“Color The Hill” – And Yourself – For A Cause (Or Three)

On Saturday, May 21, you’re invited to head to Finley Fields for the fourth annual Color the Hill Fun Run – billed as the most “colorful” run in town.

Beginning at 9:30 a.m., “Color the Hill” is a 4K run – or jog, or skip, or casual stroll – along the route used by UNC’s cross country team. Along the way, you’ll pass through five “color stations” where volunteers will shower you with non-toxic colored powder. (Don’t worry, it washes off.) At the finish line, there’s a party featuring music, food trucks and giveaways – and every runner gets their own packet of colored powder, so you can shower each other with color as well.

It’s all to benefit three terrific local causes: the SKJAJA Fund, the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ Academy of Information Technology (AOIT), which is based at Chapel Hill High.

The AOIT is a three-year program for students to learn technical skills and apply them in practice: students collaborate on technology-based projects, not only in computer classes but also in fields like English. (Last year’s AOIT class made a documentary about the “Bedford Boys,” a group of WWII vets from Bedford, Virginia, who fought at Omaha Beach on D-Day. The project included a field trip to Bedford, to the National D-Day Memorial.)

Laura Malinchock is a committee member for Color the Hill and a mother of two AOIT students; she joined Aaron Keck on WCHL to discuss Color the Hill, along with AOIT student David Hadar, a junior at Chapel Hill HS.


If you’d like to register for “Color the Hill,” you can get more info and sign up online at ColorTheHill.com. Registration is $36 for anyone 11 and up, or $16 for kids 5-10 with a paying adult. (Kids under 5 can run for free with a paying adult.)


Realtors’ “Day Of Service” At Chapel Hill HS

This Monday, April 11, dozens of local realtors will head to Chapel Hill High School for a “Realtor Day of Service,” performing maintenance work to spruce up the campus from 9 am to noon.

They’re with the Greater Chapel Hill Association of Realtors, working with the CHCCS volunteer office. According to a district spokesperson, they’ll be tackling a variety of projects, including:

– Cleaning up, reorganizing and staging the trophy cases in the commons area between the cafeteria and the main gym, and down the hall to the lower gym;
– Painting the exterior wall of the main gym concession stand with spirited gold and black paint;
– Weeding, cleaning out and mulching the gardens in front of Hanes Auditorium;
– Weeding, cleaning out and mulching the memorial gardens near the front parking lot.

Orange Chatham Association of Realtors CEO Cub Berrian, CHCCS Volunteer Coordinator Julie Hennis, and Laura Malinchock of the Chapel Hill High School PTA joined Aaron Keck on WCHL to discuss the “Day of Service.”


CHHS Runners Break School Record

Chapel Hill High School runners broke the school record in the 4×1 mile race in New York over the weekend.

Anna Passannante, Clare McNamara, Marija Crook and Katherine Dokholyan each ran one leg of the race and finished with a time of 21:14, breaking their own school record by 44 seconds.

The time was good enough for 10th in the nation at New Balance Nationals Indoor.

Tigers’ coach Joan Nesbit Mabe said it may have been the second-fastest 4×1 mile in North Carolina high school history.


“Untold Stories Of Pearl Harbor”

Franklin Roosevelt described it as “a date which will live in infamy”…but there’s still a great deal about Pearl Harbor that isn’t widely known.

Chapel Hill High School history teacher and author Bill Melega is giving a free lecture on “The Untold Stories of Pearl Harbor” Saturday, January 23, from 10:30 am to noon at the SECU Family House in Chapel Hill. Melega will share personal stories of survivors, talk about the events leading up to the attack, and answer frequently asked questions.

Bill Melega (and Sondra Komada of the SECU Family House) spoke this week with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


Melega is the author of “Bringing the Great War Home, Volume IV,” part of a series on World War I, as well as an SAT review book for Barron’s Publishing. He’s also been widely recognized for his teaching skills: he was CHHS Teacher of the Year in 2007-08, and in 2010 he was named the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Citizenship Teacher of the Year.

The lecture is free, but space is limited. To reserve a spot, email Sondra Komada: sondra@secufamilyhouse.org.

Located at 123 Old Mason Farm Road, the SECU Family House provides low-cost housing for patients at UNC Hospitals, as well as their families.


Chapel Hill High School’s Sherry Norris Named Girl’s Basketball Coach of the Year

Sherry Norris has been named the 2015 National Federation of State High School Associations Girl’s Basketball Coach of the Year at the state level.

The recognition came in a letter to Norris dated January 8.

The letter from the NFHS says, “Your contributions on behalf of high school athletics are deserving of our appreciation.”

The group recognizes coaches at the state, sectional and national level, according to the letter.

Norris was selected to the North Carolina High School Athletics Association Hall of Fame in August.

Norris has been Chapel Hill High School’s women’s basketball coach since 1977. Norris also coached the Tigers’ volleyball team from 1977 to 2013.


Chapel Hill High School Grad’s Documentary Aims to Fight Mental Health Stigma

The holiday season is a time for stories and there are few as inspirational as one that is from the lives of a family in our community.

Kristen Powers is a Chapel Hill High School alumna and is now a senior at Stanford. But when she was a young girl her mother was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, setting Kristen off on a journey to help others in her situation.

She spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about her story.


Twitch is available for rent or download through Vimeo OnDemand, iTunes and Google Play.


Rain Or Shine, “Tiger Chill” Is On At CHHS Saturday

Rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, tiger beats hurricane.

The threat of heavy weather this weekend is causing postponements and cancellations of events across the Triangle, but Chapel Hill High School is going forward with their annual “Tiger Chill” carnival on Saturday, with proceeds to benefit teachers’ professional development and other programs at the school.

(One accommodation to the weather: organizers are moving Tiger Chill inside.)

The carnival features inflatables, games, food trucks, live music and more. It runs from 4-8 pm at Chapel Hill High School; there’s a cost to play the games but admission is free.

Sondra Komada is the co-founder and organizer of Tiger Chill. She stopped by WCHL on Friday and spoke with Aaron Keck.


High School Football Preview: Week 3

This week WCHL will be at Chapel Hill High School cover the game between CHHS and Carrboro. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 o’clock.

Last year Chapel Hill beat Carrboro 41-19.

The Tigers got their first win of the season last week against South Granville 46-29. They were led by QB Conner Stough, who showed off his legs as well as his arm. He threw three touchdown passes and ran for another.

Carrboro is coming off of a close loss to East Chapel Hill last week 30-27. The Jaguars are looking to build off the momentum RB Greyson Magee built; the senior ran for 165 yards and four touchdowns. Despite his strong performance, the Jaguars still fell to 0-2 on the season.

Make sure to tune into WCHL for coverage of the game this weekend.

In other action, Orange travels to Riverside and Northwood travels to Jordan Matthews. Cedar Ridge knocked off East Chapel Hill on Thursday night 29-6.


“TigerLinks” Helps Freshmen Transition To High School

Back-to-school time is always exciting, but it can also be a tough transition for students – especially students moving from middle to high school.

But at Chapel Hill High School, teachers and students have joined forces to help incoming freshmen make that transition a successful one.

They’re doing it through a program called TigerLinks – which pairs incoming first-year students up with juniors and seniors who serve as informal mentors throughout the year. Improving on an earlier mentoring program, TigerLinks launched last year and continues into year two this week.

The idea, say organizers, is to improve grades, reduce behavioral issues, and help shrink the everpresent achievement gap as well.

Teachers Tom Stanfa and Myles Aitken are in charge of the program, along with Randy Trumbower, William Melega, Veena Rajan, and assistant principal Anna Hipps. Nearly a hundred juniors and seniors serve in mentoring roles: the program pairs them up and assigns them to groups of 10-13 incoming freshmen.

Tom Stanfa and Myles Aitken joined Aaron Keck on WCHL last week, along with student mentors Jade Martens and Hanna Siekiersky.


CHHS Grad Builds Playground For Haitian Orphanage

Chapel Hill High graduate Allie Parker has just returned from Haiti, where she and a team of 24 volunteers helped build a playground for orphaned children. Parker says the project was a hit with the kids.


“On the last day, right before we flew out, we went with them over to see it. They loved it,” Parker recalls. “I think at first they were a little confused, but after they all got out on it, they were having fun and they didn’t want to leave.”

The children at the Yahve-Jire Children’s Foundation range from infants to 18-year-olds. Some teens who have aged out of care at the facility stay on as staff members.

“A few of them have lost their parents to the earthquake, but most of them, their parents just can’t afford to keep them, so the owner has taken in 25 kids,” says Parker. She notes he has plans to expand to accommodate up to 60 children.


Parker and others raised $4,000 for the project in conjunction with the Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. This is her second trip to Haiti to help rebuild following the devastating earthquake five years ago.

She says she’d like to go on similar service project trips to Haiti and Nicaragua in the future. In the meantime, Parker is preparing to start classes at Virginia Tech this fall.