In the News...
POB students and faculty member part of after school youth development program
Charlotte, NC – If you were to walk into Spirit Square in uptown Charlotte on Mondays and Tuesdays in the afternoon, you may find Phillip O. Berry senior, Jihad Davis, producing music and learning the tools of the trade regarding the music industry. Davis, along with several other Phillip O. Berry students, takes courses offered through a program called Studio 345.
In conjunction with the Arts and Sciences Council, the non-profit afterschool program offers tuition free classes to interested students in the arts and sciences. It is open to all CMS students enrolled in grades 9-12 and offers courses on a trimester schedule throughout the year. Classes are conducted by professionals with rich content knowledge and job-site experience.
Davis found his way into the program through a friend last year, wanting to pursue a career in music production. He was very complimentary of the classes he is currently taking and mentioned, “It gives me all the tools I need to further my career in music.” POB’s very own Mr. Desai, also conducts a science course through Studio 345. The course covers a variety of topics in the field of science and helps to develop student portfolios in the field. Mr. Desai hopes to integrate his course content with the different digital design courses for additional cross-curricular collaboration.
Interested students can learn about the program at Studio 345’s website. Registration through a lottery system is currently open for the winter trimester.
Financial Literacy Event a Success
Cardinals' Nest – On Thursday, October 12th., 2017, Ms. Patel, career development coordinator for Phillip O. Berry, hosted a financial literacy event in partnership with the State Employees Credit Union. Over 300 Berry students from AVID and the Academies of Engineering (AOE), Health Science (AOHS), & Information Technology (AOIT) experienced the “Reality of Money” simulation. Students assumed the roles of young adults with jobs, a family, and financial responsibilities to manage. They were exposed to various financial learning points, the value of furthering their education after high school, and the limiting effect bad credit has on their lifestyle choices. They also learned the importance of living within one’s means and saving for their financial futures. This hands-on activity is designed to ignite their passions for financial literacy.
In addition to the State Employees Credit Union, Ms. Patel gave out a "big thank you" to the following sponsors who also sent volunteers for the even: Phillip O. Berry PTSA, former and current CMS support staff, Carowinds, Treasher Inc., Wells Fargo Bank, Funding Futures USA, Learn to Earn Tutoring, Kings College, Technology Learning Cloud, Strength Based Community Alternatives, and Olive Garden of Fort Mill.
Congratulations Phillip O. Berry Marching Band
Durham, NC – On Saturday, September 30th, the Phillip O. Berry marching band participated in the “Bull City Marching Band Classic” at North Carolina Central University’s O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium. The competition hosted seventeen high school bands from across the Carolinas and Virginia and included an exhibition from NCCU host band, The Sound Machine Marching Band.
The Marching Cardinals placed 1st in “dance flag” & “music,” and 2nd in “percussion”, “drum major”, “marching” & “general effect” categories. The marching band also placed 2nd overall in Class 2A competition. Mr. Suggs, band director, remarked that he was, “very proud” of his students and their accomplishments.
This was the first time Phillip O. Berry participated in this competition. The marching band will compete next in the “Mid-Eastern Band Classic” at Highland Springs H.S. in Highland Springs, VA on Saturday, October 21st.
Congratulations Marching Cardinals!
Ms. Kennedy is the West Learning Community Principal of the Year
Cardinals' Nest – It’s not unusual to find Principal Terra Kennedy sitting at a desk in a hallway at Phillip O. Berry answering emails. “I don’t like to be shut up in an office,” said Kennedy. “I like to be out and about, interacting with my students. They know they can come to me any time.”
Kennedy sets an open-door policy for her students. She keeps healthy snacks in her office and students often drop by. “They want to see what I have in the bottom drawer,” said Kennedy. “They need nourishment before they take a test.”
Kennedy’s strong bond with students is one of the many reasons she was recently named West Learning Community Principal of the Year. “Leaders are often described by the qualities they possess,” said Dr. Curtis Carroll, West learning community superintendent. “When I think about Terra Kennedy and her leadership, I think about her actions. The decisions she makes are derived from her belief that every student is gifted. As a result, she challenges them to become our future leaders. She empowers her staff to bridge knowledge and understanding with the 21st century landscape of constant innovative disruptions. The love Principal Kennedy demonstrates to the staff, students, parents and community is rooted in her passion for young people, her dedication to learning and teaching, and her desire to positively impact the community.”
Dr. Carroll surprised Kennedy with a visit to her school and announced the news over the school’s PA system. Kennedy was taken to a classroom where a reception was set up for teachers and students to celebrate with her.
“My initial response was, ‘Why did they select me?’” said Kennedy. “I am so passionate about my students and education, but I like to fly under the radar and let my students and staff shine. But I was so honored that my peers have noticed my dedication and feel like I am worthy of being honored.”
Kennedy is from the small South Carolina town of Coward. As a child, she pretended to be a teacher, influenced by two paternal aunts who are teachers. “I was encouraged to find a career that would allow you to serve others,” she said. “I joined the Teacher Cadets program in high school and I knew teaching was the career for me.”
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Winthrop University and her master’s degree from Gardner-Webb University. She was a student teacher at South Mecklenburg High and she spent one year teaching in Rock Hill, S.C. where she was named new Teacher of the Year. She returned to CMS for her second year to teach at Marie G. Davis, then an IB Middle Program. When she heard about Phillip O. Berry opening, she immediately applied.
“When I heard the story of Phillip O. Berry and how he wanted to be an engineer and couldn’t receive the education he needed, but he didn’t give up, I was inspired,” said Kennedy. “It reminded me of my own upbringing.”
In Coward, post-secondary education was not encouraged for African-American students. “My family knew how important it was, but African Americans were expected to get a farm or a factory job,” said Kennedy. “Being a part of Phillip O. Berry allowed me to help students from all backgrounds have an opportunity to find a career, a STEM vocation or a college path.”
Kennedy taught at Phillip O. Berry for a decade and then became the leader of the Career and Technical Education program at Myers Park High School. A year later, she was invited back to Phillip O. Berry to lead the magnet program. The school’s principal, told Kennedy she had a gift for leadership. “I’d never considered that,” said Kennedy. “I thought I would teach for 30 years and retire.”
Kennedy earned her license, but remained in her magnet position. Dr. Carroll became the principal of Philip O. Berry and encouraged her to become an assistant principal. “I wanted to be an AP at Phillip O. Berry,” said Kennedy. “Curtis told me that I needed to broaden my horizons and that I would love students at any school.”
She became the assistant principal of instruction at Garinger. After two years, Learning Community Superintendent Charity Bell approached her about being a principal. Kennedy wasn’t sure she was ready. “I asked Brian Schultz (chief academic officer) to come observe me and see if I had a skill set to lead a school. He thought I was ready.”
Kennedy has been the principal of Phillip O. Berry for four years now, returning to the school she’s always loved. Her biggest goal is to prepare her students for the future. “When students sit down with me and say they aren’t going to college, I ask why,” she said. “When they graduate, they will have a diploma that gives them options. We are going to prepare them for the college, career or military. They will have access to the most rigorous coursework.”
Whenever she has a chance, Kennedy pushes aside her paperwork to interact with students. “It gives me the energy and strength to remind me why I do this,” she said. “For the students. My grandfather always said, ‘Don’t tell people what you do. Let your work speak for itself.’ Service is what guides me each day. It lifts me up when I give to others.”
Congratulations Ms. Kennedy! "The sky is the limit!"
*article originally published by CMS via CMS Employee Intranet, 9/17/17