Education (107)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 21:28

Harlem Ambassadors Tour to benefit NEF

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Hoops and hijinks are coming
to Newcastle on April
6, 2015 when our very own
local challengers, the NEF
Racers, take on the Harlem
Ambassadors in a comedy
basketball show the whole
family will enjoy.

The show will be held at
the Newcastle High School
Gymnasium at 7 p.m. with
the doors opening at 6:20
p.m. General Admission will
be $10 at the door ($8 for
students and seniors with
children under four free). All
tickets bought before game
day are $8 regardless of age.

Proceeds from the event
benefi t the Newcastle Education
Foundation and will be
used to raise much-needed
funds for NEF’s mission to
provide funding to Newcastle
Public Schools through
grants for classroom projects
and other needs. (For more
information about NEF, go

The Harlem Ambassadors
offer a unique brand of Harlem-
style basketball, featuring
high-fl ying slam dunks,
dazzling ball-handling tricks,
hilarious comedy routines,
music, dancing and games
for the kids.

“At our shows, we want
the kids to know that they’re
part of our team too,” said
Harlem Coach Ladè Majic.
“We invite as many kids as
we can to come sit on the
bench, have a front row seat
during the show and get involved
in all of the fun stuff
we do.”

Newcastle is hoping to
make a good show at the

“We have scoured the region
for skilled – and sometimes
unskilled – players to
take on the powerful Ambassadors,”
said a NEF Game Organizer.
“Come to the game in
April and cheer on our enthusiastic
local talent, including
Mr. Tony O’Brien, Newcastle
Public Schools Superintendent,
Terri Scott, Newcastle
Elementary School Principal
and Jeanette Lore, Newcastle
Chamber of Commerce President/

The Harlem Ambassadors
have performed more than
2,500 professional comedy
basketball games as fundraising
and community entertainment
events for non-profi t
organizations, the U.S. military
and community service
groups since 1998.

“We’re proud to give communities
quality family entertainment
that parents,
grandparents and kids can
enjoy together and create
memories that last a lifetime,”
Harlem Ambassadors president
Dale Moss said. “Every
Harlem Ambassadors game
is one-of-a-kind because the
Ambassadors play against local
competitors. It’s a night
filled with laughter, comedy
and slam dunks, all to benefi t
the local community.”

Tickets will go on sale soon
and ticket venue information
will be released soon. For
more information, contact
Terri Bates at tbates.mbr@ or call 405-412-
4845. The event and assemblies
are sponsored by local
businesses and individual

More Fun with Harlem Ambassadors

Additionally, on January
20, the Ambassadors will
tour Newcastle Schools and
speak to youth through “Stay
in School, Stay off Drugs and
Don’t be a Bully” school assemblies.

The team will encourage
students to set goals,
show good moral character,
respect themselves and others,
not be a bully and avoid
negative infl uences like
drugs, alcohol and peer pressure
that can prevent them
from achieving their dreams.

They show kids that
through hard work and dedication,
they can overcome obstacles
and lead meaningful
lives helping others -- as professional
athletes -- or in any
profession they aspire to do.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 21:25

A message from the superintendent

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Hello Racers,

Since it has been awhile since
I have written an article for the
paper, I thought what better way
to get back in the routine than by
honoring our community members
who so graciously and professionally
serve on our school

January marks the annual observance
of School Board Recognition
Month—a time to salute
the work of the school board
members and to celebrate public
education. This celebration is really
a recognition of our community’s
combined commitment to leadership,
accountability and assuring that ALL children
succeed and learn.

In Newcastle Public Schools, school board
members must develop policies and make
very tough decisions on complex educational
and social issues impacting the entire
community. They bear responsibility for an
annual combined budget of over $14 million,
well over 2,000 students, 200 employees and
fi ve educational facility campuses. They
carry out the truest form of representative
government in our democracy—volunteer
public service and preserve the core of our
democratic land—PUBLIC EDUCATION.

Too often we neglect to recognize
the dedication and hard work
of these men and women who
represent us. I invite you to recognize
and celebrate the work of
your school board members. Let
me encourage you to let each of
them know you appreciate what
they do for kids in Newcastle by
inviting them to coffee, writing
thank you notes or whatever you
may feel like doing to show your

The people serving on the Newcastle Public School’s
Board of Education are:

•Dawayne Smith—President:
15 years of service
• James Albertson—Vice President: 10 ½
years of service
•Randy Corbin—Clerk: 16 years of service
•Doug Harryman—Deputy Clerk: 17
years of service
•Gary Knowles—Member: 7 ½ years of


Tony O’Brien
Newcastle Public Schools

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 20:30

Homecoming queen honored at Liberty Bowl

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

Senior Jordyn LeClaire
spent her Christmas
break representing her
state and her town at the
AutoZone Liberty Bowl in
Memphis Tennessee.

LeClaire, who was
crowned the Racer Football
Homecoming Queen
last fall, joined 120 other
homecoming queens
from across the nation
for the event. She was one
of only five chosen from
Oklahoma, and was chosen
based on academic
achievement, community
activities and individual

“Being able to represent
Oklahoma was an
honor in itself,” LeClaire
said. “I was amazed to
hear all the sweet and
heart warming comments
others gave our
great state. While representing
Oklahoma I
learned that being from a
certain state really says a
lot about a person, being
from Oklahoma others
thought of us as friendly,
loving people.”

Each queen was allowed
to bring guests, she said, and in all, there
were over 360 people in
Memphis for the three day event, which included
riding on a float during
the Liberty Bowl Parade,
performing a dance routine
during the halftime of the bowl
game, visiting and learning
about St. Jude’s Children’s
Hospital and sight-seeing.

“The second day of the
trip I attended St. Jude’s
Children’s Research Hospital
where I learned about how
the hospital functions solely
on donations and that no
patient ever pays a time,”
LeClaire said. “I was able
to hear a patient’s story
about their experience at
St. Jude and how it changed
their life forever and how it
affected their experience with

Not only did the girls
perform during halftime, but
they also performed for the

“During the pre-game
performance the queens
were escorted out by military
personnel for the national
anthem. During halftime
we danced to Big and Rich,
who were the half-time
performers,” she said.

LeClaire said the best part
of the trip was meeting so
many other queens from all
over the country and learning
about St. Jude.

“I made so many new
friends and many great
memories with them,” she
said. “The best part of all
was when I saw a little girl
who was a patient at St.
Jude, and she had a princess
wand. She stared at all of us
mesmerized by our crowns
and immediately put on her
crown and just stared. We
waved, since we couldn’t go
near her, and she smiled so
big. It defi nitely made being
a homecoming queen a very
great thing.”

LeClaire attended the
Liberty Bowl with her
mother, Misti Gravatt, and
her boyfriend, Newcastle
fellow senior Colton Bridges,
who was her escort for
homecoming. She is a
member of the National Honor
Society, Math Club and Link
Crew. She also served as a
football trainer this past year.
After graduation, she plans
to attend college to become
a Physician’s Assistant and
possibly one day, work with

Tuesday, 23 December 2014 20:43

Christmas carols Racer style

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

The Newcastle Middle School bands and choirs performed to a packed house on December 16.
Family, friends and faculty were treated to a musical night of holiday instrumental and vocal pieces directed by Todd Baker and Lisa McLean.

Up first was the Racer 6th Grade Beginning Band. They showed the audience the advancement in their musical talent before performing the classic Jingle Bells.

The 7th Grade Band, which also contained some first-time students followed performing the traditional Silent Night and A Holly Jolly Christmas before taking on a more modernized arrangement of We Wish You A Rockin’ Christmas.

Next up, the Racer 8th Grade Band delighted the audience with their rendition of Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty The Snowman and Holiday Cheers.
Director Todd Baker praised each of his bands between performances for their growth and personal achievements.

Following a short intermission to change the performance area, the middle school choirs took the stage. Up first were the Sixth Grade “Soundwaves.”
This group of male and female vocalists really shined as they performed December Nights, December Lights, Shoulda Been a North Poll Elf and Do You Want to Build a Snowman from the popular Disney movie Frozen.

During “’C’ is for Christmas, a multitude of soloist were able to demonstrate their individual talents. The soloist were: Mariah Stephens, Shane Guice, Kaylee Glass, Ethan Bullock, Breckyn Williams, Max Willis, Connor Lane, Emma Milligan and Reis Brawner.

For the final performance, the 7th and 8th grade Racer Choir took the stage singing On With the Snow! Medly and A Jolly Jingling Carol Medley. They also performed There is Peace with special soloist performances by Abby Medrano, Betsy Medrano, Hunter Ivey and Jordan Ashley.

The Choir was accompanied by Diane Watson.


Wednesday, 17 December 2014 21:07

Cooking Christmas treats for 4-legged friends

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By Lucy Wilson

On December 5th, members of the A.S.A.P. Club (Amazing Small Animal Project Club) met at the McClain County Extension kitchen to make homemade dog and cat treats for pet goodie bags.  

The members made enough treats for 11 cat goodie bags and three different kinds of dog biscuits for 16 doggie goodie bags.  
These bags were donated to Operation Christmas for people who might also have a pet that needs a Christmas gift.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 21:03

Blanket Brigade

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Some Newcastle elementary fifth grade students have given up their recess for the past two weeks to make baby blankets for the Norman Fire Department. One of their teachers, VA Ospovat read that the firefighters take blankets on calls with them to hand out if a home has little or no heat. The children wanted to help, so the Blanket Brigade was formed and they started making child and baby size blankets. According to another teacher volunteer, Jennifer Privett, they can make about one blanket a day. Pictured from left: Special Education teacher Tiffiny Grigg; students Taylor, Joanna, Ashlynn, Lauren and Trevor; Jennifer Privett.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 19:52

Christmas notes and voices

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

The Newcastle High School Band and Choir performed in the grand auditorium last Thursday evening for a nearly full house.

The Racer Band began the program with Christmas On A Snowy Night arranged by John Moss followed by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells’ holiday classic The Christmas Song.

Director Todd Baker took a few moments to shine a light on his students’ accomplishments so far this year, both on the marching field and in the concert arena.

The band finished its portion of the concert with everyone’s favorite Hallelujah from Handel’s The Messiah. A short intermission ensued while the band quickly broke down the stage to ready for the Racer Choir.

As Diane Watson began playing to an empty stage, soft voices could be heard coming from the rear of the auditorium. The singers walked in by candlelight to Personent Hodie arranged by Leavitt.

After the choir took their places, Director Lisa McLean led them in bringing holiday cheer with their renditions of Christmas Canon Rock by Pachebel and O’Neill, Wolfgang’s Christmas Canon by Mozart, Christmas Pipes by Gragam and Holiday Favorites Christmas Medley by Emerson.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014 19:45

Christmas helps to save literacy

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Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

In spite of busy holiday schedules, the Newcastle Early Childhood Center saw nearly 350 people at their 2nd Annual Countdown to Christmas Literacy Night.

“Considering everything going on this time of year, we had a great turn-out,” said Title I Reading teacher Tammy Bolles.

There were oodles of activities, crafts and yummy treats for the children to enjoy. The night was sponsored by the Title I Reading program to promote and encourage families to read and learn together.

“This is a great way to get families involved in literacy. The students and their families enjoyed making Christmas crafts, playing games, listening to stories told by an elf, and even voted for their favorite Christmas book,” she said. “They voted The Polar Express as their favorite book,” she said.

Also, each child in attendance was able to take home a free hardback book donated by Feed the Children Teacher Store, Bolles said.

And no Christmas event would be complete without a visit from Santa. All through the night, Santa was on hand in the ECC library to listen to children’s wishes and to pose for photographs.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 19:42

A fanciful winter gala

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

The Newcastle Drama Department’s first Annual Winter Masquerade Ball will be filled with intrigue and mystery.
The concept of wearing a mask while attending a ball began in the early centuries, as hiding one’s identity was part of the fun and games of a masquerade ball.
And, although the Newcastle High School Drama Department’s Winter Masquerade Ball won’t require full costumes, it will allow students a chance to channel their inner courtier and have a bit of royal fun, said Drama teacher Terry Cummings.
The glamorous event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20 and will be held in the Newcastle Ball Room (located inside the community center). Price of admission is $15 per masked student or $25 per couple. This is for high school students only.
“Our attendance is limited to 250 so the tickets should be purchased as soon as possible,” she said. “The Drama Club is selling the tickets.”
The dress code for the evening is floor length dresses for the girls and the guys must wear a shirt, tie, jacket and dress pants. No jeans allowed, Cummings said. And, everyone in attendance is required to wear a mask.
And no ball would be complete without a formal dance. The first dance of the evening will be a waltz, and if students don’t know how to dance the waltz, no worry as Cummings is offering free dance lessons.
“I will be giving dance lessons next week after school so that our first dance is participated by all,” she said. “We’ve also learned the Foxtrot and another teacher has agreed to show them the Texas Swing.”
There will be snacks and a photo booth to capture memories of the night, and a DJ will spin the tunes, both old and new.
“One of the reasons for this ball is to let our students experience a different time period, where dancing was the main attraction and with each other rather than a big crowd on the dance floor where they are not even aware of who they are dancing with,” Cummings concluded.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 20:49

Drama department to hold first-ever Masquerade Ball

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

Masquerade balls were a feature of the Carnival season in the 15th century and involved increasingly elaborate allegorical Royal Entries, pageants and triumphal processions celebrating marriages and other dynastic events of late medieval court life.

And, although the Newcastle High School Drama Department’s Masquerade Ball, won’t have quite this much pomp and circumstance, it will allow students a chance to channel their inner courtier.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20 and will be held – where else – in the Newcastle Ball Room (located inside the community center. Price of admission is $15 per masked student or $25 per couple.

Female students are required to wear a floor length dress and everyone is required to wear a mask, said Newcastle Drama teacher Terry Cummings.

As this is a ball, the first dance will be a waltz, she said. She has already begun teaching her drama students how to perform dances like the waltz and the fox trot, she said. Cummings will be offering free dance lessons to other students after the play is finished (See story at left).

“This is the first time anything like this has taken place in Newcastle,” she said. “The kids are so exited.”

Cummings said, they still need several things to make this magical night a success. She is looking for a “reasonably” priced D.J. and caterer.

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