Albert E. Harrison Scholarship recipients from Gilmer and Fannin Counties (l-r) Filipe Arreaga, Christopher Byrd, Bryson Darnell, Madison Davenport, Phebee Garrett, Mallory Grimes, Lindsay Irons, Makenzi Ledford, Katelyn Roberts, Dakota Skiles, Pennie Tuck, Lexus Walden, and Jadie Weaver, also pictured Mr. Jason Smith and Mr. Doug Harrison of Ellijay Telephone Company.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Mountain Education Charter High School (MECHS) dedicated a night special for its own seniors set to graduate this year.
As a part of the graduation season, the school held a banquet honoring those seniors and their accomplishments. The dinner, held at First Baptist Church in Ellijay, honored those from the Gilmer site before the Graduation Ceremony at Fannin County High School Performing Arts Center honoring graduates from Fannin, Gilmer, and Union.
The night also noted Gilmer’s success with holding the entire system’s Salutatorian, Dakota Skiles. She was one of the four Honor Graduates from Gilmer alongside Filipe Arreaga, Bryson Darnell, and Jessica Jones.
Additional honorees for the night included winners of the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement: Christopher Byrd, Kacie Crook, Phebee Garrett, David Green, Mallory Grimes, Sonia Guzman, McKenzie Hagin, Jacob King, Luke McClure, Luis Olea, Katelynn Roberts, Pennie Tuck, and Jadie Weaver.
As the ceremony continued, each senior was presented with a special “shadow box” for their graduation. This class gift was presented as a token of the staff’s pride in the students and their hard work.
Still more, for her special achievement of reaching Salutatorian, Dakota Skiles was given a tablet computer for her future work and education endeavors.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer High School (GHS) saw a new celebration this year as they held a signing day for students committing to a college in order to become teachers themselves.
The inaugural event, held April 27 this year, showcased 11 students dedicating to three different colleges. Eight will be attending the University of North Georgia. Two will attend Dalton State College. One will attend Chattahoochee Technical College.
William Barnes, a senior, committed to the University of North Georgia.
Brittani Ballew, a senior, committed to the University of North Georgia.
Mckayla Chambers, a junior, committed to the University of North Georgia.
Callie Kerr, a senior, committed to the University of North Georgia.
Jenny McCurdy, a senior, committed to Dalton State College.
Andrea Pantoja, a senior, committed to Dalton State College.
Erica Sharp, a junior, committed to the University of North Georgia.
Kameron Stone, a senior, committed to the University of North Georgia.
Allison Strickler, a senior, committed to Chattahoochee Technical College.
Sarina Tran, a senior, committed to the University of North Georgia.
Rachel Waddell, a senior, committed to the University of North Georgia.
These students have all been a part of the high school’s “Teaching as a Profession” pathway in the school as well as Work Based Learning so that each student will be heading into college with experience in his or her field. As a part of the day, students met with representatives from their colleges and receive a certificate recognizing their dedication and hard work.
A state event “signing day” will be held May 8. However, due to testing at that time, GHS held their signing day early.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer High School (GHS) Marching Band is looking to replace their uniforms after 13 years of use.
The legacy of the current uniforms stretches across over a decade of champion level performances, nation-spanning shows like Hollywood for the Christmas Parade, and growth into new avenues, such as this year’s inaugural Winter Guard Competitive Season.
After all the events these uniforms have been showcased at, the time has come to hang up the old and ring in the new. Director of Bands Joe Pflueger has worked since November on finding the new look and gauging interest of both band members and Band Boosters members. Originally engaging three companies for design bids and ideas, Pflueger has finally come to a definitive design.
Noting the resemblance of the front design to that of our iconic mountains, he said he has decided on the final design from Fruhauf Uniforms, Inc. The competition line uniform will bear the school’s emblematic G as seen in the photo.
Achieving this goal, however, is something the band team is still working towards. Pflueger took time to speak with FetchYourNews (FYN) saying he felt the new uniforms, along with the board’s August approval for replacing percussion instruments, bear a rewarding feeling for the students after the constant work and successes in recent years.
The uniforms are more than just a new design for some though. Band mom Bobbi Leigh Mullins said it represented the chance to have her son “sparkle and shine” as he marched for the band.
Consisting of 130 musicians, the GHS Band has always grown from support from its band boosters, support from the school and school board, and support from the community to further its efforts. Pflueger spoke with FYN confirming that the band has already raised half of the funds necessary to purchase the uniforms. However, if they are to meet their hopes of fielding these uniforms at the opening show next season, this fall, they need to garner another $30,000 to finish the project.
Attempting to raise the necessary funds, the band has turned to its community for help. An official release from the organization has offered game-time announcements and program recognition for sponsorship at different “star levels.” Each level represents a part of a uniform up to “5 Star” level at $395 for a full uniform.
Pflueger said the process has included over 20 designs and numerous minor changes to designs before ending on this arrangement. Though the current band stands at 130 students, Pflueger admitted the band could see growth toward 140 in the coming years, making it the largest band Gilmer has fielded to date. Pflueger told FYN, “With all the organizations, it’s just getting the kid involved. It makes for a better, well-rounded kid. And it provides those kids with memories they can keep the rest of their lives … That’s the satisfying part of it.”
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Education has detailed the plans for their buildings over the next five years at a board retreat in March.
The plan incorporates the use of Instructional Units (IUs) in relation to state and federal programs utilized to spread funding to counties based on their “need.” By better planning facility use and more details on those facilities, the Gilmer County Charter School System (GCCSS) hopes to maximize their IUs to secure as much funding as possible from these state programs.
The funding itself, however, comes in the form of reimbursements instead of pre-project funds. Most citizens should recall this is the same process the board is currently using a part of its coming renovations at Gilmer High School (GHS). The applications will allow for partial reimbursement of a few parts of the project including items like roofing and HVAC work.
Additionally, the board retreat allowed members to discuss and see the current plan on what they will be seeking in terms of facility changes and movements to come. Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes asserted that the plan is the board’s current intentions for the future, but that it was also not set in stone. Parts of the plan rely on approval of the next Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) for example. She also told FetchYourNews that the plan could change with major unforeseen circumstances.
Allowing the flexibility to change gives the school board a cushion for contingencies and alterations while also giving the guide for the next five years.
The plan described will see the board finishing up the GHS renovations before adding onto Mountain View Elementary school. The board is planning to have Ellijay Primary School (EPS), Ellijay Elementary School (EES), and Mountain View Elementary School converted into full, preschool through fifth grade (P-5) elementary schools. Looking even further ahead, the board is also discussing moving what is now EPS to a new building on the board’s property near Yukon, near Clear Creek Middle School.
As a part of this conversion, the three P-5 elementary Schools would serve their local districts where they are located. Students would then move to Clear Creek Middle School as the county’s sole middle school for grades six through eight. Moving up from there, students would attend Gilmer High School’s campus with the current Gilmer Middle School serving on campus as a ninth-grade academy and the current GHS building serving grades 10 through 12.
One possibility could see EPS becoming a preschool to second grade with EES as third grade to fifth grade until the new building can be completed, but regardless the plan will ultimately end in the three P-5 schools.
That new facility would have the board moving away from Ellijay Primary School, avoiding the damages from its location in the flood plain and moving out of a nearly 50-year-old building, as well as having the new building in a better location for its district.
Once the new building for EPS is completed, the board wants to look at EES for needed renovations at that time. According to Gilmer Schools Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services, Stuart Sheriff, completing EES renovations should see a potential 10-year period where the board’s facilities would only need normal maintenance, requiring no major renovations.
With people still asking why the board does not utilize their old location for Oakland Elementary, Dr. Wilkes noted that Oakland can only house 247 students making it too small to be utilized. She also noted other issues the board has faced with the location, including sewage leasing and relative location to other schools and district possibilities.
With the plan set, the board has already been moving on GHS renovations and will begin phase one of the two-phase project this summer.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Sophomores of Gilmer High School (GHS) were treated to the annual Reality Day that is put on every March.
Set 10 years into the students’ future, the day sets up budgetary needs for a student offering randomized “life-situations” like number of children, marital status, and job description and pay. They take this monthly income and travel to different stations in order to budget their life and what they want including cell phones, Internet, clothing, transportation, home, charity, insurance, and even unexpected events based upon random card draw.
Volunteers from across the county help the day progress through four groups throughout the day. Gilmer Family Connection Director Merle Naylor, who organizes the event, told FetchYourNews it’s the volunteers she relies on to make the day happen. Allowing students a glimpse of the general is what she points to as the real meaning of the day, but she also enjoys the time for citizens to volunteer showing that the students matter and are worth the time taken for the day.
This year saw a few hiccups, as far fewer students showed up for the day than were expected. Several issues were noted as contributing factors from students not getting permission slips to others being absent. Naylor commented on the reduced number saying, “I think it went well, maybe not as well as last year because of the number of student were probably a third of what we’ve had in past years. But the students certainly learned, and I’ve heard some comments from volunteers that they actually learned more because they could spend more time with the students … I look at in the positive that if a few of the students gained the knowledge, then it was well worth it all.”
Naylor went on to note that she takes a lot personally from the day to know that people are willing to volunteer for the project. The interaction with the students goes a long way, but more, the interaction with each other builds the community support of the students and of each other.
Be sure to check out FYN’s Facebook page for more photos from Reality Day 2018.
DALTON, Ga. – The Dalton Police Department is on scene at Dalton High School where shots have been fired.
Dalton Police report that no student was injured by the shooting and all students are out of harm’s way. They also report the subject, a teacher, has been taken into custody.
The subject had barricaded themselves into a classroom earlier today before firing a weapon. Local police and Georgia State Patrol responded to the initial call. Concerning those reports that have come about a student injured during the evacuation, the Dalton Police were adamant that no student was injured by the shooting.
Police are also asking parents to NOT go to Dalton High School as they say, “The area inside the school has been evacuated and there are no students believed to be in the school at this time.”
The evacuated students have been taken to the Northwest Georgia Trade Center where police report parents should go for their children.