sprinting back to his team. Regardless of the circumstances under which they learned of the secondary voting, all express their gratitude for voters.

The election process isn’t over; the candidates have taken to Instagram over the past few days to encourage voter participation.

I have made it to the secondary elections, and it is essential that you don’t forget to vote for your candidates of choice at this stage in the election,” said Patwardhan via Instagram earlier today.

Going into tomorrow’s final round of voting, all four students praise the other candidates’ efforts. They also acknowledge the role of the school community in helping them run their campaigns. 

“Campaigning is definitely not a one-man job,” said Zhang. “It’s hard work, and it’s a group effort.”


Nom Nom Novels

Carrboro’s seventh annual Edible Books Contest took place on Thursday, April 13 in the library. The contest was a part of the National Library Week celebration, which also included activities like book spine poetry — poetry created by stacking books and then reading their titles.

Thursday’s competition included nearly thirty entries. Some were literal — often comical — representations of a book’s title while others depicted important scenes from the story or cover like the mockingjay symbol from The Hunger Games.

Many “books” were made out of cake, but other edible materials included cupcakes, gingerbread, cookies, donuts and pretzels.

Students voted throughout the morning for their favorites entries. Winners Anna O’Connell and Soe Moo each received $25 gift cards to Open Eye Cafe and Al’s Burger Shack respectively.

Anna O’Connell’s entry for the book Bunny Suicides won first place in the teacher category.

An entry by Soe Moo which won first place in the student category.

Librarian Kara Watson started the edible books contest when she came to Carrboro in 2010. She explained that the contest allows students to embrace the joy of reading.

“It’s an opportunity for kids and teachers to be creative and to express how they feel about a book. It’s meant to purely be fun,” said Watson.

In the end, Watson was grateful to Carrboro for making the contest a success.

“It’s a fun way to celebrate what the library does for students and what the students do for the library. It’s a relationship that goes both ways,” Watson said.

Feature photo: A entry representing Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist. Photos by Hope Anderson

The fight for funding

Pay Our Teachers First (POTF) is working to get North Carolina to put more tax money into public education. At the helm of it all is co-founder Deborah Gerhardt.

Gerhardt became invested in the issue of teacher pay after her son’s beloved language arts teacher left Culbreth because of budget cuts. Gerhardt decided to look into the cause. Once she learned how much teachers in the state make, she had to get involved. “I was shocked, ” said Gerhardt in a phone interview.

Gerhardt’s article, “Pay Our Teachers or Lose Your Job,” published in Slate Magazine, was one of the first accounts to draw attention to the low teacher salaries in NC. The article also detailed her involvement with POTF and served as an introduction to the subject for those with minimal background information.

“A nonpartisan survey from October 2013 showed that 76 percent of North Carolinians agree that public school teachers are paid too little… and 83 percent support increased pay for higher degrees,” said Gerhardt in her article. “I love these data. They prove that the recent legislative assault on teachers does not reflect true North Carolina values.”

Soon after Slate published the article, people could find red “Pay Our Teachers First” T-shirts all over the triangle. POTF also held a town hall meeting at Culbreth in 2014, with thousands of people viewing an online video of the town hall.

The group gained traction because of their ambitious goal: to decrease the high numbers of teachers resigning in NC by increasing teacher pay. Teachers saw a 15 percent salary decrease from 2003 to 2013. A large portion of state taxes are going towards Medicaid, and POTF advocates channeling more of the money back into education.

Currently, POTF is attempting to gain traction within the NC House with regard to state-level education laws. The organization also collaborates with general assembly member Graig Meyer, as well as other members of state legislature, on a project aimed to educate the community and support local teachers.

Partially due to the group’s efforts, more families in the state acknowledge the relatively low salaries in the area and how low salaries can drive their kids’ teachers away from their jobs. “We want [teachers] to know that we understand how hard this is for them,” said Gerhardt.

Although POTF thinks more awareness and a new state governor may mean change for NC education, the organization believes there is still plenty of work to be done. Gerhardt encourages any students with free time to get in touch with the organization.