Amy Spencer (left) of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Schools Education Foundation looks over a project titled

Thomas J. Turney/The Daily Advance

Amy Spencer (left) of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Schools Education Foundation looks over a project titled "Rekindle the Love of Reading" by Sarah Smithson, 11, and Qu'Asia, 11, at Performance Chevrolet in Elizabeth City on Wednesday.

School Life: ECPPS celebrates first AVID graduation

By Reggie Ponder

Staff Writer

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The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools Education Foundation last week recognized the first class of graduating seniors for the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.

The Foundation also recognized the 2013 Principal of the Year for ECPPS, Elizabeth City Middle’s Cynthia Morris, and recipients of 2012-13 innovative grants. The event was held May 1 at Performance Chevrolet.

Before the ceremony, guests had a chance to learn about AVID and the various grant-funded projects, as AVID students and grant recipients manned tables with displays that described what they have been doing.

Jasmine Riddick, a seventh-grader who is part of Elizabeth City Middle School AVID Achievers, said AVID activities have included guest speakers, trips to colleges, role-playing to develop job interview skills, and lessons in note-taking and study habits.

A focus of the note-taking class was the Cornell System, which Riddick said has helped her be a better student.

“It helped me stay on A-B honor roll,” Riddick said.

Pasquotank County High School AVID students used the theme “The Leader as a Catalyst for Change.” AVID students at the school said leadership is a basic emphasis of the group’s activities.

Dedrick Dunton, a senior at Pasquotank High, has been involved in AVID since the eighth-grade, and spoke last summer at a national AVID conference.

“They call me the ‘king of AVID,’” Dunton said, grinning.

Dunton’s fellow students did, in fact, introduce him that way to guests who stopped by the Pasquotank High table.

Dunton said AVID has helped him with his grades, improved his test scores, and boosted his organizational skills.

But it’s not all about him or the other students in the group. The Pasquotank High AVID students also volunteer with Special Olympics and do other community service projects.

A project at Northside Elementary School, “Using Nonfiction to Build Reading Addiction,” involved purchasing books on a variety of topics.

The idea was to have books that will appeal to all students.

“If they’re interested in it, they’re more apt to read it,” said Northside teacher Lucinda Craft.

Norma Jeffcoat, “Read 180” teacher at River Road Middle School, had a project called “
Rekindle the Love of Reading.” The project uses electronic Nooks to encourage students to read books, magazines and a variety of other materials.

Jayshon Bell, a sixth-grader at River Road, said the Nooks have made reading fun because of the images and bright colors that accompany the text. For Bell, the Nooks have meant more reading — which has translated into more learning.

There are six Nooks for about 90 students.

The Nooks can be used with or without headphones, so students can either read the book themselves or listen to it being read, Jeffcoat explained.

John Peel, an art teacher at Northeastern High School, used grant funds to purchase a camera that has been used in different projects, including an art blog.

Other 2013-13 innovative grant recipients are “Jamestown,” Wilhelmina Cartwright, P.W. Moore Elementary; “Road Runner Plaza 2,” Eddie Spencer, Pasquotank Elementary; “Monsterific!” Paul Foreman, J.C. Sawyer Elementary; “Tablets in the Classroom,” Doug Sommer, Pasquotank County High; “Students as Songwriters,” Renee Lease, Weeksville Elementary; and “Interactive Library,” Patricia Daniels, Northside Elementary.

Chris Perry of Performance Chevrolet said this was the second time the dealership has hosted the event, and he hopes it will become an annual occasion at the dealership.

Performance Chevrolet presented $1,000 to the ECPPS Principal of the Year, Cynthia Morris of Elizabeth City Middle School.

“The community supports us, so we like to support the community back in any way we can,” Perry said. The students in AVID today will be the community’s leaders in the future, so it’s a very important program, Perry said.

“We want to do anything we can to help them be successful, because that’s our future,” Perry said.

Sponsors of 2013 innovative grants are Mr. and Mrs. Fred Davis; First Citizens Bank; Perry Auto Group; Select Bank & Trust; Twiford Law Firm; James Gray — History Fund; France Jones Sanders — Math and Science Fund; Judge Herbert and Annette Small; and Mrs. Charles Ward.

Sponsors of AVID for 2013 are Wells Fargo; Pepsi; Perry Auto Group; ECPPS; Phyllis Bosomworth; Judge Herbert and Annette Small; Kiwanis of Elizabeth City; Faith Gregory; Mr. and Mrs. Barry Benedict; Elizabeth City Noon Rotary; Mr. and Mrs. Art Bergman; Motion Sensors — Marcy Bergman; and Mr. and Mrs. Milton Wood.