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.
Gainesville Students to Attend Air Force and Naval Academies
GAINESVILLE, Ga.—Two students from northeast Georgia have been offered admission to a U.S. military academy. Cameron Sturdivant will join the class of 2022 at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Chase Nufer will attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) nominated these students to the military academies because of their integrity and track record of accomplishment in the community.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Cameron and Chase, who have dedicated themselves to servant leadership roles early in life. I look forward to their success in Colorado Springs and Annapolis as they reflect the strong character of northeast Georgia,” said Collins.
Sturdivant is the son of Ms. Chere Rucker. He attends Gainesville High School and is following in the footsteps of his brother, Mr. Donovan Moss, who is currently a senior at the Air Force Academy.
Nufer, son of Mr. Peter & Ms. Heidi Nufer, is the captain of the baseball team at Forsyth Central High School and a member of the National Honor Society.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County Charter School System has received results for 2017’s CCRPI. Releasing the following information, the schools have shown marked improvement in testing since last year.
The schools utilize this information when creating plans for next year as they see what areas need help and what areas have succeeded with current teaching methods.
These scores also indicate an above average scoring for most of the county’s schools, as well as an above average score overall for the district, which is an obvious improvement over years passed.
The following is a release from Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes:
The Georgia Department of Education released the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) 2016-2017 school year data on November 2nd.
The CCRPI is Georgia’s statewide accountability system, implemented in 2012 to replace No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress measurement (AYP). It measures schools and districts on a 100-point scale based on multiple indicators of performance.
Five of Gilmer County Charter Schools six schools saw an increase in their CCRPI scores compared to their 2016 scores.
Ellijay Elementary School (EES) made an impressive gain of 13.6 points with a 2017 CCRPI score of 81.1, compared with a 2016 CCRPI score of 67.5. Lauree Pierce, principal at Ellijay Elementary School, stated, “The data indicates that EES is heading in the right direction. To add to the excitement, changes implemented in the 2017-18 school year are sure to have a positive effect on these numbers next year.”
On Nov. 3, Pierce and her administrative staff cooked a steak lunch with homemade desserts for all EES staff to show appreciation for all their hard work.
Gilmer Middle School is comprised of fifth and sixth grades and each grade receives a CCRPI score. The fifth grade receives an elementary CCRPI score and the sixth grade receives a middle school CCRPI score.
According to the scores released, the state’s 2017 CCRPI average was 72.9 for elementary schools, 73 for middle schools and 77.00 for high schools. The state CCRPI average was 75.
For Gilmer County Charter School System, the averages for elementary, middle and high school were 74.3, 79.1 and 71. The district average is 75.2, which exceeded the state average.
The numbers are based on data from the 2016-2017 academic year. The CCRPI incorporates 50 points for achievement, 40 points for progress and 10 points for achievement gap. The score can also include additional Challenge Points.
Ellijay Elementary, Gilmer Middle and Clear Creek Middle are well above the state CCRPI average; however, there is still continued work to be done.
Gilmer High Schools’ graduation rate is well above the state average and we are working to close the gap on CCRPI performance at the high school level.
Our teachers, leaders, and staff have worked diligently to focus their efforts on student achievement and success. The hard work and dedication of each school’s team led to the improved CCRPI scores and they should definitely be commended.
BEE (Business Ethics Education) Training for WBL students sponsored by BB&T, Junior Achievement, UNG School of Business & Walmart. A day filled with ethical mini sessions & tours of the Dahlonega campus.
Group Photo at North Georgia Physical Therapy are (Back Row L – R)
Magnolia McLaughlin, Annabelle Nestor, Aaliyah Adame, Samantha Hernandez, Kim Cruz, Lexi Newberry. Front row: Katie Kiker, Michaela Staley & Adilene Rangel.
Students interested in healthcare occupations are participating in medical internships. These experiences can be short term or long term, as brief as a week or as long as a semester. Eleventh & twelfth grade students enrolled in the Work-Based Learning Program are spending a portion of the school day with healthcare professionals. This experience provides opportunities for instruction in occupational skills, exploration of the many and varied healthcare jobs and career guidance from professionals.
Students are shadowing and interacting with medical professionals in the many areas of patient care; CNA, Radiology Technicians, LPN, RN, Physical Therapists, PTT, PTA, DON, Administrative Personnel, Nurse Practitioner, Physician’s Assistant, Family Practitioners, Specialists and Dentists.
This project takes the cooperation of many medical facilities. Those providing opportunities this semester are Georgia Mountain’s Health, Gilmer County Department of Public Health, Cameron Hall, North Georgia Physical Therapy, Gilmer Nursing Home, Piedmont Healthcare (Emergency Department, Imaging Diagnostic Center & Physicians Group), Safe Choice Pregnancy Center and Ellijay Urgent Care & Family Practice (Dr. Nguyen). Countless staff members at each of these facilities are making this an awesome experience for our GHS students.
Pre-requisites to participate in the medical rotation are TB testing, CPR certification, knowledge of HIPPA. AIDET training and related science and healthcare classes. The Healthcare Science pathway provides these and other skills to enhance this experience.
Students above with Dr. Nguyen of Ellijay Urgent Care & Family Practice. L-R: Magnolia McLaughlin, Aaliyah Adame, Samantha Hernandez, Katie Kiker, Adilene Rangel, Nurse Michelle, Jessie Wilson, Annabelle Nestor & Dr. Nguyen.
At Piedmont Healthcare Imaging & Diagnostic Center
Domingo Reynoso, Mariano Morin, Chloe Reece, Sophie Morrison & Mary Ghorley Risk Management Director of Piedmont
Gilmer Health Dept. Director Krystal Sumner.
Debriefing by Karen Driskill at Georgia Mountain’s Health.
Mariano Morin, Chloe Reece, Sophie Morrison and Domingo Reynoso.
**Application to the WBL internship program for the 2018-2019 school year will open in late February. See adviser, counselor or Ms. J. Davis for details as this is the only time of year to enter into the program. Rising juniors & seniors are eligible.**
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 – 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.
According to a recent release from the University of North Georgia, they have been awarded “$2.6 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Upward Bound Program to help promising low-income high school students in Hall and Gilmer counties prepare for college.”
Split between our two counties, 120 students will have the opportunity to take advantage of tutoring, counseling, and advisement to help them become academically successful.
Gilmer specifically has local access to the University through a Blue Ridge Campus Branch where they can take courses as well as participate in the Blue Ridge Scholars program integrating course instruction with student support groups for first-time freshmen.
According to a UNG article by Sylvia Carson, the President of the University, Bonita C. Jacobs, said, “Through these grants and the Upward Bound program, we will be able to provide vital support to students in our region as they prepare for higher education and future career opportunities.”
UNG Blue Ridge Campus Director Sandy Ott leads the grant for Glmer High School saying, “Introducing the Upward Bound program in Gilmer County has the potential to greatly increase the progression of low-income students and first-generation college students through the academic pipeline.”
FYN followed up with Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes for more information. She offered anyone interested in the program to attend the Board’s June 12 meeting as they will have a full presentation on the award, the partnership, and Gilmer’s future alongside the University of North Georgia.