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Board of Education Meets

Bethany Stephens

The Board of Education met this past Monday for their monthly session.  During the meeting, the board recognized several students and organizations for various accomplishments.  The board first recognized Bladenboro Middle School’s Junior Beta Club for earning several medals at the NC Jr. Beta Club Convention in February.  Cierra Byrd won first place in both Speech and Sculpture.  Dalton Pait won first in the T-Shirt category, and Brandon Walden won first place in the Black and White Photography category.  Angelica Caraballo also won third place in the Watercolor category.  The club as a whole won first place in Arts and Crafts Sweepstakes, second place in both the Wreath and Banner categories, and third place in the Scrapbook category.  Angie Campbell, Genia Hester, Polly Hancock, Linda Parnell, Brenda Storms, and Randie Harrelson sponsored the group, and the following students represented the club at the convention:  Elizabeth Allbright, Landon Hedgepeth, Dalton Pait, Morgan Babson, Haley Hester, Taylor Priest, Simone Brown, Kierra Hines, Ian Ransom, Andrew Bryan, Hannah Jackson, Abigail Simmons, Bailey Bullard, Edrea Jenkins, Claire Smith, Cierra Byrd, Delvondra Johnson,  William Ray Storms III, Angelica Caraballo, Denneth Kelly, Ronald Thompson, Veda Cheshire, Alana King, Brandon Walden, Brinkley Collier, Callie Lewis, Conner West, Raegan Davis, Angel Locklear, Mikayla Winebarger, Patrick Deavers, Trenton Lyons, Abigail Young, Delmar Diaz-Deleon, De’Ja McNeil, Laurel Edwards, Esmeralda Mendoza, Ethan Hales, and Sean Nunnery.
Elizabethown Middle School’s Jr. Beta Club was also recognized for bringing home medals from the state convention.  Madison Brown won first place in the Jewelry division as well as second place in the Essay competition.  Mae Hammonds, Amanda Kinlaw, Angela Brown, and Holly Meggs served as the group’s sponsors, and the following students represented Elizabethtown Middle at the convention: Madison Brown, Kayla Pusey, Quadre Jackson, Lazerick White-Beatty, SahrDajah Brown, Juan Venegas Esteva, Janaizia Mateo, Jenna Gill, Ethan Cannady, Tyler Ventura, Leiyah McKoy, Alicia McKiver, Jarumy Herera Vazquez, Michael Wax, Jazmin Mondragon, Vanessa Miranda-Ventura, Juliana Gonzalez Velasquez, Kimberly White, Jatyra Moore-Peterson, Jose Monroy, Helen Lopez, Shianne Adkins, Elena Murillo, Ramon Ponce, DyAsia McDowell, Leeenasia Cotton, Jessica Rodriguez Mojarro, Lexus Smith, Delores McKinney, Uriel Delarosa, Vanessa Munoz-Miranda, Samantha Smith, Reyna Juarez Mendez, Kiarra Gibbs, Victoria Pridgen, Jalonnie Ogletree, Tanya Graham, Cemizha Stephens, Carrington Monroe, Olivia Hollingsworth, Daniel Tatum. .
Bladenboro Middle’s Science Olympiad Varsity and Junior Varsity Teams were recognized next for participating in the regional Science Olympiad competition in Wilmington.  Varsity members Jordan Benson, Kailey Gause, Callie Lewis, and Abigail Young won silver in the Crime Busters event and in the Sounds of Music event, and Junior Varsity members Nolan Bryant, Logan Lewis, Walter Baxley, and Jacob Bryan won silver in the Bottle Rocket event and in the Dynamic Planet event.  MaKaylie Hammonds and Logan West, also Varsity Team members, won fourth place in the Rocks and Minerals event, and Angelica Caraballo and Cierra Byrd, another group of Varsity team members, won fifth place in the Boomilever event.  Jordan Benson, Kailey Gause, MaKaylie Hammonds, Kasee Singletary, Erica Storms, Logan West, Rayna Bryan, Angelica Caraballo, Callie Lewis, Trenton Lyons, Abigail Young, Madison Cierra Byrd, Alexis Dougherty, Abigail Simmons, and Esmerelda Mendoza served as the Varsity team.  Nolan Bryant, Logan Lewis, Trey Turner, Cadee Bryan, MacKenzie Morris, Walter Baxley, Amelia Harris, Jacob Brian, Cara Beth Lewis, Kacy Gunter, Casey Porter, Emma Smith, Kaylex Wilcox, Joshua Benson, and Madison Bullard made up the Junior Varsity team.  Polly Hancock, Vanessa Ruffin, Karen Johnson, and Alec Clark served as the team’s sponsors.
Students at Elizabethtown Middle were recognized for earning the title of 2014 County-Level Battle of the Books Champion in a competition with other middle school teams.  Madison Brown, Juan Esteva, Danaja Graham, Olivia Hollingsworth, Helen Lopez, Alicia McKiver, Jatyra Moore-Peterson, and Kimberly White made up the team.  Becky Kendall, Tori Martin, and Carla Priest served as the team’s coaches.
After a very good year, East Bladen High School’s Lady Eagles Basketball team made it to the fourth round of the eastern region 2A regional finals.  Abby Ward (also named a “Player of the Game”), Lexie Mendell, Asha Graham (also named a “Player of the Game”), Emily Scott (also named a “Player of the Game”), Lacey Suggs (also named a “Player of the Game” and a 1st Team All-Conference Player), Miller Heustess, Madeline West, Christiana Cromartie (also named a “Player of the Game”), Imani Turner-Dobson (also named a “Player of the Game”), Lexie Dawson, and Abby Norris (also named a “Player of the Game”) all served as the team’s players.  Patty Evers served as the team’s head coach, and Alan West and Megan Kirby served as assistant coaches.  Grey Cabellero served as the team’s manager; and Katelyn Evers served as videographer.  Brooke Smith, Madison Smith, and Joy Matthis all served as the team’s statisticians.  
Coach Gaye Davis, a coach at West Bladen, was also recognized for being awarded the Spirit of Sport Award by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.  Three schools were presented banners for attendance awards.  East Arcadia won in the Elementary School Division; Clarkton School of Discovery won in the Middle School Division, and East Bladen won in the High School division.  
Three FCCLA students from West Bladen were recognized for earning a Silver Medal in Sports Nutrition at the NC FCCLA State Conference.  Codi Pait, Madison McLamb, and Megan Bennet are the three students that won the medal and have qualified to compete at the National FCCLA conference in July.  Along with their sponsors, Debra Kinlaw and Gail Marsh, the three students later addressed the board requesting their help to send them to the national conference in San Antonio, Texas.  Berry Lewis, Board Member, suggested that the board put the request formally on the agenda for next month after the group knows more exactly how much they are lacking after various donations have been given and fundraisers are completed.
Following the above recognitions, the board proceeded to go into a closed session to discuss legal and personnel matters.  Upon reconvening, the board received a financial report from Sharon Penny, Finance Director, and heard from Amy Stanley, Child Nutrition Director.  Stanley discussed with the board a new program that would pay for all students’ lunches and breakfasts.  The program would replace the free and reduced meals application with another program that would cover all students’ meals in eligible high poverty areas.  There were a few disadvantages as well as advantages to this program, and the board and Stanley discussed both.  
Certified Employee Recommendations and Administrator Contracts were both approved as recommended by Patricia Faulk, Personnel Director.  Budget amendments as presented by Sharon Penny and permission to apply for Lottery funds to help pay for re-roofing at East Arcadia School were both approved.  Penny and the board discussed logistics behind the budget they plan to propose to the County Commissioners.  Due to various cutbacks, the school system is short around 3.4 million dollars (worse case scenario) if everything stays in place within the system.  The board approved what numbers they will present to the Board of Commissioners at the commissioners’ next meeting on May 15th.  
Seven field trip requests for various schools were approved by the board, and three overnight field trips were also approved.  Jason Atkinson, Technology Director, presented minor edits to both the Employees and Student Internet Acceptable Use Policies which were both approved, and the board tabled voting on NC School Board Association Policy Updates until their next meeting.  
During the Superintendent’s Comments, Robert Taylor, Superintendent, discussed with the board logistics behind student applications to attend Clarkton School of Discovery and invited the board to attend training in Raleigh.  Taylor also read a card from Bonnell Walker, board member, and her two sisters, Deborah Guyton and Pam Tatum (both employees of the county schools as well) that expressed their gratitude to the board for their prayers and support after their brother’s recent passing.  Since the board needs to address the County Commissioners with the proposed budget at their next meeting and the Commissioners’ meeting has been changed to the same night as the Board of Education’s meeting next month (because of voting day earlier in the month), the board decided to go to the County Commissioners’ meeting before coming back to hold their own meeting an hour later than normal (at 7:00 p.m.) on the 14th.   

The board and Robert Heavenridge discussed logistics surrounding students applying to go to school out of their districts and briefly decided which board members would remain on which committees.  Following all of the above, the board adjourned for the evening.

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