Education notebook | Ocean Bay Middle School students send messages against bullying

vgrooms@thesunnews.comOctober 12, 2012 

Ocean Bay Middle School staff and students have wrapped up a week of anti-bullying activities that have become a tradition for the school, which was named a champion for its anti-bullying efforts by the Pacer National Bullying Prevention Center.

The week included Unity Day Against Bullying, where everyone wore blue, as well as discussions and activities that focused on cyberbullying and its effects. Students also have been writing letters and decorating posters that carry their personal anti-bullying sentiments, and those are being posted along the school’s halls for everyone to see.

On Friday, the week culminated in the rare opportunity for students to actually use their personal electronic devices in class. Their task was to craft an anti-bullying message, either alone or in a group, and text it to family members and friends.

“They realize this is pretty important when we let them use their phones here,” said Assistant Principal Kurt Lundgren. “It reinforces that they need to think about what they’re saying.”

Lundgren said enthusiasm for the exercise had been building through the week, and it would make an impact when messages go out from most of the school’s 1,150 students, as tweets have the potential of continuing for days or starting a new life on Facebook. He said the week’s activities had gone over very well, and he had been amazed at the outpouring of bullying-related stories that were told by students, who were very willing to talk about their experiences with their peers.

In Justin Mortlock’s eighth-grade social studies class, thumbs were flying once students were given the OK to pull out their devices and get to work. Some students began by sending positive messages and compliments to their friends, while others just got straight to the point.

“I do not want any more bullying from you or anyone else,” said Angel Ponce de Leon, 13, in a message he said he wrote for a friend.

Ben Tabib, 13, was quick to craft his message that he said he sent to 12 people: “Today is anti-bullying day. Remember everyone is perfect in their own way.”

Athlete’s pink socks give boost to cancer patient

Diane Blake of Little River said she is dealing with her second bout of breast cancer, but she got a healthy dose of hope, courtesy of Black Water Middle School student and football player Tyree Brown, 13. Blake works at a hospice with Tyree’s mother, Paulette Brown, who told Blake she had shared her situation with her family. In response, Tyree asked for a pair of pink socks to wear during his October games in her honor and for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“This gives me so much encouragement and strength,” Blake said. “I was just amazed by it.”

Blake said she wanted people to know what a wonderful young man Tyree is and said she hopes she can attend one of his games to cheer for the team in person.

Auction to support North Myrtle Beach Middle’s band

The North Myrtle Beach Middle School Band Boosters is holding a Silent Auction at the North Myrtle Beach TGI Fridays, Gator Hole Shopping Plaza, Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Proceeds will be used to buy equipment, assist with travel expenses, provide supplies and overall ensure the success of the band program, which is led by Dan Vigo.

For information about the school’s music program or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact Vigo at 843-399-6136 or

Area schools to learn earthquake safety

Next week is Earthquake Awareness Week, which will feature the Great Southeast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill at 10:18 a.m. Thursday. Schools in Horry and Georgetown counties will participate in the event, where students and staff will learn the “drop, cover and hold on” protocol for staying safe during an earthquake: Drop to the ground (before the earthquake drops you), take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold onto it until the shaking stops.

For more information, go to

Academy inducts officers for national health group

The Academy for Technology and Academics recently inducted junior and senior officers for Health Occupational Students of America, or HOSA, a national organization with more than 100,000 members.

Senior officers are: Vice President Gabby McDowell, Secretary Mikayla Johnson, Parliamentarian Kristen Mottey; President Zack Messtler, Treasurer Nicole Benson, Reporter Amber Squires and Historian Samantha Wells. Junior officers are: Parliamentarian Heather Haynes, Historian Samantha Spence, Reporter Sarah Reed, President Jessica Earnest, Treasurer Chelsea Anderson, Vice President Taliah Taylor and Secretary Hannah Russell.

Conway Elementary fills buckets over holiday

Faculty and staff from Conway Elementary School loaded a bus Monday with buckets containing school supplies, books, treats and other goodies they had donated along with local community members, Coastal Carolina University, Jason Kiggins and Help 4 Kids.

The buckets were taken to the Huckabee Heights Community Center, where they were greeted by parents, current and former students, and community members.

The school’s efforts were inspired by Carol McCloud’s book, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” that illustrates how showing kindness to others fills an invisible bucket all people possess. The students also were challenged to “fill buckets” during the Columbus Day holiday as part of a bully prevention initiative.

“Today was truly a blessing. Not only did we fill the buckets of the Huckabee Heights community, but they have filled our buckets as well,” said Maquitta Davis, school principal. “It was a great feeling to show our children that we care about them within and outside of our school. It was a happy day for all.”

Conway High NJROTC earns four medals at meet

Three freshman cadets from the NJROTC program at Conway High School competed in an orienteering/physical training (PT) event at West Ashley High School in Charleston Oct. 6.

Cadet Noelle Mitchell earned a seventh-place medal in orienteering and a third-place medal in the PT event. Cadet Tyler Altman earned a third-place medal in orienteering, while Cadet Brandon Williams took home the fourth-place medal.

“These three freshman did a fantastic job for their first-ever orienteering meet,” said Cadet James Horan, orienteering team commander. “I am looking forward to our team navigating their way to many more medals and trophies in the future.”

Don’t miss the music at Carolina Forest High

The Carolina Forest High School Show Choirs will present “Rockin’ in the Tropics” Oct. 25-27 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. at the school, 700 Gardner Lacy Road, Myrtle Beach. The program will feature tunes from the musicals “Tarzan,” “The Lion King” and “The Little Mermaid,” as well as the latest hits from the TV show “Glee.” Tickets are $7 and now available at the school office.

Learn more about dyslexia from expert at free event

Susan Barton, one of America’s leading dyslexia experts and founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, will hold a free presentation Nov. 8 for anyone needing more information about dyslexia.

The event, sponsored by the Horry County Literacy Council, is free and will be held from 6-9 p.m. in Maeser Auditorium, Building 600, at Horry Georgetown Technical College’s Grand Strand campus, 950 Crabtree Lane, Myrtle Beach. Gov. Nikki Haley also named October as Dyslexia Awareness Month, bringing awareness to the condition.

The presentation will cover the unique warning signs of dyslexia, the latest brain research and the genetic link, effective ways to teach reading and spelling, and methods that do not help and why. The event will be helpful to parents who are trying to determine if their child has dyslexia; educators who have students who struggle with spelling and reading, and who need to identify it and institute intervention programs; speech therapists; pediatricians; and counselors and psychologists.

For more information, contact the literacy council at 843-839-1695 or, or visit

Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at

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