In July 2016, the Ben Franklin Society was approached by the recently formed Franklin County Educational Foundation to become an “Adopt-a-School” Business Partner (Sponsor) of the Early College High School (ECHS).

ECHS was formally approved as the Signature Project of the Society by its Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting held on December 28, 2016.


ECHS is the only 5-year Franklin County Public School where students receive both a High School and VGCC (Vance Granville Community College) Associates Degree upon graduating. ECHS presently has 200+ Students. ECHS is located adjacent to the VGCC Campus located on NC HWY 56 just south of Louisburg, NC. Enrollment is limited by available classroom space. There is no tuition cost to attend. ECHS in 2017 is the first, and presently the only, NC “A”-rated School in Franklin County.



On August 3rd, we catered a Faculty & Staff Breakfast at ECHS.

On August 18th, Principal Erica Shoulders-Royster attended our Quarterly Society Board of Directors Meeting at Cabin Headquarters – Lynch Creek Farm.

On October 25th, we catered a Franklin County Educational Foundation (FCEF) luncheon at ECHS for FCEF Board of Directors and ECHS Faculty & Staff.

On October 28th, we made an initial delivery of 24 boxes of donated Library Books that were secured from the Perry Memorial Library in Henderson, NC.


On February 10th, BFS Volunteers held a “Work Day” at the ECHS Library room.

In February, the Society facilitated The Franklin Times Newspaper coverage of the “Success Story” about ECHS “Super Seniors”, Peter and Paul Caroline, who received full-paid scholarships to both Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania.

On February 20th, Bob Radcliffe spoke at the ECHS Senior Seminar on Engineering & Computer Science.

On February 28th, Kerry Carter spoke at the Senior Seminar on Design & Architecture.

On March 1st, Bob Radcliffe met with School Superintendent, Dr. Pascal Mubenga seeking approval to initiate a BFS private industry, fund-raising campaign to provide each ECHS student with a Chromebook Computer. He approved our plan to initially approach Novozymes. To kick-off the campaign, the Ben Franklin Society donated $8000 for the purchase of One Computer Cart and 30 Chromebook Computers (later revised to No Carts and 40 Chromebook Computers).

On March 6th, Bob Radcliffe submitted a Grant Proposal to to the Novozymes Community Relations Committee for $23,400 to purchase 3 Computer Carts and 90 Chromebook Computers.

It was during the process of writing this Novozymes Grant Proposal that the NC State Sales Tax matter was discovered by Bob Radcliffe, that subsequently led to another BFS Initiative to “Eliminate the Sales Tax on All Public School Purchases”. Use this link to DOWNLOAD BOB’s SALES TAX REPORT

On May 5th, we catered a luncheon at ECHS for “Teacher Appreciation Week”.

On May 25th, Bob Radcliffe attended the ECHS Commencement Ceremony held at the Louisburg High School Auditorium during which special recognition was given the Ben Franklin Society for their help throughout the year.

On July 5th, was notified that Novozymes would be unable to fund our outstanding Grant Request.

On July 18th, Bob met with County Manager, Angela Harris about the NC State Sales Tax matter and our ECHS Computer Fundraising Initiative. Angela volunteered to do what she could to help.

On July 26th, BFS received a donation from Tony Barr (Art Beveridge) for $7260 for 1 Cart and 30 Chromebook Computers.

On August 10th, we received notification from Angela Harris that the Franklin County School System (not Novozymes) would fund the requirements of our updated Grant Proposal for 2 Carts and 60 Chromebook Computers.

We announced in our September 2017 BreadWorks Newsletter that the Society had been successful in its effort to provide a Chromebook Computer for each student at ECHS. The Society donated $16,000 and provided 1 Computer Cart and 70 Chromebook Computers.

In our October 2017 BreadWorks Newsletter, we announced the following new objectives for ECHS in 2017-2018:

1)   Begin efforts to enlist the support of County Leaders to plan and construct a New Building for ECHS

2)   Establish a new ECHS Teacher-Society Volunteer Program that links 1-2 members with each of the seven Teachers to identify, fund-raise and implement “unfulfilled” educational opportunities

3)   Begin work to project a clearer image and better understanding of ECHS in Franklin County by helping to create a new School Promotional Brochure

In our November 2017 BreadWorks Newsletter, we announced a Thanksgiving ECHS Fundraiser and provided more detail about our Teacher Partnership and its initial Classroom-by-Classroom needs.

On November 13th, we attended the ECHS-Novozymes “Detergent Challenge” Biotech Contest held from 2:00-5:00pm at Novozymes. Six ECHS Teams of six 10th grade students made presentations of their findings. Three teams were awarded cash prizes. An impressive day by ECHS students.

On November 20th, we held our 1st Teacher Partnership Volunteer (Kick-off) Meeting at the Cabin where Teacher pairings were decided, Partnership objectives were clarified, and next Steps to get started were outlined.

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 23rd, a BreadWorks fund-raising event was held at the Cabin for the benefit of upcoming ECHS Classroom Needs being discovered by our new Teacher-Partnership initiative. Over $600 was raised!

On November 29th, Art Beveridge delivered two Molecular Modelling Kits ($250) for use by Chemistry Teacher Kerrion Clarke and Biology Teacher Sanjana Sharma

On December 2nd, we were notified that we had WON $1000 CASH for the $50 Raffle Ticket we purchased from the Franklin County Educational Foundation (FCEF) for their “Christmas Wish” Fund-Raiser. The proceeds will be used to fund our ECHS Teacher Partnership Initiative!

On December 8th, Bob Radcliffe submitted a Funding Proposal for $1000 to Novozymes for Science Equipment and Supplies – Community Relations Committee – Laura Terry, Chairperson.

On December 11th, we held the 2nd meeting of our ECHS Teacher Partnership Volunteers who shared their findings after most had met with their assigned Teachers. Decisions were made about some immediate Donations BFS would expedite this month.

On December 12th, we made a Donation of $200 to help Principal Erica Shoulders with special holiday food service costs.

On December 14th, Dave Wanner and Jack Hussey delivered 40 Student Mini-Whiteboards, Erasers and Marking Pens ($150) for use by both Math Teachers – Katelyn Jones and Cristina Lucuta.

On December 15th, we donated $300 to cover a 1-year IXL Software License for use by the Students of Math Teachers Katelyn Jones and Cristina Lucuta.

On December 15th, David Wanner provided 1/2 day of year-end test monitoring help.

On December 18th, Bob Radcliffe met with new Superintendent of FC Schools, Dr. Rhonda Schuhler and FC Schools Facilities Manager, Dr. Larry Webb about future ECHS Building Requirements and other Teacher Support Needs we have identified.

On December 27, English Teacher Elizabeth Grothmann and her parents visited the Lynch Creek Farm Log Cabin – Headquarters of the Ben Franklin Society.

On December 28th, the Ben Franklin Society held its Annual Open House at the Log Cabin – Teachers Michael Grothmann and Sanjana Sharma attended.


In our January 1st, BreadWorks Newsletter, Bob summarized the main points of his December Meeting with Superintendent, Dr. Rhonda Schuhler:

  • Future ECHS facility matters will be dictated by VGCC collaboration outcomes
  • Targeting future ECHS enrollment beyond 250 seems unlikely
  • Immediate Science Classroom addition of Lab Sinks will be considered
  • Chromebook “Take-Home” Policy will be implemented in January 2018
  • Approval given to pursue prototyping STEM-like extensions for the Chromebooks
  • Approval given to begin our Grant Writing Teacher Assistance efforts

On January 8th, a Laboratory Bench Donation was delivered to Science Teacher, Sanjana Sharma’s classroom by Sharon and Ken Billings.

On January 9th, Bob Radcliffe received notification of the Award of $1000 for the Grant Application he submitted on behalf of ECHS for the Science Equipment and Supplies Grant he submitted on December 8th, 2017.

On January 12th, we assisted in the completion and submission of two CenturyLink Grants: one by Math Teacher Katelyn Jones for TI-Calculators ($3795), and one by Science Teacher Sanjana Sharma for a LabDisc/GlobiLab unit ($500).

On January 15th, Bob Radcliffe arranged for NC “No-Cut” to mark all underground utilities in the Median area where we plan to install a STEM Raised-bed Garden.

On January 15th, we held our 3rd ECHS Volunteers Meeting at the Cabin.

On January 19th, Bob Radcliffe took Science Teacher Sanjana Sharma to meet with Franklin County NC Extension Service Director, Charles Mitchell and Soil Conservation Service Manager, Charlie Bass regarding plans to build a STEM Garden. Charles donated metal corner brackets for two Raised-beds, and Charlie arranged for ECHS to participate in the upcoming NC Envirothon Competition.

On January 22nd, Bill Lord spoke to students in Sanjana Sharma’s Earth Sciences class about career opportunities in Water Resources and explained basic storm water management strategies.

On January 25th, Linda Lamb delivered the Quiz Game Kit($250) to English Teacher Ari Goldberg for use by the Club Students who participate in the WRAL-TV BrainGame Contest.

On February 9th, Bob Radcliffe and Sanjana Sharma  were disappointed to find that the $1000 Lowes Education Toolkit Grant (for the STEM Garden) they were preparing to submit was rejected because the limit of 1500 Grant Applications was reached. We will try again when the Fall Grant Cycle opens on August 6th.

On February 19th, we held the 4th ECHS Volunteer Meeting at the Log Cabin.

On February 19th, Linda Lamb delivered a classroom-set of Julius Caesar books ($124)  to English Teacher Ari Goldberg.

On January 23rd, in preparation of installing two Raised-beds at the STEM Garden, Bob Radcliffe purchased and cut the donated Corner Brackets, Lumber sidewalls and Re-Bar stakes ($90).

On January 23rd, Ken Billings and Bob Radcliffe worked with three classes of Sanjana Sharma’s Students to dig, build and install two raised bed frames in the Median Area at ECHS.

On March 2nd, Ken Billings and Bob Radcliffe delivered Manufactured Soil ($50) and Drainage Stone ($10) to the STEM Garden. Two of Sanjana Sharma’s student classes helped unload and place soil in both beds.

On March 3rd, Bob Radcliffe and Kerry Carter started the process to develop a landscaping plan for the entire median area. Photos and a scale plot plan from the Franklin County GIS department were assembled and forwarded to Tim Hannaur – Landscape Architect for some ideas – STEM Garden, Seating, Landscaping, Sport area etc.

On March 5th, Bob Radcliffe delivered two 75′ heavy-duty hoses ($100) for use at the STEM Garden and for a Car Wash fundraiser.

On March 5th, Linda Lamb delivered a classroom-set of books (Fences, $220) to English Teacher Elizabeth Grothmann.

On March 5th, Kerry Carter and Linda Lamb continued planning and assisting Elizabeth Grothmann regarding their upcoming DC Class Trip on May 5th. Fund-raising events are being planned: Yard Sale at ECHS on March 24th and a BFS Music Event on April 21st.

On March 8th, Bob Radcliffe took Sanjana Sharma to Burnette’s Seed & Feed in Louisburg to purchase Lettuce, Cabbage, Spinach and Radish seed, as well as Potatoes and Onion Bulbs for the Garden.

On March 9th, Bob Radcliffe delivered two cold-frames and row cover cloth. Both raised-beds were planted, one by each class, with identical rows of seeds planted in three micro-climate environments – cold frame, double row cover fabric and bare soil. Daily watering and observations will be made to track how seed germination proceeds.

On March 10th, Bob Radcliffe replaced the cold frame sash window that was cracked on Friday March 9th

On March 12th, Bob Radcliffe dropped off plastic seed row markers and pens with Sanjana Sharma.

On March 16th, Bob Radcliffe met with Erica Shoulders to discuss past Ben Franklin Society achievements, present activites underway, and the need to create an approved plan of action for the future.

On March 19th, our 5th ECHS Volunteer Meeting was held at the Cabin. Reviewed status of ongoing activities – ECHS Yard Sale coordination with Elizabeth Grothmann planned for Saturday March 24th, and plans for a BreadWorks Entertainment Event on Saturday, April 21st to help fund the upcoming ECHS DC Class Trip on May 4-5th.

On March 22nd, Bob Radcliffe and Ken Billings will help chaperone 25 of Sanjana Sharma’s Students on a trip to participate in the NC Envirothon Competition in Bahama, NC.

On March 23rd, Sharon Billings is scheduled to speak to three classes of Science Teacher Sanjana Sharma about Plant Genetics.

On Saturday, March 24th, ECHS Teacher, Elizabeth Grothmann held a Yard/Bake Sale from 8:00am-12:00noon and raised over $1000 for their DC Class Trip. BFR members, Kerry Carter, Linda Lamb, Margaret Hilpert and others helped solicit and deliver donations for sale.

On March 27th, Ken Billings and Bob Radcliffe delivered a truckload of Mulch for the Garden.

On March 28th, Bob Radcliffe worked with Students from Ms. Sharmas classes to finish spraying the grass surrounding the Raised Beds, placing down ground cloth to deter weeds adjacent to the Raised Beds, and spreading Mulch over the groundcloth to further deter weeds. A rectangular area of mulch encompassing the Garden was created to make it easy for FCSS grounds-keepers to cut the entire  median area where the Garden is located.

On April 10th, Bob removed the cold frame (and glass sash) from the Raised-bed Garden site – no loner needed.

On April 21st, Kerry Carter and Linda Lamb hosted the “ECHS DC TRIP FUNDRAISER” at the Lynch Creek Farm Cabin to help Teacher Elizabeth Grothmann take 35 students for 2-days of museum edu-tainment. Thanks to musicians Stella Jones and Doug Ross for donating their time and talents. Great weather! Raised over $1000.

On May 3rd, Bob helped Ms. Sharma’s students harvest Radishes and Romaine Lettuce from the Raised-Bed Garden.

On May 4-5th, the ECHS Class Field Trip to Washington, DC. Everything worked out perfectly, says Teacher Elizabeth Grothmann. More details to follow.

On May 24th, Kerry & Bob attended the ECHS Graduation Ceremony held at Louisburg HS.

On May 29th, Checked on the Raised-bed Garden. Weeded, removed all Tools and Watering Can. OK for the Summer.


On August 1st @ 10:00am, attended ECHS Brainstorming Session with Erica Shoulders and others. Emphasis upon ECHS A+ rating goal and increased scheduling of Student Field trips thi year.

On August 13th, Bob met with both Science Teachers – Sanjana Sharma and Kerissa Armstead. Agreement on Club activites and my proposed Weather Station and LabDisc/GlobiLab initiatives. Raised-bed Garden schedule set for Friday, August 24th @ 11:30am

On August 15th, held our 2018-2019 BFS-ECHS Volunteers Planning Meeting at the Cabin. Good turnout. Excellent discussion. Partnership pairing resolved. Strategy adjustments made. Funding options reviewed. Optimistic about the positive impacts we can again make at ECHS this year.

Here are are BFS-ECHS pairings for 2018-2019: SCIENCE: Kerissa Armstead -> Bob Radcliffe, Sanjana Sharma -> Sharon Billings; MATH: Katelyn Jones -> Jack Hussey, Lionel Morgan -> David Wanner; ENGLISH: Sharon Garrett -> Kerry Carter, Shanique Terry -> Linda Lamb; HISTORY: Michael Grothmann -> Margaret Hilpert

On August 20th @ 3:00pm BFS Volunteers (except Sharon Billings) met at ECHS with Principal Erica Shoulders. She discussed her plans for ECHS, new Teacher profiles, and the importance of Clubs. Club Date Schedule: 2018: 9/14, 9/28, 10/19, 11/2, 11/30; 2019: 2/1, 2/15, 3/1, 3/15, 3/29, 4/12, and 5/2 – Fridays from 1:45-2:45pm

On August 21st, Bob ordered a 10-Pack of TI Calculators for Math Teacher Katelyn Jones – about $1350. Volunteer Jack Hussey to expedite and assist Katelyn with Grant writing. After Katelyn’s fund-raising efforts end, we will decide how to provide an additional 20 Calculators.

On August 24th, Jack Hussey delivered 10 TI Calculators to Katelyn Jones on behalf of BFS. Much needed and most appreciated.

On August 24th, from 11:30-1:30pm, Bob assisted Ms. Armstead Class (8 Students) with weeding and then planting the Garden. Met with Math Teacher Lionel Morgan – computer science background explored.

On August 20th, all ECHS Volunteers met with Erica Shoulders for 1-hour. Lengthy Club discussion.

On September 11th, Bob met with Erica Shoulders, Sanjana Sharma and Kerissa Armstrong at ECHS re: innovation ideas.

On September 24, BFS withdrew its participation in the FCEF “Adopt-a-School” program and our involvement with the ECHS.