NOTE :: "Celebrate N.C. Schools" feature stories contained on this site are for historical purposes only. While each story was accurate on the date it was published, it may be outdated when viewed.

Below are some innovative programs in North Carolina school and districts that have made local, state and national headlines. To see your program featured here, contact Vanessa Jeter.

JUNE 2017

SUMMER SCIENTISTS: RICHMOND COUNTY STUDENTS BUILD DRONES, RACE CARS IN STEM CLASS (Daily Journal) While their friends are cutting up and goofing off this summer, seven Richmond County students have taken the first steps toward earning $40,000 salaries.

Participating in a special program at Richmond Community College, the seven have attended class one Saturday a month since January. This week, they finished up during an intensive weeklong “hackathon,” using their newly learned STEM skills to build drones and race solar-powered cars.

The RCC class is aimed at building future scientists and engineers — STEM stands for “science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” Those who master STEM skills are likely to find high-paying careers, sometimes after completing short training courses.

“We’re talking about careers, not jobs,” said Brian Terry, who teaches network engineering at RCC and is helping instructor Jeff Epps guide the hackathon students through the wonders of science.

“It’s like football players. It really is,” he said of students’ future potential earning power.

ONCE HOMELESS, THEN TOP OF HER CLASS, NOW HONORED BY NC GOVERNOR COOPER (News and Observer) East Wake High grad Megan Faircloth, who overcame being homeless in her junior year to graduate at the top of her class and earn a scholarship to Stanford, was honored by NC Governor Roy Cooper at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday, June 22.

GRANITE QUARRY HOSTS COMBATS SUMMER SLIDE WITH’ THINKING THURSDAYS’ (Salisbury Post) It’s summer, but the media center at Granite Quarry Elementary School is full of children. They sit in small groups, organizing a list of events from a book they read earlier in the day.

Many come for a free meal, dropped off by parents or walking up the sidewalks from the quiet streets and houses that encircle the school. But while they’re here, teachers are determined that they’ll learn.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, the school opens its doors to provide food for those who need it and to combat “summer slide.”

Stephanie Gray, summer programs coordinator at the school, said “Science Tuesdays” and “Thinking Thursdays,” as they’ve come to be known, started three years ago when educators noticed just how much knowledge students were losing over the summer.

“We would have them losing two or three reading levels per summer,” she said.

When the school became a site for the district’s Summer Feeding Program three years ago, Gray and others saw an opportunity. Instead of just hosting a quick, free meal, the school invites students to stay for several hours. Roughly 30 students come each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer for a little bit of food and fun.