Chapel Hill High Golfer Named All-American and Defends State Title

The last couple of weeks have been rather eventful for local high school golfer Gina Kim.

The Chapel Hill Tiger was named to the American Junior Golf Association Rolex Junior All-America girl’s first team last Thursday, adding to a long list of accolades she has accumulated during her high school career.

Kim was one of two North Carolinians on the girl’s first team, joined by Emilia Migliaccio, of Cary.

Kim followed up that honor by defending her 3A state championship on Monday and Tuesday.

Kim not only won the 3A state title once again, she did so in dominating fashion. Kim followed up a first-round 69 by firing a 72 in the second round, finishing at three-under-par and cruising to a nine-shot victory.

Funding Gap in CHCCS Board Plans for New Construction

CHCCS assistant superintendent for support services Todd LoFrese talked about ideas to fill a funding gap for the new construction at Lincoln Center and Chapel Hill High School at the school board meeting last Thursday.

The board authorized a budget of almost $1.4 million for both projects at a previous meeting but have since exhausted the budget they had received from the county.

Since the board is waiting to see if Orange County voters will approve a record $120 million school bond in November, LoFrese said there aren’t many options.

“We have two options. One would be to stop the design work until the bond passes. The other would be to authorize additional funding to continue the work,” LoFrese said.

LoFrese said he would rather front the money with the district’s fund balance and get reimbursed once the bond is approved in November.

To continue the designs the board would have to allocate approximately $350,000 each month until November.

LoFrese said he spoke with the county manager and financial staff about the reimbursement idea and they agreed the plan could be feasible.

LoFrese said this plan would be similar to design work that was done for Northside Elementary School, although the reimbursement funds ended up not being needed due to timing of the approval for that bond.

“At that time, I think there was about an eight-or-nine-month window that we needed and both the board and the county adopted a reimbursement resolution that allowed us to get started on design work on Northside Elementary, and receive reimbursement from the county,” Lofrese said.

The major concern with this idea is the possibility of the bond not being approved, but the board did not seem concerned toward that issue at the meeting.

The board supported Lofrese’s idea to move forward with creating an official plan for this funding and bringing it to the next meeting for an official vote from the board.

The next meeting for the CHCCS Board will be held on Thursday, September 29.

CHCCS Board of Education Continues Search for Superintendent with a Public Forum

The search for a new superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education continues tonight at a meeting held at Chapel Hill High School at 7 p.m.

This process has been in the works for the past few months following previous Superintendent Tom Forcella’s retirement announcement in May.

The board and the community have discussed many requirements they would like the next superintendent to agree with as they move forward with many potential changes in the school district, such as the Equality Draft Plan and racial inequality concerns voiced at the board’s meeting in June.

“I want [the superintendent] to be able to look into any of the racial disparities that we have so far within our system,” said Joyce Powell, mother of both a graduate and current student in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. “I know the board has worked hard on putting forward some other implementations to help, but I think we can do a little bit better…every child matters, and to me, this is what this is all about.”

The board has since discussed the concerns and plan to set expectations regarding this matter for the new superintendent.  Other concerns that may or may not have been brought up at previous meetings are welcomed at tonight’s meeting.

The Board encourages public comment from all community members in hopes it will lead the board to a well thought-out candidate that is approved by everyone involved.

All parents and community members are also asked to complete a survey online for the board to present at the next North Carolina Board Association meeting on September 15.

Staff of CHCCS will be asked to complete a separate survey for the local board to present to the state.

The meeting held tonight will only be discussing the matter of finding a new superintendent; all other matters will be discussed at their next meeting held on Thursday, September 1.

Click the link to fill-out the survey.

Chansky’s Notebook: Why Not a One Team Town?

I will say it again. Chapel Hill should have one high school football team.

Just because Chapel Hill has three high schools, why does it need three football teams in a town where football is not very popular among the kids, who win state championships galore in a bunch of other sports? They should have turned off the Friday night lights, which was an embarrassing case in point on opening night.

The three local high schools all were shut out and outscored by a whopping 137-0. Chapel Hill got hammered by Durham Riverside, 35-0, East Chapel Hill opened at home and was blistered by Northern Vance of Henderson, 42-0, and Carrboro, well, Carrboro was demolished by Cedar Ridge, 60-0. Yep, that adds up to 137-zip.

This is nothing against the coaches who work their tails off at each school and the kids who do come out play hard and some of them are pretty good, but there simply aren’t enough of them. Chapel Hill has only 31 on its roster; East Chapel Hill isn’t much better with 35 and Carrboro, surprisingly, has the most, 41 players.

Those roster numbers aren’t way off the norm, even for bigger schools with more established programs. But for high schools that really take football seriously, the sport is year round with informal workouts and individual players training during the entire off-season. You have to believe that most of the players on local teams are what former East Carolina coach Pat Dye used to call “skinny-legged kids.”

But you can’t take three separate high schools and make one football team from them. Why not? Has anyone ever asked and offered it as an alternative to one or two of the schools putting up the pads for good? Carrboro and East Chapel Hill excel in so many other sports, and coaches there have to recruit kids to come out for the football team; forget getting them to work out in the off-season.

Chapel Hill has three high schools for a reason – the money is here to build more schools and have better student-teacher ratios and programs that benefit everybody. Football, it seems, isn’t benefiting anybody. Well, something’s gotta give this week. Carrboro plays at East Friday. Can anyone say scoreless tie?

Good News Friday – What is SKJAJA? – You Need to Know!

In covering the news and keeping the community informed, unfortunately we have to report a lot of bad news; but rest assured that every Friday throughout the summertime, when you tune into WCHL, we will have some good news to report to you!  That’s because it is “Good News Friday!”

Presented by The Strowd on Franklin Street, and their Shag Dance Fridays!


Click here to listen to Ron Stutts broadcast this week’s ‘Good News Friday’ featured story.


If you listen to WCHL, you’ve probably heard the term SKJAJA, but do you know what it actually is?  Well, you need to, because it is awesome!

The SKJAJA Fund is a local charity formed in 2008 by Chapel Hill Residents Charlotte and Eric White.

For her birthday, Eric’s sister, Kim, gave money to each of her family members with the condition that they pay it forward, and report back.

To pay it forward, Eric and Charlotte founded SKJAJA, named for Kim’s family; Scott, Kim Josh, Ashley, Jessica and Adam. SKJAJA.

But it really is more than charity.

The SKJAJA Fund provides funds for underprivileged kids in the Chapel Hill and Carrboro community to participate in extracurricular enrichment activities, such as field trips, sports, music lessons, tutoring and summer camps; but the paying it forward idea continues with the concept that in return, the kids are asked to also pay it forward, by volunteering and participating in community service projects and helping others.

On paper that is such as cool concept, but in reality it is even cooler!

In an interview with WCHL’s Aaron Keck last week, Charlotte White said that they recently ran the numbers and quantified that since 2008 The SKJAJA Fund has helped over 500 kids participate in extracurricular enrichment programs, which in turn, translates to over 500 service projects. From cleaning up neighborhoods, to executing a toiletry drive for Haiti, some of the kids end up getting more excited about their service projects and paying it forward than the extracurricular activities they are granted through the program.

Primarily funded by 2 anchor events, the Beach Shack Boil in November and the Color the Hill Fun Run in May at UNC, and with  SKJAJA Clubs now in place at the three local high schools, the program continues to grow;  but with increasing need, they need your help.

Volunteer, participate in the fundraisers, and donate; all of that helps this amazing program.

Paying it forward through SKJAJA, that’s our Good News Friday story of the week!

New Athletic Director Named at East Chapel Hill High School

Randy Trumbower is the new athletic director at East Chapel Hill High School.

The position was approved by the Chapel Hill – Carrboro City School Board of Education on Thursday night.

Trumbower has been a special education teacher and case manager at Chapel Hill High School since 2007, according to the district, and he has served as the chair of the Exceptional Children Department.

Trumbower was named the 2016-2017 Teach of the Year at Chapel Hill High, where he served as the head baseball coach from 2009 – 2013 and assistant athletic director since 2014.

Trumbower earned his bachelor degree from Appalachian State University while playing football and baseball for the Mountaineers.

Trumbower is replacing the retired Ray Hartsfield.

Chapel Hill High School Golfer Qualifies for US Amateur

A Chapel Hill High School golfer has qualified for the 2016 US Women’s Amateur Tournament.

A birdie and an eagle over the final five holes of play at the Sectional Qualifier at Walnut Grove Country Club in Dayton, Ohio brought 16-year-old rising junior Gina Kim into a playoff for a chance to advance.

Three spots were up for grabs in the eight-woman playoff.

Kim hit a wedge shot to within three feet of the pin on the first playoff hole, according to the Chapel Hill High women’s golf coach, and sank the birdie putt to qualify for the 2016 US Women’s Amateur.

The tournament will be held August 1 – 7 at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pennsylvania.

Chansky’s Notebook: 21 Tigers Going On To Play

Kudos to 21 Chapel Hill Tiger athletes who will keep playing in college.

Two of those varsity athletes from Chapel Hill High who will go onto play are staying home to attend UNC — track & field’s Harrison Young and volleyball’s Katherine Easterly.

Five other athletes are staying in state to play their sports; football’s Connor Stough at UNC-Pembroke and Albert Nyamayaro at Fayetteville State; women basketball’s Autumn West to Johnson C. Smith; soccer’s John Walden to Elon; and track and field’s Quianiece Fish to North Carolina Central. One will be playing in the ACC, swimmer Claire DeSelm at Notre Dame.

Of the other 13, a pair is going to Case Western Reserve – swimmers Sarah Taekman and Eli Rose; to Denison University – football’s Brian Jones and Conner Korfas.

Cross Country’s Max Blackburn is off to Colorado College; soccer’s Morgan Brandewie to Emory University; Track’s Marija Crook to Oberlin College; swimmer C.J. Eron to University of Tampa; Lacrosse players Paige Haskins is going to Mary Washington and Kyle Hornik to Queens University; Dillon Kopec will be running track at field at Roanoke College, as will Anna Passannante at Williams College;

And George McBurney will wrestle at the Coast Guard Academy.

The names of these 21 outstanding student-athletes were provided by Chapel Hill High School athletic director Tim Bennett, who is a constant email messenger about everything Tiger sports, as was his predecessor Todd Morgan.

Two Orange County Students Receive Gap Year Fellowship

Taking a gap year between high school and college is becoming more popular. And thanks to the Global Gap Year Fellowship from the Campus Y, two Orange County students are joining the trend.

Sophie Nachman and Thilini Weerakkody are part of the six-student cohort for the upcoming gap year program. They have been awarded $7,500 to use toward travel, living expenses and other costs during their year of service work with the program.

Nachman is graduating from Woods Charter School and plays the violin in the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra. She has used her passion for music to organize community fundraising concerts and support different advocacy groups.

Weerakkody is graduating from Chapel Hill High School and is a member of the Model United Nations, president of the Stop Hunger Now club and a member of the Science Olympiad. She said she is passionate about advocating for others and helping them to find their place in the world.

The Global Gap Year Fellowship was launched in 2011 and is made possible by an anonymous $1.5 million gift to the Campus Y. The program selects a diverse group of North Carolina students based on merit and community involvement to defer enrollment for one year. During this gap year they work to enhance their leadership skills, learn about different world cultures and serve communities around the globe.

Carrboro Aldermen Continue Discussion About Paved Greenway

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen chose not to vote on a resolution that would have made alterations to the planned greenway near Chapel Hill High School.

Board member Randee Haven-O’Donnell said she wanted to be able to answer the concerns of the cross county team before voting on anything.

“If we go forward with this, it doesn’t suggest to the folks that have been so mightily concerned that anything really in terms of action has changed,” she said. “Were we to give it the time at least to get these answers, they would know we’re sincere in the effort to try and make a change.”

Members of the Chapel Hill High School cross country team expressed concerns when they learned the greenway would intersect and pave three parts of their race course.

In an attempt to mitigate this issue, the town worked with the school district to come up with a compromise that included the team changing its course, a greater separation between the course and the new greenway and investigating the possibility of changing the path from concrete to another material.

“Let’s be honest,” assistant coach Dave Mabe said. “There’s no compromise here. You’re congratulating yourselves on how far you’ve bent for us and the compromise is ‘hey guys, you get to fix your trail.'”

Should the town decide to scrap the project, which no board members said they were in favor of, the town would lose the nearly $100,000  it has spent on the project this year.

It would also potentially have to pay back the federal government and private contractors. An attorney for the town said the potential exposure could be between $200,000 and $400,000.

The project is also heavily funded by the Department of Transportation, and he said certain changes in the trail could cause the town to lose the funding it has already secured.

“If we change the project, such as altering the path of the project, of the easement, they would de-obligate the funds for the project,” he said.

The town would have to start the approval process over again to get back the funding it had lost. It would also have to seek approval from UNC for the new path.

Town staff will try to get back to the board next week about whether changing the trail in certain parts from concrete to some thing more acceptable for the runners is feasible.

Construction is scheduled to begin Monday, but the aldermen will address the issue again in their meeting Tuesday.

Cross country head coach Joan Mabe said she was disappointed with the aldermen’s decision and hoped some kind of rubber surface or gravel path could be put in place for the parts of the trail that intersected the course.