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. – 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.
Gilmer High FFA (Eighth in Area) Kaytlin Beavers, Abigail Blackwell, Hunter Bowyer, Sam Dillard.
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.
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.
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.
Gilmer High FFA (First in Sub-Area; Third in Area) Sara Ingle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clear Creek Middle FFA (11th in Area) Jacob Bertolini.
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.
Gilmer High FFA (Second in Area; Fifth in State) Samantha Dillard, Mary Keener, Jaylynn Ledford.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Gilmer Bobcats Soccer teams hosted the Warriors of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe on Monday and celebrated the high school careers of four Lady Cats and six Bobcats. On the field in the girls game, both teams battled hard for the entire game. At the end of regulation play the score was knotted up at four each and this being a non region game, no extra time period or shoot out was played putting the game at a tie in the win-loss record for the Lady Cats. Scoring for the Lady Cats were Nohemi Francisco-Sabastian(1), Catarina Tercero(1) and Grace Henderson with two goals on the day.
Teammates, Coaches and family gathered before the game to honor four Lady Cat Seniors. Rena “Ninja” Chastain has played soccer for 12 years and plans to attend Kennesaw State university after graduation., Grace Henderson has played for 7 years and she will attend Oglethorpe University to study Pre-med and ply the game she loves., Tylea Hernandez has 5 years experience on the field both as a goalkeeper and a defender. Hernandez, a Valedictorian, plans to attend College to obtain a Psychology degree and the transfer to a medical school for her Psychiatrist license. Finally for the Ladt Cat Seniors was Tory “T” Jack. Jack has played for six years and after graduation, Tory plans on having fun and getting stuff done.
The Bobcat boys team took a 1-0 victory on a goal by Marvin Reynoso. Reynoso’s personal best 16 goals in a season was waiting to be tied and that he did in the game against a strong AAA classification team in LFO.
Seniors for the boys that were recognized before the game were Parker Benitez . Benitez has played the game for six years and plans to attend a University that offers a Computer Science degree. Nick Chimel(Shhh-meal) has played four years for the Cats as a defender and midfielder. He plans on attending Kennesaw StateU University to obtain a Biology degree. After completing KSU, he will transfer to University of Georgia to obtain a degree in Vetrinary Medicne. Javier Landverde(Land-a-ver-dee) has six years on the soccer field and after graduating wants to got to college close to home and enter the construction field. Andres “Ervin” Lopez played 2 years in middle school and 3 years for the high school. Lopez is planning on going to Dalton State College to obtain a degree in Business. Elias Velasquez has played Varsity Soccer for three years and he wrestled for two years. in the 20 18 season he has started almost every game at the left defender position. Velasquez wants to attend Chatahoochee Tech and work in the construction field. Lastly for the Bobcats. Marvin Reynoso has three years of varsity soccer for the Bobcats. He led the team in total goals for the 2017 season with 16 goals and sat at 15 goals for the 2018 seaon in which he would tie in the following game. Reynoso hopes to attend college after graduation and continue his education.
Congratulations goes out to all Bobcat seniors!
ELLIJAY, GA – Pictured above Left to Right, Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, Gilmer Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley, and Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Georgia Tech Rick Clark celebrated the announcement of Georgia Tech’s “Georgia Scholars Program” at Gilmer High School Thursday, August 17, 2017.
The Scholars Program automatically accepts Valedictorians and Salutatorians in Georgia high schools into Georgia Tech. According to Peterson, “This Georgia Tech Scholars Program is the outgrowth of our commitment to improve college access for students from throughout the state, and supports our goal of putting a Georgia Tech degree within reach of every qualified student.”
This new program goes into effect with this year’s graduating class. This means current seniors are eligible for this program.
Scholars will be accepted into the program when they are named either valedictorian or salutatorian of their high school, submit an application, and have successfully completed the prerequisite courses for entrance.
Georgia Speaker of the House, David Ralston called it “truly a great day for young people in Georgia.” Ralston praised the program as an encouragement of excellence in the classroom. He went on to note the importance of workforce development in Georgia’s public policy discussions and its future.
“Programs like this will help recognize, reward, and retain our best and brightest scholars. That is a critical part of ensuring Georgia’s economic growth and success for generations to come,” said Ralston.
Rick Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admission, spoke with FYN about the program. Clark said the Institute has close to 15,000 undergraduates attending the college with around 2,850 in the freshman class this year. The program aims to extend the already established APS Scholars for Atlanta Public school further out to the entire state. Traveling to Gilmer County to announce the program was another embodiment of that desire to spread the program statewide.
While announcing the Scholars Program, Clark also expanded Georgia Tech’s invitation to all students saying that they wanted them to apply. Don’t let the prices and money you see keep you from applying. Financial Aid and other programs are making colleges far more achievable than they first appear. Georgia Tech is wanting to let students all across the state know that they are a viable option and students should not see them as unattainable.
Gilmer County Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes commented on the announcement saying, “We’re honored that they are here in Gilmer County, that they chose our high school to make that announcement. We are very proud of our students who will be attending there.”
Dr. Wilkes agreed that having two of the last year’s top three students attending Georgia Tech this fall and the announcement of the Georgia Scholars Program at Gilmer, Georgia Tech has become a more accessible reality for the many students who work towards that goal.
We would like to give a special shout out to two of our own Nallei Landaverde and Matt Fowler!
Congratulations on graduating, We are so proud of you!
The Gilmer High School Basketball Teams honored their seniors for the Bobcats and Lady Cats on Tuesday, February 2. #TeamFYNSports collected these biographies of the players as they were presented at the ceremony.
The First Senior honored was #3 Chandler Cantrell. Chandler was escorted by his parents Jody and Ginger Cantrell. Chandler has played basketball for a total of 12 years. This is his 4th year playing for Gilmer High School as #3. Chandler is a member of Oak Grove Baptist Church and is planning to participate for the GHS Tennis Team. After Graduation, Chandler plans to attend the University of North Georgia and major in Criminal Justice. Chandler’s parents have been the most influential people in his life, inspiring him to be the best that he can be, no matter what might occur in life.
Next is #4 Isaac Hensley. Isaac was escorted by his parents David and Lisa Hensley. Isaac has been a member of the GHS basketball team for four years wearing #4. He is also an active member in FCA, BETA, United Community Bank Board of Directors, East Ellijay Baptist Church, and Elevate Youth Group. Isaac plans to attend college to major in civil engineering. Isaac’s parents have been the most influential people in his life because they taught him to work hard, be the best, and always trust in God in every situation.
The next senior was #14 JT Bosley. JT was escorted by his parents James and Donna Bosley. JT has played basketball for a total of seven years and has been a member of the GHS basketball program for four years as #14. He has also been an active member for the GHS golf team. JT plans to attend Dalton College for two years before transferring to a bigger college after he decides what his major will be. JT’s parents have been the most influential people in his life because they have inspired and encouraged him to always work hard.
The fourth senior was #22 Samuel McArthur. Samuel was escorted by his parents David and Christ McArthur. Samuel has been a member of the GHS basketball team where he was #33 on the JV team before transitioning to #22 on Varisty. Samuel is also an active member in Work Base Learning, East Ellijay Baptist Church, Elevate, and Warriors for Christ Youth Group. After high school, Samuel plans to attend college and get a degree in education to become a teacher and coach here in Gilmer County. Samuel’s parents have influenced his life most by teaching him that no matter how bad things can get, no matter what it is, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. They are two of the strongest people he knows.
Next, we had #23 Jake Ray. Jake was escorted by his parents Tim and Suzanne Ray. Jake has played basketball for nine years wearing #23. He is also an active member in FCA, Work Base Learning, FEA, and Impact Youth. Jake plans to attend Dalton State College or Toccoa Falls after graduating from high school to major in Early Childhood Education and Coach Basketball. Jake’s Dad has been the most influential in his life because he has always been there for him in good times or bad, and is always right, no matter if he agrees with him or not.
The final senior boy was #32 Cole Edmondson. Cole was escorted by his parents Charlie and Carolyn Edmondson. Cole has been playing basketball for twelve years as #32. He is also an active member in FBLA, United Community Bank Junior Board, and participated in one year of track and field. After high school graduation, Cole plans to attend the University of North Georgia and major in Finance. Cole’s parents have been the most influential in his life inspiring him to work hard in everything he does and always be the best person he can be.
With the Lady Cats, five seniors were honored.
The first senior Lady Cat was #32 Kaylee Deyton. Kaylee was escorted by her parents Karen and Stacey Deyton along with her sister Emma. Kaylee has been a member of the Varsity Lady Cat basketball team for four years as #32. While at Gilmer High School, Kaylee has participated in FCA, FEA, FBLA, and BETA. In addition to basketball, Kaylee has been a member of the Gilmer Lady Cat Softball Team for four years as #19. Kayle has been a member of the Gilmer Lady Cat Softball Team that went to the Sweet Sixteen making back to back appearances in the state playoffs and was named to the second team All Region Team as a catcher. Kaylee was a member of the Gilmer Lady Cat Basketball Team that won the Region Championship last year, and has made State Playoff appearances for the past two years. Kaylee currently participates in the Work Based Learning Program and is employed at Mountain View Elementary as a teacher assistant. According to Kaylee, the people who have inspired her most are her Mom and Kim Charles. They both are always pushing her to do her best, whether it be in school, on the field, on the court, or just in life in general. These ladies have encouraged Kaylee to always keep herhead up, make smart decisions, and to always do her best, even though when they tell this or to stop doing stupid things, it is not always in the nicest tone, but it works. They definitely have inspired and motivated Kaylee to be the wonderful young lady she is today. After graduation, Kaylee plans to go into the Air Force and get an education while serving her country, and, hopefully, retire from the Military. After retirement, she plans to return to Ellijay and spend the rest of her life here.
The second Lady Cat is #42 Haley Higingbotham. Haley was escorted by her parents Mike and Cindy Higingbotham. She has played basketball for 11 years. She has been a member of the Varsity Lady Cat Basketball Team for four years as #42. While at Gilmer High School, Haley has participated in Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, the Literature Team, and is Captain of the Academic Team. Haley was a member of the Gilmer Lady Cat Basketball Team that won the 2014-2015 Region Championship and has made State Playoff appearances for the past two years. According to Haley, the person who has inspired her most is her Mom. No matter what life throws at her Mom, she always perseveres. After graduation, Haley, being accepted to the University of Georgia through early admission, will attend UGA, and study towards a degree in Pharmacy.
The next Lady Cat was #2 Hannah Jones. Hannah was escorted by her parents Jeff and Jennifer Jones. Hannah has played basketball for 12 years. She has been a member of the Varsity Lady Cat Basketball Team for four years as #2. While at Gilmer High School, Hannah has been a member of FCA and FBLA. She was a member of the Gilmer Lady Cat Basketball Team that won the 2014-2015 Region Championship and has made state playoff appearances the past two years. Hannah was selected to the 2015-2015 Gilmer High School Prom Court and 2015-2016 Homecoming Court, being named as the first runner up in both events. Hannah is currently dual enrolled at Dalton State College. As of recent news, Hannah Jones has been named the 2015-2016 Region 7AAAA Basketball Co-Player of the Year. According to Hannah the people who have inspired her the most is her Mom and Dad. The have both inspired her to push herself to be not only the best player that she can be but also the best person she can be. She is thankful to them for always being her biggest fans. After graduation, Hannah plans to attend the University of North Georgia and become a Pediatric Nurse.
The fourth Lady Cat was #44 Emily Rachel Reece. Emily was escorted by her parents John and Rachel Reece and her siblings, Taner and Josie. She has played basketball for 12 years. Emily has been a member of the Varsity Lady Cat Basketball Team for four years as #44. While at Gilmer High School, Emily has been a member of FCA, FEA, FBLA, and Beta. In addition to basketball, Emily has been a member of the Varsity Volleyball Team for four years and Varsity Tennis for two years. She did receive All Region Team recognition in Volleyball. Emily was a member of the Gilmer Lady Cat Basketball Teams that won the 2014-2015 Region Championship and made state playoff appearances for the past two years. Emily is currently dual enrolled at Dalton State College. She is a member of the Liberty Baptist Youth Group and Church. Emily would like to say that the people who have inspired her most are her family. She would not be where she is today without them. She would like to thank her grandparents, Mom, Dad, Brother, and Sister for always putting up with her. She says she loves them all and wouldn’t trade them for the world. Emily plans to attend college to become an OBGYN, then eventually move back to Ellijay and open a practice. She hopes to be happily married and have her own family one day, and, if all else fails, she hopes to marry a very rich man.
The final Lady Cat was #25 Emily Sanford. She was escorted by her parents Dewell and Susan Sanford and her niece, Maggy. She has played basketball for 12 years. Emily has been a member of the Varsity Lady Cat Basketball Team for four years as #25. While at Gilmer High School, Emily has been a member of FCA, FBLA, and Beta. In addition to basketball, she has been a member of the Varsity Volleyball Team for four years and Varsity Tennis for two years. Emil did receive All Region Team recognition in volleyball. Emily was a member of the Gilmer Lady Cat Basketball Team that won the 2014-2015 Region Championship and has made State Playoff appearances for the past two years. Emily was selected to the 2014-2015 Gilmer High School Prom Court and 2015-2016 Homecoming Court. She currently participates in Work Based Learning where she is employed at Ellijay Primary School as a teacher assistant. As of recent news, Emily has been named to the 2015-2016 All Region Basketball Team for Region 7AAAA. Emily would like to say that the people who have inspired her the most are her family and friends. They have always been there for her and have supported her through everything in life. She wishes to say thank you so much. After graduation, Emily plans to attend college and major in Early Childhood Education and become the person God wants her to be.
#TeamFYNSports would like to congratulate all the Seniors for their hard work and dedication. It has been tough at times, and will be tough to come, but the strength you have learned now will carry you through your life.