Science RISING! Gates County to Benefit from Grant by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center has been awarded funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to collaborate and partner over the next two years with Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) and Gates County Community Partnership, a non-profit organization based in Gates County.  The grant will cover two weeks of free middle school level summer science enrichment camps in Gates County over the next two summers.  The project, referred to as “Science RISING!”, will create an informal science education relationship demonstrating equity in access to science resources for northeastern North Carolina.  “Morehead’s objective for this collaboration is to address the STEM gap in resources and opportunities for elementary and middle school students in rural communities,” communicated Crystal Harden, Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Morehead.  “This initiative will create high-quality science education opportunities tailored to the community’s needs.  The goal is to make science education and STEM careers more relevant and reachable for children in rural northeastern North Carolina.”

The mission of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is to serve North Carolina and beyond by bringing together the unique resources of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to engage the public for an improved understanding of science, technology and health.  Morehead has spent the past decade addressing inequities in STEM education.  This particular undertaking specifically leverages Morehead’s relationship with Elizabeth City State University.  Together, they will facilitate one-week, whole-day summer science enrichment camps in Gates County with ECSU leading a design of curricula that focuses on aerospace technology.  Subjects will include hot air balloons, flight simulation, robotics, drones and rocketry.  The campers will also take field trips to ECSU to visit the Aviation Science Program.  “This is another win for the Gates County Community!  We are providing our full support to this effort as it offers opportunities for our youth to learn and broaden their horizons,” mentioned Michael Gatling, Director of Gates County Community Partnership.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation makes grants primarily to support original research and education related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics.  It believes that these fields, and the scholars and practitioners who work in them, are chief drivers of the nation's health and prosperity.  The Foundation also accepts that a reasoned, systematic understanding of the forces of nature and society, when applied inventively and wisely, can lead to a better world for all.


Gates County Chamber Welcomes New Member

The Gates County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome Gates County Community Partnership (GCCP) as a new member of the Chamber. GCCP is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt public charity whose mission is to inspire and increase community engagement by the citizens of Gates County for the educational and social development of its youth. For more information, contact [email protected].

Pictured from left (see the picture in the folder): Chamber President Ed Morgan, Chamber Treasurer Katharine Hunter, Chamber Board Member Susan Ward, Chamber Board Member Cecil Bagley and Gates County Community Partnership Director Brian Rountree.


Gates County Community Partnership and the Gates County Community Center Sponsor Basketball Camp

Gates County Community Partnership and the Gates County Community Center sponsored the “Elite Skills 4 Day Basketball Camp” on July 8th through July 11th.  This free event took place at the Gates County Community Center.  “The children totally enjoyed themselves as they learned about basketball and life.  It was important for us to stimulate the kids athletically and intellectually in a safe and positive environment,” stated Gates County Community Partnership Director Benjamin C. Saunders, Jr.

The four day camp separated participants into two age groups, 6 to 11 years old and 12 to 18 years old.  Activities included a variety of drills and contests followed by afternoon scrimmages.  Antonio Davis, current college basketball head coach and Gates County native, was the Featured Instructor of the camp.  His wisdom, expertise and legendary status as a high school and college basketball standout inspired the participants.  Coach Davis was assisted by Central Middle School head coach Marcus Barber, whose dedication and enthusiasm were essential to the success of the camp.  “It has been an honor and privilege to serve the young people of Gates County in a collaborative effort alongside Gates County Community Partnership.  It was a fabulous week,” said Coach Davis.  “Anytime I can get involved in efforts to serve, especially in my hometown, I will be the first in line!  I would like to thank Gates County Community Partnership for its continued commitment to engaging and inspiring our young people. They should be embraced and commended.”

The camp had over 80 participants and the Gates County community stepped up as volunteers to assist with the logistical demands.  “I was pleasantly surprised at the number of recent high school graduates who toiled with us in the heat throughout the camp,” stated Gates County Community Partnership Director Brian Rountree.  “Their fervor was indispensable.  Young people are just better equipped to do some things and I have no problem admitting it.”  Older adults also volunteered, working as administrators, cooks and servers, while completing numerous other tasks.  "Community involvement is very important.  It is imperative to work with our youth to help build their future for a successful life," stated camp volunteer Shalland Beamon, who works as the Genesis Assistant for Gates County 4-H.  In addition, the Blaque Buttaflyz, Gates County Hurricanes and Gates County High School Cheerleaders represented as group volunteers.

The Gates County Community Center proved to be the ideal venue for the event by providing the necessary infrastructure and staffing to ensure that all campers and instructors were able to focus.  The industrial kitchen simplified meal preparation as the camp provided hot lunches and snacks to all participants and volunteers.  “The youth that learn the value of hard work, commitment, teamwork and sacrifice are the ones that make their team great.  The prominence of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.  When the community believes in the youth, everything is possible,” emphasized Renee Nicholson, Recreation Director of the Gates County Community Center.

Gates County Community Partnership and the Gates County Community Center genuinely appreciate the tremendous support of the community and are looking forward to future events.  “Collaboration is a key to success.  Therefore, we would be remiss if we did not mention the free basketball training that is currently taking place at the community center.  It is for kids ages 7 to 14 on every Thursday from 3 pm – 6 pm and every Saturday from 9 am – 12 pm,” stated Gates County Community Partnership Director Michael Gatling.  “Support of this effort is essential because it is about being the best you can be, as excellence requires hard work and dedication.”  For more information on this training, please contact Renee Nicholson at the Gates County Community Center.

“I am thrilled that we were able to work with Gates County on the “Elite Skills 4 Day Basketball Camp.”  It is important to keep our youth engaged and active during the summer break.  As our mission implies, we labor to inspire others to become even more involved working for our youth,” said Gates County Community Partnership Director Sherley Jones, Jr.

Gates County Community Partnership is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity whose mission is to inspire and increase community engagement by the citizens of Gates County for the educational and social development of its youth.  Donations are welcome at paypal.me/gatescountycp and P.O. Box 64, Sunbury, NC  27979.   For more information, contact [email protected].


New Direction and Gates County Community Partnership Collaborate for Youth Development

Recently, Gates County Community Partnership partnered with New Direction to provide inspiration and motivation to young men from the area. The event took place at St. John Community Christian Church in Eure under the oversight of Kris Kahn, McKinley Wilson, Brian Rountree and Sherley Jones Jr. New Direction is a mentoring program that provides young males opportunities to participate in skill enhancing tasks that motivate, build confidence and amplify self-esteem.

"Encouraging our youth today to display positive attitudes and behaviors is integral for their well-being, ultimately contributing to great results at home and at school. Our two organizations united to help young men better understand how their demeanor and disposition will benefit them in the short and long term," stated Brian Rountree of Gates County Community Partnership.

The mentors utilized activities where the participants answered questions about information shared with them by Gates County Community Partnership director Sherley Jones. Advice was offered on being responsible, respectful and mannerly. Exhibiting a strong work ethic, developing relationships and recognizing good role models were emphasized. "Reinforcing life principles is so important for these young men because too often they are exposed to negative factors which can derail their success. If you meet young people where they are and show them you care, they will trust you. That is what mentorship is about,” said Jones.

The seminar was a success as representatives of the two organizations enthusiastically discussed their plans to work together in the future. Each has a goal of uplift and recognizes that the way to have a lasting effect is to be present with wisdom and a “helping hand.”

"If we collectively work together with parents, teachers, counselors and school boards, these young men and others will not become a statistic of the challenging socioeconomic environments faced in some of our local communities. Mentoring young people and connecting them to positivity through activities in the community prescribes to the philosophy of it takes a village to raise a child,” shared Kris Khan of New Direction. “Our goal is for these young men to do well academically, go on to college or a trade school and attain great professional careers. These students shared aspirations to become lawyers, engineers and policemen. They believe in themselves and can do anything they set their minds to do."

Gates County Community Partnership is a 501(c)3 designated non-profit whose mission is to inspire and increase community engagement by the citizens of Gates County for the educational and social development of its youth.


Gates County Community Partnership Provides Scholarship to North Carolina Promise Recipient

Gates County Community Partnership presented a full tuition one year scholarship to North Carolina Promise Tuition Plan recipient Jordan Eason, a 2019 graduate of Gates County High School. He will be attending Western Carolina University.

From left - Dr. Barry Williams, Superintendent, Gates County Schools Brian Rountree., Director, Gates County Community Partnership Jordan Eason, NC Promise Scholarship Beneficiary Tammy Boone, Assistant Superintendent, Gates County Schools

"As an organization founded to support the educational aspirations of the students of Gates County, providing this scholarship was a no-brainer,” said Gates County Community Partnership director Michael Gatling. "We would like to congratulate Jordan Eason and offer assistance as he follows his dreams. He is a much deserving honoree."

The North Carolina Promise Tuition Plan is a program of the State of North Carolina established to increase access to a quality university education through the University of North Carolina system. Students who qualify receive reduced rate tuition with the remainder supplemented by the state.

"Gates County Community Partnership will continue to serve and is thankful for local support. We are working on a couple of things for this summer that back our mission as we intend to always stay active,” stated Gates County Community Partnership director Brian Rountree.

Gates County Community Partnership is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity whose mission is to inspire and increase community engagement by the citizens of Gates County for the educational and social development of its youth. Donations are welcome at paypal.me/gatescountycp and P.O. Box 64, Sunbury, NC 27979. For more information, please contact [email protected]


Gates County Community Partnership Donates to Gates County High School

Gates County Community Partnership Director Brian Rountree presents a $2,500 donation to Gates County High School Principal Jonathan Hayes in honor of Wayne “Primetime” Hathaway, former head basketball coach and mentor to Gates County’s youth.


“A Resounding Success”

Gates County High School Alumni Charity Basketball Expo 2019

On Saturday, April 20, Gates County Community Partnership hosted the Gates County High School Alumni Charity Basketball Expo at Gates County High School.  “It was a resounding success with proceeds enabling a $2,500 donation to Gates County High School in honor of former varsity basketball coach Wayne Hathaway,” stated Gates County Community Partnership member Brian Rountree.

The Expo included three alumni basketball games, featuring Gates County High School basketball stars of the past.  The alumni cheerleaders were a highlight, mixing traditional cheers with new ones.  Other events included a 3-Point Shootout, Slam Dunk contest and “Rep Your Class” spirit competition, along with raffles and other giveaways.  The Saunders Science Scholars, Gates County 4-H and Gateway Community Health provided enlightening information, activities and services for those present.

“We would like to recognize game MVPs Mike Manley, Graylon Boone, Tommy Arline and DeShanna Duggins, as well as the 3-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk Champion Cassius Gary,” said Gates County Community Partnership member Sherley Jones.  “Also, the Gates County High School Class of 2000 won the “Rep Your Class” spirit competition by donning personalized t-shirts and singing their “Rock the Red and White” school chant.”

Gates County Community Partnership appreciates all who attended, participated and made the Alumni Charity Basketball Expo possible.  The directors specifically mentioned Gates County High School Principal Jonathan Hayes, Paul Gary, Renee Nicholson, Chante Lassiter-Jordan and the family of the late Wayne Hathaway.

“The Alumni Basketball Expo was about the community.  We wanted to show our love for Gates County by providing an avenue for good, clean family fun over the holiday weekend.  Hopefully, the event inspired others to become even more involved working for our youth,” said Gates County Community Partnership member Benjamin Saunders, Jr.

Gates County Community Partnership is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity whose mission is to inspire and increase community engagement by the citizens of Gates County for the educational and social development of its youth.  Donations are welcome at paypal.me/gatescountycp and P.O. Box 64, Sunbury, NC  27979.   For more information, contact [email protected]


Hoops for the Community

Tournament will Benefit Gates County High School

The sounds of basketballs bouncing on the hardwood always brings out the competitive spirit.

But that sound can also signal a worthwhile fundraiser.

Such will be the case on Saturday, April 20 at the Gates County High School gym. There, Gates County Community Partnership will conduct an Alumni Charity Basketball Expo.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds we raise at this event will be donated to Gates County High School,” said Benjamin C. Saunders, Jr, Director of Gates County Community Partnership.

Saunders added that the Partnership is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity.

“Our mission is to inspire and increase community engagement by the citizens of Gates County for the educational and social development of its youth,” Saunders stated.

The Alumni Charity Expo will feature games for ages 35-and-under and 35-and-over. Gates County High School alumni, men and women, are encouraged to participate.

There is a $20 per person participation fee. General admission for fans is $5 per person. Admission is free for ages 8 and under.

Advance tickets are available online at https://gchsalumnibbgame.eventbrite.com.

The event will feature the games along with a 3-point shooting and slam dunk contest. Awards and prizes are up to grabs.

Additionally, there will be free health and wellness checks.

For more information, send an email to [email protected]


School and Community Partnership Continues

Gates County Schools continues to benefit from their partnership with alumni who are giving back. On Monday, March 4, 2019, the importance of school and community partnerships was showcased at the Gates County Board of Education meeting. Mr. Benjamin Saunders, Jr., Mr. Brian Rountree and Mr. Sherley Jones, Jr. of Gates County Community Partnership, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity, gave a presentation highlighting the value of school-community partnerships as a bridge to the gaps in funding for educational technologies and resources which enhance the core curriculum.

Community involvement can be defined as the connection between schools and members of the community such as individuals, businesses, as well as other formal and informal institutions (Henderson & Mapp, 2002; Sanders, 2003). According to Dr. Williams, District Superintendent, the establishment of community partnerships comes from an innovators mindset to find ways to give students all the wonderful things they desire as they grow and learn in the public school setting. The purpose of education is to develop learners and leaders who improve today and tomorrow for all. To develop our students, we must be forward-thinking and utilize all resources to empower them and inspire innovation.

The mission of Gates County Community Partnership is to inspire and increase community engagement by the citizens of Gates County for the educational and social development of its youth. Since its formation in October 2018, they have worked with Gates County Schools and the community, focusing activities that encourage others to do more. In the organization’s first month of existence, it donated 125,000 sheets of copy paper to Gates County High School and assisted in securing additional funding to expand the Saunders Science Scholars program in Gates County Schools.

This is just the beginning as the partnership is motivated to push forward. “We are in this for the long haul. As a patriotic American, it is my responsibility to do what I can to encourage and give back, never forgetting my home. My colleagues in this organization feel the same way, which is why we came together, in an organized manner, to serve Gates County,” said Gates County Community Partnership member Michael Gatling.

On Saturday, April 20, 2019, the group will sponsor the Gates County High School Alumni Charity Basketball Expo at 4:00 pm in Gates County High School’s gymnasium. 100% of the proceeds from this event will be donated to Gates County High School. The cost is $20 to participate and $5 for general admission (8 and under are free). Advance purchase of either ticket is highly encouraged at https://gchsalumnibbgame.eventbrite.com.

Through their efforts, Mr. Saunders, Mr. Rountree, Mr. Jones and Mr. Gatling have laid the foundation for developing current and future partnerships that can be built in the best interest of children for Gates County.

Gates County Community Partnership accepts donations at paypal.me/gatescountycp or P.O. Box 64, Sunbury, NC 27979.