The Academic Banquet and Scholarship Presentations
7th - 13th Grades
Each May, the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation is privileged to host an academic awards/scholarship banquet at The Orchard Events Barn. Parents and selected students come together to celebrate the top 10% of each class, grades 7-12.
In addition, the community awards an approximate $125,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors and 13th-year students seeking post-secondary education.
BLUE RIDGE EARLY COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP GRANTS Awarded by BLUE RIDGE SCHOOL EDUCATION FOUNDATION, INC. began in the 2011-12 School Year with 2 students for a total of $1,000. As the years went on, scholarships grew so that by the end of the 2017-18 school year, the Foundation had awarded a total of $124,700 to 50 students:
2012-13 School Year 4 students $3,000
2013-14 School Year 4 students $3,500
2014-15 School Year 5 students $3,750
2015-16 School Year 7 students $12,750
2016-17 School Year 12 students $23,500
2017-18 School Year 9 students $46,700
2018-19 School Year 9 students $31,500
The 2018-19 total included a $2,500 grant from the Cedar Creek Club and a $1000 honor scholarship from Mr. Don Sentell.
In the fall semester of 2019, graduates of Blue Ridge Early College entered Western Carolina University, Appalachian State University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Warren Wilson College, AB Tech, and East Carolina University.
Community Partnerships among the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation, Jackson County Public Schools, the Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley, Cedar Creek Club and others has helped to make Blue Ridge School and Early College a technological paragon of excellence in North Carolina. All classrooms grades 5 through 13 have one-on-one top-of-the-line laptop computers for students. Classrooms grades K-13 have interactive white Promethean Boards and as of this year, grades 5-13 have free-standing 75 Android ActivPanels which bring the world into the classroom.
In the photo above, Mrs. Allison Hawkins, the ESL (English as a Second Language) and High School Spanish teacher displays the many uses of the new Promethean ActivPanels available in each classroom grades 5 through 13. Mrs. Hawkins received her Bachelors of Arts degree from Western Carolina University with a major in Spanish and Communications.
"In researching these countries we make lots of use of the smart panel as we use Google Earth to look up locations on maps, examine geographic features of the countries, and also research animals, plants, and important locations in each country."
The Music Program is funded not only by the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation, but by community partners such as Mountain Youth Charities, Jackson County Arts Council, WCU College of Education and Allied Professions (yearly SUTEP grant), Cedar Creek Raquet Club, Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley, The Church of the Good Shepherd, Grace Community Church, Cashiers United Methodist Church, Cullasaja Womenís Outreach, Acoustic Corner (Black Mountain), Glenville Community Development Council, and the Community Foundation of WNC. Many private donors participate as well.
NASA Space Camp - Suit up for a mission to the International Space Station or train for a landing on the moon! Space Camp is the ultimate educational experience that illuminates real-world applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
NC Historical Excursions - In 2018, the Blue Ridge Education Foundation was pleased to fund an expeditionary learning experience to the east coast of North Carolina. The trip was made possible via a request from Aaron Littlefield, history teacher at Blue Ridge Early College.
For the new Blue Ridge Early College Public Safety/Fire Academy underwritten by the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal and The Cashiers-Glenville Fire Department, the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation was pleased this year to contribute $5000 for 20 new Lion Legend Fire Helmets.
Under the direction of retired Fire Chief Lee Sudia, Blue Ridge Early College now offers a 5-semester Public Safety/Fire Academy, that starts with cadets taking a Public Safety I class. Public Safety I is a compilation course that covers Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, the Court System and Incident Command. Currently Blue Ridge Early College has 48 high school students who are enrolled or have already completed the first class in the series called Public Safety I.
Farming isn't what it used to be and neither is agricultural education. Blue Ridge Early College Agriculture Department has some exciting things going on. We will be installing a Rolling Thunder moveable greenhouse and raised beds in the spring and summer. We are also working on obtaining equipment that will allow the students to get hands on experience with precision farming technologies.
The Blue Ridge School and Blue Ridge Early College Library is funded under three budgets: one to support the elementary curriculum; a similar budget allotment for the Early College; and an overall budget covering the needs of the entire library. During the academic year 2018-19, the total amount provided by Jackson County Public Schools was slightly above $300 for all three budget segments. Under the able leadership of previous librarian, Mary Perona, the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation honored a request totaling $15,000--$5,000 for each of the three areas. Upon the retirement of Ms. Perona, the academic year 2019-20 brought back the familiar face of a highly qualified librarian, Linda Potter.
Upon the retirement of Ms. Perona, the academic year 2019-20 brought back the familiar face of a highly qualified librarian, Linda Potter.
Before the school year even began, Ms. Potter began reconfiguring the library to add more square footage and brand new furnishings. Community philanthropist Craig Kolavo, founder of Computer Comforts, Inc., graciously donated new tables and cabinetry beautifully designed by his company to accommodate the needs of students. Featured below are pictures of the new additions.
First is the new collaboration space for middle and high school students located in the old high school computer lab. Mr. Kolavo donated 4 trapezoid tables with 8 chairs and a collaboration station with electric plugs for charging laptops.
Mr. Kolavo also donated a 2 piece circulation desk to replace the large wooden desk that took up so much space at the entrance to the library. This created a new self check-out station which allows students to come to the library independently.
Linda Potter, Librarian
B.S. in Elementary Education from Purdue University
Master's Degree in Library Science from The University of Southern Mississippi
Taught for 15 years prior to moving to Jackson County in 1996. Taught at Blue Ridge School for 3 years. Taught at Scotts Creek School for 19 years.
Returned to Blue Ridge School for the 2019-20 academic year.
In August, at the beginning of the 1919-20 school year, the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation was pleased to acknowledge the dedication of 31 licensed teachers with $500 gift cards to be used at their discretion for classroom incidentals.
Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Last year, the Foundation was pleased to support Elijah Reece, Middle School Math Teacher, with 10 TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculators ($1,063.02), ideal for Pre-algebra, Algebra I and II, Geometry, Statistics, Biology, Physics, Business and Finance. These calculators are also permitted for use on the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, ACT, AP, IB, and Praxis Exams.
BRS Foundation Purchases Classroom Books
"In Spanish 3 we are beginning our new novel "Robo en la noche" ("Theft in the Night"). Students have been learning about Costa Rica in preparation for reading the novel and their new knowledge will help them understand the cultural setting, and the ecological and economical impact of the illegal (and dramatic) bird-trading scheme in the book. Before this book unit is through, we will have read about poisonous frogs, listened to howler monkeys and tasted traditional Costa Rican cuisine to help make it all come alive!"
"I specifically chose "Robo en la noche" because of its link to Costa Rica to help energize students about our trip to Costa Rica during spring break of 2020. Learning, reading and then experiencing the country will be an excellent progression for those students traveling with me. Other students will have the opportunity to share in the trip via photos, videos, and stories from those who traveled."
"In Spanish 2 we are also currently reading another novel purchased by the Blue Ridge Foundation "El Capibara con botas" ("The Capybara with Boots"). To prepare for this book we study the ecology and wildlife of Ecuador. It is an excellent review of present tense verbs for these students and reading these novels gives them lots of real, understandable, language input."