NNPS Youth Development Newsletter

Spring 2014

Crittenden Middle School Students Are (M.A.D.) Making A Difference!

One common belief among many Crittenden Middle School students is that youth have the power to make a difference in their community and the world. They are excited about being M.A.D.--Making A Difference!


According to 8th grader Rashaun Spruill, the fresh ideas of today's youth can make a real difference. “Youth can do many things that older folks can’t. Like—reaching out to the younger public, or coming up with new ideas that young people might respond to.”


Classmate Mariah Gonzales agreed with Rashaun, stating that it’s never too early for a young person to get involved in things like community service or student leadership. “If you start now in middle school, it’ll be easier for you to participate in activities when you get to high school,” says Gonzales. “Plus, you don’t want to go to high school without friends. Being a part of student service activities will help you make friends.”


“It will definitely make the middle school experience better,” says Bria Hayward regarding participation in youth service and leadership groups. Hayward, who was new to Virginia this year, immediately got involved with Crittenden’s Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) and other extracurricular activities.


“You can start collecting volunteer hours before you go to high school,” says Kaleigh Halvorson. “Why not start early?”


Tanya Graham-Galatro, Crittenden Middle School Youth Development

Dozier Middle School Students Reach Out to New Dragons

“Reach Out and Touch Somebody New” was the theme at Dozier on Friday, February 21st during 6th grade lunch. The Student Youth Development Team at Dozier felt that some new students in the school might feel isolated and wanted to help them make friends. The Youth Development Team first made a video about a new student who had been at Dozier for 2 months and still did not have any friends. The day before the event, the video, Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand, was played during the morning announcements. During lunch, after an announcement was made, the students moved to sit by a person they did not know. Once seated beside someone new, each student had to find out 3 facts about their new friend. The Youth Development Team then did mini-interviews to get feedback on the event.


Rondollyn Evans, Dozier Middle School

Gildersleeve MS Students Compete with LEGO Robotics

This year, Gildersleeve sponsored its first Lego Robotics Team. Under the direction of parents Barry Moses and Alisa Pereira, this competitive team met after school and on weekends throughout the months of September and October to prepare for their first competition. The Gildersleeve Robotics Team competed in November at a Regional First Lego League (FLL) Competition held at Crittenden Middle School.


During the competition, the ten student team competed against 26 other teams from across the region. They worked together to solve problems and communicate solutions to the devastation left in the aftermath of severe weather events. The team members programmed and maneuvered Lego robots through a city simulation saving people, pets, and resources and moving obstacles from their paths.


The team received highest recognition during the competition for a research based invention developed to solve problems faced after a natural disaster. They designed and presented a water pipeline made of flexible materials allowing it to move with the earth in the event of an earthquake. At the same time, the pipeline produces electricity through the energy created by water moving within the pipeline. The panel of judges was so impressed with their work that they honored the team with first place for the Research Component of the competition!


Submitted by Donna Sawyer, LegoTeam Sponsor

Youth Development Takes Over at Hines' Middle School Night

For fifth grade students and their parents, moving up to middle school is a huge deal! They are often bubbling with excitement, and have plenty of questions about entering a new stage in their lives. Newport News Public Schools held its annual Middle School Night on March 13, 2014.


At Hines Middle School, students prepared for this important event throughout the month of February. This year we decided to have more student input and more student involvement. As parents walked into our building, student greeters handed out programs and led families to the auditorium. During the program in the auditorium, several students read original poetry and short stories on the topic, “What I wish I had known coming into middle school.” In previous years, there were more adults speaking, but this year it was all about our students!


After leaving the auditorium, the parents and rising sixth graders were escorted by our current students on a tour of the building. At the end of the tour, the visitors convened in our cafeteria. The cafeteria had tables set up and decorated for each club and activity we offer at Hines, such as Cheerleading, National Junior Honors Society, Youth Development, Incredible Historians, Glee Club, and Student Council Association. The information tables were manned by students who are members of each club! This way, the prospective Hines students can get firsthand information from someone who is actually involved in this activity.


There is truly no better way to learn about the middle school experience, than from a current middle school student. At Hines, we are excited to give our students the chance to share their middle school knowledge with next year's Spartans.


Deanna Thompson, Hines Middle School Youth Development Lead

Huntington Middle School Students Can Cook!

Huntington Middle School has selected The Cooking Club to highlight how students are engaged in clubs and activities. In The Cooking Club, students demonstrate teamwork and learn how to prepare a meal.


The cooking club was introduced by students from Hampton University. Mrs. Cecelia White currently serves as the lead sponsor. Mrs. Diane Whitehead also serves as a volunteer for the cooking club. The club currently consists of 15 students from all grade levels. The club meets monthly in the living skills room.


The menu for this particular day was spaghetti, meatballs, salad, and banana pudding. During the meal the students practiced table etiquette and manners. Next month, the Cooking club will be introducing a new twist on preparing a healthy sandwich. Stay tuned as the club will be broadcasting their skills on the Cooking Network Channel at Huntington!


Jamicia Davis, Huntington Middle School Youth Development Lead

Youth Development Takes A Big Step at Passage Middle School

It is not often that someone sacrifices time, effort and energy with no reward to be had. Most times, people are looking for something in return for their time. However, Norma Bolling is not one of those people. She has given time, effort and energy to kids with nothing but their interest and love for a new found hobby as a reward.

Norma Bolling exudes excellence at Passage Middle, not only with the youth in her class, but the youth after school as well. She has taken on the responsibility of sponsoring an after school program for all grades to learn Step.


Having a Step Team background, Mrs. Bolling thought that kids would benefit from the camaraderie, discipline and focus that Step Team offers. The students have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Mrs. Bolling and learning the new steps. They plan on performing at the basketball games, assemblies, and other special events here at Passage. When asked why she decided to sponsor such an activity, Mrs. Bolling replied, “I wanted to give the students an opportunity to be a part of something positive and fun! It is also a GREAT way to promote school spirit.”


In closing, Mrs. Bolling stated the following when asked what she would tell the young men and women who tried out for Step Team, “Stay focused on your academics, have respect for yourself and others, and don’t forget to have fun!”

Booker T. Washington Middle School Students Design and Engineer Egg Capsules!

On February 4, 2014, thirteen students at Booker T. Washington Middle School competed in an Egg Drop competition sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding. The purpose of the activity was to introduce factors that engineers and designers must consider when designing a product for manufacture. Students were divided into teams that designed a capsule to protect a raw egg when dropped from a height of six feet. Teams were scored on the design and build of a module that best protected their egg, was produced at the lowest cost, and landed closest to the target.


The school’s winning “Fabulous Four” team, Aleeyah Clayton, Aniyah Clayton, Hunter McCormick and Jonathan Wissmann, will go on to compete in the city-wide competition 0n April 24, 2014 at Newport News Shipbuilding.


Caroline Samuels, Booker T. Washington MS Youth Development Lead

An Achievable Dream Students Are Heroes!

An Achievable Dream Middle and High School welcomed the Hero Construction Company on February 18, 2014. Jason Roy from the HCC worked with 9th graders on a different approach to anti-bullying, asking students to become PRO-HERO instead. Students were given five steps to heroism, and asked to apply those steps to their own lives. The 9th graders now feel better equipped to stand up against bullying, acting as super heroes in the hallways of An Achievable Dream.


Looking to the future, students at An Achievable Dream are reaching out to the world! Students will host their first Water Walk on April 19, 2014 from 9:30AM-12:00PM, and are aiming high! They hope to raise $10,000 in order to have a well built in a third world country that has little access to clean water. Please come out and support our dreamers by participating in a 3.8 mile water walk where community members will gain knowledge of the lack of clean water in third world countries and how much water is wasted in first world countries.


Feel free to visit the student’s donation page at The Water Project: http://bit.ly/MFJQt0 We hope to see you there!


Sarah Wohlers, Youth Development Lead

Denbigh HS Showcases Historic African Americans in Wax

On February 11th and February 26th, Mrs. Albertina Jackson’s Fashion Marketing and DECA students presented an African- American showcase for their peers. The students were responsible for organizing all aspects of the show to include: auditions, performance order, musical selections, African- American leaders to highlight, research, and production. Jahnissha Dance, Denbigh High School (DHS) senior, was the Production Manager for both shows and is the student leader in charge of the Fashion Marketing class.


The performances included collaborations with groups such as NNPS Telecom, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (CNU), Melody Makers (Juvenile Detention), DHS Vocal Ensemble, ROTC, and the DHS Jazz Band. The shows were hosted by DHS seniors Vontisha Redman, Kwame Kenyatta, and Patrick Prosser.


Some of the highlights from the show included:


· Performances highlighting African-American leaders such as Shirley Chisholm (performed by Okia Grant), Nelson Mandela (performed by Briyan Seward), Malcolm X (performed by Damian Burrell), Martin Luther King, Jr. (performed by Andre’ Jones), and Barack Obama (performed by Larico Robinson)


· Showcase of African-American artwork organized by Noble Jackson


· Fashion Through the Decades organized and lead by Madison Barner, Yyana Moore, Jerica Johnson, Breonna Claiborne, Kareyma Gabriel, Briyan Seward


Our students did a phenomenal job organizing the show during class, FLEX periods, and after school. DHS is proud of the leadership shown by our students each and every day. This is just ONE example of Youth Development in action at Denbigh High School. Congratulations to Mrs. Jackson (CTE Lead Teacher), Mrs. Powell (DHS Vocal Ensemble), Mr. Ward (DHS Jazz Band), 1st Sgt. Smith (ROTC), and Mr. Ford (APO) on a job well done!


Tressa Tucker and Khadijah Jones, Denbigh HS Youth Development

Heritage HS

Heritage High School has been busy providing opportunities for students to engage in service and volunteerism. The Heritage Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) Club held a “Jeans for Teens” drive by collecting jeans from HHS students for eventual donation to local homeless teenagers. They have begun work on their project for the upcoming CanStructure contest on May 3, 2014. The YVC Club also recently partnered with Newsome Park Elementary and travels there weekly to mentor students by reading with them and building their literacy skills.


The Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club has been working on promoting seat-belt awareness through the AAA Get-It-Together seat-belt challenge. The SADD Club worked with members of the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office to promote awareness of the prevalence of teen dating violence and promote prevention. The Youth Development Team also worked to recognize honor roll students by adding decorative stars to the lockers of all students making honor roll for the last marking period.


Jamie Plecker and Kimberly Horton, Heritage Youth Development

Menchville HS

The Menchville High School Youth Development team has been active in the school and community. As a part of preparing our students to be civic-minded learders, we have now added a Youth Volunteer Corps Club in parntership with Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC). The club began with 35 initial members and continues to grow in numbers. The YVC Club is scheduled to participate in two community functions in the month of March and is preparing for the upcoming YVCanstructure on May 3rd, 2014.


“Menchville Rocks” was a fantastic show that featured students performing ten-minute acts to show off their musical talents. The show was open to the public and raised close to $1000 to donate to the Menchville House, a shelter for women and children. As we gear up for spring, the youth development team is working with Project Prom to ensure that it continues to be successful at MHS by collecting dresses and money to ensure ALL students have a magical evening. This club works tirelessly within the school and the community to collect prom dresses and money to fund the expenses of prom for students who cannot afford to do so on their own.


Jason Hollar, Menchville High School Youth Development Lead

Warwick HS Students Lead the Way

Warwick HS will be hosting the first annual Spring Youth Alcohol & Drug Prevention Project (YADAPP) / Y GUY Jr. Conference. The Y Guy Jr. conference is open to 8th grade students. The program is designed to educate students about the importance of making safe, smart decisions regarding choices they face as young adults. The middle school students will be asked to create a project action plan to take back to their schools/communities. The Newport News Police Department, The Hampton & Newport News 4-H club, and the Warwick (and other NNPS HS YADAPP teams) High School YADAPP participants will facilitate the training workshops.


Warwick students continue to lead the way in other youth development initiatives this year. Young leaders from Warwick are participating in the Youth Lead Peninsula (YLP) program. This program, created through a partnership with the NNPS Department of Youth Development and the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, focuses on building leadership competencies in NNPS high school students. Warwick High School representatives, along with students from each of the other high schools, recently visited the Virginia State Capitol Building in Richmond, and witnessed a Committee hearing and a Senate budget hearing. Students also took a tour of the Capitol and had conversations with Virginia delegates, senators, and the Honorable Levar Stoney, the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The students will create a Legacy project at the end of the program to highlight all they have learned, and to ensure that each subsequent YLP cohort builds upon their legacy.


Jacqulyn Allen, Warwick High School Youth Development

Woodside HS Celebrates African-American History

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing the role of African Americans in U.S. history.


At Woodside High, this year's theme for Black History Month coincided with the mission of Newport News Public Schools to ensure that all students graduate College, Career and Citizen Ready. Each day during the Woodside Live program the students learned about a different Historically Black College or University (HBCU).


On February 14, 2014, Woodside HS presented a round table discussion on the “HBCU Experience,” which brought students who are currently attending, or have attended HBCUs, to Woodside HS to talk about the academics and student life at an HBCU. On February 21, there was a presentation that introduced Greek Life and the importance of sororities and fraternities in Black History, and demonstrated "strolling" for the students.


On April 26, Woodside students will participate in the Tour de Cure. The Tour de Cure is a series of fundraising cycling events held in 44 states nationwide to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The students will volunteer during the event in Suffolk, Virginia. The Tour is a ride, not a race, with routes designed for everyone from the occasional rider to the experienced cyclist. Students have joined the movement to end the devastating toll that diabetes takes on millions of individuals and families across our nation.


Through these actions, students will have a chance to get involved and help raise awareness, promote healthy living, and raise money. Students' efforts will help fund educational outreach, advocacy efforts, and critical research that may lead to a cure for diabetes.


Watch a video clip of The HBCU Experience (minute 10:48) at the NNPS TV link below.


Matthan Wilson, Woodside High School Youth Development Lead