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Deanne Oppermann, chemistry instructor at Southwestern Community College (SCC) in Sylva, was named the recipient of the R.J. Reynolds Excellence in Teaching Award for 2012-2013 by the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS).

Oppermann is known at SCC for embracing multiple teaching styles and incorporating mastery learning, the philosophy of providing more than one chance to demonstrate mastery of content or skill, into her courses. However, Oppermann’s passion for teaching goes beyond the classroom. Her passion for teaching is solidified by her interaction with students during the advising process and the countless professional development hours she logs to improve student learning and stay current in her field. Oppermann has been an educator at SCC for 17 years, with six years’ experience in the industry as a research chemist. She also holds a U.S. Patent based on novel chemical surfactants.

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State changes to the school calendar laws will give students three full months of summer this year. Macon County Board of Education approved the school calendar for the 2013-14 school year during Monday night’s regularly scheduled meeting. The calendar aligns with North Carolina’s school calendar law passed by the N.C. General Assembly which states schools may begin no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26. With this school year's last day scheduled for May 24, students are in store for a lengthy summer, which will be nearly a month longer than in the past two years.

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South Macon Elementary School recently gathered together its Terrific Kids award recipients for the past two semesters for a group photo.

According to Principal Tolly Bowles, “The Terrific Kids Program was conceived by Kiwanis educators to bring recognition, pride, and self-esteem to elementary school students who want to help their teacher, their parents and their fellow classmates.“

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Students in Macon County were recognized during Monday night's Board of Education meeting for excellence in writing. Macon County's local association, the Western Mountain Reading Council, spearheaded a Young Authors writing contest locally, and submitted the local winners to the North Carolina's Reading Association state-wide contest.

"We are so proud of all of our students and their achievement on the state level," said Interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Duncan.

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