Liz Brown wins 2005 Sheldon Award

I just got this news from my friends at Internationalist Books & Community Center. It's great to see they are continuing to address important local issues with this award.

Each year, Internationalist Books and Community Center of Chapel Hill recognizes a member of the Triangle community who carries on their deceased founder Bob Sheldon's work and breathes life into his legacy by being gentle and persistent, being radical and free-thinking, being playful and patient, and leading by example.

This year, Internationalist Books is happy to announce that Orange County Board of Education member Liz Brown will receive the 2005 “Bob Sheldon" Award. Liz will receive this award for her ongoing efforts to bring forth equality in Orange County's educational system.

Liz Brown will receive the Award on Friday, July 15, 2005 at the Internationalist Bookstore's annual member party. The party and award ceremony, open to the public, will begin at 7:00 PM at The Skylight Exchange & Nightlight located at 405 ½ Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill.

Student self-determination

Maybe I am overly swayed by the convincing arguments for children's suffrage laid out on last week's West Wing, but I think that a recent proposal from the Chapel Hill High Civics Club to have a student serve on the school board makes a lot of sense. This would probably be a non-voting position, but I have also heard of students getting elected directly to the board (which is pretty impressive considering few of their peers are old enough to vote).

Locally, students have been active in board discussions -- although not as members. Most recently, Chapel Hill High students complained that they hadn't been more involved in a discussion of changing the high school schedule.

Students have lined up to speak at recent school board meetings, and hundreds attended a forum they planned at Chapel Hill High to tell district officials they didn't want block scheduling.

Be a mentor

Guest Post by Jane Peppler
Cross-posted at Pratie Place

For twenty-two years I've been a mom, but my younger child will graduate this spring and the house will get mighty quiet. Hmm, choices. I could become a pet nut, replacing teenage music with barking, chirping, or mewing. But I'd rather keep young energy in my life. That's why I took the daunting job of directing a high school chorus, and that's why I joined the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate Program.

A mentoring program pairs you with a kid who lives in disadvantaged circumstances but has a "spark" and can flourish with some extra help. We're not just friends (Big Buddies or Big Brothers) and not just tutors. We're also advocates for our kids in the school system. By having fun, talking about life, going places they (or we) have never been before, we try to inspire them to keep their eyes on the prize - for instance, on enjoying and staying invested in school through high school and then hopefully going to college.

New neighbors

We knew last summer that then-Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth bought some property in Orange County just west of Carrboro. The picture became more complete with the announcement last Friday that Edwards has received a faculty appointment at UNC and will direct a new Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.My first reaction: what a testament to the drawing power of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system! It can't help John Edwards' exponentially-growing political career to hail from one of the most famously left-leaning communities in the region. I guess they felt it was worth spending some political capital to get the best for Jack and Emma. Of course I'm assuming they will be in public school.Second thought: the Edwardses are certainly role models for the nouveaux rich yuppies by positioning themselves to pay county/school taxes but not town taxes.

Building a third high school: slow and steady wins the race

I read in the Chapel Hill Herald this weekend that administrators in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System are starting to get a little nervous about getting our third high school open on schedule for 2007 (it was originally supposed to open in 2005, oops). With schools already overcrowded (and classes pretty big even when they're below capacity), I'm completely in favor of opening more schools.



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