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Oyinda Ajasa is a Super Speller!

Pioneer Scholar and third-grade student Oyinda Ajasa’s favorite word is ’sashay’. Not because she, “walks while swinging the elbows or swaying,”, but because it was the word she correctly spelled to win the Lakewood Elementary Spelling Bee! On March 12, Durham Public Schools honored its local elementary and middle school spelling bee winners and had the second round of regional competition for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. While Oyinda’s favorite subject in school is math, she didn’t mind putting in  the extra hours practicing and learning new spelling words. She wrote out the words to learn them and then practiced spelling them out with her Mom. While Oyinda did not go forward to regionals, she was excited to be part of the contest and competing with other DPS students. She is excited for next year’s competition and plans to keep studying new words over the summer. Congratulations Oyinda, everyone at the Emily K Center is so proud of your hard work and dedication!

Lights! Camera! Action!

Last summer Travon, Alejandra, Dashaun, and Teymi caught the acting bug when they participated in the Emily K Center drama camp. The youngsters went from having no experience on the stage, to taking part in a full-blown Shakespearean performance in less than two weeks. Word must have gotten out about the talents of the young actors, because they were tapped to appear in a television commercial currently being aired on a number of Time Warner Cable stations during March Madness. The commercial was produced for the Triangle Community Foundation’s ‘Send a Kid to Camp’ program, a fund that raises money to provide camp scholarships.  All four students had memorized their lines in little more than a day and then were ready for the bright lights when the camera crews rolled into the Emily K Center in downtown Durham.  Enjoy watching the final product!

Join us Saturday for a Free Concert Featuring the Durham Symphony Orchestra, the Durham Children’s Choir, and KidZNotes!

Join the Durham Symphony Orchestra with special guests the Durham Children’s Choir and KidZNotes for a special concert, Sunday, March 19 at 3:00 PM at the Emily K Center, 904 West Chapel Hill Street, Durham.  The concert is free and open to the public.

The Durham Symphony will perform selected works from their recent classical concert. Joining them on the program will be children from KidZNotes, a children’s orchestra launched in September 2010 in East Durham, inspired by El Sistema of Venezuela, who will perform side-by-side with the Durham Symphony Orchestra and the Durham Children’s Choir presenting several important masterpieces of classical repertoire, an arrangement of the theme from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, “Ode to Joy”, and the Pachelbel Canon in D. In addition to their ensemble work, the Durham Children’s Choir, under the direction of Scott Hill, will be performing solo selections.

This year marks the 5th year the Durham Symphony will perform at the Emily K Center, a non-profit organization serving academically-focused, low-income students in out-of-school programming.  Adam Eigenrauch, Executive Director of the Emily K Center, enthusiastically welcomed the group. “Once again we are delighted to offer our facilities for this event which benefits not only the students who attend the Emily K Center, but also the Durham community at large. It will be even more exciting than in years past with the addition of KidZNotes,” said Eigenrauch

Special thanks to the Kirby and Sheetz Foundations for making this concert possible.

Wow! What a Birthday!

Where to begin about The Emily K Center 5th Birthday Celebration? Well, certainly there are a large number of shout-outs to be given to folks for their role in the event.

First, shout-out to all the EKC students who helped celebrate with cake and pizza. Eleven of you have been coming to EKC for all five years including.  We salute you for your academics and character! You are shining examples of what it means to be an Emily K Center student.

And shout-out to all the parents who helped make cards with birthday wishes and filmed video congratulations.  Your devotion in helping your children achieve every day is certainly something to celebrate.

Shout-out to all of our guests who shared in the event. To our Lead Tutors and volunteers, we can’t open the doors without you. A number of other past and present friends, board members, supporters, all of whom we depend on, shared in the day.

Some special visitors stopped by including the Mayor of Durham, Bill Bell, and Coach Krzyzewski and family including wife Mickie, and daughters Jamie and Lindy.  Coach K reminisced about the launching of the Center, named in honor of his mother who inspired him, and shared that it is now EKC students  working so hard  who inspire him.

Mayor Bell offered kind words. “I would like to congratulate the Emily K Center, its students and staff on five years of hard work on the road to preparing for college. To come here after the school day to work for more hours is a commitment that should make your families proud. On behalf of the Durham Community we wish you many more years
of success so that you will reach your goal of going to college, graduating, and coming home to become the future leaders here in Durham. Know that your community and its leaders are proud of you,” said the Mayor.

Duke University’s President Brodhead sent his wishes. “It is my honor to commend you for your many accomplishments in your first five years. Even more importantly, I would like to congratulate the students at the Emily K Center for five years of hard work and dedication on the road to preparing for college. I know that your commitment makes your
families proud, and we are proud of you too. On behalf of Duke University and the Durham Community, I wish you many more years of reaching and working for your goals in life. We look forward to having you join us as future leaders in Durham.”

Even the Governor of the state, Governor Bev Perdue, heard the news of the anniversary and sent a very formal and official looking letter that went right into a frame. Students gathered around to read the message. “On behalf of the State of North Carolina, it is a pleasure to offer warm greetings to everyone attending the Emily Krzyzewski Birthday Celebration. It is my privilege to congratulate you on five years of helping to mold our youth and prepare them for college. Our communities are stronger when all of our children have the resources and support they need to achieve their goals and follow their dreams.”

If all that wasn’t exciting enough, our new video Building Scholars-Changing Lives premiered in the EKC gymnasium. While the Center partners with many Durham schools and community-based organizations and serves  nearly 1,000 students and families monthly in the Center’s multi-purpose rooms, gymnasium, and stage, it has never been used as movie premier theatre! All in attendance were bowled over with the job done by our generous gift and work of Modern Men Productions.

All in all, the celebration was over-the-top super. Can’t wait for Birthday Celebration number 10!!!

Academics. Character. Leadership.

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