New Stage Theatre Provides Performances for New Albany Schools

New Stage Theatre, a professional theatre located in Jackson, Mississippi, presented in-school performances of The Selfish Giant and Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad to students in the New Albany School District on February 16-17.

New Albany Elementary School hosted two performances of The Selfish Giant on Thursday, February 16.  Oscar Wilde’s classic children’s story about The Selfish Giant who wouldn’t share his beautiful garden becomes a joyous play that touches on themes of friendship, empathy, sharing, and kindness. The giant comes home from a long trip to find children playing in his garden. He kicks them out, threatening to bring them to justice for trespassing. But a harsh winter—in the form of comic characters Frost, Snow, and North Wind—brings the realization to the giant that the children who used to trespass in his garden implanted friendship in this special place. The giant’s heart melts in a life-changing moment, and spring, along with the children, returns to his garden.

Oh Freedom!  The Story of the Underground Railroad was presented to New Albany Middle School and New Albany High School students on Friday, February 17.  The greatest collaboration against racism in American history, before the Civil Rights Movement, was the Underground Railroad. People of all ethnic backgrounds, of both sexes, and from North and South came together to resist the oppression of slavery by helping escaped slaves make their way to free territory in the years before the Civil War. Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad celebrates these alliances by combining the many stories with songs of the period. Famous participants like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe are represented as well as lesser known heroes of the movement like John Rankin, whose house on a hill was a beacon for freedom; the mysterious “Peg Leg” Joe who moved among the plantations teaching slaves to escape and “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song designed to show them the way; and Henry “Box” Brown who had himself put in a box and mailed to freedom. The production will encourage student audience participation in the singing of traditional spiritual, “Oh, Freedom.” The story inspires all to work together for the good of all as it celebrates a time when Americans were at their courageous best, supporting one another—regardless of background, ethnicity or gender—in the cause to extend to all Americans our greatest, most inalienable right: freedom.

New Stage Theatre is a professional not-for-profit theatre.  New Stage Theatre’s Arts-in-Education tours are supported, in part, by Entergy, the Chisholm Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Arts Commission.

NAHS Interest Group Explores Ivy League Options

Interest groups are a new concept to New Albany High School (NAHS) this school year.  There’s a thirty minute slot of time each day, excluding Fridays, when students can attend an interest group session.  Sessions include club interests, school news, ping pong, diversity, fossils, Science Olympiad, and fishing, just to name a few.

There’s a unique interest group at NAHS that has been exposed to virtual field trips and a recent field trip to Nashville.  This group of students meets with the counselors on a regular basis to pursue their interest in the selective college admissions process.

NAHS Counselor Kalee Stanton explained that the school staff wants to expose students to the selective college admissions process and Ivy League schools, as well as increase the number of students who apply to these schools each year.

The counselors surveyed students in the gifted and accelerated English classes to gain information on students who may be interested in the selective college admissions process.

Students had the opportunity to skype with an admissions counselor from Duke during the fall semester.  Recently this group of students traveled to Vanderbilt University in Nashville to tour the campus and meet with an admissions counselor.

Throughout the year, these students have spent time during their interest group being exposed to common college applications, understanding the importance of essay development, and learning more about financial aid opportunities.  “During our time together, the students have also learned how important it is to develop their leadership skills, increase their community service commitment, and to continue developing good citizenship qualities,” Stanton added.

“We are very proud of these students and their commitment to academic excellence,” said NAHS Principal Lance Evans.   “It is our hope that we have equipped these students with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their future college plans.”



NAHS Student Wins MCEF Video Contest

Michelle Luo
Michelle Luo

Michelle Luo, a sophomore at New Albany High School (NAHS), is the first place winner in a video contest sponsored by the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation (MCEF).   Luo, a journalism student, discovered the contest online and approached her journalism teacher LeeAnn Thompson and Construction Instructor about the possibility of developing a video for the MCEF Contest.

The purpose of the contest was to develop videos that highlighted the many ways that construction and manufacturing education programs are helping students achieve their goals, as well as increase the knowledge of how these programs are building the future of Mississippi’s workforce.

Luo explained that the video promoted the Career and Technical Center and brought more awareness to the construction program, as well as opportunities in the field of construction.  She said that she was pleased with the fact that the video brought recognition to not only her as an individual but to the school.  Luo explained that she wrote interview questions, did research, filmed, and edited the video with support from Robbins.  She was assisted by fellow journalism student Madison Graham who helped with more of the creativity side of building the video.

Although quality and content was a consideration for the judges, the votes and shares she received were what helped Luo to win.  Voting began on November 11 and continued for three days.  Then, additional votes were received through “shares” on the MCEF Facebook page.  Thompson was very instrumental in promoting her video once it was completed and the voting process started.

Thompson emailed teachers and ask them to both vote and spread the word about the contest.  She also worked with administrators and school staff to promote voting on the video through the school district’s Twitter announcements.   “Everyone got to know Michelle through the homecoming video project #SaveChandler that the journalism class did in September,” Thompson said.   “That project helped to build her a fan base.”  Luo was instrumental in writing the script, filming, editing, and producing that video for homecoming.

Thompson said that one of the things that made her the most proud during this project was how the students came together during the voting to promote Michelle and her video.  John Wright Welborn, a journalism student with Michelle, said that “it was truly a team effort and that many of the students at NAHS were contacting friends and family from other areas of the state, as well as former NAHS graduates to get votes for her.”

Robbins who is excited that his program was promoted throughout the project and the voting says he is impressed with Luo as a student and respects her “creativity, initiative, organization, determination, and intelligence”.


NAHS Awards Ceremony – Outstanding Career & Technical Students

The following students were honored as Outstanding Career & Technical Education students at the New Albany High School Awards Ceremony held on May 3:

Automotive Services I-N’Shaun Cameron; Oral & Electronic Communications-Mary Day; Business Fundamentals-Sydney Meggs; Marketing-Jessiana Smith; Culinary Arts I-Lorin Ivey; Culinary Arts II-Jalynn Johnson; Digital Media I-Sarah Kathryn Harris; Digital Media II-Jacob McGregor; Drafting Concepts-Miller Dunnam; Intermediate Drafting-Daisy Huerta; Early Childhood Services and Education I-Jenna Steward; Early Childhood Services and Education II-Tashiunna Judon; Engineering II-Christopher Thomas; Health sciences I-Tianna Graham; Health Sciences II-Sydni Lewis; STEM-Michelle Luo; Child Development-Esteban Contreras; Family Dynamics-Mason Armstrong; Contemporary Health-Adalyn Aldridge; Nutrition & Wellness-Samantha Bridges; Resource Management-Carley Jumper; Concepts of Agri-Science-Malek Hardin; Agri-Plants-Millie Chism; Agri-Environment-Beth Barnes; Agri-Animals-Zachary Simmons

NAHS – Subject Area Awards 2016

The following students were honored as Subject Area Award recipients at the NAHS Awards Ceremony held on May 3.

ENGLISH 9                                                                 JADA SPEARS

ACCELERATED ENGLISH 9                                    ROSS RUTHERFORD

GIFTED ENGLISH 9                                                  MICHELLE LUO

ENGLISH 10                                                               MALEK HARDIN

ACCELERATED ENGLISH 10                                  TAYLOR HUFFMAN

GIFTED ENGLISH 10                                                SANDERS GOODE

ENGLISH 11                                                               CYNTHIA BETANCOURT

ACCELERATED ENGLISH 11                                  CLAIREESE PANNELL

GIFTED ENGLISH 11                                                MARY DAY

SREB ENGLISH                                                         MALLORY NEAL

DC-ENGLISH COMPOSITION                                 KE XIN WENG

OCCUPATIONAL ENGLISH 9                                  DUSTIN HAYES

OCCUPATIONAL ENGLISH 10                                ZAKERY COX

LIFE SKILLS LANGUAGE ARTS                             MORGAN ELLIS

SPANISH I                                                                MEREDITH PRESCOTT

SPANISH II                                                                SANDERS GOODE

SPANISH III                                                               SARAH KATHRYN HARRIS

FOUNDATIONS OF ALGEBRA                               AHLAEYA JUDON

ALGEBRA I                                                                MICHELLE LUO

ALGEBRA II                                                              KARA BALENTINE

GEOMETRY                                                              SARAH KATHRYN HARRIS

ALGEBRA III                                                             MARY DAY

SREB MATH                                                              SAMANTHA BRIDGES

CALCULUS                                                                KE XIN WENG

OCCUPATIONAL MATH                                          AUSTIN DUKES

LIFE SKILLS MATH                                                  ANGEL FERNANDEZ

MISSISSIPPI STUDIES                                              MICHELLE LUO

WORLD GEOGRAPHY                                             MICHELLE LUO

WORLD HISTORY                                                    SANDERS GOODE

U.S. HISTORY                                                           MARY DAY

U.S. GOVERNMENT                                                  KE XIN WENG

ECONOMICS                                                             LINDSAY SAPPINGTON

PSYCHOLOGY                                                          LINDSAY SAPPINGTON

LAW RELATED EDUCATION                                    KE XIN WENG

CAREER EXPLORATION                                         JAMES COOK

INTRO TO BIOLOGY                                                ALENA GRAHAM

BIOLOGY I                                                                 MICHELLE LUO

BIOLOGY II                                                               RACHEL SMITH

PHYSICAL SCIENCE                                                ALEX AUSTIN

CHEMISTRY                                                              SANDERS GOODE


PHYSICS                                                                  ALYVIA JETER

ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY                                   MARY DAY


OCCUPATIONAL SCIENCE                                    ELIZABETH WHITEHEAD


PERFORMING ARTS                                                CHRISTIAN KING

ART I                                                                          MICHELLE LUO

ART II, GIFTED                                                         ANNA TREXLER

ART III, GIFTED                                                        CARLY SPENCER

ART IV, GIFTED                                                        LOGAN JOHNSON

HEALTH                                                                     VICTORIA BROWN

DRIVER EDUCATION                                              ANDERSON PARKS


Editor-in-Chief                                                VALENCIA JONES

Division Editor                                               MADISYN RAINWATER

Copy Editor                                                     MEG BRAMLETT

Clubs/Academic Editor                                   MARY DAY

Photography Editor                                         CARLEY ADAMS


Journalism/Leadership                                    PEYTON NEAL

Special Projects                                              DANIEL WISEMAN

Editing                                                             PAYTON RICHEY


Sophomore                                                      SANDERS GOODE

Junior                                                              STACY HERNANDEZ

Senior                                                              ALEXIA HAYES