Education

PYO honors outstanding student performance

By Spencer Carney and Keeley Gay

March 27, 2019

Partners for Youth Opportunity changed three students’ lives for the better on March 14 when they awarded scholarships worth $1,000 each to help pay for their college education. The scholarships were originally meant for high school students going into college, but now can be awarded to students already in college. The recipients chosen for the […]

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Durham’s Communities in Schools helps students in class and at home

By Natasha Townsend

Carmen Settles remembers the first time she learned that going to college after high school wasn’t for everyone. She could venture out on her own path and be successful. Although she graduated from North Carolina Central University with a marketing degree, Settles owes her success to Communities in Schools (CIS), a nonprofit that focuses on […]

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Durham students, teachers focus on equity with help from DPS grants

By Celia McRae

    Erin Batten-Hicks finally found the community she had been missing when she transferred to Hillside High School and joined the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA). “I never really had an opportunity to find more queer people and find that community while I was at my other school,” she said. “When I came […]

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DIG program empowers youth through urban farming

By Hannah McClellan

February 28, 2019

On a cold and rainy February afternoon, 17-year-olds Samantha Vazquee and Demonte Bolden are not hiding inside – they’re hard at work repotting dozens of plants after a day at school. Vazquee and Bolden are two youth members of the DIG program, a youth-driven, urban farming and leadership development program started by South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable […]

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Holton Career & Resource Center provides free barber education to high schoolers

By Elisabeth Beauchamp

February 27, 2019

V’Aondre Mack, 16, always loved being in a barbershop. Now, the Holton Career and Resource Center is giving him the opportunity to work in one someday. “I’ve always been in a barbershop since I was young,” the Southern High School (SSES)  junior said. “Me, my dad and my little brother went to the barbershop every […]

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Hillside’s new English teacher helps keep school paper alive

By Johnny Sobczak

When Jenne Mondry was interviewed for a position teaching English at Hillside High School last summer, it was proposed to her that she teach journalism and take over the school’s newspaper. For Mondry, it was daunting. “I let them know that I had not done that before, but I had done the yearbook at a […]

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Range of DPS programs encourages families to ‘say yes’ to public schools

By Celia McRae

Informational booths from different Durham Public Schools departments lined the walls of the Hillside High School lobby last Saturday. Parents and students could ask questions about program offerings at these booths, as part of a fair called “Say Yes to DPS.” “We really wanted to be able to showcase them and to be able to put a […]

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John Gattis’ hit musical ‘Swing School’ returns to Hillside High

By Will Shropshire

After 47 years, “Swing School,” a community favorite production for many decades, returned to the stage at Hillside High School. The Hillside High School Drama Department – under the direction of Wendell Tabb –  put on four performances of its new adaptation, called “Hallelujah! Swing School,”  from Feb. 15-17. The production has long been a Hillside […]

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Girl Talk: Providing girls with a mother figure

By Arianna Swain

February 17, 2019

  Rictrice McKiver flipped through her notes as she talked about Girl Talk, her newly created program for teen girls, created to bring teen girls together to give them a chance to discuss subjects they may not feel comfortable doing at home and to provide the girls with a sister or mother figure that may be […]

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Students raise scholarship money with tributes to Queen and Aretha Franklin at DPAC

By Natasha Townsend and Celia McRae

February 13, 2019

The words, “You can do it” reverberated through Tiffany Agerston’s head. She never forgot those words of encouragement, spoken by her chorus teachers when she was younger in an effort to get Agerston to share her singing talent at the annual “An Evening of Entertainment” (EOE) put on by the Durham Public Schools. Agerston eventually […]

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“Meet the Heroes” event inspires children of all ages

By Cheyenne Beasley and Courtney Staton

Children skipped up the steps in excitement on their way to the second annual “Meet the Heroes” event at New Creation United Methodist Church in Durham. The event celebrated six prominent figures from black history through interactive activities. For Albert Shuler, the pastor of New Creation United Methodist Church, the focus on children was particularly […]

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Students develop skills for the salon and beyond

By Elisabeth Beauchamp

The Holton Career & Resource Center’s cosmetology program is not just a place for students to practice doing hair and using tools; it’s a place to refine skills that will shape their futures.  The classes not only teach conceptual material about the art of cosmetology, but they also give pupils hands-on experience with mannequins and […]

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Durham nonprofit redefines “teen mom”

By Hannah Towey

Angel Hope’s first day of class at Hillside High School, a significant event in any teenager’s life, was supposed to be Aug. 27, 2015. But the day would soon prove to be even more important as she gave birth to her daughter, Gabrielle, at the age of 15. Four first days of school and three […]

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Mount Vernon Baptist Church honors Black History Month with free events

By Spencer Carney and Veronica Correa

This Black History Month, Mount Vernon Baptist Church on Roxboro Street in Durham will acknowledge the past with films, books and faith. The Durham church will have free film screenings every Wednesday in February at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday morning discussions at 9:30 a.m. It hosted a conversation on the autobiography “Proud Shoes: The Story […]

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Durham Tech instructor inspires students to pursue lives of purpose and joy

By Samantha Perry

The first day of classes normally begins with introductions. Students share their names, hometowns and favorite movies or books. But when Audrey Muhammad begins her first class each semester, she shares something interesting about herself before asking her students to do the same. “I have a magazine, and I love to write,” Muhammad tells them. […]

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­A high school senior’s advice: Beware the senioritis trap

By Cindy Chen

­   As winter break ends and a new semester begins, high school students usually tend to buckle down to end the academic year strong. However, for many seniors, it’s another story. After college applications are all in and the college acceptances begin to roll in, many seniors often feel that is okay to take […]

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Dream Big Book Drive aims to improve literacy on MLK Day

By Natasha Townsend and Arianna Swain

January 30, 2019

Marneshia Gonzales’ “Nancy Drew” books were being boxed up at the Book Harvest Dream Big Book Drive. They were her childhood favorites, and she wanted to share them. The 12-year-old, who is in sixth grade, was giving books away with her mother, Deidre Gonzales, at the eighth-annual book drive on Jan. 21, Martin Luther King […]

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Durham nonprofits make educational programs accessible for immigrants

By Veronica Correa

When Durham mother of two Ana Sanchez started taking her son Leo to the Durham County Library, it was a struggle to get the kindergartner to enjoy reading. Today the fourth-grader can read at grade level with the help of weekly tutoring. “It really helps the kids open their minds,” Sanchez said in Spanish. The […]

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Nonprofit YouthBuild graduates celebrate second book publishing

By John Bauman

Donna Bennett rose, bravely, to share her story. Her truth. “Good afternoon, my name is Donna Bennett. I will be reading a piece I wrote,” she said. “Number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your own self-worth and your own somebodiness. Having a deep belief in yourself […]

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Bull City Music School spreading notes of love

By Khadijah McFadden

January 27, 2019

  Bull City Music, a new music school that opened this past fall (3329 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.) was founded by Durham resident Jeanetta Hopkins, who says the school is dedicated to helping young aspiring local musicians. The music school offers students a way to express their thoughts and feelings using instruments. BCMS teaches lessons in […]

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Kidznotes’ free Winter Concerts this weekend

By Cindy Chen

December 14, 2018

  Kidznotes, the Durham-based non-profit music program devoted to giving kids a passion for music, is back with their annual Winter Concerts. This year’s first free concert will be held Fri., Dec. 14, 5:30 – 7 p.m. at Fayetteville Elementary School located at 2905 Fayetteville St. The second concert will be presented in the same […]

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Empowered Minds Academy: A two-year-old non-traditional school

By Cheyenne Beasley

November 21, 2018

Empowered Minds Academy sits in a friendly looking red and white corner building at 1217 Holloway St. Entering the small intimate academy, you are greeted by posters, kid friendly signs, and Valine Zeigler, founder and head of school. Zeigler is a warm woman who is passionate about her school and the children who attend. In […]

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Author facilitates workshop on ‘The Color of Public Education’

By Christina Gordon

November 15, 2018

Enthusiastic and dedicated Durham residents crowded into Epworth United Methodist Church on Oct. 15 to listen to and workshop with Richard Rothstein, author of “The Color of Law: A forgotten history of how our government segregated America.” Epworth hosted the event which gathered members of the N.C. Council of Churches, public school advocates, parents, teachers […]

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NCCU’s Dr. Blay celebrates ‘black girl magic’

By Jennifer Maxwell

November 14, 2018

Dr. Yaba Blay had promised the room full of eagerly awaiting professional black women an evening of “black girl magic,” and she did not disappoint. In continuance with its mission to increase the position of black people in the community and break down barriers to economic participation in ethnic markets, the Durham Business and Professional […]

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Rehearsals underway at Hillside for “The Color Purple”

By Cheyenne Beasley

October 10, 2018

Hillside High School’s award-winning drama department is in rehearsal for ” The Color Purple,” a musical version of the classic novel,  produced and directed by veteran drama teacher Wendell Tabb, November 9-11, at Hillside High School theatre auditorium, 3727 Fayetteville St. There are almost 100 students working to create the production, including actors, dancers, offstage […]

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ConnectED 2018 Conference introduces Durham teens to professionalism

By Qaadir McFadden and Khadijah McFadden

October 9, 2018

  Normally when people hear of professional or business conferences, they immediately think of an adult event. However, the Emily K Center, Durham Youth Commission, Made in Durham and Partners for Youth and Opportunity, all youth-serving non-profit organizations in Durham, decided to switch up the old format by hosting a youth conference earlier this fall […]

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Smiles arrive with school supplies; Burton Elementary’s first day back

By Cheyenne Beasley

September 10, 2018

  N.C. Central University’s Men’s Achievement Center and National Council of Negro Women teamed up with Burton Elementary School to hand out school supplies to kids on their first day of school on Monday, Aug. 27. This event was planned as a way to connect with the community and increase engagement because schools make up […]

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Rebound for Youth Alternatives gives suspended students another chance

By Kenzie Cook

May 8, 2018

  Maesa Al-Amin, 17, is a senior at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability. She is a competitive dancer on the school’s dance team with dreams of owning her own dance company and dancing in music videos. She has performed at the Durham Performing Arts Center for “An Evening of Entertainment” and at Hillside High […]

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PYO students spend a day in the life of UNC-Chapel Hill students

By Maddie Marshall

April 11, 2018

It was late morning, and the sun was peeking from behind the clouds as the students and leaders of Partners for Youth Opportunity arrived at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But the slightly overcast day did not stop them from a having an adventure. The PYO students and staff members were visiting […]

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StepUp Durham empowers local job seekers

By Kenzie Cook

April 5, 2018

  In 2013 StepUp Ministry, a Raleigh-based non-profit, sent an exploratory committee to Durham to discover if the city needed or wanted the program launched here, said Tim Wollin, 37, the program director for StepUp Durham. After two years and an invitation from the Durham community, StepUp Durham was born. Emily Dao-Forrester, 27, an employment […]

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East Durham Children’s Initiative ofrece diversos programas gratis para los niño

By Liz Chen

April 2, 2018

Un sábado típico para Angel, quien tiene 10 años, consiste de un desayuno saludable y balanceado, jugando soccer con sus amigos y aprendiendo algo nuevo en los programas sabatinos de East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) STEAM.  Los sábados STEAM se enfocan en avanzar la educación en ciencia, tecnología, ingeniería, arte y matemática para los estudiantes […]

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Lowe’s Grove teaches Durham how to take action on clean water

By Tessa Platek

March 29, 2018

The middle school boy arrived from baseball practice to just in time to join the Lowe’s Grove pep band in opening the Creek Week event with their own rendition of “Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz. This song, along with a cheery performance by the pep band of “People Make the World Go Round,” provided a […]

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Closing the gap: DPS works to eliminate disparities in testing and discipline

By Brennan Doherty

March 28, 2018

The numbers tell the story, staggering but not new to Kelvin Bullock, who serves as Durham Public Schools director of equity affairs, a position that did not exist until January 2017. During the 2016-17 school year, white students – 18.5 percent of the district’s student population – vastly outperformed their Hispanic and black peers, who […]

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Hillside alumna leads Dance Company to be named best overall in dance festival

By Zayrha Rodriguez

Back in 2006 the Durham native, Valencia Lipscomb, was the second freshman in the history of Hillside High School to make it to Company—one of two dance groups in Hillside Dance Company. Twelve years later, Lipscomb is the teacher for the Hillside Dance Company, which includes the two dance groups called Company and Sting, as well […]

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EDCI’s STEAM Saturdays offer children in East Durham educational fun

By Liz Chen

Editor’s note: Some last names have not been disclosed to protect the privacy of individuals served by the East Durham Children’s Initiative. A typical Saturday morning for 10-year-old Angel consists of a healthy, balanced breakfast, playing soccer outside with his friends and learning something new at the East Durham Children’s Initiative’s (EDCI) STEAM Saturdays Program. […]

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Lesbian students get suspended more than straight students

By Joshua Bullock

March 5, 2018

  A recent study suggests that female students who are attracted to female students get suspended and expelled more than female students who are solely attracted to male students. Princeton University student Joel Mittleman performed a population-based study analyzing over 3,000 teenagers from birth. Part of the study included asking the participants their sexual orientations […]

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Kidznotes wins a regional Emmy for “The Music Inside”

By Kelcie Frye

  Nick Malinowski is in the profession of changing lives through music. He never imagined that his job would land him on a stage in Nashville, accepting an Emmy Award on Kidznotes’ behalf. Malinowski, the executive director of the Kidznotes program, is a North Carolina native who has a passion for kids and accessible music […]

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Hillside drama teacher changes lives through international theatre

By Kenzie Cook

For the last 31 years, North Carolina Central University graduate Wendell Tabb, 55, has headed the theatre program at Hillside High School. In this time, he has transformed the humble high school stage to something more akin to professional theatre. Since 1995, Tabb has directed the International Professional-Student Theatre Exchange Program allowing drama students to […]

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Children ‘Meet the Heroes’ of black history

By Katie Rice

Eight-year-old Merone Tennant and her mother, Candy, stand in a hall of New Creation United Methodist Church on Clarendon Street in Durham. The two hunch over a map of the upper floor of the church overlaid with images of historic African-American figures, deciding who to visit next. Tennant has already been to Jackie Robinson’s room, […]

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NCWorks Career Center helps former offenders find employment

By Liz Chen

 Over 70 million people in the United States have a criminal record, ranging from minor crimes to serious offenses, according to the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Finding a job can be especially challenging for those with a criminal record. NCWorks Career Center is attempting to help former offenders become employed and overcome these […]

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Hillside High empowers young women through STEM

By Cole Villena

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misrepresented the planning process of the Girls in STEM event. The event was hosted by Hillside High School but was organized by the Durham Council of PTAs in partnership with the Bayer Corporation. We apologize for any confusion the earlier version of this story may have caused. […]

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Book Harvest’s Dream Big Book Drive honors MLK Legacy

By Maddie Marshall

January 31, 2018

Under the large shelter at Durham Central Park, a crowd is gathered for Book Harvest’s annual Dream Big Book Drive. For seven years, Book Harvest has been holding the event in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. The drive started after Book Harvest founder and executive director, Ginger Young, began collecting […]

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Take your community heart wherever you go

By Jock Lauterer

December 6, 2017

  Editor’s Note: Lu Xu is a 10-year veteran Chinese broadcast journalist who, for the last two years, has been studying communications at the UNC-CH School of Media and Journalism, where she is a visiting international scholar. In her final semester at Chapel Hill, she joined the MEJO 459 “Community Journalism” class and became a […]

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Rod’s Redirection

By Daija Graves

  The principal of Pearsontown Elementary made a decision during his undergrad college studies that would change the course of his life and career forever. Rodriguez Teal, originally from Bennettsville, S.C., pursued his undergraduate education at N. C. Central University, graduating in 1986. At NCCU, he majored in public administration and studied vigorously for the […]

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Teacher by day, rapper by night

By Autavius Smith and Daija Graves

  Durham Public Schools kindergarten teacher Antonio Cowart sticks to his morals even when not around his students. After working for a moving company for a short time, the bubbly 27-year-old found his voice in rapping by using age-appropriate lyrics for children. Most people who hear his music consider him a “Christian rapper.” However, Cowart […]

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Global Scholars preparing to step up

By Keynari Brown

November 29, 2017

  The transition from middle school to high school can be a heavy load for teenagers everywhere. A sudden thrust into a different environment with new surroundings, more freedom, and a faster-paced curriculum are just some of the few things that these adolescents have to deal with. Faculty and staff at Global Scholars Academy in […]

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Girls who code grows program to build success

By Beth Clifford

November 26, 2017

At 9 a.m. on every first and third Saturday of the month, a classroom opens at the Community Family Life and Recreation Center at Lyon Park to the students of Girls Who Code. On Nov. 18, eight middle schoolers ages 11 to 14 marched in, and during the next three hours the girls generated their […]

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Durham Tech aims to ‘close the gap’ in community healthcare

By Allison Tate

How many of the students here are in this for the money, asks instructor Erica Hall. No hands rise. Hall looks out at the class, about a dozen faces, and tells them that what they’re learning to do won’t be about the fame either. Becoming a community health worker is all about helping your neighbors […]

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