The Return of Mr. Sparks

Ellison Schuman

Our beloved history teacher Mr. Sparks has finally made his return after 8 long weeks. After 9 days in the hospital and 3 surgeries later, he has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. (Stage 4 is the most advanced stage.)

He was actually sick a month before he left from December 2 to February 5. The cancer has been spreading through his body during that time.

“Basically, this is a cancer that directly affects your immune system. It spreads through your lymphatic system,” said Mr. Sparks.IMG_1072

Because of this diagnosis , he will be taking chemotherapy every 3 weeks, causing him to miss a few days now and then. Sparks expressed how much he missed being in the classroom:

“It feels so great to be back. I was going crazy at home because I was so bored. I didn’t miss grading papers, but I really missed seeing everyone.”

Mr. Sparks has gotten so much better over the past couple weeks. He’s gaining back the  weight he lost and is still in his normal high spirits.

He was overcome by the support and donations given by the students and their families: 

“I personally want to thank everyone that donated during the Genes Day. It really meant a lot to me.”


The Seniors Skipped Half-Heartedly


Last Monday, Feb. 3, the Senior class held its annual skip day, the only issue, roughly 54 percent of the class didn’t skip. In reality, the day was more of a mental health day that only some participated.

Sadly, the reason for low turnout was simple planning issues. Seniors were only informed late Sunday, Feb. 2, or early Monday, Feb. 3, of the decision to skip. 

Due to this last-minute plan, many Seniors had no option but to attend school for previously planned tests and paper workshops. Other 12th graders were not allowed to be absent since parents had little time to thoroughly vet the decision.

In the end, the day seemed quite the let-down. Students that skipped were scattered in their plans and the only notable venture for it was the choice to go ice-skating.

For those that attended the NCLA for classes, the skip day became a running joke as students enjoyed smaller classes and more time to socialize or seek teacher help. In reality, it looked like those who came to school had a better time than those who choose to be absent.

The choice to skip was made though, and as teachers said all day, there are always consequences to a person’s actions. For the Senior skippers, those consequences were mainly upset teachers, administrators, and a lack of instructional time.

Granted, those consequences were not severe, but they may become greater as rumors begin to swirl of a Senior Skip Day redo. Time will only tell if it actually happens, but if it does there is hope that it will be planned farther out and with a cohesive schedule for the day.

The original Senior Skip Day was quite the disappointment and though we may not advocate for any student to skip school we can say that as students of the North Carolina Leadership Academy we expect better.IMG-3307

Courtney Floyd, Aubrey Harmon, Anya Gruer, and Lydia Saunders ice skating on Senior Skip Day

We are supposed to be the future leaders tomorrow, and when our Senior class cannot plan a simple Skip Day it reflects poorly on how we have been mentored as leaders. To the Senior we say one thing if you are going to try skipping again make sure it is good.

To all the other Senior classes to follow, let the class of 2020 set the example of what not to do. Make sure that as a whole you all plan in advance and include every person’s input, it is your day as a class, let it be just that.

We are the student body of the NCLA, let us serve as leaders in every activity we do, whether at school, church or in extracurriculars, let us be the example our school and our Administration want us to be. Most importantly, do not let Senior Skip Day be the exception to it.


Black History is Your History 

Olivia Brown

February is a special month for African Americans. In 1915 a harvard historian,Carter G. Woodson and  Minister Jesse W.Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), the organization was known for promoting achievements of African Americans and their ancestors. The Organization then went on to promote National Negro Week in 1926,they chose the second week to coexist with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. By 1976 President Gerald Ford had seen Black History being celebrated in schools,churches etc and said “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Jesse Owens was born on September 12, 1913. As a child he delivered groceries,loaded freight cars and worked in a shoe repair shop,that was when Jesse found his passion for running. He attended Ohio State University, he didn’t receive a scholarship and had to get a part-time job to pay for school. But that didn’t stop him from attending the Berlin Olympics in 1936, winning four gold  medals for the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relays and the long jump. Sadly Jesse died of lung cancer on March 31, 1980 but Jesse’s contributions paved the way for Athletes we see today.

Jesse Owens. Courtesy of the Associated Press

Jane Bolin was born on April 11, 1908. As a child of an interracial couple, Jane was faced with discrimination and would often be denied services. After going to high school, she was not allowed to enroll into Vassar College,at the time didn’t accept black students; she ended up graduating high school at the age of 15 and going to Wellesley College. A career adviser tried to discourage her from attending Yale Law school because of her race and gender but in 1928, she graduated top 20 in her class and enrolled into Yale Law School where she was the only African American student, and one of three women. She became the first black woman to receive a law degree in 1931. She practiced law with her father before accepting a job with the New York City Corporation Counsel’s office. She ran for New York state assembly but failed. Fortunately, it boosted her reputation. On July 22, 1939 at the New York State Fair, the mayor of the city appointed Bolin, who was 31 years old, a judge of the Domestic Relations Court (Family Court)   She reminded at judge for 40 years before retiring at the age of 70. Jane Bolin died at the age of 99 on Jan. 8, 2007 in Long Island, NY.


ACT Coming up Soon

Nicholas Williford

The big bad test is coming up…the ACT is quickly arriving, Feb. 25 at 8 a.m. and you must be ready for it.

The ACT is a “standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It is currently administered by ACT, a nonprofit organization of the same name. The ACT test covers four academic skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. It also offers an optional direct writing test.”

“The ACT really stresses me out like I’m scared that I am going to fail,” said Michael Cespedes. Clearly, this test is stressful for some students 

There are seven good ways that you could use to make sure you pass:

  1. Buy at least two reputable study books and practice tests.

  2. Learn the most frequently tested concepts/find strategies,

  3. Get inside the heads of the test-makers/for the answer choice processes.

  4. Use the entire time for each section.

  5. Plan out a reasonable study schedule. 

  6. Pinpoint your weaknesses and strengthen them. 

  7. Remember that test-taking is a learned skill, not an inherent gift, so work hard.

Knowing all these things will most likely help you get a good grade and accepted to a college.