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High School Graduation Project

The Craven County Schools’ Graduation Project is a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary performance assessment completed over time. The Craven County Schools’ Graduation Project provides students the opportunity to connect content knowledge, acquired skills, and work habits to real world situations and issues. Through the Graduation Project process, students will engage various specific skills that include computer knowledge, employable skills, information-retrieval skills, language skills, teamwork, and thinking/problem-solving skills. The Craven County Schools’ Graduation Project is comprised of four components: a research paper, a product, a portfolio, and an oral presentation.


North Carolina High School Graduation Project as implemented by Craven County Schools

Craven County Schools Graduation Project Handbook


Deborah Langhans, Director of Secondary Education

Angela Kitchin, Craven Early College
Siobhan Gaestel, Early College EAST
Hilary Wiltshire, New Bern High School
Toni Adams, West Craven High School
William Byland, Havelock High School




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Early College Students Give Back

ECE at Chili FestThe students at Early College EAST (Eastern Applied Sciences & Technology) High School are very fortunate to have the opportunity to be in an early college program.  One way to show their appreciation is to give back to the Craven County community.  EAST students have found many different ways to accomplish this goal. 

For the past two years, EAST students have volunteered at the Havelock Chili Festival, serving chili for the Havelock Chamber of Commerce.  This year, groups of students from EAST’s Engineering Club, Community Service Club, Student Ambassadors and staff volunteers shared approximately fourteen hours of this community service opportunity.  “Our participation at the Chili Fest is an excellent way for our student body to work cooperatively and promote awareness of our very small school” said Erin Bingham, a science teacher at EAST.    

Sophomore and junior students participate in the Craven County Schools Graduation Project and frequently find ways to give back to their community during that process.  Students have organized a variety of events, to include raising money for many different charitable causes, contributing to our local food banks, cancer research, local improvements, and much more. 

Our sophomores this year will be doing their graduation projects on social issues and giving back to the community. They will spend at least ten hours working with and for local organizations to raise money, to raise awareness, and to provide service to these organizations. “We are encouraging our sophomores this year to become more actively involved in their community by focusing our graduation project on service based products” said Siobhan Gaestel, the Graduation Project Coordinator for Early College EAST.  “We are really excited to encourage our young people to give back, get involved, and see the world from a different point of view. We are still giving our students autonomy in deciding what type of service speaks to them, and we hope that by providing this opportunity to our students, we will inspire a spirit of service for years to come.”

The EAST Community Service Club, soon to be an official Junior Civitan Charter, are collecting soda can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House to support families who want to stay near their sick children who have been hospitalized. “This year, each staff member was asked to advise a club that served a purpose, and what better purpose is to serve?” says Alison Lassiter, Community Service Club advisor.  “I knew that many of our students did community service on their own, and thought that if we had a club to support community service, together we could accomplish more.”  The EAST Community Service Club will become a true charter on January 27, 2014, under the Tryon Civitan organization in New Bern.  They look forward to completing at least three service projects: one for a social issue, an environmental project, and a collection project.  They are always accepting donations to help with their projects!

EAST has also newly chartered a chapter of the National Honor Society.  Service is an extremely important component of NHS.  Newly inducted NHS members will participate in individual and school organized service projects as a requirement of their participation in the society.


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High School Information

During the 2012-2013 school year, North Carolina, along with many other states, adopted the Common Core and Essential Standards for defining what is taught in different courses. This spring, your child will be administered a new kind of classroom assessment.

Common Exams Include:

  • English Language Arts 1, 3, and 4
  • Geometry, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, Advanced Functions and Modeling
  • Earth/Environmental Science, Physics, Chemistry, Physical Science
  • American History 1 and 2, US History, World History, Civics and Economics
  • OCS English Language Arts 1, 3 and 4
  • OCS Financial Management, OCS Introduction to Math
  • OCS Applied Science

Common Exams follow a similar format to our new End-of-Course assessments as students will answer both multiple-choice and short answer questions prompting them to use higher level thinking skills.

For more information about Craven County Schools High School Common Exams, check out:
HS High School Exams FAQ for Parents and Students

Check out our other pages with valuable information for high school students:
Career Cluster
Earn College Credit
Graduation/Accountability Model
High School Graduation Project
Scholarships & Loans




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New Bern High Valedictorian addresses Classmates

Madelyn Gatchel

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of representing New Bern High School as the valedictorian of the Class of 2017. As the valedictorian, I addressed my classmates, as well as the family, friends and faculty who came to support us, explaining that graduation represents a time for celebration and reflection. More specifically, I spoke about reflecting and celebrating all that we learned in our four years at New Bern High School.

Below is an excerpt from the graduation speech:

“In August of 2013, we met for the first time as freshmen in high school, and as the future class of 2017. Many of us experienced mixed emotions about being in high school: excitement for all of the new freedoms and opportunities, but also anxiety because we did not really know what lay ahead. During our four years at this school, we have certainly learned a lot. In math we learned the quadratic formula; in science we learned that enzymes are proteins; in English we learned how to write a research paper using proper MLA format; in history we learned the Chinese dynasty song (which I will not be singing for you today) and in our world languages classes, we learned that words have genders. But we also learned some important life lessons here at New Bern High School. We learned to grieve after the loss of a beloved classmate; we learned to fail, and to learn from our failures; we learned the dangers of waiting until the night before a deadline to start a project (or in my case a lab report); we learned to think for ourselves, and we started to learn where our passions lie. For me, I learned that I love mathematics. I know this is an unpopular opinion among many of you, but mathematics is my passion, and over the past four years I have learned to embrace it.

I can comfortably say that we have learned a lot. So what? When I mentioned earlier that graduation calls for celebrating and reflecting, I meant it. I believe we should celebrate all we have learned the past four years because it shows how we have changed, how we have grown, how we have transformed into the young adults we are today. I would like to say that I am proud of all of us and all that we have learned both in the classroom and outside of it.

But there’s more good news! While this speech is almost over, our learning is not. Learning is a continuous process that will help us grow throughout our lives. It will challenge us when life is stale and fulfill us when we succeed. At some point in the near future, we will all have to learn something alone, without the help and guidance of our teachers and parents, which is both scary and empowering. For example, we will learn how to pay taxes, do our own laundry, and cook. We will also learn how to take care of ourselves and how to be good citizens. What I hope we will remember is that no matter where we are in life, we can always learn.”

I believe that the most important and influential lesson I learned at New Bern High School is the value of learning. I am thankful for all that I have learned in the past four years at New Bern High School, and I cannot wait to continue my learning next year at Davidson College.


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Creating Pathways to Prosperity

Pathways picture_1Every student faces many choices about how they will continue their lives after graduation from high school. Depending on their experiences and aspirations, students will decide to pursue post-secondary education, military service and/or a career. The Pathways to Prosperity process is a result of a partnership between North Carolina Career and Technical Education and the Harvard Graduate School to create pathways in high demand in high wage career fields promoting more options available for a student. The overarching goal of Pathways to Prosperity is to unite secondary, post-secondary, business and industry partners to improve career education at all levels to create a more qualified workforce.
Over the last few decades there has been great emphasis on students finishing high school and pursuing four year degree programs. While this has been a noble effort to reduce high school dropouts, it has not necessarily addressed the employment problems that have plagued America by having under skilled workers. It is estimated that over half of the college graduates under 25 with a bachelor’s degree are either jobless or underemployed. The “college for all” mantra is losing ground to a “skills for all” movement needed by business and industry. In fact, the fast growing jobs in the nation are “mid-skills” occupations that require an associate’s degree or an occupational credential. These same jobs have incomes that are equal to or higher than many of the jobs held by those with a bachelor’s degree. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 27 percent of people with post-secondary licenses or certificates (credentials short of an associate’s degree) earn more than the average bachelor’s degree recipient.
Locally, Career and Technical Education departments from Carteret, Craven, Onslow and Pamlico counties have invited leaders from school systems, post-secondary institutions, workforce development, economic development, businesses and industries to address the skill gaps on a regional basis. The local Pathways to Prosperity project will focus on several areas designated as high growth job markets with the first being the healthcare industry.
These leaders met on July 24 at Craven Community College to begin creating a strategic plan that would align educational offerings with workforce needs. The plan will address three main areas of concern with Healthcare educational pathways; employer engagement, career information and advising, and career pathway creation. While a strategic plan will be created over the next few months, the end product will be to create seamless pathways for students to meet the future labor market demands of the healthcare industry. While the healthcare sector was selected for the first Pathways to Prosperity plan, additional areas such as advanced manufacturing, tourism, and value added agriculture will be part of additional pathways work.
The Pathways to Prosperity process needs a variety of stakeholders from multiple facets related to a particular employment sector. Even though the Healthcare Pathway plan is underway, there is great need for additional industry leaders at the table. If you would be interested in serving on the Pathways to Prosperity committee, please contact Chris Bailey, Craven County Schools CTE Director at 252-514-6322. For more information visit the Harvard Graduate School Project to Prosperity report at:


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