Monday, November 25, 2019

New Firsts For Students Taking the ACT Test

Introducing: ACT Section Retesting,
ACT Superscoring, and Faster Results with
ACT Online Testing on National Test Dates

Beginning with the September 2020 ACT test, these new options offer students more choices, a better experience, and greater confidence that their ACT test scores best reflect their hard work, overall academic achievement, and potential for success throughout their lives. 

Learn about new choices below:  

Friday, November 22, 2019

Local Scholarship Applications for Seniors

Elizabeth Marie Roberts Scholarship$8,000
Graduating seniors from Northern High School, Riverside High School, Voyager Academy, or Durham School of the Arts. Must be accepted into any public state university or college in NC, Watts School of Nursing, or Durham Technical Community College and have a minimum grade of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale with demonstrated family financial need.

Benjamin F. Ward Scholarship$10,000 
Graduating high school seniors in Wake, Durham, Orange, or Chatham counties planning to attend a 4-year public or private college or university in North Carolina. Must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale with demonstrated commitment to community service and family financial need.

Citrix ScholarshipUp to $20,000
Students planning to attend or currently attending NC Central University, Shaw University, or St. Augustine's University and pursuing a major in computer and/or information science. 

GSK Opportunity ScholarshipUp to $20,000
Be a U.S. Citizen for a minimum of one year; reside in Chatham, Durham, Orange, or Wake counties for a minimum of one year; be eligible to receive NC resident tuition costs; attend a public state university or community college in NC and demonstrate the potential to succeed despite adversity as well as an exceptional desire to improve himself or herself through further education or training.

Joseph Nystrom Working Student ScholarshipUp to $16,000
Students in Orange, Wake, Durham, Chatham or Alamance counties who are working at least part-time while in school and have demonstrated financial need.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Rube Goldberg Competition Saturday

Fall 2019 Engineering Competition

One Durham Tech engineering team is made up entirely of Voyager Academy students and two other teams have graduates from Voyager on them. 

The ~ twenty-five judges are local industry engineers and architects. They provide $2500 in prize money for the top 10 teams. There are usually about 75 - 80 teams participating from Wake Tech's and Durham Tech's Intro to Engineering classes (EGR 150). It is a great experience for our students. Although we only bring  5 or 6 teams to the competition Durham Tech has either placed 1st or 2nd for last several semesters.

Family, friends and teachers are welcomed to attend all or part. Come cheer on out students in this prestigious competition! 

7:30 a.m. – Doors Open for Judges

·        A light breakfast and coffee for judges will be available.

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Judges’ Meeting/Doors Open for Competitors

·        Student teams check in to get table assignments and confirm attendance.
·        Judges will receive judging materials and a small token of our appreciation.
·        Dr. O’Riordan-Adjah, Department Head of Engineering, will review judging procedures and scoring sheets, and assign judges to teams.

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.: Announcements

·        Welcome/Introduction
o   Special Guests
o   Special Thanks to Faculty
·        Explain Roles
o   Judges, Volunteers, Scorers, Runners

9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: First Round of Judging

·        First Round

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.: Lunch and Coordinators’ Meeting

·        Scorers will determine top ten teams.
·        Judges, staff, and volunteers will meet and procedures for second round will be explained.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Second Round of Judging

·        Judges’ scores determine the third, second, and first place winners.         
1:15 p.m.: Announcements, Thanks, and Awarding of Prizes

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

VAHS Student on Durham Tech. CC Team that Wins Math Competitions

Durham Tech won the NCMATYC Math competition this year for the second time in three years and, in doing so, became the first three-time winner of the ten-year-old competition!
Congratulations to Durham Tech NCMATYC team members Josh Christie, Claire Cronin, Sam Dod, Zach Gordon, Tyler Hampton, Rimeh Ksiksi, Chase Raupp, Jasper Sylvestre, Maria Tyurina, Milo Vaisey, and Jennifer Wright.
Special recognition goes out to Zach Gordon, Chase Raupp, Maria Tyurina, and Jennifer Wright, whose team finished 2nd out of 31 teams in the collaborative portion of the competition, and to Jasper Sylvestre, who finished first out of 117 students in the individual competition. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

UNC Chapel Hill Summer Journalism and Media Programs

Students interested in journalism and media are invited to apply for these on-campus summer opportunities offered through Carolina's Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

NC Scholastic Media Institute - This four-day institute provides students and advisers with intensive training in disciplines such as broadcast, newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, and design. To learn more, click here.

Carolina Sports Journalism Camp -  From attending a Smith Center press conference to writing a sports feature story on deadline, students get an inside look at what it takes to become a sports journalist. Click here to learn more.

Chuck Stone for Diversity in Education and Media - This fully-funded program gives rising seniors of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to hone their storytelling and writing skills through classroom study, real-world scenarios, and professional mentors. To learn more, click here.

Project Uplift and Uplift PLUS

Project Uplift is a summer enrichment and college access program designed to promote and increase access to higher education for all outstanding students, especially those underrepresented in post-secondary education. Every year, during May and June, approximately 1,000 high school seniors participate in one of four separate Project Uplift sessions. During this two-day experience, Project Uplift participants live on Carolina’s campus, interacting with faculty, staff and current students, participating in educational, cultural and social activities. Project Uplift Scholars have the opportunity to immerse themselves in college life and experience the academic rigor and social climate of a four-year institution.
For 50 years, Project Uplift has consistently provided a diverse selection of rising high school seniors from across the state of North Carolina with an opportunity to live, lead, and learn about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a first-hand basis.


Experience Your Future in Medicine

Future doctors and health care practitioners will enjoy an extraordinary opportunity to discover their passions through hands-on medical experience at NYLF Medicine. Over nine amazing days on the campus location of your choice, you will experience the collegiate lifestyle firsthand, learn from doctors, participate in an interactive curriculum led by advisors, visit a top medical school, test your medical knowledge during clinical skills rotations, and explore professional opportunities in the ever-expanding fields of medicine and health care among fellow high school students.

Read more here

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

VAHS Career/College Fair Nov. 18, 2019

The VAHS Advisory Committee is Proud to present the VAHS Career and College Fair on Nov. 18, from 10:45-11:45 (during Advisory and lunch).

  • All VAHS students will have the opportunity to meet representatives from 10 colleges and universities. 
  • Military recruiters from the Army, Navy, and Marines will be in attendance. 
  • Teacher alumni will  be presenting exciting information from the colleges and universities  they attended.
  •  This is a great chance for students to learn and begin to explore which college or career is right for them. 

Admission Representatives from the following universities will be in attendance from 10:45-11:45 in the VAHS gym.

Durham Tech
Lenoir Rhyne
Cambell Univ
UNC Charlotte
Teacher alumni will be presenting information form their colleges in their classrooms during Advisory. Students are encouraged to visit both areas to gain the most of this experience.   

VAHS Teacher Alumni and Colleges 

Appalachian State University
Belmont Abbey College
Gardner-Webb University
Pembroke University
UNC Chapel Hill
Shaw, Baker, Dodson, Hobgood
University of Maine at Orono
Western Carolina University
Duke University
Penn State University
University of Florida
University of Mississippi
University of Pennsylvania
Davidson College
Bloomsburg University
Dartmouth University
CSU Northridge
FL A Atlantic University
Wheaton College
Acadia University
Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute
Shenandoah University


It’s been just over a month since the FAFSA officially opened for the 2020-2021 school year. Parents  have been working to help their students through the application process. Completing the FAFSA is a crucial step in a student’s college-going journey, but getting the application done can be challenging! 

Please see the  FAFSA resources below for assistance. 

Friday, November 8, 2019

Student Video: How to make Friends in College

Though your high school friends are awesome, typically, your college friends will be there for make sure they're great!
In this must-watch video, Amanda opens up about her experience acclimating to a new social setting and shares her top 5 friend making tips.

college advice: how to make friends freshman-year

New ACT Test Options for Students

Students Get More Options on the ACT Test: Four Fast Takeaways

When enough students have opportunities, our society changes for the better.

Our new, student-focused options for ACT test-takers beginning in Sept. 2020 are meant to meet the current generation of learners where they are—in a personalized, online environment.
Simply put, we are committed to opening every door possible to help today’s students succeed and leveling the playing field for all.

We introduced these options based on feedback from students, parents, teachers, counselors, administrators and higher education officials. Here’s what you should know:

1.) It’s about showing what students have learned.

These new options are designed to provide students with a better testing experience that encourages more personalization and choice. But the most important thing they do is create opportunities for deeper learning and content mastery with section retesting.

ACT Section Retesting allows students to retake one or more section (subject) tests once they have taken the full ACT test, rather than having to take the entire test again. This gives students the option to focus on areas that may need improvement and better master the content they need to succeed.

We are committed to providing everyone with the opportunity they deserve to show what they know and pursue their unique path to success.

In this vein, we are doubling the number of fee waivers we provide to students from low-income families. Students who currently test with a fee waiver will now receive a total of four fee waivers to use on a full ACT test or up to three section retests per waiver. It will be up to the student to decide how they would like to use their four waivers, as long as they have taken a full ACT test before they register for a section retest.

2.) Superscoring is the best, literally.

Superscoring—averaging the best section (subject) scores across test attempts to provide the highest ACT Composite—is an existing practice already used by many colleges and universities for admissions and scholarship decisions. The number of institutions that superscore continues to increase as more students choose to retest.

We have conducted research on section testing and superscoring across test administrations to ensure these new options are valid and reliable.

We know from research that:

These studies informed our decision to allow students to retake individual sections of the ACT. And our latest study on superscoring showed that it was more predictive of first-year college success than any other scoring method.

We believe these new ACT test options, combined, will help students reach their maximum potential, showcase their academic readiness, and put their best foot forward in the college admission process.

We continue to advocate for colleges and universities to dig into the data on superscoring to make the best decision for their institution. Students can determine if the college they’re applying to accepts superscores by visiting the college’s admissions page.

Read thr full blog post from the ACT below

Gettysburg College Opportunities for Juniors and Sophomores

Gettysburg College is excited to offer several opportunities for high school juniors and sophomores to attend academic camps over the summer months. Subjects include psychology, history, creative writing, or information technology. Please find information to share with your students about our academic camps below: 
  • 3D Object Modeling and Printing Camp - Students will study 3D object modeling and printing starting with the basics of a 3D printer. After learning the fundamentals, they will practice designing objects.
  • Build a Bot and Code It Too - Students will gain hands-on experiences in coding, wiring electronics, and building robots through the open source software and hardware. This camp is an introduction into the world of coding robotics and electronics. 
  • Camp Psych - Students will get hands-on experiences that introduce them to research in psychology during this fun, challenging, and engaging introduction to the field.
  • Civil War Era Studies Camp - Students will get to enjoy historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania while studying the American Civil War History through lectures, field trips, and unique learning experiences. They will explore the circumstances leading to the war, investigate significant battles during the war, and explore the condition of the United States after the war. 
  • Young Writers' Workshop - Students gain an in-depth introduction to all four genres of creative writing: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and writing for stage and screen.
  • Civil War Institute Summer Conference - Scholarship - The High School Student Scholarship component of Gettysburg College's annual Civil War Institute summer conference provides high school students an opportunity to explore the history of the Civil War era on the site of the war's most decisive battle. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Paying for College Resource

Sallie Mae has created the resource below to help students and families responsibly pay for college. Explore important, timely topics and share with others who may have questions about planning for college.

Sallie Mae Paying for College Resources

10 Things for Seniors to Remember in November: By Eric Simonelli and J. O"Kane

The 10 items in the article below just some of the discussion items included in the  VAHS Senior Meeting. Seniors need to contact ms. O'Kane to schedule a Meeting.
1. Complete the Common Application and school-specific applications. Make sure you complete all the sections of the Common App, including college-specific questions and supplements.
As of today, over 60 VAHS Seniors have applied to college through either the Common Application or directly through College websites.   
2. Sign and understand the FERPA Waiver for college letters. When a teacher submits a letter on your behalf to colleges, students choose to waive their right to review the letter later. I recommend waiving your right, so it keeps your letter(s) 100% objective.
3. Make sure you request your teacher who is submitting their letter to colleges on your behalf in enough time to meet admission deadlines. Colleges have different deadlines. Check-in with your teacher to make sure they have submitted your letter on time.
4. Follow up with your school counselor to assure your academic records were submitted to each college you applied to. Once you have applied to a college, you will receive a confirmation in an email.
Transcripts are uploaded into the Common Application, Parchment may  be used for non Common Application Schools. 
5. Understand what college deadlines you are applying for (Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Admission, and Rolling Admission). Early Decision is binding, and most elite colleges fill almost half of their class with ED candidates.
11/15 is one of the last upcoming EA deadlines. Time is running out for EA, but certainly not too late for Regular Admission deadlines!   
6. Once you have applied to each school, know how to check the status of each application. Each college has its own system for students to view their status, which includes if they have been accepted, denied or waitlisted.
7. Remember that you must send your standardized test scores from the testing center (CollegeBoard/ACT) to the colleges directly.
Test scores are self-reported
8. Students and parents must create an FSA ID. Once you have created this ID, you can start completing the necessary FAFSA paperwork.
9. Begin working on and/or complete the FAFSA which opened on October 1, 2019. In order to receive a financial aid package, each family must complete the FAFSA. Schedule an appointment at the College Planning Center of Rhode Island. It’s free to complete your FAFSA and they will help you. It takes 30 minutes.
10. Search for private scholarships in your local community.
Check this blog, the daily announcements, emails and information board across from the counseling office for scholarship opportunities.
Eric Simonelli is an Academic College Counselor for S&A College Consulting in Portsmouth - - and Director of College Counseling at La Salle Academy. Follow him on Twitter @Eric_Simonelli. His College Planning Guide column appears in the Newport Daily News and on the first Saturday of the month.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Family resources: Here are a few tips for families to help their students along the journey to college.

Helping families help their students

To keep parents and guardians engaged and informed, the Common Application has developed a new set of resources designed to help families — particularly those who may not have navigated the college application process themselves — get involved in their student’s college journey.

These downloadable tools include a checklist for families, information about financial aid, and fast facts about application fees, fee waivers, and scholarships.

Check it out!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

How Students Can Prepare for the ACT Test

Learn ways to help students succeed by identifying the test prep options that match their needs.

Because the ACT® test content is based on what’s taught in the classroom, students can prepare for the test by taking rigorous courses in high school. However, many students seek out additional advantages by using test prep tools. With a plethora of prep resources available, it can be difficult to understand the unique features and benefits that serve specific student needs.

Attend this free webinar from ACT that answers the question, “What kind of test prep is right for each student?” Our presenters will share student best practices for preparing for the test and provide a detailed overview of the new and traditional prep products (free and paid) offered by ACT. We will also preview some new test prep options available to help students take advantage of upcoming enhancements to the ACT test.

This webinar will uncover strategies and materials best fit for each student, based on:
  • Subject matter needs
  • Cost (including free options)
  • Time constraints
  • Format (live instruction, videos, books, etc.)

  • Date: Thursday, November 21, 2019
  • Time: 4:00 p.m. EST / 1:00 p.m. PST
  • Duration: 60 minutes