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FIRST THURSDAY VOLUME 4, ISSUE 5

Novozymes Grant Nets $25K For FHS Lab

Franklin County Schools Our Future, Our Commitment, Our Students

MAY, 2009

D.C. Bound

Grant Process Initiated Through FCS CTE The Franklinton High School biotechnology program has received a huge boost – a boost in the form of $15,000 from a grant through Novozymes to fund a new lab. In addition, Novozymes has donated nearly $10,000 worth of lab equipment. Novozymes representatives Kevin Potter and Paige Donnelly made the official presentation during the April 27th SEE LAB PAGE 7

Principal Profile Learn more about Long Mill Elementary School Principal Kim Ferrell. Page 2

Top Honors Former FCS student Jason King graduates Valedictorian from NCSU. Page 3

FCS Superintendent Dr. Bert L’Homme, seen here speaking with students, will begin a new career in Washington, D.C. on July 1st. L’Homme spent 23 years working in DC prior to moving to North Carolina in 1994.

FCS Superintendent Steps Down; Nets Post In Nation’s Capital For more than five years, Franklin County Schools has been under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Bert L’Homme. That will all change June 30th, 2009. L’Homme submitted his resignation letter April 27th to the Board of Education to pursue an employment opportunity with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) in Washington, D.C. In D.C., he will be the Director of Education Policy and Coordinator

of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline Crusade. “I’m in my 31st year of education, and this is a very unique opportunity for me,” L’Homme said. “It was a difficult decision for both me and my family. We love this area, and I’ve truly enjoyed working as Superintendent for Franklin County Schools.” L’Homme was praised at the BOE SEE L’HOMME PAGE 10


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Opportunity Knocks

Long Mill Elementary School Principal Kim Ferrell still makes an effort to spend time with the students.

Principal Kim Ferrell Leading Long Mill

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pening a school from scratch is an opportunity most principals would like to receive. It’s a chance Long Mill Elementary School Principal Kim Ferrell has enjoyed this school year. Ferrell’s opportunity didn’t happen overnight, but through 10 years of teaching at Bunn Elementary School, three years

as an assistant principal at Royal Elementary and four years as principal at Laurel Mill, she earned the experience needed to open Long Mill. “Every step of my career has been a learning process, and I’ve taken something for all of the schools I’ve worked at,” Ferrell said. “Every school has been very valuable to me. At

Laurel Mill I had the chance to put everything together and operate a school. While I was there, I tried to get everyone on the same page and that took some changing of culture. I figured if I could change a culture successfully, then I could develop one at Long Mill.” Ferrell said she couldn’t ask SEE LOMES PAGE 8


FCS FIRST THURSDAY

MAY, 2009

Head of the class

Jason King will graduate first in his class at N.C. State. He attributes much of his success to his former teachers, such as former Terrell Lane Middle teacher Jackie McNamara (right).

LHS Graduate Sets Pace At N.C. State

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Computer Science and a minor in cognitive ne of the hardest things for a student to do is to figure out what path science. King credits Franklin County Schools as a to pursue after graduating from high strong player in his success. From the techschool. It was not a hard decision for 2005 Louis- nology side, King is particular thankful for the efforts of technology facilitators Cathy burg High School graduate Jason King. King, who also designed the current Frank- Palmer and Mary Brantley and retired Terlin County Schools logo, developed a pas- rell Lane teacher Jackie McNamara. “I’m very thankful for every teacher I had,” sion for computer programming and web design when he was attending Terrell Lane King said. “My interest in technology started Middle School and has never looked back. when I was in middle school and attended His passion and talent have already been technology camp. The teachers and camps proven as he prepares to graduate as Vale- really motivated me for technology. The dictorian in his class at North Carolina State SEE KING PAGE 15 University with a Bachelor of Science in

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FCS FIRST THURSDAY

MAY, 2009

Clutch Performers

Skills/USA State Competition Franklinton High School was well represented in the recent State Skills/USA competition in Greensboro. Jonathan Hilliard (front left) captured first place for PowerPoint presentations, as teammates Olivia Williams (front right) finished second in a poster board competition. Corey Brushaber (back left) finished second in District Three for masonry and Pedro Najera (back right) was fourth in District Three for masonry.

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FCS Students Net Teaching Fellows Scholarships Four Franklin County seniors were awarded North Carolina Teaching Fellows Scholarships in late March. Brianna Cooke and KrislynKiara Tyler from Bunn High School along with Robert Bell from Franklinton High School and Cameron Gupton from Louisburg High School all earned the highly acclaimed scholarship for their outstanding performance both in and out of the classroom. Just 500 students earn the award each year. The students were recognized by the Franklin County Board of Education on April 27th.

FHS Principal Charles Fuller (left) proudly stands with FHS’ senior Robert Bell and Bell’s parents.

Bunn High Principal Robin Faulkner (left) is proud of Brianna Cooke (green jacket) for earning a Teaching Fellows Scholarship. Brianna’s family (right) was present during recognition of the award at a Board of Education meeting.

Louisburg High School Principal Freda Clifton (left) can’t help but smile with Cameron Gupton and his family. Cameron is one of four students from FCS to receive a NC Teaching Fellows Scholarship this year.


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Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream! Below, Terrell Lane Middle School students in Katie Tatum’s class visited NCSU to participate in NanoDays (below right). Students toured lab facilities on Centennial Campus and spoke with graduate students and professors regarding nanotechnology in addition to seeing several large microscopes used for viewing atoms and chemical structure. Students saw live images of ticks using powerful microscopes, and the students even got to see the tick's tongue! Students ended their lab tours with a stop at the Nano Ice Cream station. Where liquid nitrogen was used to make chocolate ice-cream.

Above, Terrell Lane Middle School students take part in a tour of a walk-in cell. The annual exhibit is a popular class project for students enrolled in Katie Tatum’s class.


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LAB Continued from page 1

Board of Education meeting. Franklin County Schools Career Technical Education Director Laureen Jones fueled the grant process. “From my perspective, I was looking at the equipment needs for biotechnology and realized we needed a source of funds to upgrade the program. There is a need to recruit workers in that field. We had a program we were trying to launch, and we had the class at Vance-Granville. I was trying to find a way to pull all of the pieces together. Novozymes is the glue to hold it all together. “We submitted a proposal to the team at Novozymes, and it went really well,” Jones said. Taking part on that team was Novozymes Communications Manager Donnelly and IT Director Potter. Donnelly said the team was excited about helping out a local school. “It is a natural fit for the lab they are building and our company,” Donnelly said. “We were looking for a way to retarget our community relations program and have a science impact – this was perfect. It’s in our backyard. We’re pleased to help the school, and we hope to make a lasting impact. We want this relationship to continue, and we hope to have volunteers helping with the lab.” Jones is equally excited about the opportunity.

Franklin County Schools’ Career Technical Education Director Laureen Jones accepts $15,000 from Novozymes representatives Kevin Potter and Paige Donnelly during the April 27th Board of Education meeting.

“I was pleasantly surprised about the news,” Jones said. “This gives students an opportunity to look at biotechnology as a strong option. A student could have an opportunity to work right out of high school after taking this class. In addition, it prepares them for going on to programs at two-year schools and four-year universities.” At Franklinton High School, Winn Clayton teaches introduction to biotechnology, while Joe Don Robertson teaches the biotechnology agri-science research class (Levels I and II). All students in the county can take the classes at Franklinton High School if space permits. In addition, all students may sign up for a biotechnology class at VGCC (Bio Processing Manufacturing) which is taught by Julie Kinlaw.

An additional grant (titled Picture Yourself in Biotechnology) was awarded from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center for the amount of $2,000. The smaller grant money will go toward the program housed at FHS. In particularly, some of the funds will be used to market the program through informational commercials that will be produced through the digital media program, also housed at Franklinton High and taught by Michael Kearney.

- Nathan Moreschi


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MAY, 2009

Kim Ferrell (left center) believes she is very fortunate to have a talented staff that includes (left to right) Ann Buckner (secretary), assistant principal Carleen Jones, school counselor Pat Dodson, curriculum resource teacher Lisa Fischer and data manager Joy Bass.

LOMES for a better teaching staff and leadership team. “All of our teachers work very hard and are dedicated,” Ferrell said. “We are very fortunate. The leadership team is tremendous. We have the same focus.” In addition to Ferrell, the Long Mill leadership team consists of assistant principal Carleen Jones, Curriculum Resource Teacher Lisa Fischer and school counselor Pat Dodson. “They are all leaders,” Ferrell said “Pat does a wonderful job with helping the kids who struggle, and Lisa is tremendous with the data –

she’s really good at breaking it down and explaining it to us. “There’s no way we could have opened the school without Carleen. She’s very supportive and a hard worker. Before I can say I need something, she’s got it. “I have an awesome staff. We built our mission together. It’s all about building relationships, 21st century learning and making our students globally competitive. Those are the three components of the Long Mill administration.” The 2008 Franklin County Schools’ Principal of The Year graduated from East Wake High School and went on to earn a degree in elementary education from Fayetteville State University. She

began working as a teacher at Bunn Elementary in 1992 and earned her Masters in School Administration in 2002 from N.C. State University. That led to her post as an assistant principal at Royal, which preceded her first principal post at Laurel Mill. “As a child, I always had an interest in teaching,” Ferrell said. “I taught Sunday School (growing up) and really liked it – so teaching just seemed natural.” Ferrell’s desire to teach and pursue a career in education is also driven from the sudden passing of her aunt. When Ferrell was a child, her aunt, Carol Ferrell, unexpectedly passed away during her senSEE ADMIN PAGE 9


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me. I really learned a lot about the curriculum side of education.” When she arrived at Royal, Ferrell got an opportunity to open a school with former principal Rob Bendel. “At Royal, I learned a lot about managing a school,” Ferrell said. “Rob allowed me to do that. I learned how to deal with budgets and work effectively with staff. “When I got to Laurel Mill, I was able to connect everything together.” Ferrell increased student achievement significantly at Laurel Mill but said that was an effect of the school coming together as a unit. She also stated that one eleKim Ferrell spends a little time disment that resulted in the school cussing technology with a student. working collaboratively was the Whole Faculty Study Group program installed by Superintendent Dr. Bert L’Homme. That program Continued from page 8 served as a mechanism to enior year at Bennett College in courage teachers to work on speGreensboro. Her aunt was chas- cific issues with a plan of action. ing a teaching degree, but the Ferrell is hoping for continued dream was not reached, which success in terms of student added inspiration for Kim. achievement at Long Mill. While Ferrell praises many of the ad- the school has not been through a ministrators who have helped her round of end-of-grade state testand continue to help her today. ing, she’s confident about this She was originally hired at Bunn year. Elementary by Principal Connie “I know our teachers are doing Horton and was mentored by cur- the right things,” Ferrell said. “I rent BES Principal Jewel Eason. think we will be OK. We’ve looked “Both of them really inspired me at our benchmarks, and we are to advance my career,” Ferrell making progress.” said. “Working with them was a From the beginning, Ferrell has wonderful experience – they really expressed the importance of comanswered a lot of questions. Hav- munity involvement. Ferrell is exing Jewel as a mentor was the tremely pleased with the level of best thing that could happen to parent involvement thus far. She

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praised the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for its continued support and valuable input. The first official school event was a community night held in August of last year and was a big success. That was followed by an equally successful open house that jammed the parking lot full of cars and excited parents. Ferrell believes that involvement helps keep the staff motivated. Another program that is apparently working well for Long Mill is the Student Wellness program. “We want our students to be healthy,” Ferrell said. “Research shows that healthy students perform better.” Among the activities designed to promote healthy students are the early morning exercise program, presentations and healthy food programs through the cafeteria. The early-early morning exercise program is a huge success, as hundreds of students enter the gym to get a pep-start to the day. Administrators take part as well. Ferrell was recently one of a few FCS educators who were inducted into the Delta Kappa Education Society. “It’s an honor to be a part of this organization – there are so many talented educators in it.” When not involved with school work, Ferrell is out watching her 9-year-old daughter grow up. Her daughter is involved in church, dance and other activities.

- Nathan Moreschi


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MAY, 2009

L’Homme Continued from page 1

meeting when he announced his future plans. “I’m very excited for him,” BOE Chair Paige Sayles said. “To have a national organization recruit someone from a small county really says a lot. This speaks volumes about Dr. L’Homme’s ability. We’ve had him for five years, and we’ve been able to steadily grow academically. We’ve also progressed as a system in terms of technology, and we are reaching goals associated with 21st century learning skills.” BOE member John May stated that while many buildings were constructed and facilities were upgraded during L’Homme’s time, there was something more important he should be remembered for. “He wanted students to learn more and do better on tests – and the numbers have gotten better. Dr. L’Homme had his sights set on the right things and I thank him for that. I hate to see you go.” L’Homme began his career in education in D.C. as a special education teacher working with disturbed students. After spending considerable time in the classroom, he earned a job as principal of City Lights School. City Lights was a school dedicated to disturbed and delinquent adolescence. “Having started out working in

Superintendent Dr. Bert L’Homme made a point to stay in contact with staff throughout his five-year stay with FCS.

D.C. with children who were troubled and now going back to work on a project with the Children’s Defense Fund is exciting.” While the biggest component of the job is related to policy, the Cradle to Prison Pipeline Crusade is key factor for L’Homme. The project is designed to rescue children who are at high-risk of heading down the path of delinquency and prison. The project focuses on giving young children the resources necessary to be successful and launched into adulthood with real choices such as employment training or college. The project fits well with L’Homme’s passion to help students stay in school. “I take it personally when a student drops out of school, not just in Franklin County, but wherever I

worked as an educator.” That same compassion helped lead to academic programs within the classroom that help lead to higher student achievement. “I’m particularly proud of our literacy and mathematics programs at elementary and middle schools,” L’Homme said. “I’m also pleased with the turnaround program at the high schools.” L’Homme also added positive comments about the success of professional learning communities, also known as Whole Faculty Study Groups. After a rocky start with the program, L’Homme said the process gained acceptance as the years progressed, and he was happy to see such good results over the past couple of years. SEE L’HOMME PAGE 11


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L’Homme Continued from page 10

For people who live in Franklin County, progress during L’Homme’s tenure is visible through construction. During his more than five-year stay, major construction projects, including a new school with Long Mill Elementary, were completed. In addition, there were major construction projects at all three high schools. “But what I really want to be remembered for is not losing site of all students. I’ve always wanted people to believe my door was really always open. I believe I was successful at this. From students, teachers, staff to members of the community, they were always welcome to come sit and talk with me - and they did. “I’m going to miss the talented and dedicated teachers, principals and most especially the students I got to work with.”

- Nathan Moreschi

MAY, 2009

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Soil and Water Conservation District Awards Held On Thursday, April 23, the Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District held the 13th Annual Awards Program at Terrell Lane Middle School. District Board member Charles Mitchell recognized forty three talented students in third through fifth grades who won cash prizes for their contributions to the District’s Annual Poster contest. This year’s contest theme was “Soil & Water – Yours for Life”. Participants were required to design a poster highlighting the contest theme while adhering to specific rules and guidelines set forth by the NC Association of Conservation Districts. Posters are judged locally before they can be entered into the area and state competitions. The Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District awarded cash prizes and certificates and ribbons to the first, second and third place winners in each school. Fifty dollar gift certificates from Wal-Mart were awarded to the overall county winners. All winning entries in the county competition were sent to Granville County for the Area IV competition, where they competed against first place winners from eleven surrounding counties. School winners who received prizes at the program were: Whitney Bolton, Alexandria Cardwell, Jorge Hinostrosa, Joanna Myatt, Allison Barlow, Sebastian Parrish, Lelia Connor, Caroline McGhee, Autumn Basnett, Lucy Collins, Asia Strickland, Jodie Summerlin, Chandler Broughton, Amanda Dean, Edward Denton, Victoria Poyer, Dylan Hudson, Emily Bumgarner, Alexis Salter, Melyssa Dawson,

Marissa Daniels, Ileana Wilder, Brendan Connors, Madisyn Sapp, Caleb Lane, Arianne Lamont, Yenni Rebollar, Amanda Green, Johnathan Martin, Owen Faulkner, Taylor Shepardson, Christianna Allen, Nicholas Tart, Kaylee Dement, Gabriella Hilliard, Stephanie Sample, Belen Estrada, Haley Jones, Karene Anderson, Raechel Robinson, Kristen Senter, Haley Williams and Brooke Moore. Three students were announced as first place county winners and received a $50.00 Wal-Mart gift card in addition to the school prize. Those students were Joanna Myatt, third grader at Edward Best Elementary; Chandler Broughton, a fourth grader also from Edward Best Elementary; and Kristen Senter, a fifth grade student at Franklinton Elementary. Chandler and Kristen could not attend and received their prizes at school. Also during the program the District announced that one student won additional honors in the Area IV Poster Contest. Joanna Myatt competed against students from Wake, Warren, Johnston, Granville, Halifax, Durham, Vance, Wilson, Edgecombe and Nash counties and was selected as the second place Area IV winner for her grade. She received an additional check for $50.00. For additional information concerning this event, please contact Cindy Phelps, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation at (919) 496-3137. Additional contact numbers can be obtained by visiting Franklin County’s website at www.co.franklin.nc.us.


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Bunn High Hoops Player Invited To National Event Bunn High School junior basketball player Michael Collins has been invited to play in the USA Junior Nationals International Sports Festival from July 27th through August 2. Collins was selected based on his strong performance in the USA Junior Nationals high school basketball competition held in Greensboro this spring. Students from more than 40 states will participate. The highly acclaimed event will take places in Champaign on the campus of the University of Illinois.

BMS Teacher selected to Kenan Fellows Program Bunn Middle School teacher Kristen Hensley has been selected by the Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development at North Carolina State University as a Class of 2011 Kenan Fellow. Beginning in June, 2009, she will engage in a two-year fellowship supported by the Goodnight Educational Foundation to develop innovative curricula for use in North Carolina classrooms while working with mentors Ashley Weinard and Jill Taylor from the NC Museum of Art. Her project is entitled “Art of Collaboration.� As part of the two-year fellowship, Hensley will train to be a master teacher, work closely with her mentors in developing her pro-

ject, participate in research to develop inquiry-guided instruction to be used in the classroom, develop and distribute her lessons statewide, talk with state leaders at events that promote the teaching profession, train to be a teacher leader and present findings at state and national conferences. Hensley is a Science / Social Studies / Sixth Grade teacher at Bunn Middle School in Bunn, NC. She is a National Board Certified teacher and has received grants from APPSCUR and the United Way Foundation of Franklin County. She has made presentations at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference and the International Conference on Service-Learning in Teacher

Education (Brussels, Belgium). Kenan Fellows Program: The Kenan Fellows Program is an initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at North Carolina State University. It is an innovative model to promote teacher leadership, address teacher retention and advance K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Kenan Fellows are public school teachers selected through a competitive process to participate in a prestigious two-year fellowship, all while remaining active in the classroom. Read more about the Kenan Fellows Program at www.kenanfellows.org.


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Helping Hands of FHS

Franklinton High School students recently participated in a donation drive of personal care items for ESL families arriving at the FCS International Center.

Caring Students Pitch In, Help Families Adjust Members of Expresion Latina, the Latin American culture club at FHS, worked together to donate and assemble personal care items for ESL families arriving at the International Center of Franklin County. The students liked the idea of giving personal items to the families that would be useful to them when they arrive in Franklin County and often do not have necessities that most of us take for granted. They were interested in knowing more about the families, such as how many of them have children, what kind of work they do, and where they lived before arriving here. The Expresion Latina students were supported in this endeavor by the Spanish I classes at FHS who also donated generously of personal care items: soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, washcloths, combs, brushes, and socks. Minnie Shirey from the International Center came on April 9 to FHS to pick up the rescue kits and talk

with the Expresion Latina students. She provided information about the Center and how they reach out to migrant families who work hard and have particular needs for their children. She described the work they do and how difficult it can be for young people of those families who move often with the agricultural cycle. Ms. Shirey told the students their donations were very helpful and would be very much appreciated by the International Center staff and the families who will be arriving here in Franklin County. Some students were asking if they could do this project again that they appreciated the opportunity to do something positive for their community. And it was fun (muy divertido!)

- Yvonne Townsley Sponsor


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BOE Vice Chair Honored for Continued Service The Reverend Dannie T. Williams, Franklin County Board of Education's Vice - Chair, recently celebrated his 13th anniversary as Senior Pastor of the Melfield United Church of Christ in Mebane NC.

He is the principal of the North Edgecombe High School in Edgecombe county and is active in community and civic organizations as well as his present pursuit of a doctorate of education degree (ED D) at NC State University. He is married to Regina Reverend Williams has been in Davis-Williams who is the media ministry for 34 years and has menspecialist at Franklinton High and tored more than 30 ministers durhas four children and one granding his ministerial career. daughter.

FES Events Franklinton Elementary students and staff have been quite busy in recent months taking part in a variety of different events. At left, a FES student participates in a water safety demonstration provided by Falls Lake. The event stressed the importance of being safe when swimming and boating and how to save someone who is drowning. There were separate events for children in grades K-2 and 3-5.

At right, Franklinton Elementary School volunteers receive a much deserved luncheon of appreciation for their hard work and dedication to the school. FES, like many other schools, is in the process of gearing up for End-Of-Grade tests.


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KING Continued from page 3

Franklin County Schools technology camps (Hyperstudio and LEGO robotics) helped convince me to venture into computer technologies in college.” Palmer has fond memories of King and distinctly remembers her first encounter with him as a student. “When Jason was at TLMS, I went over to help the webmaster one afternoon,” Palmer said. “That is when I found out that Jason was playing a large part in the design of their webpage. To this day, I am still flabbergasted that this young middle school student taught himself how to code HTML to create the TLMS webpage. Ever since then, for as long as he was in our school system, he continued to challenge me to push my limits by doing things with web pages that caused me to have to increase my skills in order to accommodate his web design aspirations. On several occasions, I have turned to Jason for help, and he has always responded professionally and with clear instructions, even after he became a student at NCSU. Jason is a fine young man, not only gifted, talented and highly intelligent, but I have also found him to be a truly caring person that I am proud to know as he becomes an adult.” McNamara was equally impressed with King as a student. He attributes his programming language interest to McNamara letting him borrow a Quick Basic book. “Mrs. McNamara loaned me the

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book, and I developed a feel for programming. I’m very thankful for that.” McNamara, much like Palmer, believes King is truly special. “He was a wonderful student,” McNamara said. “He would do whatever you asked him to do and more. He was interested in programming and I really wanted to help him, so I brought him the book. He got it very quickly. I’ve never had a student like him – I just can’t say enough about him.” McNamara was honored when King invited her to his senior project presentation at NCSU. King worked on a point of sale based project at Fujitsu in Wake Forest. Palmer maintains contact with King and still smiles when his named is mentioned. “Every year, I am impressed with the projects and achievements he has made,” Palmer said. “This year, when I learned he is to be Valedictorian, I felt so proud. I know I had very little to do with his success, but perhaps I did have something to do with the direction his education has taken, and that makes me extremely proud. In his most recent letter, he talked about the influence that summer technology camps had on his career path. As an educator, I know that I influence the lives of my students, but it is far too rare for a student to express to a teacher his appreciation for making a difference in his/her life. When I read his words of acknowledgement for both myself and Mrs. Brantley and how we influenced his educational direction, I took off my glasses, grabbed a tissue, and just let the tears fall. I treasure his words, and they will be

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framed and placed prominently in my office by the end of the week.” King isn’t going to stop after graduating. He plans on continuing his education at NCSU next fall to work on earning a Masters in Computer Science. Although he has a true love for the field, he admits it wasn’t the easiest of times during his NCSU career. “My sophomore year I thought about changing majors, but I decided to stick with it. Classes were tough that year, but luckily it got a lot better after that,” King said. Brantley had this to offer about King’s accomplishment. “It’s really cool,” Brantley said. “I remember when he came to camp. He was not even sure he was going to college. By the end of camp, he was saying he was going to be a programmer. I remember he was doing things that nobody else in camp had done before. It was cool to watch him get excited about it. This is what we are here for. This is what you love to see. It’s not unusual for kids to succeed, but to have them tell you about it makes it really neat.” As far as a long-range plan, King had this to say. “Right now I’m kind of open to anything. I want to get a feel for what it is all about. NCSU is a great place to be for this.” With the passion, knowhow and a current 4.0 GPA, King will probably have little difficulty landing a career.

- Nathan Moreschi


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