Gilmer High Band looks for new uniforms

Community

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer High School Marching Band is looking at replacing 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 reign in the new. Director of Bands Joe Pflueger has worked since November on finding the new look and gauging interest of both band member and Band Boosters members. Originally engaging 3 companies for design bids and ideas, Pflueger has finally come to a final design.

Noting the resemblance of the front design to that of our iconic mountains, he says 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 FYN saying he felt the new uniforms, along with the board’s August approval for replace 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 a numerous minor changes to designs before ending on this arrangement. Though the current band stands at 130 students, Pflueger admitted the could see growth towards 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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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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Shooting at Dalton High School

News

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.

 

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Bomb threat investigated at Clear Creek Middle School

News

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – According to Gilmer County Charter School System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes, a new issue arising at Clear Creek Middle School drew law enforcement and emergency management to the school near dismissal time Friday, Feb. 16.

Wednesday, staff noticed writing in pen on a boys bathroom stall saying, “I have a bomb.” Wilkes tells FetchYourNews that law enforcement was contacted and the school searched. No evidence pointed toward a bomb being present that day.

Today, at approximately 1:45 p.m., Wilkes reported that a teacher was notified of more writing in a different boys bathroom on a stall. The writing this time appeared smeared across the wall in ink, as if someone had broken a pen to smear the writing. The writing read, “I have a bomb, you will die.”

After contacting emergency services and law enforcement, emergency management investigated for the presence of a bomb again. In an effort to find someone who may have written the message, school staff checked students hands for ink. Wilkes also noted that the staff was also checked for ink.

Though no device or other suspicious activity was found again, emergency management is continuing to question and combing through film. Wilkes once again noted that while the current thought is that this threat is a hoax, they will continue investigating the threat seriously.

With next week seeing Gilmer students on winter break, Wilkes tells FYN that they will be open for authorities to fully access the school for inspection for any signs, and the school will see heightened security when they return from the break.

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This Week At Gilmer County Library: February 14 – February 21, 2018

Community

All Ages Programs

Saturday, February 17 @ 10:30 AM
The Kid an I: Toddler Sensory Explorations
Experience the world through your toddler’s eyes! Share their exploration of over 10 sensory stations designed to stimulate all five senses, including a craft to extend sensory learning at home. Children must be accompanied by an adult.


Family No-Bake Cookies
Tuesday, February 20 @ 3:00 PM
Families are invited to make so yummy no-bake cookies! At the end of the program, all families will swap cookies, so everyone will get to taste them all! Adult participation is required & registration is recommended. For information & registration, call 706-635-4528.

Youth Programs

Family Story Time
Wednesday February 14 @ 10:30 AM & 4:00 PM
Wednesday February 21 @ 10:30 AM & 4:00 PM
Family story times are designed for families with children of all ages. Story time is followed by a craft activity. Children must be accompanied by a participating adult.

Young Adult Program

Coding Club
Thursday, February 15 @ 4:00 PM
Learn the basics of computer coding. Each meeting will build upon the previous one, but attendees can work at their own pace. Join anytime! For ages 10-18.

 

Adult Programs

Nutrition Know-How
Wednesday February 14 @ 9:30 AM
Learn how to eat heathy without spending a lot of money, the value of having a grocery list, what it means to eat healthy foods, and portion control to prevent weight gain. Presented by Jessie Moore, UGA Family and Consumer Services Agent.

Budgeting Basics
Wednesday February 14 @ 1:00 PM
Learn how to stretch your food dollars, the importance of
paying bills on time, and how to keep track of your spending.
Presented by Jessie Moore, UGA Family and Consumer
Services Agent.

The Friends of the Library Bookshelf

Remember that the library welcomes donations of gently read books and magazines. Those that the library does not need come to the Bookshelf, with all the proceeds benefiting the library.  Do not forget to visit the “back room” of the Bookshelf for newly stocked non-fiction and magazines.  

Bookshelf hours are from 10:30-5:30 on weekdays and from 12:00-2:00 on Saturdays

Library Location & Contact Information
Address: 268 Calvin Jackson Drive, Ellijay, GA 30540.
Phone: 706-635-4528.  Fax: 706-635-3528.
http://www.sequoyahregionallibrary.org/gilmer
https://www.facebook.com/GilmerLibrary
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9AM-8PM, Friday and Saturday 9AM-6PM.

Gilmer students volunteer with Foster Parent Association

Community, Gilmer High School

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Since October, the Gilmer High School chapter of Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) has volunteered monthly with local foster children through the Foster Parent Association. Monthly meetings allow FCCLA members to spend time playing with, teaching, and bonding with these children.

Cesley Johnson, an FCCLA member, commented, “We felt as if the foster children group was something that didn’t get a lot of direct attention and that needed to change. One visit later with these babies, and we all realized that it was much more than just that. Each one of us have formed a bond with these kids and look forward to every visit we get the privilege of having with them.” 

Several students have even taken initiative to  design programming for the children. Cesley Johnson and Kelsey Payne have organized a different small lesson each month. These lessons include information on nutrition, mindfulness/gratitude, and even a little cooking. Recently, Kasey Rangel also decided to organize an event by providing a Christmas gift for each child. She sought out an individual sponsor for each child from the school and her church.  

Overall, the program has made a profound impact on the FCCLA volunteers. As one states, “Selflessness, love, generosity, and patience are all things that we have learned from seeing these kids just once a month.”

Apple Ridge Woodturners donate saw to Gilmer High School

News

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.

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