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MNSTM-SAM/FtKYTI CIINTY SCIMLS SIMMTES
Senior overcomes obstacles on road to becoming a teacher
BY KIM UNDERWOOD
wiwyrON-SALEM/FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS
Having dealt with a number of physical dif- . ?
ncuiucs over ine years, Alexandrea Nicole Lash
knows what it's like to face challenges. With
that in mind, she wants to become a teacher who
works with students with special needs or per
haps an occupational therapist.
After Lash graduates from Atkins Academic
& Technology High School, she will go to
Winston-Salem State University, where she
plans to major in exercise science with a minor
"Nicole, as she is affectionately called, is an
awesome student with a beautiful personality,"
said school counselor Felicia Tubbs. "Even
though Nicole has experienced many obstacles
in her life she does not allow it to define or hold
her back. Nicole will graduate from Atkins High
School on June 6th with honors.. .1 am sure with
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she will accomplish her personal and professional goals."
Lash was born eight weeks prematurely. She weighed
3 pounds, 12 ounces. "When 1 was younger, I had a lot of
complications to deal with." Lash said.
"She spent most of her first year in the hospital," said
her mother, Lawanda Lash.
The complications included necrotizing enterocolitis
(NEC), a serious intestinal disease that can affect children
born prematurely. Also, one of the medications Lash was
on carried the chance of liver damage. It did damage her
liver, and she had an operation at the age of 10 months in
which her mother donated part of her liver to her daugh
, As time went alone. Lawanda Lash
said, everyone might say something
along the lines of "Once we are through
this, everything will be fine" only to have
something else come up right after that.
When Lash was born, she and her
parents lived in the Atlanta area. Both
Lawanda Lash and her husband, Cedric,
are from this area and graduated from
North Forsyth High School. They moved
back here in part to be around grandpar
ents Hubert and Ericsteen Lash, and
Samuel and Myra Benjamin as well as
other family members. Lawanda Lash
said that both sides of the family have
been extremely supportive, as everyone
has dealt with all that has come up.
Lash's early difficulties led to such
long-term issues as immune deficiencies,
not being able to receive certain immunization shots,
severe allergies to dairy and peanuts and, more generally,
the need to take great care with what she eats. "She was 45
pounds in the seventh-grade," Lawanda Lash said.
Growing up, Lash also had to have various surgeries
and receive such assistance as speech therapy and physical
TTirough it all, Lawanda Lash said, her daughter would
talk to her about how she wanted to give back, perhaps by
working with kids. "She thought she could identify with
kids with special needs."
Day-to-day. Lash continues to deal with challenges.
She has to take care about being exposed to illness, and.
when she took the Nursing Fundamentals class at Atkins,
she couldn't participate in the clinical portion of the class
when everyone else began working in a retirement home.
Because she is smaller than most people her age, she
also has to put up with people saying such things as "Are
you sure you're 18? You look 12 or 13."
Lash enjoys shopping, but it can be frustrating some
times because it can be hard to find clothes she likes that
fit well, even when she shops in the Junior Department.
Lash's mother is a nurse, and her father, Cedric works
for BB&T. Her brother, Kendrick. is 10. Before coming to
Atkins as a junior. Lash spent two years at Early College
For fun. Lash goes horseback riding at Cash Lovell
Stables and Riding Academy. She has been doing that
since third grade. Because she is allergic to horses, she has
to take Benadryl before each session. Lash enjoys art, and
she has done such things as painted a mural that features a
dolphin and sculpted a polar bear out of clay.
One thing she has learned over the years. Lash said, is
"no matter what you go through, you still have a positive
path you can go down... .at times, I wish I was normal but
stuff happens for a reason."
"She really strives to be all she can be with how God
has made her," Lawanda Lash said. "She is going to try
Alexandrea Nicole Lash graduated from Atkins on
Saturday, June 6, in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial
Two Parkland seniors win Gates Scholarships
BY KIM UNDERWOOD
WINSTON-SALEM/FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS
As part of their applications for the 2015 Gates
Millennium Scholars Program, Parkland seniors Eric
Brown and Javier Cattle had to write a series of eight
essays looking at different aspects of their lives.
In one of his essays. Cattle wrote about the path that
led to him becoming an Eagle Scout. In first grade, he
joined the Cub Scouts. He could have worked toward the
Arrow of Light award. Somewhere along the way, though,
he lost his motivation. When he became a Boy Scout, he
vowed to himself that this time he was going to reach the
highest rank - an Eagle Scout.
He pursed that goal with great energy. The average age
of boys becoming an Eagle Scout is 17. "I got that when I
was 15," Cattle said.
The requirements include organizing an Eagle project
and earning 21 merit badges. Cattle earned 41.
In one of his essays, Brown wrote about using his posi
tion as president of the Senior Class at Parkland High
School as one way to become more comfortable talking
with others. "I have trouble conversing," he said. "When
I'm nervous, it shows up more."
As Senior Class president, he sees it as his responsibil
ity to make people feel at ease and part of the school com
munity. So he has made a point of speaking with students
throughout the school, especially those who might appear
to be alone or ill-at-ease . While promoting a sense of com
munity at the school, he has helped himself.
Brown and Cattle are among 1,000 students nation^"
wide this year receiving Gates Millennium scholarships.
Brown will be going to the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill. Cattle will be going to Appalachian State
Charity Sutphin, a teacher in the English Department
and International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Parkland,
said, "These boys are what teaching is all about - their
dedication and strength of character lets me know that the
future is in good hands.
"Javier Cattle is a once-in-a-career type of student. His
humility, kindness, and empathy just astound me - I can
not wait to see where he goes in life. Whatever success
awaits him is completely deserved.
"Eric Brown is another outstanding young man. He is
funny, creative, and has worked so hard to earn everything
he has accomplished. He is the kind of kid who makes me
proud to be a Parkland Mustang ."
Principal Spencer Hardy said: "Eric Brown and Javier
Cattle are great examples of the quality of students we
have at Parkland Magnet High School. These young men
have taken advantage of all of their academic and extra
curricular opportunities and being awarded as Gates
Millennium Scholars is a fine recognition of all of their
work and efforts."
The Gates Millennium Scholarship Program, which is
administered through the United Negro College Fund, is
designed to help high-performing students who might not
otherwise be able to afford college. Funded by a $1.6 bil
lion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it
covers whatever costs of college that are not covered by
any other scholarships or financial aid a student is receiv
"It covers basically the cost of attendance," Cattle
Students who go on to graduate school for a master's
degree and even on to a doctorate can continue to receive
assistance through the program.
Brown was also accepted at Wake Forest University.
Cattle was also accepted at N.C. State University, Duke
University, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and
Bowdoin College in Maine.
Receiving the scholarships means a lot to both young
"Without the scholarship, I probably wouldn't be able
to go somewhere," Cattle said.
Both young men are participating in the IB Program at
Parkland and will be receiving an IB diploma in addition
to their regular diplomas.
Achieving that goal requires a lot of work. "The IB
Diploma program is a world program that requires two
intense years of six seminar courses each running 240
hours over the two years," said Melissa Moore, who coor
dinates the IB program at Parkland in addition to being a
visual arts teacher.
"It also requires a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course
with a 1,500 word essay, an Extended Essay of 4,000
words and, finally. Community Active Service (CAS),
which is service to the community with a minimum of 150
hours," Moore said. "All this is required as well as specific
scoring on the IB Exams to qualify for the IB Diploma."
For the past three years. Cattle has also taken art class
es with Moore. "Although he is not planning on going into
art as a profession, he is very talented with a preference to
charcoal," she said. "His aitwork has had an emphasis on
his true love of biology as he has studied the works of Da
Both young men are quite active in other aspects of the
school as well. Brown plays an assortment of brass instru
ments in the marching band. He also sings in the school's
choral ensemble and gospel choir. On the school's
Academic Competition team, he is a member of the sci
"I volunteer a lot," Brown said. He regularly partici
pates in such activities as food drives, campus cleanups
and car washes to raise money for worthy causes.
Cattle is a member of the history team on the school's
Academic Competition team and plays viola in the school
orchestra. He is a member of the National Honor Society
and participated in Science Olympiad. He also participates
in scouting's Venture Crew program, which includes both
young men and young women. On weekends, he may
spend time camping and canoeing.
Brown was bom in Champagne, 111. His first stop in
North Carolina was Cumberland County: After moving
here, he went to Clemmons Middle and Flat Rock middle
schools before coming to Parkland.
"I was bom in Pinehurst," Cattle said. "I moved here
when I was 2."
He went to South Fork Elementary and Clemmons
Both students foresee a career in science.
"I want to be a biomedical engineer," Brown said.
That might lead to cures for diseases and other medical
problems. Ultimately, he envisions using that knowledge
as a teacher. "I always had the desire to help people and to
Cattle plans to major in cell molecular biology and
become a researcher who develops vaccines and treat
ments, perhaps for such medical issues as Alzheimer's dis
ease or Parkinson's disease.
"I want to find new treatments," he said.
i ?Mm? mm* i ii ? i i
Eric Brown and Javier Cattle
The Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (CMSTT)
NC Mathematics ond Science Education Network fNC-MSCN)
2015 Lego Robotics Camp
Join us to build Lego Robots, complete with motors and sensors) Then write
programs and watch it CHOMP, SPW, ROAR, KICK, LIFT and morelll
For Middle and High School Students (grades 8*-10*)
When: July 20-24, 2015; 8:00?.m.-5:00p.m.
Where: Winston-Salem State University
Cost: $150.00 (lunch will be provided each day)
Deadline for enrolment: July IS, 2015
For further information about the program please refer to the website
www wssu edu/ncmsen and select robotics camp or can 336-750-2996/2995