With his wife, Sharon Hotchkiss, by his side, Dave Hotchkiss receives the Silver Beaver Award from Council Commissioner Andy Romagnuolo and Scout Executive/CEO Josh Christ.Delaney Denny and Leigha Nix stand outside the Dome Theater set up in The Learning Center’s auditorium. Photo by SAMANTHA SINCLAIR

SCOUTING AROUND: Boy Scout leader earns regional honor

   The Daniel Boone Council of Boy Scouts of America presented Dave Hotchkiss with the Silver Beaver Award at the council’s Volunteer Recognition Dinner on Friday night at the Asheville Event Centre.
   The Silver Beaver Award is given to those nominated for their service in the Scouting program but not seeking an award for their efforts. It’s the highest award given to Boy Scout leaders.
   “It’s not one of those things you expect to get,” Hotchkiss said. “I humbly accept it.”
   Hotchkiss is the charter organization representative – acting on behalf of Murphy First United Methodist Church – for Murphy’s Pack and Troop 400. He has served in that position, as well as other positions as needed for the pack and troop, since 2012, when the pastor at the time noticed a Boy Scout pin on his lapel and asked him for his help. On the district level, he serves as secretary of the Nantahala District Committee and chairman of Appletree Cub Field Day.
   Before moving to North Carolina, Hotchkiss volunteered with the Gulf Stream Council in Florida for 19 years, serving 14 years as a Scouting coordinator. He held just about every job on the committee for his sons’ pack and troop throughout their time in the program, and stayed involved after they both achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
   His favorite thing he’s done over the years is serving as the canoing merit badge instructor in Florida. He performed that role for 10 years.
   “I loved teaching canoing ... It was interesting to watch the Scouts get the skills of canoing,” he said.
   Hotchkiss was nominated for the Silver Beaver Award by two men he volunteered with in Florida – Bill Dunn and Stan Belyeu. He said they knew he hadn’t received the award yet, and they felt he should for his many years of selfless dedicated service to the program.
   “I do love Scouting,” Hotchkiss said. “My goal was just to have a healthy Scouting pack and troop.”

Planetarium to charter
   Each year, the elementary students at The Learning Center charter school in Murphy take a class trip to a planetarium. Last week, the planetarium visited the school, so all students got to enjoy it.
   The school and Parents Involved group funded the traveling Dome Theater to make a stop on campus for the full day Tuesday. It is an inflatable black dome with a diameter of 16 feet and a height of 10 feet, which sets up in 15 minutes similar to a bounce house. Everyone sits on the ground to watch the selected movie.
   “It’s like an igloo,” said Leigha Nix, an eighth-grade student.
   Each class got to watch two 30-minute movies, as teachers like Jessica Karageane selected the movies their classes would watch.
   Karageanes said the movies selected were age-appropriate and fit with the curriculum or students’ interests. The movies are the same ones seen in stationary planetariums across the country.
   “We’ve seen weather shows today, space shows ... We’ve seen all kinds of stuff,” Karageane said.
   The sixth-graders got to watch Night of the Titanic as one of their movies. The movie showed how conditions between Earth and space contributed to the ship’s sinking in 1914.
   “That particular group of kids have been obsessed with the Titanic since third grade,” said Cheryl Catuto, the school’s success coordinator.
   Nix said she is very interested in the ocean and enjoyed watching Into the Deep with her classmates. She learned a lot about the history of deep-sea exploration, and thought the experience was more like watching a 3D movie, immersing the viewer into the subject, like the school’s hands-on learning.
   “It really fit into the way we learn here,” Nix said.
   “You were literally in the center of it,” added a classmate, Delaney Denny. “You were a part of it.”
   Denny thought the way the dome was all around the viewer made it better than visiting a traditional planetarium.
   Karageanes said as she was planning what her students would see, she was “beyond thrilled” the Dome Theater was coming to the charter school, and the presentations met her expectations. She was inspired by the movies she saw with her middle-school science students.
   “I’d like to incorporate what we learned into next quarter’s learning,” she said.
   The school also provided special after-school showings for newly registered students and any students, parents and teachers who wanted to stay to watch another show. The Dome Theater is one of the touring “edutainment” attractions provided by Kramer International in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Curiosity Shop makes state list
   The Curiosity Shop in downtown Murphy is one of 15 great bookstores in the state, according to a recent list by Our State magazine. Owners Anne Silver and Kerry Archer were thrilled when they saw the online-only article including the store.
   “It was an honor to be included in that group,” Silver said, pointing out other honorees Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville and City Lights Bookstore in Sylva as stores she has always seen as great.
   Caroline Kelly, an intern with the magazine, called Silver recently. Silver recalled that she wanted to feature the store for the magazine’s website, and asked if Silver was interested in being featured. Silver agreed and answered questions between helping customers, never knowing what the feature exactly was.
   “I didn’t know until it came out how fortunate we are to be chosen,” Silver said.
   The article noted the store’s support of Thistle Farms and its selection of gift items in addition to books.
   Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.