River Road Middle School Principal Adrian Fonville earned the maximum state bonus for principals last month after his school was recognized for being among the top 5 percent of schools statewide in academic growth on state testing.
Fonville, who is in his third year as principal at River Road Middle, has led the school to exceed its expected growth target on state testing results in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. He came to the school in July 2017 as it was beginning the “restart” transformation model designed to change its history as a persistently low-performing school.
The state paid Fonville a $15,000 bonus — the highest monetary award for principals who lead schools to academic growth — and he also was recently recognized as Principal of the Year for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools.
ECPPS Superintendent Catherine Edmonds announced Fonville’s bonus at last week’s Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education meeting.
Edmonds said she’s familiar with what is necessary to turn around a low-performing school and recognizes how difficult a task it is. She noted that Fonville had not only led a dramatic turnaround at River Road but also did the same thing at an elementary school in New Bern before coming to Elizabeth City.
“Whatever you are doing we need to figure it out,” Edmonds said to Fonville, who was presented with a a plaque from the school board. Other schools need to replicate good things that are happening at River Road, she said.
The state measures students’ academic growth based on their performance on end-of-grade and end-of-course tests. A statement on the N.C. Department of Public Instruction website indicates educator effectiveness is measured by students’ academic growth rather than proficiency.
“Student growth is the amount of academic progress that students make over the course of a grade or class,” according to the DPI statement. “Students enter grades and course at different places; some have struggled while some have excelled. Regardless of how they enter a grade or course, students can make progress over the course of the school year.”
Fonville thanked the board for the recognition and both board members and Edmonds for their support. He said he doesn’t do what he does in order to get recognition; he does it, he said, because it’s his job and because he wants River Road Middle to be the best it can be.
In a brief interview after receiving the plaque Fonville reiterated that he is motivated by a desire to get the best possible out of students and will continue to do everything he can to strengthen student achievement at the school.
In addition to Fonville, two other ECPPS principals earned bonuses based on students’ academic growth. The principals at Central Elementary School and Elizabeth City Pasquotank Early College both earned $1,000 bonuses.
Currituck County Schools Superintendent Mark Stefanik said the district has three principals that qualified for bonuses based on academic growth. He said he planned to announce their names at the Currituck school board’s December board meeting.
In Perquimans County two principals earned the state bonus. Laura Moreland and Tracy Gregory both qualified for the $1,000 bonus as their schools were in the top 50 percent in student academic growth.
U.S. Army veteran Walter Evans didn’t get to hold the lapel pin presented to him and other Vietnam veterans by Museum of the Albemarle staff for very long Saturday morning.
That’s because Evans’ wife, Katherine, quickly took hold of the pin and proudly pinned it to the collar of his jacket.
Evans spent almost all of his adult life in the Army. After graduating from Elizabeth City High School in 1967, he joined the Army and found himself in South Vietnam two years later with a transportation unit, where he served in country for two years. By the time the war ended in 1975, Evans was stationed in Thailand where the U.S. military was supporting the South Vietnamese government before for it fell to the North Vietnamese.
Evans spent a total of 12 years in active service and then 24 in the Army Reserve while juggling a long career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While in the reserve, Evans also served in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
“I guess I’ve had the Army in everything that I have done,” said Evans, who retired to Elizabeth City after being away for five decades. “I’m pretty much Army.”
Evans spent most of his time in Vietnam on a tugboat ferrying supplies to troops. It was a vital assignment as U.S. military personnel needed food, water, ammunition and other supplies to be an effective fighting force.
“I was all over South Vietnam, but my actual unit was based in Saigon,” Evans said. “We hauled everything supporting the troops. If you can’t eat, if you don’t have any fuel, you don’t have any ammunition, you can’t do a lot.”
Evans said his military service in Vietnam and in other countries showed him how fortunate people are to live in the United States.
“It was such a total difference to see how other people lived,” Evans said. “It set the tone for the rest of my life.”
Museum of the Albemarle Director Don Pendergraft said Saturday’s event was part of the museum’s partnership with the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“Part of that is hosting several events to honor veterans,” Pendergraft said. “This is the second time we have honored the veterans and we thought Thanksgiving weekend would be a good time to have it. We need to recognize our veterans while they are still with us.”
The museum opened an exhibit Nov. 8 titled “A Thousand Words, Photographs by Vietnam Veterans.” The traveling exhibit features a collection of images taken by photographer Martin Tucker of North Carolina soldiers in Vietnam. Pendergraft noted that the 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War will be in 2025 and that the museum is looking for artifacts from Vietnam veterans in the area to compliment future exhibits.
“We want to have more things to show from our local veterans,” Pendergraft said. “We have a few things, some boots, a field jacket and a full Air Force uniform from local people in the counties that surround the museum. We are still actively searching for items for our collection from our veterans.”
The Arts of The Albemarle gallery in downtown Elizabeth City is exhibiting multi-media artwork around themes of pollution and climate change that was designed and constructed by sixth-grade students from the Northeast Academy of Aerospace and Advanced Technologies.
Students incorporated plastic bottles, cardboard and similar items into projects that portrayed environmental damage.
And during a program at AoA Thursday, Nov. 21, some of the students were on hand to explain the ideas behind their pieces and talk about some of the ways to slow or reverse pollution and climate change.
Emily Gray explained that “The World We See Today” is intended to show how the earth has changed over the past two decades.
A shoebox is set in the middle of the piece to represent a bridge from the past to the present, and the sides of the bridge show the world of 20 years ago and the world today.
Darker colors are one of the main ways the students sought to show the increased amount of pollution in the world compared with 20 years ago.
Gray said her work group, which also included Kyleigh Cartwright, Maddox May and Makayla Williams, initially discussed building a spherical globe but chose instead to go with a two-dimensional representation.
Materials they used included cardboard, plastic bottles, a roofing shingle students found, glass, glue and paint.
The students also have learned about ways to reduce pollution and carbon emissions.
“One of the very best things to do for beginners is to eat less meat,” Gray said.
Meat production is one of the main causes of deforestation in the Amazon rain forest, which in turn is hampering the earth’s ability to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, she said.
Cian Folsom and a group that also included William Carpenter, Jillian Maier, Mackenzie Beagle and Zion Hedgepeth built a project called “Factories and their Fuels.”
The piece draws attention to the role that factory emissions play in emitting carbon into the atmosphere.
One way to reduce carbon emissions from factories is to recycle and reuse items rather than always buying something new, Folsom said.
Matthew Hoffman and a group that included Connor Mawhiney, Mathis Grieve, Russell Conway Jr. and Bryson Frumkin designed “Trash on the Beaches,” which showed how plastics and other trash that get into the oceans often pile back up on the beach.
The piece showed oil stains on the ocean and depicted fish dying from ingesting plastics. And yes, there appeared to be a lot of trash on the beach.
“We should try to clean up all the mess we’ve made because we’ve made a huge mess,” Hoffman said.
Ways to reverse the negative trends include using reusable water bottles rather than buying plastic bottles of water; using battery-operated cars (though Hoffman noted that the production of electricity to charge the batteries can still contribute to warming ocean temperatures and threaten ocean life); using less plastic; reusing plastic products when you do buy them; and recycling.
Liam Aydlett wasn’t an official entrant in the Kids First Turkey Trot 5K Race Saturday morning in downtown Elizabeth City. However, the 22-month-old was the first to stroll across the finish line ahead of more than 130 other race participants.
Liam was riding in a stroller pushed by his father, William Aydlett, who was the official winner of the race, finishing with a time of 19 minutes, 30 seconds on a cool and crisp morning.
Aydlett, despite pushing a stroller, won the race by almost a minute over second-place finisher Nicolas Merritt.
Merritt finished with a time of 20:05 minutes while Elizabeth City resident Alex Stanley finished third with a time of 20:35 minutes.
Michelle Henning of Elizabeth City was the first female finisher, crossing the finish line 11th overall with a time of 23:23 minutes. Elizabeth City resident Katie Patton finished second in the female division with a time of 24:13.
Kahle Jones, 16, won the male 17-and-under division with a time of 21:49 minutes while Anne Hamilton, 14, was the top female 17-and-under winner with a time of 25:55 minutes.
Gary Woodland, 62, of Elizabeth City won the male 60-and-over division with a time of 29:46 minutes while Nancy Wallace, 72, won the female 60-and-over division in a time of 34:11.
Aydlett, who works for the National Weather Service in Guam and is a 2000 graduate of Northeastern High School, was in town visiting relatives and Saturday marked the third time he has won a race while pushing a stroller.
“I’ve won a couple of races in Guam, but usually I place in the top three in my age group even with a stroller,” said the 38-year-old. “I’ve been looking to run a race in my hometown of Elizabeth City for many years.”
Pushing a stroller comes with many challenges, as one can imagine.
In addition to the resistance, especially going up hills and in windy conditions, Aydlett must run with both hands firmly gripped to the stroller. Aydlett said he runs over 50 races a year.
“You also have extra weight and it (stroller) acts almost like a parachute,” Aydlett said. “You have to train yourself without using your arms. It is weird at first but you get used to it over time. When I run without a stroller, I don’t know what to do with my arms.”
But once he gets going running while pushing a stroller is “almost like regular running,” he said.
“It’s a lot of fun because I get to do it with my son and we have done a lot of races in the last year-and-a-half,” Aydlett said. “He loves it and it is something we look forward to.’’
Kids First Child Abuse Treatment Center Executive Director Rhonda Morris was pleased with turnout for the Turkey Trot, noting all proceeds will go to support her agency’s services to abused children in a seven-county area. Morris said Kids First, which is a nonprofit, has seen more than 300 new cases of abuse this year.
In addition to the 5K run there was also a Gobble Wobble Family Fun Mile that was well attended.
“We had great support and we had great donations in addition to the race fees,” Morris said. “We had a lot of families run this and we will have parents run the 5K and come back and run the mile with their children. We had several that ran with children in strollers.’’