Three CCSD High School Seniors Named National Hispanic Scholars

Three CCSD High School Seniors Named National Hispanic Scholars

Three Cherokee County School District high school seniors have earned National recognition for outstanding test scores and academic performance!

Julia Kochansky of Cherokee High School, Kelly Hart of Creekview High School and Anabelle Paulino of River Ridge High School all have been named National Hispanic Scholars by the College Board.

Julia Kochansky

The National Hispanic Recognition Program recognizes only the top 2% of the more than 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the Practice SAT nationwide.

To be eligible, students, as juniors, must earn qualifying high scores on the Practice SAT, as well as a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and have at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino ethnic

Kelly Hart

heritage.  This ancestry can be from any of the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, or Venezuela.

Anabelle Paulino

 



CCSD Exceeds State College & Career Readiness Average, Increases Score

CCSD CCRPI 2015-16 Scores

The Cherokee County School District for the fifth consecutive year has exceeded the State’s average score under the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) system that annually assesses student academic achievement and progress… and increased its average score by more than 3 points!

The School District’s average CCRPI score for 2015-16 released today by the Georgia Department of Education is 81.6, up from 78.2 the previous year, and exceeding the Georgia average of 73.6.  Averages at all three levels of CCSD schools – elementary, middle and high – increased; no schools scored below 64.

Individual pieces of data used to formulate CCRPI, such as Georgia Milestones assessment results and graduation rates, are analyzed by school and CCSD data management and leadership teams upon receipt throughout the year.  As a result, CCSD’s efforts to track college and career readiness and address school performance issues are not halted while waiting for the State to calculate a score based on these metrics.

Additionally, School Board Policy provides for an administrative team to intervene whenever the Superintendent of Schools determines action is needed.  The process, which has been utilized three times in recent years, sends a team of CCSD leaders to the school for a thorough operational review with specific recommendations issued for changes.

Annual CCRPI scores do serve a purpose for CCSD: the 2014-15 CCRPI scores were designated by the School Board as the benchmark for achievement for our Strategic Waiver System reform model; we now are working to improve annually on those benchmark scores… which these new results illustrate is being accomplished.

“We applaud the hard work underway by students, teachers and staff in schools across CCSD to ensure that every student is as successful as possible, which we know also requires the support of parents, families, volunteers and partners,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “Thank you to everyone who plays a role in preparing our future generation for college and career readiness… together we’re successfully ‘Educating the Emerging Generation!’

2015   CCRPI 2016   CCRPI
STATE ES AVERAGE 76.0 71.7
CCSD ES AVERAGE 74.2 77.9
Arnold Mill 76.2 77.5
Avery 80.3 87.1
Ball Ground 68.9 75.7
Bascomb 87.8 93.1
Boston 84.8 81.7
Canton 60.0 68.7
Carmel 75.0 83.1
Clark Creek 75.7 78.5
Clayton 75.6 75.9
Free Home 84.9 76.6
Hasty 62.4 64.5
Hickory Flat 82.6 88.4
Holly Springs 56.9 68.6
Indian Knoll 72.4 78.8
Johnston 81.3 80.0
Knox 68.5 78.3
Liberty 72.1 81.3
Little River 76.2 73.9
Macedonia 86.9 88.6
Mountain Road 69.5 83.3
Oak Grove 65.6 76.7
R.M. Moore 69.1 84.5
Sixes 80.0 83.3
Woodstock 75.1 77.4
STATE MS AVG 71.2   71.5
CCSD MS AVG 77.6 81.3
Creekland 78.9 84.4
E.T. Booth 84.3 86.4
Dean Rusk 78.7 82.1
Freedom 84.5 80.6
Mill Creek 74.8 78.6
Teasley 63.7 74.3
Woodstock 82.4 85.3
STATE HS AVG 75.8 75.7
CCSD HS AVG 83.0 85.6
Cherokee 79.7 71.8
Creekview 82.9 88.7
Etowah 88.0 85.1
River Ridge 83.1 89.5
Sequoyah 84.7 90.4
Woodstock 83.8 90.2
STATE AVG 75.5 73.6
CCSD AVG 78.2 81.6

 


CCSD Hosting Open House for Reviewing English Language Arts Instructional Resources Options

The Cherokee County School District is hosting an open house for stakeholders to review possible new English Language Arts instructional resources for Grades K-5.

The event, which is open to teachers, parents and other stakeholders, is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12, through Thursday, Dec. 15, in Room H21 at 1020 Keeter Road, Canton.

CCSD Educational Programs staff will be onsite to answer questions, and there will be evaluation and comment opportunities.

Resources on display will include:

Reading Writing Phonics
Guided Reading with Bookrooms and/or Classroom Libraries Units of Study—Lucy Calkins Fundations
Benchmark Advance Benchmark Advance X
Scholastic X X

 


School Board Approves Important Plans for CCSD’s Continuous Improvement Efforts

Category : CCSD

The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, approved three important pieces in the School District’s continuous improvement efforts: the newly formatted annual update of the Strategic Plan, the new Instructional Framework and the newly formatted School Improvement Plans.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and his staff guided the Board members through the plans, which all are focused on improving teaching and learning throughout CCSD.

The five-year Strategic Plan, which is updated annually and incorporates goals set by departments and schools to achieve the School Board’s Major System Priorities, has been realigned to accreditation agency AdvancED’s “Standards for Quality School Systems,” which the organization will use in its review early next year for CCSD’s accreditation renewal.

“We’ve intentionally simplified the plan without sacrificing any accountability,” Dr. Hightower said.  “We think this will be an effective format for us going forward.”

The Instructional Framework (IF) is a set of expectations that will guide how CCSD teachers design instruction and assess student learning.  Just as CCSD adopts standards outlining expectations for students’ learning, the IF sets expectations for teachers’ instructional practices.

Full implementation of the IF spans a period of four years.  Teachers will continue to work for the rest of this school year in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to further study the IF standards and how they compare to current practices.  On the Staff Development day, scheduled for Jan. 2, 2017, all teachers will attend Zone meetings for additional guidance from Principals and Educational Programs’ staff on the IF implementation plan.

Board Chair Kyla Cromer thanked staff for their considerable work on the project, noting that she has heard very positive reviews from parents who attended stakeholder meetings including Georgia PTA President Lisa-Marie Haygood, a Sequoyah High School parent.

“She said ‘This is going to be what sets Cherokee County apart,’ and I agree with her,” Ms. Cromer said.

The newly formatted School Improvement Plans approved Thursday were based on “gap” analyses completed districtwide to compare CCSD schools to schools with similar demographics not only within the District, but also statewide.  The resulting comparable data provided Principals better information to use in setting two three-year goals, versus the former “laundry list,” and each goal was required to be “smart, specific and measurable.”  The majority of the goals – 41 – focus on literacy.

“I think the goals are fantastic.  They’re not only trying to bring up the bottom… but also extend the top,” Board Member Clark Menard said, noting he especially appreciates the “totally metric-driven goals.”

The Board also recognized and thanked members of the citizen committee, led by Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Buzz Ahrens, that successfully campaigned for the continuation of the Education SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax).  Voters in the Nov. 8 election overwhelmingly voted to continue the Education SPLOST: 78,796 voters for a total of 73% said “yes” to the continuation… more voters than the four previous Ed SPLOST successful votes combined.  The School Board on Thursday approved a resolution officially declaring the election results.

“Education SPLOST funds are integral to the continued success of our School District,” Dr. Hightower said, noting the renewal allows CCSD to continue to use sales tax revenue to pay for school construction, renovation projects, technology upgrades, buying buses, acquiring land for future schools and retiring bonds.  “This success would not have been possible without the advocacy efforts of the citizen committee… thank you!”

During the meeting section when Board members bring up new issues, Mike Chapman asked his fellow board members whether they would consider reviewing board member compensation.  School Board Members for CCSD, the ninth-largest school system in Georgia, receive $600 a month for their service… which is significantly less than most large school systems, such as eighth-largest Henry County (which has only 14 more students than CCSD), where members receive $16,000 a year.

Board members, who noted the compensation had not increased in 15 years and any increase would not take effect until current members’ next terms — if re-elected, agreed to take up the issue at the Jan. 19 meeting.  If approved, an increase would require local legislation by Cherokee County’s State Legislative Delegation.

The School Board also:

  • Recognized Canton Elementary School STEM Academy as winner of the 2016 Georgia STEM Education Award for Elementary Schools;
  • Recognized CCSD Teacher of the Year Brian Carnes of Sequoyah HS;
  • Recognized the 2016-17 Reinhardt University/CCSD Mathematics Tournament winners;
  • Recognized State and Region Champions including Creekview HS softball, cross-country and competition cheerleading teams and coaches and Sequoyah HS and Etowah HS One-Act Play competition cast and crew members and directors;
  • Approved monthly financial and Education SPLOST reports;
  • Approved out-of-state travel;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;
  • Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;
  • Approved monthly personnel recommendations;
  • Approved the Board’s local governance training plan including a Feb. 11 retreat;
  • Approved a 2017-18 attendance area map correction.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017


CCSD Welcomes The Wall That Heals to Arnold Mill Elementary School

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Russ Johnson shows his grandson, Arnold Mill Elementary School third-grader Holden Turman, the name on The Wall That Heals of one of his fellow Marines he served with in the Vietnam War. The Wall, a 250-foot, half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is open to the public 24 hours a day until the display closes at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20.

NOTE: A recorded Facebook Live video from this morning’s ceremony is posted on CCSD’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CherokeeGASchools/

A large crowd of Vietnam War veterans and their families joined the Cherokee County School District in welcoming The Wall That Heals to Arnold Mill Elementary School today for its first-ever visit to the Woodstock community.

The 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., along with a mobile education center, is being displayed at the school by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund through 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.  The display is open to the public 24 hours a day, with lighting to allow evening viewing.

The official welcome ceremony on Thursday morning featured keynote speaker, the Rev. Robert Certain, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.

The Rev. Certain has served as a military chaplain, parish priest and as an independent advisor to several cabinet-level federal departments.  He also is an author and speaker, and has been called to such roles as leading the memorial services and presiding over the burial of President Gerald R. Ford and delivering the invocation at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

“When you look at a name, you see the name, but if you shift your focus just a little bit, you see your own face,” the Rev. Certain said in his remarks, as he spoke of the power of visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which The Wall That Heals replicates in a half-scale model.  “That’s a reminder, that’s why it draws us in, that’s why I’ve never seen anyone walk that path without touching it.  It brings us into it.”

“That’s part of the healing power of this Wall,” the Rev. Certain said, reflecting upon his own first visit to the Memorial and seeing the names of soldiers who he fought alongside.  “The fact that you can be one with that other person… because their lives are written across your body.”

During The Wall’s stay at the school, students from Arnold Mill and schools throughout CCSD will visit it and the mobile education center, which houses artifacts and displays, to experience a tangible reinforcement of the history lessons they learn in classrooms.

“What an impact this will have on them for their entire life,” School Board Chair Kyla Cromer said in her remarks at the welcome ceremony.  “And what an impact this display will have on the entire community…  for many a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans.  Some may seem names of loved ones, perhaps a brother, a father or a grandfather or even a friend who fought alongside you but didn’t come home.  This Wall helps heal those still broken hearts.”

The welcome ceremony also included patriotic songs by the school’s chorus and remarks from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Cherokee County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens and Principal Daniel H. Fuller.  John Newport, Commandant for the Marine Corps League Detachment in Woodstock, shared a poem, with the colors presented by the River Ridge High School Junior ROTC and Taps played by Roger Spitz of Bugles Across America.

“When I walked The Wall this morning, I saw Sanchezes next to Schwartzes to Johnsons to Patowskis… people from all walks of life,” Dr. Hightower said.  “So to me, these names represent someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s classmate, someone’s parent, someone’s friend, someone’s fellow soldier.  When we leave, may we depart with a sense of lasting gratitude for the heroes represented on this wall.  They paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

The Wall arrived on campus on Wednesday, escorted into Cherokee County by the Patriot Guard, Warrior Watch, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and Woodstock Police Department.  It was welcomed onto campus by students, teachers, veterans groups and the CCSD School Police Department.  Donations from the school community are funding the event, and donations still are being accepted by the school.

First-grader Corbin Mahon cheered with his classmates as The Wall arrived at his school on Wednesday.

“It seems very exciting,” he said, as his classmates chanted “U.S.A.”  And he understands why The Wall is so special.  “The Wall honors the soldiers who died in the war.”

Principal Fuller said the experience has been an extraordinary one for everyone at the school.

“We love our veterans,” Principal Fuller said as The Wall arrived.  He wore a T-shirt that read “Heroes Don’t Wear Capes, They Wear Dog Tags,” which was made for school staff and volunteers for the event.  “This is about the veterans and showing our support.”

The Wall’s presence and the welcome ceremony were very much appreciated by veterans, Commandant Newport said.

“This was such an undertaking, and they did an awesome job,” he said of the school’s staff and volunteers.  “The kids who will see this… it’s just so meaningful.”

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Rev. Robert Certain, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, as keynote speaker for the welcome ceremony describes the design of The Wall and the significance of the order in which the names are inscribed.

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Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower takes a moment of quiet reflection at The Wall before the ceremony begins.

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John Newport, Commandant for the Marine Corps League Detachment in Woodstock, shares a moving poem about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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School Board Chair Kyla Cromer, left, and School Board Member Kelly Poole look at names on a panel of The Wall.

 

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Dozens of veterans and their families attend the welcome ceremony for The Wall.

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Arnold Mill Elementary School students line the parking lot and cheer the arrival on Wednesday morning of The Wall and its motorcycle escort by Patriot Guard and Warrior Watch members.

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Arnold Mill Elementary School students line the parking lot and cheer the arrival on Wednesday morning of The Wall and its motorcycle escort by Patriot Guard and Warrior Watch members.

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Arnold Mill Elementary School students line the parking lot and cheer the arrival on Wednesday morning of The Wall and its motorcycle escort by Patriot Guard and Warrior Watch members.

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A veteran stops to read one of the exhibits that line the exterior of The Wall That Heals truck, which transforms into a mobile education center.

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Principal Daniel Fuller, right, talks on Wednesday with Tim Tetz, Director of Outreach for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, about the logistics of where The Wall will be assembled on the school grounds.


School Psychologists Share Insights About Their Role During School Psychology Awareness Week

Tags :

Category : CCSD

School Psychology Awareness Week is November 14-18.  The theme is Small Steps Change Lives, which, according to the National Association of School Psychologists, highlights how taking small steps can build greater successes and develop the academic and social-emotional skills students need to promote personal achievement, growth, and resilience, as well as a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

CCSD has a team of school psychologists who are assigned to various schools by zone.  While they work largely with our Special Education population, they assist any student who needs their expertise.  In celebration of School Psychology Awareness Week, we asked CCSD School Psychologists to share some insights into their unusual school district job:

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

I really enjoy working with the students one-on-one and helping them understand the purpose of the testing we do. I explain that the testing we do helps us (the school team) to better understand how their brain works for learning. When we understand how their brain works, then we are better able to help them be successful in class.      –Hilda Ortiz, Hasty Elementary School and District-Wide Student Assessments

The most rewarding things about being a school psychologist are getting to collaborate with a variety of school staff members (speech-language pathologists, facilitators, occupational therapists, physical therapists, counselors, administrative staff, ESOL teachers, etc.) and being able to help teachers identify ways to encourage their students’ academic performance.  –Wendy Fuhrman, Teasley Middle School

The most rewarding aspect of working as a School Psychologist is the opportunity to make a difference early in the lives of students who struggle with academic problems, social issues, or controlling their emotions and/or behaviors.  I find it very rewarding to see students receive the supports needed to be successful in school and in life! Additional rewarding aspects of School Psychology are the varied tasks and ongoing challenges …..the profession is never boring!  –John Poidevant, Lead School Psychologist

The most rewarding part of my job is hearing a student say that they like school since they have received the help that they need. –Celeste Harrison, Dean Rusk MS and Sequoyah HS

What are your biggest challenges in your job?

While the time I am able to spend with children, families, and colleagues is what I find most rewarding, it can also be the most challenging aspect. Finding enough time in the day to spend with teachers and parents for consultation and problem solving, time for student observations, time for direct assessment with students, and time to attend ongoing trainings can make the work days, weeks, and months fly by as a school psychologist! — Julie Maxwell, Carmel Elementary and Boston Elementary.

Time is my biggest challenge.  Frequently, I am consulting with teachers and other school personnel on students for multiple schools and I feel it is important to listen and exchange ideas.  As the school psychologist, of course, testing is part of our role.  We complete observations.  We complete many meetings.  We have comprehensive reports, reviews, and other information that we write.  Managing time to get to all of these important roles can be difficult.  However, it is always interesting to work with teachers, staff, and parents to come up with a plan to help a student!  –Deborah Silberstein, Canton ES, Mountain Road ES, and County language proficiency screenings

What does your typical day look like?

My day is the never the same and that’s one of things I like about my job! I could either be in meetings or working with students anywhere from kindergarten to 8th grade!   –Kimberly Murray, Sixes Elementary School and Freedom Middle School

As a CCSD school psychologist, my day can vary so much, it’s hard to nail down a routine/typical day.  Just a few of the tasks I’m involved with on any given day include:  consulting with teachers and support staff to determine the best research based intervention to address a student’s area of weakness, 1-1 psychological evaluation sessions with a student, attending IEP meetings, and observations of students.   –Kim Nofi, Cherokee High School and RM Moore Elementary School

Why did school psychology appeal to you (more so than general practice)?

I changed my major about 5 times while in undergrad, always knowing that I wanted to help people, but wasn’t sure in what capacity. A professor introduced me to school psychology and I knew instantly that it was a perfect fit for me.  I enjoy working with students individually and from an education lens. It provides daily challenges that require me to think outside the box and from various perspectives. No two days are alike! Unlike most people, I really enjoy analyzing data, writing reports and organizing paperwork all in an effort to figure out how each individual student functions and then being able to apply it to their daily lives within the school setting. I always adored school when I was younger, so my mission is to try to help others have a successful and enjoyable school career despite their challenges.   –Laura Killen, Dean Rusk Middle and Holly Springs Elementary

I loved the idea of working with children on a daily basis and the variety of the tasks. Every day is always different and the kids say the greatest things!  –Lisa Palmer

Being a school psychologist appealed to me because of the diverse roles and responsibilities we have in the school setting. It is impossible to get bored or run out of things to do in this profession! Plus, children spend so much of their time in school; it is the perfect environment to help make a positive impact on their lives. –Megan Foster, Sequoyah HS and Tippens Educational Center

School Psychology appealed to me more so than general practice because of the broad scope of practice.  In private practice, psychologists tend to specialize and see children with a narrow range of problems or a specific set of disabilities.  Working in the public schools provides me the opportunity to play a small role in the academic success of children from diverse backgrounds who present with a wide-range of behavioral, emotional, and academic difficulties.  Being a school psychologist is a dynamic, intellectually stimulating job which requires flexibility and creative problem-solving.  I consult daily with parents, teachers, and administrators in an effort to prevent small concerns from turning into big problems.  The students are great, I learn new things every day, and there is never a dull moment!  –Sharyl Williams-Bandy, Clark Creek ES and Bascomb ES


CCSD Upcoming High School Drama, Academy Street Theatre Group Productions

Category : CCSD

Love comedy, drama and a little song and dance?

Cherokee County School District’s high school drama programs, as well as the Academy Street Theatre Group for all grades, regularly present performances that are open to the community… with affordable ticket prices.

Here’s the schedule for upcoming shows (please contact the individual school for more information):

Date School Show Showtime Admission
Thursday, Nov. 17 Creekview HS “Comedy of Errors” 7 p.m. $5
Thursday, Nov. 17 River Ridge HS Academy Street Theatre Group: “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” 7 p.m. $5
Friday, Nov. 18 Creekview HS “Comedy of Errors” 7 p.m. $5
Friday, Nov. 18 River Ridge HS Academy Street Theatre Group: “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” 7 p.m. $5
Thursday, Dec. 8 Etowah HS Fine Arts Extravaganza 7 p.m. Free; donation of canned good suggested
Friday, Dec. 9 Cherokee HS Drama-Special Education Production: “A Year without a Santa Claus” 7 p.m. Canned good or unopened toy
Friday, Jan. 13 Cherokee HS “Harvey” – A Comedy 7 p.m. $5
Saturday, Jan. 14 Cherokee HS “Harvey” – A Comedy 7 p.m. $5
Thursday, Jan. 19 River Ridge HS “Nooses Off” – A Murder Mystery Comedy 7 p.m. $10; children 10 & younger free with paid adult
Friday, Jan. 20 River Ridge HS “Nooses Off” – A Murder Mystery Comedy 7 p.m. $10; children 10 & younger free with paid adult
Saturday, Jan. 21 River Ridge HS “Nooses Off” – A Murder Mystery Comedy 7 p.m. $10; children 10 & younger free with paid adult
Monday, Jan. 23 River Ridge HS “Nooses Off” – A Murder Mystery Comedy 7 p.m. $10; children 10 & younger free with paid adult
Thursday, March 2 Creekview HS “Snow Queen” Musical 7 p.m. $5
Friday, March 3 Creekview HS “Snow Queen” Musical 7 p.m. $5
Friday, March 10 River Ridge HS Academy Street Theatre Group: “101 Dalmatians” 7 p.m. $5
Saturday, March 11 River Ridge HS Academy Street Theatre Group: “101 Dalmatians” 7 p.m. $5
Friday, March 17 Woodstock HS “Fiddler on the Roof” Musical 7:30 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Thursday, March 23 Etowah HS “Big Fish” Musical 7 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Thursday, March 23 Sequoyah HS “Guys and Dolls” Musical 7:30 p.m. $10; $8 advance; $5 students w/drama club card
Thursday, March 23 Woodstock HS “Fiddler on the Roof” Musical 7:30 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Friday, March 24 Cherokee HS “Legally Blonde: The Musical” 7 p.m. $10
Friday, March 24 Etowah HS “Big Fish” Musical 7 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Friday, March 24 Sequoyah HS “Guys and Dolls” Musical 7:30 p.m. $10; $8 advance; $5 students w/drama club card
Friday, March 24 Woodstock HS “Fiddler on the Roof” Musical 7:30 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Saturday, March 25 Cherokee HS “Legally Blonde: The Musical” 2 p.m. $10
Saturday, March 25 Cherokee HS “Legally Blonde: The Musical” 7 p.m. $10
Saturday, March 25 Etowah HS “Big Fish” Musical 7 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Saturday, March 25 Sequoyah HS “Guys and Dolls” Musical 7:30 p.m. $10; $8 advance; $5 students w/drama club card
Saturday, March 25 Woodstock HS “Fiddler on the Roof” Musical 7:30 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Thursday, April 20 River Ridge HS “Rock of Ages” Musical 7 p.m. $10; children 10 & younger free with paid adult
Friday, April 21 River Ridge HS “Rock of Ages” Musical 7 p.m. $10; children 10 & younger free with paid adult
Saturday, April 22 River Ridge HS “Rock of Ages” Musical 7 p.m. $10; children 10 & younger free with paid adult
Monday, April 24 River Ridge HS “Rock of Ages” Musical 7 p.m. $10; children 10 & younger free with paid adult
Thursday, April 27 Creekview HS “She Loves Me” Musical 7 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Friday, April 28 Creekview HS “She Loves Me” Musical 7 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Saturday, April 29 Creekview HS “She Loves Me” Musical 7 p.m. $10 adults; $8 students
Saturday, May 6 Cherokee HS “Leading Ladies” – A Comedy 7 p.m. $5
Sunday, May 7 Cherokee HS “Leading Ladies” – A Comedy 7 p.m. $5
Friday, June 2 Cherokee HS Academy Street Theatre Group: “Singin’ in the Rain” Musical 7 p.m. $5
Saturday, June 3 Cherokee HS Academy Street Theatre Group: “Singin’ in the Rain” Musical 7 p.m. $5

 


Ball Ground ES STEM Academy Reunites Military Dad with First-Grade Daughter in Veterans Day Surprise

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Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy first-grader Olivia Givens is surprised to be reunited with her dad, U.S. Army First Lt. Christopher Givens during the third-grade’s Veterans Day program. He just returned from serving for nearly a year in Afghanistan.

Watch the video here:

 

Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy’s Veterans Day celebration on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 honored one veteran in an extraordinary way.

After a small group of first-graders from onstage led the audience in The Pledge of Allegiance, a teacher asked if any of them knew a veteran.

Olivia Givens spoke up.

“My dad is in the war… in Kabul,” she said into a microphone that made her tiny voice a little bit bigger.  “It’s a far place away.”

Suddenly, a loud voice rang out: “Spartan!”

And across the stage marched a man wearing U.S. Army fatigues and a big grin.

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U.S. Army First Lt. Christopher Givens surprises his daughter, Olivia, during Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy’s Veterans Day program. She had not seen him since he departed nearly a year ago to serve in Afghanistan.

Speechless, Olivia looked on in awe.  It was her Daddy, who she missed so much for the past year that she slept with a “Daddy doll.”  A doll with a photo of her Daddy’s face, which her grandmother hears Olivia talk to every night as she falls asleep.

First Lt. Christopher Givens scooped her up in a hug, as the veterans, their families, students and teachers filling the cafeteria rose to their feet, clapping, laughing and crying.

“See you all later,” 1st Lt. Givens said, as he carried Olivia offstage… a smile on her face so wide it stretched from pigtail to pigtail.

The reunion was orchestrated by teachers at the school and Olivia’s grandmother, Judy Givens.

“If I could give her a special surprise, this would be one of them and to have her daddy hug her and tell her that he loves her,” Mrs. Givens said before the surprise reunion.  “Nannie and Paw Paw have waited what feels like a lifetime for this day… I can look down in those big blue eyes and say we gave her the best present she has ever wanted.”

For 1st Lt. Givens, who has served for 13 years including stretches in Korea and Egypt, this was his first long tour of duty away from Olivia since her birth.  After several months of train-up away from home, he headed to the NATO base at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he served for nine months as a medical logistics officer and the person-in-charge.

After the shock of the reunion turned to hugs and kisses, Olivia had time to reflect on the surprise.

“When he came out, I was a little scared,” she said, wiping a few tears away on his camouflaged shoulder. “I’m happy now.”

First Lt. Givens said his “heart was racing,” too, as he stood behind the curtains awaiting his cue.

“I didn’t know what I was going to say, but she’s my little Spartan,” 1st Lt. Givens said, noting the Spartan nickname comes from the obstacle course races of the same name that also include children’s programs.  He looks forward to them racing together again soon.

Olivia has only one plan: “I want to stay with him forever,” she said, hugging his neck as tight as a little girl can.

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The Wall That Heals Displayed at Arnold Mill ES Nov. 17-20

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The 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with a mobile education center, is being displayed at the school by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

UPDATE: A Facebook Live video from the Wall’s arrival on Nov. 16, 2016 at Arnold Mill ES is posted on CCSD’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CherokeeGASchools/

A former Vietnam War POW will be the guest speaker at the welcome ceremony for The Wall That Heals at Arnold Mill Elementary School next week.

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The Rev. Robert Certain

The Rev. Robert Certain, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, will speak at the welcome ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17.

The 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with a mobile education center, is being displayed at the school by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

The Rev. Certain has served as a military chaplain, parish priest and as an independent advisor to several cabinet-level federal departments.  He also is an author and speaker, and has been called to such roles as leading the memorial services and presiding over the burial of President Gerald R. Ford and delivering the invocation at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The welcome ceremony also will include patriotic songs by the school’s chorus and remarks from School Board Chair Kyla Cromer, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and Principal Daniel Fuller.  John Newport, Commandant for the Marine Corps League Detachment in Woodstock, will share a poem, with the presentation of colors by the River Ridge High School Junior ROTC and the playing of Taps.

The Wall is scheduled to arrive on campus, with a Patriot Guard and Warrior Watch escort (Northpoint Parkway to Highway 92 to Trickum Road to Arnold Mill Road), at approximately 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16.  A media briefing is planned for 11 a.m., and the Wall then will be erected over the course of four hours.

Following the welcome ceremony on Nov. 17, the display then will be open to the public to view at no charge through 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.  The school is at 710 Arnold Mill Road, Woodstock 30188.

Donations from the school community are funding the event, and donations still are being accepted.

For more information about the Rev. Certain, visit his website: http://www.unchainedeagle.com

Here’s more information from the Memorial Fund:
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the most visited memorial in our Nation’s Capital, with more than four million visitors each year. However, many Americans have not been able to visit what has become known to many as “The Wall.” The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the organization that built The Wall, wants to give all veterans and their family members all across America an opportunity to see the Memorial through The Wall That Heals display.

Since its debut in 1996, more than two million people have visited The Wall That Heals sites. The replica Wall is approximately 250 feet in length, and like the original Memorial is erected in a chevron-shape. The names on The Wall That Heals replicate the names on The Wall in Washington, D.C. As on The Wall, the names are listed alphabetically by day of casualty.

The exhibit also includes a mobile Education Center comprised of: photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall; letters and memorabilia left at The Wall in D.C.; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the conflict in Vietnam. The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.