ELLIJAY, Ga. – More than just a saw, Gilmer High School students in Dennis Wilson Jr.’s class are enjoying the perks of a new table saw utilizing a SawStop.
According to Gordon Brewer, of the Apple Ridge Woodturners, the club was in need of a new place to meet as the fire station at which they normally met was a bit too far for some members. As they searched, Brewer stated that the school was kind enough to allow them to meet at the school. Strengthening the relationship, the Woodturners began discussing classes and mentorships for students who wished to take advantage of them.
However, discussion continued as the Woodturners began looking at the high school’s construction class equipment. Wilson spoke of the class’ table saw and issues with safety devices on the saw.
Noticing the need, the Apple Ridge Woodturners Club donated money from within the club, as well as one donation from an outside citizen Mac Logan, to provide a new table saw with several additions for the students utilizing the equipment. The entire package included the SawStop Contractor Saw with the cartridge that drops the blade below the table with any moisture, according to Wilson, who says the system works by grabbing the blade with a cartridge under the table that drops the blade under to prevent serious injury to the operator. While this does ruin both the blade and the cartridge, it holds injury to the operator to between a slight cut to a deep cut instead of possibly losing the entire finger.
The new saw also comes with a new plastic blade guard and a “writhing knife” behind the blade to separate the cut wood from pinching the blade and getting caught which could launch a piece of wood back at the operator.
Apple Ridge Woodturners President Richard Byers told FetchYourNews (FYN) that the club’s 45 members joined together for the $1,799 purchase for the construction class. Typically meeting once a month, the club has been planning since August and moving toward this week as when to officially donate the device. Byers told FYN, should the SawStop device ever be used, it would be, roughly, $200 to replace, which is comparatively cheap in relation to major injury and medical costs.
Moving into the new semester, teacher Dennis Wilson told FYN the main thing he was excited for was the safety upgrade. Stating the most common injury on such a tool is running one’s hand into the blade. Having the state-of-the-art saw helps every one of the 100 students in the shop daily.
“It’s huge,” said Wilson, who commented about constantly being asked by community members who are seeking students who are trained and ready to join construction jobs. Noting the help he gets from the community, Wilson hinted at future projects to return to the community. The constant cycle not only strengthens the relationship, but Wilson said, it is a huge success for the students who are completely responsible for projects from communicating with a client requesting the project to a final in the class that requires them to fully build two sheds like they would a house.
As students move further into the new semester, Wilson told FYN that the saw will be constantly used in his class. Reiterating what the donation means, Wilson noted the age of some of his equipment.
Having the community invest into its own future through the training of students not only shows the course importance but also shows that the community recognizes that importance and cares to improve the quality.
Ellijay, GA – Gilmer County saw recognition during October’s Board of Education (BOE) meetings for teachers selected as Teacher of the Year for each school in the system. Within 24 hours of their official recognition at the board meeting, one of these teachers would be named the Gilmer Teacher of the Year.
Recognized for Ellijay Primary School, Casey Whitley is a 14-year veteran teacher who has a Masters Degree in Special Education as well as a certification for Special Education for Pre-K to 12th grade. She has taught at Ellijay Primary School for three years. Prior to EPS, Whitley was the preschool specialist at Gilmer Head Start. She and her husband have three daughters of their own.
She says the best part of teaching is watching students progress. She has been called an advocate for her students as her Principal reports she builds engagement resources and strategies for student success.
Recognized for Ellijay Elementary School, Connie Dean is an ESOL teacher and Secretary of the School Governance Team. She works to support students as a leader of several student service projects.
Dean also was a part of a Grant allowing students access to the EES Media Center one day a week for most of the Summer.
Recognized for Mountain View Elementary, Arlene Bryan is a 30-year veteran of special education. Her administration nominated her due to a continuous impact on children through high expectations and her efforts as a role model for fellow teachers.
Bryan will be retiring this year from Mountain View. Administration continued to praise her humility throughout her years of service.
Recognized for Clear Creek Middle School, Adam Palmer serves as the Chorus Teacher and the Cross Country Coach. Palmer was praised for a unique ability in the school to work with all students to improve character building in daily lessons.
His administration’s nomination praised the lasting effects of his teacher-student relationships that they say have improved the school’s quality.
Recognized for Gilmer High School, Mary-Melissa May is in her sixth year of teaching at the high school where she teaches Honor Biology and coaches the Swim Team. She also serves on the GHS Leadership Team as the Science Department Chair. Constant hard work sees May researching best practices for teaching Biology and sharing in Professional Learning Communities (PLC).
Not only does she coach the GHS Swim Team, but May was reported by her administration as instrumental in starting the varsity team four years ago. She also took 10 swimmers from Gilmer to state competition last season.
As for the teacher who received prestige as the Gilmer County Teacher of the Year, recognized from Gilmer Middle School, Shannon Goble was treated to a surprise announcement early in the morning of October 17.
As she was “pulled from her classroom” for a quick word with one of the faculty, her students and fellow teachers prepared the hallway where she teaches for a warm reception for the announcement. Returning, Goble rounded the corner on her hall to a flood of cheers as students and teachers alike waved a banner of congratulations and offered flowers for her.
Shannon Goble is called always positive and helpful by her peers who also say she shows she cares through a friendly and kind nature. Even her students note she always smiles and is funny as she helps them with their daily lessons.
Administration says it is her servitude that shows them she is all about the people she interacts with daily.
Goble herself says she never really thought about achieving Teacher of the Year for her school, much less for the entire system. She told FYN, “There is nothing better. It let’s you know that what you are doing truly matters.”
Goble said she never doubted her students appreciated her as they share their happiness with her, but it is something more to also know her colleagues think so highly of her.
With over 20 years of educational experience, Goble worked in the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) prior to teaching. She has been teaching 5th grade for most of her years at GMS.
Speaking of the award, Goble said she wants to continue her efforts as she has been for all of her years. Saying that just like the kids she has to continue learning new things and improving every day, Goble commented, “I think of myself as a big kid.”
ELLIJAY, GA – Saturday, September 16, will see the Christian Learning Center (CLC) holding their Fall Mentorship Training from 1:00 – 5:00 P.M.
This twice-a-year free training session walks people through mentoring students and walking with them in their lives. Training teaches adults how to better affect and lead those students to their future or through rough times.
It is also a part of the process for volunteers to commit to mentoring for students in Gilmer High School. The program, which was started years ago by previous Director Caleb Land, now sees citizens volunteer one hour a week for a year to support and encourage students today.
Director Jennifer Colson tells FYN the whole purpose of training and preparing adults to spend the time mentoring out youth is for “Adults to pour into our students.” With repeated and consistent reports from previous students, Colson never spoke about whether she considers the program “successful.” Rather, she speaks of individual moments where she has seen the changes in students, emails of previous students conveying the impact on them, or just a simple thank you for the time and effort. She also speaks of more students waiting to join the program, waiting for more volunteers to fill the needed positions.
Whether it is a student dealing with issues or just someone needing encouragement to achieve greater in classes, Colson praises the program as an extension of the CLC classes. “We just want to love these kids and help them along,” says Colson. Since the kids can only go through three separate semester classes, there comes a point when class time is no longer an option.
Some call the CLC the “highlight of their day” when they attend classes. Extending that feel into a full mentorship allows a full year of continuation of that environment. In fact, the CLC offers its facility to those who do mentor as a place to meet and play.
Along with the training session on Saturday, volunteers will interview with administrators to better pair with kids and their needs. They also take time to meet with students parents. Some volunteers voice concerns about some issues that may arise and how to handle certain situations, but Colson assures those involved that the training covers all of that including a requirement of involving others with extreme circumstances, relieving concerns and pressure on volunteers.
Mentorship is not a requirement, but rather is requested by students in school who want to join. Whether they are CLC students or not, go to church or not, the program is available. When volunteers join it expands the reach of one of campus building to a district-wide influence through the strength of citizens taking time to strengthen younger generations.
Ministry Assistant at the CLC, Caitlin Neal told FYN she had received mentoring when she was younger, though not from Gilmer’s CLC. “It was very beneficial to me,” said Neal, “My mentor was a member of my church, but she was also a teacher in the school system. It was great to see her in multiple aspects of her life, but also pouring into me. I think it would be great for our students.”
Connections grow throughout a student’s life and these connections affect everything from small decisions daily to the ultimate course of one’s future. The possibility to be such an influence on someone’s life is just as impactful on the Mentor’s life as it is the student. The CLC alone sees close to 120 students a day. As growth continues in the community, growth must continue in support for those who need it, and especially for students who actively ask for it.
Citizens wishing to join the training to further explore the option of mentoring (going through the training does not make the year commitment) can inquire further through email at email@example.com or by phone at 706-635-7100. Colson tells FYN that schedules can be flexible to times available to both the student and mentor.
While the CLC requested citizens inform them by Friday, September 15, if they wish to attend. However, Colson also stated that those who wake up Saturday with a last minute opening or last minute decision to attend are also encouraged to join the training as well.
ELLIJAY, GA – Due to citizens asking and continued confusion in the community, the Gilmer Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes asked Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley to explain the situation of stadium parking at their August Meeting.
Foley explained that the high school has discussed in previous years the option of charging for parking at the football stadium. She stated other schools in the region charge for parking and the thought arose to use the parking to aid in funding our other sports programs.
Early in discussions, Foley states, a post reached Facebook about the charge before discussions had concluded causing confusion on what it would be and how it would be collected.
At the meeting, Principal Foley clarified that other sports programs are going to be present at home games to collect a donation for parking. At the end of the season, the donations will be divided out among the programs involved. Foley also stated that the collection is a donation, and not mandatory for parking.
Additionally, Foley reminded citizens that the parking lots will continue to have a transit system in place to take spectators from the lots to the stadium via bus.