• Caroline Carringer and Hannah Cowart of Martins Creek placed eighth in the Duct Tape Challenge at the Science Olympiad State Tournament in Raleigh.
    Caroline Carringer and Hannah Cowart of Martins Creek placed eighth in the Duct Tape Challenge at the Science Olympiad State Tournament in Raleigh.

SCOUTING AROUND: Martins Creek students among best in state

    Sixteen students – 15 from Martins Creek School and one from Ranger School – traveled to N.C. State University for the Science Olympiad State Tournament on April 21, and two students earned medals by making the top 10 in their event.
    Caroline Carringer and Hannah Cowart from Martins Creek placed eighth in the Duct Tape Challenge. In the event, students are given duct tape and other materials, then are given a task to build something with those items. They have 35 minutes to plan and build.
    Once time runs out, the creations are tested to determine the winner. The students do not know what the task will be until the event begins.
    For the state competition, Carringer and Cowart had to build a basket that could fit through a hole, then have a way to lower weights into the basket. The basket had to be as lightweight as possible. They were able to place all the weights in the basket when their creation was tested.
    Their coach, Chad Brooks, said all of the students competing became experts in the fields of science they studied and practiced for the competition.
    “We are very proud of our students for all of their efforts in Science Olympiad,” Brooks said. “The work they have put in has went above and beyond their regular middle school curriculum.”
    Students from more than 100 schools across the state qualified for the state competition at regional tournaments. About half came from full teams that qualified, while the rest were students who individually qualified in their events.
    The Martins Creek team competed in all 24 events in the Science Olympiad. In addition to Carringer and Cowart, team members included Isaiah Davis, Camron Turner, Will Crayton, Christian Tighe, Emmanuel Eagle, Alyia McGaha, Liberty Worden, Dylan Curran, Connor Savugot, Alexus Pittner, Andrew Schultz, Chris Jenkins and Kain Jenkins.
    The student from Ranger, Hunter Osborne, competed in one event. Two other students – Emily Tomczak and Candace Leovao – also qualified but were unable to attend the state competition.
    Several students from Martins Creek also had the opportunity to participate in trial events the day before the competition. In the trial events, Crayton and Tighe placed eighth in Mystery Design, while Turner placed 11th in Density.
    Brooks offered special thanks to the team’s chaperones – Joey Conley, Joshua Crayton, Jammie Savugot and John Worden as well as Principal Paul Wilson, who drove the bus to Raleigh. He hopes the experience encourages his students to continue to expand their curiosity and knowledge.
    “This season has involved a commitment to becoming better teammates and devoting time to learning and experimenting,” Brooks said. “This team has been willing to do those things, and that has made it fun. That is the most rewarding thing, seeing the kids have fun while doing these events.”

Scouts seek support
    Local Boy Scouts of America leaders have a big goal to keep their programs cost effective for the families it serves. In just Cherokee County, Nantahala District leaders are hoping to raise $18,000 during its Friends of Scouting campaign. So, far they have received pledges of about $5,200.
    “Scouting is a great program,” said Emily Heffernan, the district executive. “Friends of Scouting is how we keep it going.”
    With Friends of Scouting donations, 90 percent goes back into the programs that serve children in local Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews and Exploring posts. Without Friends of Scouting, the district wouldn’t be able to provide scholarships to children for uniforms or camp, provide free rank advancements or provide events like the upcoming Fun Day for Cub Scouts.
    Money raised through Friends of Scouting also helps maintain the nearby Lumpkin Adventure Base in Franklin, plus provides training for local volunteer leaders as well as staff to support volunteers.
    Heffernan said the community should want to support local Scouting programs through Friends of Scouting because it is a youth program that is values-based, helping families have opportunities they may have not had with Scouting.
    “I believe in the program,” said Phil Keller, the senior district commissioner. “I’ve seen what it’s done for the kids. I’ve seen kids go to college just because they’re an Eagle Scout.”
    Eddie Hollifield, the district chairman, added that they also want kids to earn their way, which is why youth sell items like popcorn and camp cards. It is a combination of the Friends of Scouting fundraiser and the kids earning their way that helps local programs accomplish their goals.
    “That’s the best spent money you’ll ever give,” said Hollifield.
    The goal is to have $18,000 pledged by June 1. Donors have until December to pay what they have pledged to donate. To pledge a donation, call James Hylemon at 828-254-6189, Ext. 12, or email him at james.hylemon@scouting.org.

Voting starts for SilverArts
    The community gets to decide one winner in the Clay/Cherokee County Senior Games this week. In addition to the bronze, silver and gold awards for each category of the SilverArts competition, there is People’s Choice Best in Show.
    Art for the competition is on display in the Murphy Art Center. Each person may stop by to enjoy the show, then vote for their favorite piece.
    SilverArts showcases the talents of local senior artists in visual, heritage and literary arts. There are more than 100 pieces in this year’s competition. The show started Tuesday, and the pieces will be on display through May 12.
    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.