Independence DREAM Team to restore neglected trophies

The bomb shelter at Independence High School, now home to hundreds of Big “I” trophies. PHOTOS BY DEREK LACEY

Each year, Noel Hamrick takes her US History class to see the old bomb shelter at Independence High School, leading them out a side door, through a chain link fence, down concrete stairs, and through a hot boiler room.

But the thing most students take away from the trip is not the impact of Cold War tensions, it’s the hundreds of Big “I” trophies stored on rusted shelves in the dank, flood-prone room.

Dating from 1967, the trophies include academic and athletic achievements, everything from small wooden plaques and certificates to huge three-tiered trophies.

“Wow. That’s probably the best word I could use to describe it,” said Ivan Blair, senior at Independence. “It was devastating, I guess you could say…I didn’t know that we had that many trophies, and I definitely didn’t know that they were all down there.” Continue reading

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Indy teacher sky dives

Long-time Independence High School  chemistry teacher,  Melissa Bliss, did something crazy before Mother’s Day—she went sky diving.  She made a trip down to Skydive Carolina in Chester, South Carolina, where she met up with her tandem partner, the man who would be latched onto her when she made her big leap towards the ground.
There are a couple of procedures, including picking a flight suit, watching an informational video and doing a series of exercises before jumping.
“It was a very quick process before we went up in the air, the instructors made it out to be no big deal, so I wasn’t quite nervous.” Bliss said.
She paid extra for a videographer to go skydiving with her so he could take pictures and even make a video, so she could show her friends and family.
“It made a great, and shocking, Mother’s Day present for my mother,” she said. Continue reading

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Independence students nominated for award

Independence High School’s musical performance of Grease earned them nominations for the Blumey Award, sponsored by Blumenthal Performing Arts and Wells Fargo.  Musicals participating in the competition were evaluated by a panel of three judges from members of the theatre community in Charlotte.  Independence was nominated for Best Featured Performer, Marissa Plondke as Patty, and Best Choreography Execution.

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Independence Senior Meredith Avant wins Broad Prize

Independence senior Meredith Avant (right) was awarded Broad Prize at a CMS Block Party.

Independence High School Senior Meredith Avant was one of 28 CMS seniors who have been named 2012 Broad Prize Scholarship winners.
The students received the news they won a $20,000 scholarship from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation during a surprise announcement at a block party held for CMS employees.
In 2011, CMS won the Broad Prize for Urban Education, the largest such award in the country.  The district was recognized for overall academic improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among minority students.
Broad Prize scholars receive two- or four-year scholarships depending on the type of college they choose.  Scholarship recipients who enroll in four-year institutions receive $20,000 paid out over four years ($5,000 per year). Students who enroll in two-year institutions receive $5,000 scholarships paid out over two years ($2,500 per year). The scholarship selection and disbursement process is managed by Scholarship America.
Butler High School’s  Jess West and Rocky River’s Katherine Roberts also won the scholarship.

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Indy Lacrosse fundraiser

The Independence HS Lacrosse program will have a fundraiser on Thursday, April 26 at Pizza and Beyond Express in Mint Hill. A portion of the day’s receipts will help grow the 2012-2013 athletic program. Stop by to dine-in, carry out or call for delivery 980-207-2690. The restaurant is open 11:30 am to 9 pm and located at 7427 Matthews Mint Hill Road, Mint Hill.

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Local business supports car consumers, wrestling team

Independence High School’s wrestling team and Manchester Automotive and Tire are teaming up for Car Care Awareness Month. The wrestling team will provide car washes while Manchester offers free vehicle check-ups from 9 am to 1 pm, Saturday, April 21.
Manchester will provide a checklist for vehicles, inspecting lights, fluids, tires, and more.
“Free inspection is something we just try to give back to the community,” says owner Ken Manchester. “It’s the simple things. [For example] nobody really checks the air in their tires anymore.”

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