Owen District students show their tech skills


Each school in Buncombe County has an advisory council that meets regularly with school administrators. All the schools' advisory councils meet together as a district advisory council four times a year.

At the spring meeting of the Owen District Advisory Council on May 9, the librarians and some students from all six schools in the Owen District organized and hosted a technology showcase for the Owen District Advisory Council. The idea was to showcase how technology is integrated in the schools from kindergarten to 12th grade.

At the event, the Advisory Council divided into four groups and rotated through four stations.

At the first station, Black Mountain Primary and W.D. Williams schools teamed up to demonstrate Makey Makey and Scratch software. At the second station, Black Mountain Elementary discussed student use of robots Ozobots and Dash.

At the third station, C. D. Owen Middle School students demonstrated their work and sixth-grade student Ula Gustafson discussed and demonstrated 3D printing. Otis Schmitz, a sixth-grader, discussed using Scratch to build a video game. He also let advisory council members try to beat his game, which has more than 40 levels. Sixth-graders Evan Hamrick and Che Avila talked about the Lego robot they built and demonstrated how they used computer coding to make the robot move. Addison Bartlett and Cole Roy, both in the sixth grade, displayed the websites they each created as part of a long-term history project.

At station four, Community High School students demonstrated 3D printing projects and an upcycled 3D printed speaker. Owen High School students demonstrated how to use the Arduino and the Robo 3D printer that they reconstructed and repaired.

Charles Senko (a student from CHS who wasn't able to be at the event, but who had projects displayed at the event) shared, :

“I've always wanted to be a mechanic, and I learn the best by working with my hands,” said Charles Senko, a Community High School student whose projects were displayed at the event. “I wanted to make a cheap speaker that any kid with a little bit of knowledge and help could build. This is the kind of learning that even kids who don't like school can get into.”

Representing the schools were

  • W.D. Williams: Legare Hartbarger, teacher librarian
  • Black Mountain Primary: Lila Morel, teacher librarian
  • Black Mountain Elementary: Teresa Spring, teacher librarian
  • Charles D. Owen Middle School: Cindy Sturdivant, teacher librarian; and sixth-grade students Addison Bartlett, Otis Schmitz, Cole Roy, Ula Gustafson, Che Avila and Evan Hamrick
  • Charles D. Owen High School: Teacher librarians Samantha Gallman and Gwen Perry and students Austin Wells and Jesse Wright
  • Community High School: Teacher library Martha Martin and students Summer Sluder and Sean McCarthy
  • Buncombe County Schools Technology: Lorraine Kasyan