Back-to-school time is upon us, and new UNC Asheville students will be moving into their residence halls this Friday, August 19. We have many activities planned to make them feel at home on campus, but we also want them to feel at home in Asheville. Several local businesses and organizations will be participating in our social media campaign to welcome our newest Bulldogs to town, and we hope you will, too. It’s easy!
Post a welcome message to your Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram accounts with the hashtags #AVLwelcome and #uncavl20 on Friday, August 19. If you’re a fan of selfies, wear your Bulldog blue and snap a pic of yourself to include with your post. You can also post during our Weeks of Welcome, the two weeks following the start of classes on Monday, August 22.
I am an English professor at Gardner-Webb University and for the past four years, I’ve taken students who are joining our chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, on a trip to Asheville for induction. Usually a handful of students are familiar with Asheville having grown up nearby or visited frequently, but most are relative AVL newbies.
We head out from campus in a big university van and drive into the mountains. After finding a place to park the huge van and breathing in the patchouli-scented air, we make our way to Doc Chey’s for lunch. The Sigma Tau chapter pays for lunch so college students get a double treat – a free lunch with leftovers they can eat for days.
As we leave Doc Chey’s, we write our “Before I die” wishes on the sidewalk chalkboard then we head to Malaprop’s for induction.
For English majors, Malaprop’s is mecca. The smell of coffee and books, the signed copies and staff picks, the shelves devoted to Banned Books and to Neil Gaiman. For me, the beautiful wonder is that a local, independent bookstore is always full of people, that we have to work to find an empty corner, that we have to stand in line to buy our books.
We line up in the Local Authors corner (near Ron Rash, GWU alum) and recite the Sigma Tau Delta pledge. The initiates receive their pins and certificates. The seniors are given their graduation cords, and we all cry a bit. One year, a playwright working at the table nearby took part in our ceremony and we gave her a bookmark as an honorary certificate of membership.
After the induction ceremony, the students wander around downtown as they please for a couple of hours before we meet at French Broad Chocolate Lounge. They have adventures, meet interesting people. One year a few of us found a box of free books on the sidewalk – a baited field for English majors.
We sip and eat wonderful chocolate and pastries at the Chocolate Lounge. The students love the emphasis on local foods, on recycling at every store and eatery. We share our excitement over purchases – usually books – then head back to the van for the trip home.
Every year, I ask if they want to do something different for the induction ceremony. And every year, they say, “NO! We want to go to Asheville!” For people who often think and act differently than their peers, Asheville is like going home.
My name is Runda Alamour and I am reaching out to you about a DonorsChoose Project I have created to benefit my students. DonorsChoose is a crowdfunding charity which allows public school teachers to post projects for their classrooms. I am a first year teacher and alumna of both Asheville High School and UNC Asheville. My project is raising money for general classroom supplies, scholarship resources (I teach 12th grade English), and contemporary reading materials. Thanks to many generous donors, I am already past the half point in my goal and only need $189 to complete the project. Until August 16, DonorsChoose will match all donations up to $100 when the code LIFTOFF is used at checkout. You can find current and future projects at www.donorschoose.org/Mrs.Alamour.
I moved to Asheville in 2009 and entered Asheville High School as an 11th grade student. I had moved all over North Carolina and attended many schools in all three regions of our state. I can tell you from personal experience that the culture of learning and community at AHS is above and beyond anything I saw at my previous schools. I am so proud to be returning as a teacher and to give back to future generations of AHS students. Thank you for your support!
Asheville area proms are getting into full gear. A time to celebrate for the graduate, family and friends. Mitchell’s Tuxedo in Asheville North Carolina is offering an Asheville Prom Package that you could win by completing a few simple steps. First of all, what is there to win? This prom package includes a tuxedo rental from Mitchell’s Tuxedos of Asheville, a makeup session by Audacious Beauty, boutonniere and corsage by Swannanoa Flower Shop, a photography session from ASE Photography, and a $50 dinner certificate to the restaurant of your choice!
This is an Asheville Prom Facebook Contest, so you have a few things that you have to do to enter: You have to like both the Mitchell’s Tuxedos Facebook Page and also the Contest Post on the Facebook Page, you have to comment and tell us which High School is the best in the area, and why; and then you have to share the post on your Facebook page. The Asheville Prom Package Contest ends at 5pm on Friday April 24, 2015.
So, the word on the street is that the Streetchat App has made its way into many Asheville area schools, and it is being banned by teachers and law enforcement. First of all, you have an Anonymous name, which increases the chance of posts which include cyberbullying and attacks on teacher, students and others. There is not any accountability, and technically there is not any easy way to hold anyone responsible. They have rules forbidding certain things being posted, but there is not any monitoring of the content as of yet. You are supposed to be 17 years old to use the App, but anyone can download it for their iPhone or Android. The App uses GPS, pinpoints your location, and then generates a list of schools from Grade School to College, that are nearby. Then people can post a message about that school, people in it, and individuals; never naming who the user (the one who posts) is.
A teenager in Connecticut is facing charges for posting inappropriate photos of a teacher with sexually charged captions. Several schools in Princeton WV are also dealing with bullying posts. As you can see in the post above, Clemson University in South Carolina is Trending on it as we speak.
Enka High School is one of the educational institutions that have been battling the Streetchat App. The school is currently on a top user list ranking #11 out of all of the schools across the Country, having over 1000 sign-ups that have downloaded the App. Students have been warned with OSS (Out of School Suspension) for anyone caught posting to Streetchat.