Patterson School Going Solar!

LENOIR, NC (June 10, 2016)…Community solar for Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation members in Caldwell County is advancing thanks to a partnership between the cooperative and the Patterson School Foundation.

Construction could soon begin on the cooperative’s community solar garden on nearly an acre of land leased from Patterson School Foundation located on the north side of Hwy 268. Blue Ridge is working closely with the Caldwell County Planning and Development department to fully comply with the recently adopted Solar Amendment to the Zoning Ordinance and obtain a conditional use permit for the site.

Community solar gardens are ideal for offering access to solar energy for consumers who cannot—or do not wish—to install rooftop solar panels due to factors such as high upfront cost or maintenance concerns. While renewable energy currently makes up six percent of Blue Ridge Electric’s power supply and that percentage is growing, community solar gardens will empower cooperative members to directly choose to invest in receiving a greater portion of their electricity from solar resources.

The cooperative is planning to construct four community solar gardens this fall, each a 100 kW (kilowatt) array consisting of 350 ground mounted solar panels that will cumulatively power 50 average households. Pricing options are currently being developed for subscribing to the energy rights of one or more solar panels.

Patterson School Foundation and Blue Ridge Electric also envision the community solar garden providing a valuable educational benefit to Patterson retreat participants and to Caldwell County students engaged in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Agriculture and Math) curriculum there.

Blue Ridge Electric is committed to making its members’ lives better by offering innovative and powerful solutions such as community solar. The cooperative serves some 74,000 members. For more information, visit


While Blue Ridge Electric’s community solar garden will be much larger than this residential solar array, this photo provides an idea of the look of a ground mounted solar facility. This array is owned by Blue Ridge Electric employee Jason Smith, senior communications analyst, who came to Blue Ridge after working for a SC company as chief operating officer, managing construction and renewable energy solutions. (Photo description provided by Blue Ridge Electric and photo provided by the Smith Family.)

Drawing Classes to be Taught at Historic Patterson School campus

Ed Dyer“How to Draw” is offered as a series of eight classes on the Patterson School campus Wednesday and Saturday mornings beginning on Saturday, June 11 and continuing through Wednesday, July 6. The morning classes will be held from 9am to noon in the Wiese Dorm Art Studio.

“Like reading and writing , drawing is a fundamental life skill, and knowledge of drawing will reinforce your understanding of the visual world. Contrary to popular belief, the ability to draw is a learned process,” explains instructor Ed Dyer, who has recently moved to North Carolina from New Orleans. Ed is a member of the Pastel Society of America and the Degas Pastel Society. He earned his BFA degree from Boston University in 1959, and his MBA degree from Yale University in 1970.

“Students will learn how to see;” says Ed, ” drawing is 50% observation.” Ed will teach composition, drawing fundamentals using basic forms, and elements of shading. Classes will cover the use of values, and accurate measurement techniques for proportion. Students will learn to create textures and soft / hard edges for impact. Each session will become more challenging as skills are acquired.

The workshop will be hands-on, with demonstrations and individual guidance. “If you want to take your drawing to the next level, this workshop is for you,” says Ed. Classes are designed for the beginner and intermediate student, adults and young adults, with three full hours of drawing in each of the eight sessions. Individual guidance and evaluation, and informational handouts are all included. Media will be charcoal and graphite on newsprint. A list of inexpensive materials will be issued.

Ed Dyer will be featured as Artist in Residence at the Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock for the week of August 8 -16, and will be on hand there to discuss his work. The Cottage is the vintage studio of Blowing Rock painter Elliott Daingerfield, now restored and managed by the Blowing Rock Historical Society.

“Learning to draw skillfully is the surest way to achieve mastery in your painting, no matter what the medium , ” Ed explains. The Patterson School Campus is located nine miles north of Lenoir on Highway 268, just past the Chapel of Rest. Visit Ed’s website at Ed Dyer Fine Art, and to register for classes, call the Caldwell Arts Council at (828) 754-2486. Fee for the 8-day series is $250.

Empower Personalized Fitness

empower fitnessWe are very excited to partner with Empower Personalized Fitness from Durham, NC for our first ever retreat weekend at The Patterson School. Empower is an innovative fitness and wellness company and they are launching a new venture called Empower Expeditions to showcase their unique fitness philosophy – ThinkFUN, Get Fit, Eat Well.

Their very first Expedition is coming up June 3rd – 5th at The Patterson School and as I learned more about this retreat it struck me that this experience would REALLY RESONATE with some of you. I am including a link to a little eBook about the programming and bios of presenters so that you can learn more about this weekend of relaxation, wellness and fun.

This week only there is an Early Bird Special Price of $429 which includes 2 nights accommodations, 6 delicious chef-prepared meals, plenty of wholesome snacks and participation in 9 educational sessions to help you connect with nature, discover your resonant energy, and ultimately create and experience the life you envision. Don’t worry, there’s also time on the schedule to relax, socialize, and do whatever you want!

Empower already has a diverse group of individuals coming from the Triangle area, and they are looking for pioneers to help blaze the trail for this new venture. Future plans include taking Empower Expeditions to Sonoma Valley and even Italy so you don’t want to miss out on this first experience.

Read the e-book and learn more at

Patterson’s First Newletter

The News of The Patterson School was first published in November 1909. It consisted of 4 pages and covered such topics as the opening of the school, the number of boarding and day students attending, some history about Samuel Patterson and his wife, the mission of the school, life at the school, and the needs of the school. The newsletter is a fascinating read and look into life in 1909. We are fortunate to have obtained a copy of this first newsletter and believe you will find it as interesting and enlightening as we did.

The News of The Patterson School, November 1909, Page 1

The News of The Patterson School, November 1909, Page 2

The News of The Patterson School, November 1909, Page 3

The News of The Patterson School, November 1909, Page 4

High Country Farm Tour

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Farm Tour PosterThe Patterson School Foundation is pleased to be a part of the High Country Farm Tour sponsored by the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA). Four farms are featured in the tour, with the Patterson Estate being the first of the four. Tickets are available here or at the Patterson School grounds the day of the event. The 4 page Tour Guide is available for viewing or downloading here. For complete details visit the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture website. The event runs from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm on Saturday, October 10, 2015.

Come tour the Patterson School Foundation property, bequeathed for agricultural educational purposes by Samuel Legerwood Patterson, the first elected NC Agricultural Commissioner. His great, great niece will share the Permaculture plans to regenerate this land, organic farm management of horse hay, the newly re-opened Patterson Equestrian Center and Riding Club, and the Caldwell County Public School’s STEAM program’s campus site. Enjoy this resource-rich land which includes an old hydro-electric dam, the Yadkin River and Ripshin Mountain’s peak.

Patterson Equestrian Center Horse PULL

Horse pull picturePatterson School Equestrian Center
Address:    2039 Hwy 268, Lenoir, NC  28645
Date:          April 4, 2015
Time:         2:00 start  –  Gates open at 12:00
To register horses to participate, please arrive before 1:00
Current Coggins required.

First place for light and heavy weight is: $250
Second place:          $200
Third place:              $175
Fourth place:           $125
Fifth place:               $100

For your comfort, bring your lawn chairs and blankets.
Food Vendor available onsite.
Hotdogs, Hamburgers, BBQ, Chips, Drinks, Desserts

For more information, contact:
IRA GREENE   at   828-266-1208        or      282-493-3210

PSF Celebrates Community Involvement and Generosity in 2014!

Patterson School Foundation Celebrates the Community’s Generosity in 2014!


Patterson School Foundation gives thanks as they celebrate their many successful milestones achieved in 2014. The highlights include surpassing their Hickory Hall Campaign’s initial goal of $50,000 to renovate the 1960 Hickory Hall Commercial Kitchen and Dining Room.

The Hickory Hall Campaign was birthed from a matching $15,000 challenge, which was challenged again at a Patterson School alumni luncheon. All board members contributed, and the enthusiasm for Patterson School Foundation’s renewal has become contagious. As Hickory Hall’s two newly rebuilt roofs tout their healthy status, the excitement for the kitchen’s resurrection continues to grow.

The attached photos capture some of the highlights of their recent Christmas party, which were filled with kudos and much gratitude to the many generous volunteers who have facilitated Patterson School Foundation’s recent regeneration.

Chef_Keith_CCC-TIChef Keith Andreasen, Director of CCC & TI’s Culinary Arts Program, enjoyed the Patterson School Foundation Christmas celebration. Having him compliment our organic whole wheat pasta with sauce was noteworthy and much appreciated! From physically healthy food choices to emotionally and spiritually uplifting music — a good time was had by all!



Dr. Brady Adkins, pastor, and New Grace Trio set the Christmas tone.



Evelyn Garvey, Director of the Patterson Riding Club, was also toasted for her successful co-ordination of fellow volunteers who have worked many hours in the last 6 months of resurrecting the Patterson Equestrian Center. Evelyn Garvey, Giddy on Up 4-H leader in Caldwell County, supervised her team who won a ‘First Place’ for their recent County Fair 4-H project “Growing with Caldwell County”, which showcased their prized efforts at resurrecting the Patterson Equestrian Center.

Hands-on Science

Amy Bradley 5490b4a9c5210


LENOIR, N.C.—Stacked to the roof with aquatic robots, DUI goggles and pig lungs, the curriculum room at Patterson Science Center is where “science” happens.It’s here that director Amy Bradley and her staff invent the lessons that have brought 25,000 students to the center since it opened in 2012 and made it a stunning success.

“I think it’s hands-on science,” Bradley said. “And we incorporate engineering into everything we do, so I really think it engaged the students in learning and they took an interest and they look forward to coming here.”

The center was the vision of Superintendent Steve Stone, who wanted to enhance STEAM education — the ‘A’ stands for ‘agriculture’ in this case — in Caldwell County schools.

“The industries in Caldwell County are changing,” Stone said. “They tell us we need more kids in robotics, more kids in tech.”

The PSC campus, nestled in the foothills of Yadkin Valley, once housed a boarding school. But it closed in 2009, after years of dwindling interest.

“We’re sitting on 1,400 acres of pristine land, so the school board wanted to create a unique opportunity for our kids, something that’s uniquely ours,” Stone said.

He hired Bradley, a former Hibriten High School science teacher with three master’s degrees and a knack for writing grants, to lead the center.

Bradley envisioned it as a place where students could learn about science, nature and technology in a hands-on environment, and where creativity and science were integrated, rather than at odds.

“We wanted it to be more than just a field trip,” Bradley said.

But she also wanted to make sure lessons were aligned with state and federal science standards.

So, first she wrote curriculum.

Then, she wrote grants.

Now, with the center now halfway through its third year, Bradley has written 33 lesson modules for grades K-12, raised almost a million dollars in grants and runs a top-notch STEM learning center that is drawing students from every neighboring district.

With a full-time staff of three — plus volunteers — the center runs class visits, community outreach events and summer camps throughout the year.

Students have learned how to build water bottle rockets, program robots to escape a labyrinth, conduct forensic investigations, and even get a certification in organic farming and sustainability. They stargaze at night with lecturers from UNC’s Morehead Planetarium and attend classes on 3D printing, receiving free Raspberry Pi microcomputers.

The ability to see science hands-on is what amazed Early College junior Hannah Smart, who attended the Science Expo on Dec. 10.

“We’re creating a Rube Goldberg machine, so our goal is to safely transfer an egg by whatever means into this cup,” Smart said, showing off an egg perched perilously above her head, and pointing to the sling they had built for it on the floor (made out of pipe cleaners).

“I love doing this, working with all of my classmates,” Smart said.

Bradley estimates 95 percent of the center is funded through grants and private donations. Among these are a $37,000 grant awarded by Google and a $500,000 federal Math-Science Partnership grant.

“We want the students to like science and have fun and want to be scientists when they grow up, so I don’t want them to be hindered by the cost,” Bradley said.

And the hard work Bradley and her team put into the center is beginning to pay off.

Last year, they concentrated on fifth- and eighth-graders, bringing 14 classrooms to the center 5-6 times throughout the school year.

By the end of the year, their test scores increased by 20 to 40 points.

“We are proud. We’re really excited,” Bradley said. “That gave us a boost in the clientele.”

Bradley hopes to add more programming for high school students. And she and Stone are looking at taking over the old dormitory building on the campus, which will give them the ability to plan overnight trips and professional development events.

Until then, she’s happy knowing she’s working her “dream job.”

“The most rewarding part is that you see kids smile every day and have that ‘aha’ moment,” Bradley said. “Then, you encounter them in the grocery store or Walmart and they come up to you and hug you and say, ‘I can’t wait to come back to Patterson Science Center!’”

PEC Parelli Play Day

Check our Facebook Events page for information about the upcoming Parelli Play Day on Saturday November 22. Free to come watch!
Challenges: Can You touch it, circle it, move it etc.? Will your horse go over, around, up on, under….It’s all about the relationship.

PEC Open House and Horse Show


Thanks, everyone, for coming out to the Open House on Saturday!  We enjoyed fellowship with all of our new friends!  Unfortunately, the weather dictated that we postpone the Horse Show  until Sunday, which offered a much more favorable temperature.





PEC would like to thank the following people for helping to make Horse Show a success: Angela Annas (judging), Kay Driver (announcing), Sherrie Hodge (registration), Steve Driver (serving refreshments). For setting up and cleaning up and doing any number of chores throughout the day, all of the above and: Austen Burdette, Troy Smart, Rascal Annas, Don Garvey. Thanks to everyone who came out to watch and to ask questions and to support us. And thanks to Kristin Kirby for creating our first Natural Horsemanship Show!

Patterson School Foundation Board Members would also like to thank all the other volunteers (in addition to those who have already been mentioned) who went above and beyond the call of duty, to help make the Open House and Horse Show a success for Patterson Equestrian Center and Riding Club: Chad Gibson, Jack Hubbert, David Sciabarasi, Bryan Elliot, Angie Annas, Jerry Foster, and all the 4-Hers and their wonderfully supportive parents. We would also like to thank Evelyn and Kristin for their coordination, leadership and hard work!