Future Farmer of America honors members at year-end banquet

Bobcat's Corner

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Charter School System’s chapter of the National FFA Organization (formerly known as the Georgia Future Farmer’s Association) held their banquet honoring those award winners for the year’s work.

The banquet was also visited by Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston who stopped by offering his congratulations to those being honored. Ralston commented on the banquet saying, “When I go to FFA groups, I know among some of the finest of our young people. Young people that are learning great work ethic, learning to prepare for leadership roles in the world, and will assume leadership roles in the world. I want to commend you for all your hard work and for the great job you do. Agriculture, not only here in Gilmer county but in the state, has a great future.”

Ralston went on to note the efforts the state has put into getting the second headquarters of Amazon. He told those present that even with Amazon, agriculture would maintain its position as the number one part of our economy in Georgia.

Continuing the banquet, attendees were treated to a dinner served by FFA members before the honorees were brought on stage. The winners noted in the banquet received their awards in the Career Development Events area and are listed below the slideshow.

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Agricultural Communications
Gilmer High FFA (Eighth in Area) Kaytlin Beavers, Abigail Blackwell, Hunter Bowyer, Sam Dillard.

Agricultural Electrification
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area; 10th in State) Thomas Chastain.
Thomas received a $500 scholarship from the Georgia EMC for placing first in the Area I competition.

Agricultural Mechanics
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area; Eighth in State) Thomas Chastain, Eli Cochran, Bryson Mulkey (high individual), Dylan Parker.

Agricultural Technology and Equipment ID
Gilmer High FFA JR (Sixth in Area) Ari Price, Avery Marshall, William McVey, Dilian Ojala.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fifth in Area) Jacob Bertolini, Abby Bauer, Cole Parks, Sawyer Wishon.

Agricultural Sales
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area) Mary Lee Callihan, Mallory Kiser, Carter Hice, Nathan Cain (high individual).

Conduct of Chapter Meeting
Gilmer High FFA JR (Third in Area) Alyssa Ashurst, Gavin Berger, Rose Chadwick, Ally Elrod, Sarah Ingle, Lauren Smith, Emma Thurman.

Clear Creek FFA (Second in Area) Octavia Bushey, Macie Wilkes, Tori Reed, Abby Baurer, Natalie Johnson, Morgan Griggs, Mallory Lane.

Creed Speaking
Gilmer High FFA (First in Sub-Area; Third in Area) Sara Ingle.

Dairy Evaluation
Gilmer High FFA JR: (First in Area; Second in State) Rose Chadwick, Coleman James, Arianna Price, Lauren Smith.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Third in Area; 10th in State) Annalysa Brown, Morgan Griggs, Torri Reed, Octavia Bushey.
Gilmer High FFA SR: (First in Area; Sixth in State) Mary Keener, Joe Leonnig, Shelby Nealey, Elizabeth Stillwell.

Environmental Natural Resources
Gilmer High FFA JR (Second in Area, Eighth in State) Alyssa Ashurst, Issac Bradshaw, Ally Elrod, Heath Stover.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Fourth in Area) Hunter Bowyer, Mary Keener, Blake Ledford, Joseph Leonning.

Extemporaneous Public Speaking
Gilmer High FFA (Fourth in Sub-Area) Stephanie Bailey.

Farm Business Management
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area; Third in state) Bryce Bowen, Grace Henderson, Matt Long, Katie Marick.

Floriculture
Gilmer High FFA JR (Fifth in Area) Andrea Byers, Olivia Lykins, Griselda Perez, Emma Thurman.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Third in Area) Abby Bauer, Andrew Mooney, Emma Reece, Joshua Taffin.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Fifth in Area) Jalynn Ledford, Abriana Mccollum, Allison Ross, Claire Stanley.

Forestry
Gilmer High FFA JR (Third in Area) Colby Barnes, Rose Chadwick, Chandler Clayton, Ally Elrod, Isaiah Hopper, Sara Ingle, Clayton Ott, Heath Stover, Emma Thurman.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fifth in Area) Samuel Mclaughin, Logan Chadwick, Jacob Jenkins, Hanna Rutledge, Kingston Collier, Sawyer Wishon, Andrew Mooney, Trace Duncan.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Sixth in Area) Brentney Clemmons, Alex Edens, Blake Ledford, Grant Ledford, Joe Leonnig, Nate Mooney, Mason Penland, Elizabeth Stillwell, Caleb Waddell.

Land Judging
Gilmer High FFA JR(First in Area; Fifth in State) Rose Chadwick, Ally Elrod, Alyssa Ashurst, Sara Ingle.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fifth in Area) Abby Bauer, Jacob Bertolini, Sawyer Wishon, Imogen Reeves.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Fourth in Area ) Sadie Bryan, Carter Ott, Bryson Smith, Caleb Waddell.

Lawnmower Operations
Clear Creek Middle FFA (11th in Area) Jacob Bertolini.

Livestock Evaluation
Gilmer High FFA JR (11th in Area) Rose Chadwick, Clayton Chandler, Sean Lewis, Lauren Smith.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fourth in Area) Sarrah Mclemore, Jacob Jenkins, Jacob Bertolini, Dacey Motes.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Fifth in Area) Eli Cochran, Colin Reece, Taylor Sellers, Bryson Smith.

Marketing Plan
Gilmer High FFA (Second in Area; Fifth in State) Samantha Dillard, Mary Keener, Jaylynn Ledford.

Meats Evaluation
Gilmer High FFA JR (Fifth in Area) Isaiah Hopper, Coleman James, Clay Ott.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Second in Area; Sixth in State) Madison Jenkins, Jacob Jones, Billie Marie Sullens.

Nursery Landscaping
Gilmer High FFA SR (First in Area; Fourth in State) Stephanie Bailey, Brentney Clemmons, Summer Davis, Stephen Madalo.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Fourth in Area) Andrew Mooney, Daniela Montes, Jasmine Rafael, Hannah Rutledge.

Parliamentary Procedure
Gilmer High FFA (First in Area and STATE WINNER) Bryce Bowen, Grace Henderson, Madison Jenkins, Matt Long, Katie Marick, Bryson Smith.
They will represent the state of Georgia at the National FFA Convention this October in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Poultry Evaluation
Gilmer High FFA JR (14th in Area) Colby Barnes, Clayton Chandler, Isiah Hopper, Jacob Nelson.
Clear Creek Middle FFA JR(Fifth in Area) Laney Hensley, Emma Reece, Cole Parks, Samuel Mclaughin.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Third in Area) Alex Edens, Jacob Jones, Samuel Parks, Billiemarie Sullens.

Prepared Public Speaking
Gilmer High FFA JR (Fourth in Sub-Area) Ari Price.
Gilmer High FFA SR (Third in Sub-Area) Elizabeth Chesser.

Wildlife Management
Gilmer High FFA JR (Second in Area; Eighth in State) Issac Bradshaw, Clay Ott, Heath Stover.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (Seventh in Area) Sawyer Wishon, Lilly Penland, Larz Fowler, Jacob Jenkins.
Gilmer High FFA SR(Third in Area) Grant Ledford, Nathan Mooney, Mason Penland.

 

Also honored at the banquet were this year’s senior class students who were invited to say a few words and what stood as their final meeting of the Gilmer FFA this year. Individually noted, each senior’s plans for post high school follows:

Tyler Cantrell will be attending Nashville Auto Diesel College after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He will be studying to become a diesel mechanic;

Shelby Nealey will be attending the University of North Georgia after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be studying to become a registered nurse;

Sara May will be attending the University of North Georgia after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in business administration.

Brentney Clemmons will be attending Young Harris College after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in environmental science.

Grant Ledford will be attending Truett McConnell University after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He is undecided at this time.

Stephanie Bailey will be attending Kennesaw State University after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in international business.

Samuel Parks will be attending the University of North Georgia after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He will be majoring in avian science.

Alex Edens will be attending the University of North Georgia after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in agribusiness.

Joe Leonning will be going to the Naval Academy after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He will be studying to become an aircraft mechanic.

Megan Bird will be attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in agricultural education.

Elizabeth Stillwell will be attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in agricultural education.

Rachel Waddell will be attending Young Harris College after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in early childhood education.

Bryce Bowen will be attending the University of Georgia after he graduates from Gilmer High School. He will be majoring in pre-med.

Katie Marick will be attending Reinhardt University after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in math education.

Grace Henderson will be attending Oglethorpe University after she graduates from Gilmer High School. She will be majoring in biology/pre-med.

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Gilmer High School signs future teachers to college commitment

Bobcat's Corner

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.

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Gilmer High Band looks for new uniforms

Community

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.”

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Reality Day sees success despite reduced numbers

Community

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Sophomores of Gilmer High School (GHS) were treated to the annual Reality Day that is put on every March.

Sophomores from GHS make decisions about cell phones and activities among others at the Entertainment station of their budget process.

Sophomores from GHS make decisions about cell phones and activities among others at the Entertainment station of their budget process.

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.

Sophomores from GHS prepare for Reality Day with friends at the Ellijay Civic Center.

Sophomores from GHS prepare for Reality Day with friends at the Ellijay Civic Center.

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.

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Calendars approved in Board of Education’s March meetings

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Final tallies have been made and the Gilmer County Board of Education (BOE) have officially approved their calendar for the 2018-2019 school year.

The 2018-2019 Calendar Poll Results (click to enlarge).

A stark change this year showed one calendar was far above the others. Calendar 2 collected 859 votes, accounting for 48.18 percent of the vote. Approved by the board, this calendar is set as the plan for the next school year and will be utilized to plan everything for the coming year.

The votes were collected over the last month online on the BOE’s website through polling from public citizens, but the candidate calendars were created by teams within each school before being submitted for consideration.

Be sure to look below to find the Draft 2 Calendar approved in the board’s March meeting.

Also set for next year, schedules were set for salaries and supplements. The workforce continues to see rises in insurance as well as minor changes for positions in transitions as well as the step up raises for staff and teachers hitting milestones in their careers.

Financial reports were presented at the meeting setting the board’s status as of the end of January with revenue coming in over expenditures by $5,168,037. Just past the fiscal year’s midpoint, the finances still reflect expectations to see that number drop under expenditures to -$1,298,797. Though no one showed for the board’s first scheduled budget session for next year, there will be another meeting set for citizens to speak closer to June as the budget gets set into detail for the next fiscal year.

Along with finances, the board ratified a purchase approved by poll for equipment purchases for the elementary and primary schools. Mountain View’s approved expense equaled $85,179 from Southeast Outdoor Solutions. Ellijay Elementary’s approved expense equaled $71,88o from Superior Play Systems. Ellijay Primary’s approved expense equaled $76,493 from Hasley Recreation Inc. All three purchase funding comes from the Local Capital Projects budget.

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Gilmer students “Walk-Out”

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – With a nationwide “walk-out day” today, Gilmer County saw its own high school students leaving class and marching onto the front lawn in remembrance of 17 dead last month.

However, those attending the walk-out glimpsed a different side of these students than many may have expected. There was no chanting, no loud shouts of political ideals. Instead, somewhere close to 50 students stood in 30 degree weather silent, remembering the 17 dead. A short speech by two freshmen, Justin Gooch and Jordan Henderson, set the tone for the 20 minute walk-out. More than a tone, though, they stood to become a voice of those 50 gathered.

As seen in the video, Gooch told his classmates about his hope to change his school to a “more welcoming environment.” The voice rang through the crowd as others stood to echo his sentiments, including one student, who called himself J.B., that stood on the bench to say “we are all the same.” It was 20 minutes of high school students telling each other what they could do to change things, and how they could be different in today’s time.

Junior Grace Kruse commended those in attendance for their bravery in standing up for the change they wanted. She told her fellow students to be proud of themselves.

From left to right, Freshmen Jordan Henderson and Justin Gooch and Juniors Ashlyn Jenkins and Grace Kruse lead today's "Walk-out" through moments of prayer and prepared speeches.

From left to right, freshmen Jordan Henderson and Justin Gooch and juniors Ashlyn Jenkins and Grace Kruse led today’s “Walk-out” through moments of prayer and prepared speeches.

Starting through group chats, according to Kruse and fellow junior Ashlyn Jenkins, the event was organized and even brought to administration this week. Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley spoke with FetchYourNews (FYN) briefly, confirming that the students had spoken with administration about the walk-out. She shared with FYN her feelings on the events saying, “If people haven’t been in the high school in the last five years and all they hear about or see is the crazy stuff on social media and that perception that people have of the youth today, then they are mistaken. Kids these days are smart; they’re aware. They’re compassionate. I see a lot of compassion in our young adults and that’s what was displayed today.”

Kruse repeated her thoughts after the event saying that she wanted to encourage her generation to use their voice, a loud voice that proves a difference from the common belief that they, as a generation, do not care. Jenkins told FYN that today meant there is a chance for our nation to change, seeing so many young people willing to stand up for something. It is a feeling of hope for their generation.

The feeling continued along with students saying they did not expect so many people to attend the walk-out. Gooch said he knew he was going to walk out of class regardless of the possibility of being the only one, but seeing over 50 people on the front lawn was encouraging after only seeing four people walk out of his own class. “I see the change proving that most people do care … They want us to have a better environment,” Gooch stated.

The idea of the movement in Gilmer focused on changing their environment to stop bullying and ostracizing those who may have mental illness. They passed around ribbons to wear. Gooch told FYN the conversation they are trying to have is that the reason that most of these things are happening is bullying and pushing kids to these limits.

Though those present said there is a point later to talk about policy and/or gun control, they wanted today to be about human life and the importance of life, the importance of growing closer together. Kruse stated she wanted today to be about the 17 people who died, and the numerous more in other shootings.

The students noted a plan spreading through the nation about a potential march on Washington D.C. For today, however, these students say they do not want this to stop here. They hope there is more in Gilmer County. As they filtered back through the doors to return to their classes, they told FYN that they want a next step on this path to make their school better, they want a next step to make themselves better.

Students gather in front of GHS for a "Walk-out" on March 14, 2018.

Students gather in front of Gilmer High School for a “Walk-out” March 14, 2018.

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BOE to continue healthcare track with remodel

Bobcat's Corner, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – As a part of the coming remodel for Gilmer High School (GHS), the Gilmer County Board of Education is moving forward with establishing  a health science classroom.

Coming during the February Board Meeting, the Gilmer County Board of Education heard and approved the proposal for this remodel.

Satisfying a grant requirement, the new classroom will actually combine two rooms into one for the new lab. Covered under the already approved remodel for GHS, the new classroom will be renovated with that project, allowing the work to be done simultaneously.

This classroom is a part of the Boards continued work on the “Patient Care Pathway,” a path for students to get earlier access to studies for healthcare and patient care. According to CTAE (Career Technology and Agriculture Education), ” This course provides an opportunity to demonstrate technical skills that enforce the goal of helping students make connections between medical procedures and the pathophysiology of diseases and disorders.”

Many will recall previous work from the Board as they have advanced these pathways included healthcare science and sports medicine.

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Student injured in accident at Mountain View

News

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Reports today confirm that a student at Mountain View Elementary School was injured by a pencil inserted into his face.

Gilmer County Charter School System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes told FetchYourNews it seems that the child was walking when he tripped and fell onto the pencil in his hand. Despite the appearance of an accident, Wilkes did confirm that they are investigating further to make sure.

The child was taken by their parents for medical care and Mountain View Elementary has returned to its normal classes despite the incident. While Wilkes declined to comment on the student or what grade that student is in, she did reiterate that information points that this was a freak accident.

Wilkes also confirmed the injury was to the face, possibly a sinus cavity or eye socket, but did not comment further details on the exact injury.

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