Recent News

New Bern High School student wins American Red Cross scholarship 

Savannah Murphy

New Bern, NC (February 18, 2017) — While many students were enjoying a holiday break from school this winter, Savannah Murphy of New Bern, was planning to help save lives by hosting an American Red Cross blood drive. The New Bern High School senior earned a $1,500 scholarship as a result of her efforts.

As part of the Red Cross Leaders Save Lives program, Murphy hosted a blood drive at the Centenary United Methodist Church on January 13, 2017.  The blood drive was successful, bringing in 64 blood donations, exceeding its goal. As a result, Murphy was entered to win up to a $2,500 college scholarship and was chosen as a winner. Murphy was awarded her scholarship as well as a gift card.

“I wanted to help those in need of blood products as well as serve my community, It is an amazing opportunity to help your community, save lives, and win scholarships for your education,” said Murphy.

Registration is now available for the summer 2017 program, which will award scholarships to 10 student participants. More information is available at

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


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Graham A. Barden Elementary School Clubs

5th Grade Authors

Authors, 5th grade students: Aiden Oberhauser, Cody Tognazzini, Bilan Stanley

Chess Club

The GAB Chess Club

Being in a club is fun!  At Graham A. Barden Elementary School in Havelock, scholars can go to different clubs of their liking, which enhance their learning such as Drama, Lego, Dance/Etiquette, Safety Patrol, Yearbook, Chess, Battle of the Books and the Morning News show. Each club is unique and designed to appeal to a variety of interests.  The clubs allow scholars to explore their interests while providing an outlet for their creativity.

The Drama Club is a new and popular to GAB this year.  Mrs.Capellini agreed to be the sponsor of this club because she remembers when she was 3 years old, she would perform in church plays, and she has done it ever since. Now she is sharing that love of performing with others.  Currently, scholars in drama are practicing to perform The Three Little Pigs before the end of the year. Mrs. Capellini’s favorite part is watching the scholars perform the drama.

Another new club this year, which is very popular among the scholars, is the Lego Club.  This club is about building friendships along with helping to learn teamwork. Because of generous donations through Donors Choose and contributions of Legos from scholars, parents and the community, GAB was able to begin this club.  The Lego Club also helps with science skills showing structural integrity.

The Dance/Etiquette Club is also new this year. In this club, the sponsor, Mrs. Smith, teaches the children about the history of dance, the techniques of dancing, and how to dance.  It also helps them with knowing what to do in a variety of situations.

The GAB Safety Patrol is there to help the adults take care of the children and help keep the school safe. They make sure students do not run or talk when they are not supposed to. They help the children and adults if they need it.

The Yearbook Club is busy all year capturing the school events in photos. In this club scholars take pictures of school activities and events to include assemblies, field trips, class events, and parental involvement!  It meets on the first Friday of every month in the media center during lunch where the students talk and make decisions about the yearbook theme, page layout, meeting deadlines, and.

Mrs.Hassell and Mr. Harris who teach scholars the game of chess are the sponsors/advisers of the Chess Club. They find out if you can or cannot play chess. If scholars are familiar with the game, they help someone who is not.  2nd – 3rd graders go on Mondays and 4th – 5th on Tuesday during lunchtime.

Battle of the Books is a club that gives students opportunities to compete with students throughout the county.  It is all about reading books and then participating in trivia about the books they have read. It meets monthly and, this year, the winning school gets to go to a movie.

The Jetliner News Crew produces the morning news show for the school and that helps the teachers get important news out to all students and staff. In the news, scholars use the computer to and prepare what the anchors will say. The anchors are the ones who read from the teleprompter.

Being in a G.A.B. club is fun and there are a lot of learning enhancements, too! Children can learn new things, make new friends, and, they will always have fun!


~Written by 5th Grade students:

Aiden Oberhauser

Cody Tognazzini

Bilan Stanley



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H.J. Student Council visits Religious Community Service (RCS)


Student Council Members from HJ MacDonald Middle were taught the importance of giving to those in need without expecting anything in return when they volunteered at Religious Community Service (RCS) in February.  Students spent the morning working alongside other volunteers in the warehouse, store and the kitchen and dining areas.  RCS shelter and education areas were also visited as students learned about all of the services provided to those in need by RCS.  “Be kind.  Be giving.  You never know what the person next to you is going through or even if they are homeless,” remarked one Student Council Member.  “Many, many people are in need of basic necessities that we take for granted.”  Partnered with New Bern Police Department, visiting RCS was one of five opportunities HJ MacDonald Student Council Members have participated in with the focus on building leadership through service to others.  If you are interested learning more about the services provided by RCS, please call at (252) 633-2767.


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Our FFA students ventured to Raleigh to meet with their senators and representatives.

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West Craven High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) members and Havelock High School FFA members took on the North Carolina State Capital on Thursday, February 16th, 2017. The FFA students ventured to Raleigh to meet with their senator and representatives. The students were excited they had an opportunity to have one on one time with Senator Norman W. Sanderson and Representative John Bell. The conversation included hot topics going on in the legislature that concerned education and agriculture. Part of the visit allowed for the students to sit in on a house session and watch as they debated important bills such as HB 13:  Class Size Requirement Changes. This was a great learning experience for students to understand how important their voice is and how they can help make a difference in the world. The students are thankful for Senator Sanderson and House Majority Leader Representative Bell for taking the time out of their busy schedules to share their insight and they appreciate all of their wisdom and knowledge they bestowed upon them. 



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New Bern High spotlights teacher Jill Best !!

NBH Jill Best


On February 14, 2017 the Craven County Board of Education and New Bern High School spotlighted a teacher for the 2016-2017 school year who has countless qualities that make her the ideal candidate.  Her constant positive disposition and willingness to go above and beyond for the benefit of New Bern High School has gained the respect of both her administration and her peers.  As a lateral entry teacher, she has been able to bring her experience from her previous career into the classroom and make the curriculum rigorous and relevant for her students.  She has a fantastic rapport with both her colleagues and her students and sincerely bleeds red and black.

In addition to being an integral member of the CTE department, she also serves/has served as the JV Cheerleading coach, HOSA advisor, and senior class advisor.  She helped to create New Bern High’s social media pages and continuously and conscientiously keeps our stakeholders informed and excited about being a part of the New Bern High School family.  She was not only voted by her peers to be our spotlight teacher, she was our elective teacher of the month for the month of October.  It is obvious that this year’s NBHS spotlight teacher loves teaching and loves New Bern High School and is an ideal candidate to participate in the Craven County Teacher of the Year process.  We are proud to announce that New Bern High School’s Teacher Spotlight for 2016-2017 is Mrs. Jill Best.


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Lights! Camera! Action!



Every morning, a group of dedicated 4th and 5th graders gather in the library of Oaks Road Elementary School.  There is buzz as you hear them discuss the weather, current events and discuss the Word of the Week sentences.  After one last inspirational cheer, they are off and running providing LIVE news to the over 440 students at ORE.

The ORE News Show is led by the Media Coordinator, Hilda Whitney.  With a small dedicated space in the Media Center, she has assembled a group of top notch students to deliver the news daily to our students.  These students deliver the news with poise and professionalism that would rival any of our local news stations.  From beginning to end, the news show is produced by the students.

We asked four members of our news team to tell us about their experiences:

Aidan – 5th Grade (2nd year on the news)

The main part of the news show is the lines and graphics.  We need them to show up on the TV for everyone to see the news show.  The behind the scenes work is just as important as the anchor. I was on the news show last year. By being on the news show, I learned a lot about teamwork.  We have to use teamwork because everything is connected.  We need people to cue us and without that we wouldn’t know what to do.  Also, I get along with people better now.  I know what it means to work with a lot of different people.

Aye Aye – 5th Grade (1st year on the news)

We talk a lot about teamwork because it helps us understand how to work and makes us work faster. My favorite part is when we all gather around and talk about what we are going to do for the day.  We all take turns and get to do different jobs.  My favorite job to do is the bell. That job is important because it starts the show and lets everyone know when it is time for the show to start.  I messed up the first time, but that’s ok.  Mrs. Whitney helps us do better.  It’s ok to make mistakes

Dora – 4th Grade (1st year on the news)

The news is fun to do because you meet people that you didn’t know.  You can learn new things like percentages and how to work a camera.  You learn about weather and how to properly tell the weather.  This is my first year on the news.  I was scared when I started because I didn’t know what to expect.  Mrs. Whitney is in charge of the news show.  She asked me if I wanted to be on it.  We had to learn all about it.  We had to learn about running lines and graphics.  It was hard at first, but now it’s easy because we all practiced.

Sakura – 4th Grade (1st year on the news)

It’s fun and exciting to be on the news.  You get to be on camera and that’s cool.  Not everyone gets to be part of the news team.  You actually feel like you’re part of the real news.  I would like to take a field trip to see the real news.  We are able do fun things like the lines, Pledge of Allegiance, news anchor, bells, weather and graphics.
Being the anchor is the hardest one to do.  Most people like to be anchor, give the weather or say the Pledge of Allegiance because you get to be on camera.  There are lots of behind the scenes jobs as well.  When I grow up I want to be a sea scientist, an artist or a news person.  I have learned to use teamwork.  I have learned how to used technology in different ways.  I’ve learned about perseverance. It’s hard to do, but you have to keep trying. The news team is fun and you get to do really fun things

Thanks to the Bate Foundation Grant and Partners in Education, the ORE news crew received a new video mixer.  The video mixer will enable us to not only provide the news to the students at ORE, but also live stream the news to the greater ORE community.



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We Love Our Bus Drivers – Bus Driver Appreciation Week, February 13-February 17th.

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As a child who attended public school, I rode the school bus every day during the school year.  At the time I did not realize how much my family and my school relied on the bus driver to get me safely to school and safely home from school.   My bus driver was always an extension of my school.  From the moment I was picked up in the morning, to the time they dropped me off in the afternoon, I felt safe, loved, and cared about.  This sentiment has not changed.

I am very thankful to have an amazing team of bus drivers at Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary School and I am sure this feeling is shared by all Assistant Principals and Bus Supervisors within Craven County.   Bus Drivers are responsible for the safe transportation of Craven County students to and from school every day.  This is an awesome responsibility and one that does not go unrecognized.

The students and staff at Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary School would like to thank each of our bus drivers for their hard work and dedication.  February 13th through February 17th is Bus Driver Appreciation Week.   During Bus Driver Appreciation Week please thank a bus driver.

Sarah Willhite

Assistant Principal

Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary School


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Congratulations Ms Joyner from Oaks Road Elementary


                                                                                    Pictured: Mike Bass, Katlin Joyner, Principal Eleanor Patrick

Edward Jones Financial Advisor, Mike Bass, partnered with Craven County Partners In Education to award a $100 gift card, flowers, and a box of chocolates (to celebrate Valentine’s Day!) to Katlyn Joyner, an Exceptional Children’s teacher at Oaks Road Elementary. Mr. Bass explained that Ms. Joyner goes beyond the requirements of her job description.  She works to build the confidence of her students and relationships with her students and their families, and is truly a treasure among those in the education field.  Ms. Joyner said this accolade would not be possible without the support of her team members and she looks forward to spending the $100 gift card for materials in her classroom. Also, she promised to share her chocolates!

The Edward Jones Teacher Recognition Award demonstrates the company’s commitment to positively changing the lives of students and families in our community.  Pictured are: Mike Bass, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones with Mrs. Joyner and her principal, Dr. Eleanor Patrick.  Congratulations, Ms. Joyner!


If you would like to learn how your organization can make a difference to a Craven County Schools teacher in the classroom, please contact Darlene Brown, Partners In Education, at 514-6321.


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Creekside Elementary spotlights teacher Tonya Gent

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On February 8, 2017 the Craven County Board of Education and Creekside Elementary spotlighted Ms. Tonya Gent, a teacher who makes her classroom a very special place.  At a quick glance, a visitor would see a bustling environment: the teacher working with a small group asking probing “why” questions about a text, other students plan in groups, a team of children test their rocket experiment, another student is learning Spanish, while another student has finished the assignments and mastered the current ELA lesson and is encouraged to learn French.

Ms. Gent is a determined educator that meets the needs of her students through various hands-on educational methods such as weekly stem lab experiments, cooking projects, computer websites, as well as many other higher order thinking activities. She captures the interest of all her students through “out of the box” activities and creates a love of learning in her classroom. The students in her classroom work together to solve problems and learn from each other in teams. Her students know that she has high expectations of them and they rise to those expectations. Her reading requirement is for them to read “only on days that they eat,” so her students can be seen reading throughout weekends and holidays. Her approach is setting a solid foundation for her students in life.

This teacher keeps in touch with her parents in multiple ways including weekly emails, Remind 101 Texts, and a fun app with pictures from her classroom called Homeroom. This helps create a sense of community within the classroom for parents, students, and teacher.

She not only helps her students learn, but she is also available to other teachers. She has created many resources that she is willing to share with other teachers. She has created several math, ELA, and guided reading resources that have been very helpful in other classrooms.

Mrs. Gent is an excellent motivator and educator. She has a unceasing tenacity to create an environment in her classroom that will inspire her students. The motto in her classroom is “be greater than average.” Through the students’ growth in test scores, motivation, and confidence throughout the year, it is evident that she helps students achieve just that. Mrs. Gent is definitely a “greater than average” educator and deserves recognition for all that she does.



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WJG Adoption












As part of the Adopt-A-School program, Marine Air Control Squadron 2 (MACS-2) of the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point officially adopted W. J. Gurganus Elementary School. A formal signing ceremony took place today at the school with the command and Marines of MACS-2, and students that are military connected.
The Marines from MACS-2 have agreed to continue to partner with W.J. Gurganus Elementary School to promote education, health, fitness and citizenship for the current school year and beyond. In addition to serving as positive role models for students, marines will participate in mentoring programs and special events at the school.
We appreciate the support, dedication, and commitment of MACS-2, this partnership means so much to our students and staff of WJG. By volunteering at the school and in the classroom you are definitely setting wonderful examples for our students’ while contributing their success!


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