Reality Day still needing volunteers for 7th year

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

ELLIJAY, Ga. – With just over a month until one of Gilmer High School’s two annual “real world” events,  volunteers are still needed for the annual Reality Day.

This event delves deeper into budgets and finances for students in 10th Grade at the high school as they go through the process of budgeting a set monthly salary to provide for furniture, car payments, insurance, entertainment, clothing, unexpected expenses, and more.

Reality Day runs all day with volunteers covering shifts to be apart of the program introducing students to life after school. While most volunteers run all day, the event caters to those who can only give a half day for the morning or afternoon shifts.

Partnering with the high school on the project and hosting it in the gym allows the students to attend without having to be bused elsewhere, but also provides more time for each student to delve into the project.

Gilmer County Family Connections Coordinator Merle Naylor, who directs the event, said, “The volunteers enjoy it and they know that the students are certainly being helped and the students are gaining some knowledge.”

Many members of different parts of the community join in volunteering for Reality Day. From the Board of Commissioners Chairman and Post Commissioners in the past to School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, local business owners and representatives, retirees, and members of the Chamber. People from all walks of life in Ellijay come to invest in the real world knowledge of these students.

Each year also sees small changes to the event as those involved constantly seek feedback from both the volunteers and students. One of those changes this year will see students pick a field to go into. While this doesn’t pick exactly which job they get to base their “budgets” on, it does set a certain guide that will be used to set the path based on their school progress and a little bit of random drawings.

That idea of randomness plays another key role in the students budgets as one table will present the students with an “unexpected event.” This could be something like a flat tire that needs replacing to a medical expense or something positive like an unexpected refund or bank error.

While the final details are being set now, Naylor did reiterate that they could always use more volunteers. More volunteers mean more people to provide and more time dedicated to each individual student. Naylor noted that not only do the volunteers seem to enjoy Reality Day, but the students always gain a lot saying, “We get feedback from them. It opens their eyes to what their parents have to provide and what their futures hold. They learn, I don’t think there is a student that attends that doesn’t learn something.

This will be the seventh year of the annual event, and it seems to be moving positively for the years to come as well.

Gilmer names Jones as 2020 STAR Student

Bobcat's Corner, Community

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer High School has named Nathan Daniel Jones, 18, as the school’s 2020 PAGE STAR Student. Jones has subsequently selected Dr. Renee Hoard, a Mathematics teacher at GHS, as his STAR Teacher.

GHS 2020 PAGE STAR Student Nathan Jones

Nathan Daniel Jones, 18, has been named as Gilmer High School’s 2020 PAGE STAR Student.

Sponsored in Gilmer by the Ellijay Lions Club, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators’ (PAGE) program for Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) honors seniors in schools. To be nominated, a senior must have “the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.”

“We are very proud of Mr. Jones and Dr. Hoard and the academic excellence they exemplify at Gilmer High,” said GHS Principal Carla Foley.

Nathan is the son of Charlie and Starla Jones of Ellijay. He had Dr. Hoard as his teacher for Algebra II Honors, AP Statistics, and SAT/ACT Test Prep. Jones added that Dr. Hoard also helped him as he began sending off applications and preparing for college. Jones confirmed that he will be attending Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology) this fall.

While he has not decided on a major yet, Jones says he wants to pursue Math in some way in his degree. He said he finds a special satisfaction with math and he “just feels it.” His notion was echoed by Dr. Hoard who said she has seen him figuring out some math that even some professionals have had trouble with.

GHS 2020 PAGE STAR Teacher Dr. Renee Hoard

Dr. Renee Hoard has been named STAR Teacher for three of the last four years at GHS.

Dr. Hoard further commented on Jones’ award saying, “The best thing is he is just an all-around academic. You say he is a math person but he is excellent in all of his subjects.”

This is Dr. Hoard’s third nomination as STAR Teacher over the last four years, meaning that, including Jones, three of the last four STAR students picked her as their most influential teacher. She has been awarded in 2017, 2019, and 2020. She began teaching in 1989 and has taught for a total of 27 years since then.

Both the STAR Student Jones and his STAR Teacher Hoard will move on together throughout the remainder of the program. In the STAR Program, each high school’s STAR Student will compete for school system titles, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners compete for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student.

 

Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-For love of the game

All of TeamFYNSports, Sports

Recently I’ve started watching the show Friday Night Lights again. Let me just say- this is partially important because I’m not a big TV show person. I don’t have the patience to sit through an hour-long episode nor do I usually have the time to keep up with a series. But I figure with pre-season football kicking in and the fall season quickly approaching, revisiting a show that revolves around high school football is one of the best ways to get me hyped up for what’s to come.

Watching this series has also made me think about a couple of things. For one, why do we as a society rally so much around a sport that’s played by boys no older than 18-years-old? Second, do we put too much pressure on athletes who play the game? And finally, is the hype and the pressure truly worth it?

I think the answer can be summed up pretty easily- yes. And why? For love of the game.

But the love of the game is different for each of us. We’re not all going to attend every single football game or spend thousands of dollars to sit in Sanford every Saturday. We all have our limits, and in my opinion that’s perfectly okay.

Why else would my friend Erin and I bundle up in the freezing cold for playoffs? Because we love football!

I like to say that there’s something about having a team that you love that will get inside of you and never leave. I find it fascinating that there are towns across America like Dillon, Texas that will show up in the thousands to support their Panthers. Coaches and players are local celebrities, and you get your butt in the stands every Friday night just as religiously as a pew on Sunday morning. I came from a high school of nearly 4,000 students and a county of almost one million people, but the same spirit that rallies much smaller towns across the country still pulses through mine.

Yes, oftentimes I’m afraid that means we put too much pressure on the athletes who play the game. In my own personal experience, at the high school level we had so many students that it was nearly impossible to know the daily goings-on at the field house. But it was that age-old cycle of that when we would win, the coaches and players would be praised. One loss and the attitude switched faster than the direction of a twister.

But one of the many great things about this country is we have the freedom of choice in many of our decisions. Even though the athletes and coaches who play these games catch a lot of grief, they still have the choice to walk away. Some do. But for those who don’t? I’d venture to say it’s for love of the game.

When it comes to putting pressure on athletes, especially young ones, I believe the relationship is a two-way street. They should know what they’re doing, but despite all the love we have for the game, we need to understand when enough is enough. I’ve heard the term “daddy ball” thrown around a lot before, and it makes me sad to think that there are parents out there who try to live through their children. It’s important to love and support them, but even more important to let them develop their own love for their game.

Finally, like I mentioned earlier, everyone’s love for the game is different. My Papa Skip, who I probably talk to the most about sports, has a different appreciation for them than I do. I’ll use UGA football as an example. He attended classes at UGA- I never have. He still goes every year to the UGA/Florida game in Jacksonville- I’ve only gone once. He pays each year to have season tickets for the home games- I CERTAINLY don’t do that, although when he doesn’t want them I get first dibs (thanks Papa!)

The point I’m trying to make is while we all may say we love sports, we each love them differently. We each have a certain line we’re willing to cross. But at the same time, come Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or playoffs, we rally behind our team. And we each get our butts in the stands. Why? For love of the game.

GHS Threats see arrest

News
instructions

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Reports are coming in after school today as a student began threatening Gilmer High School.

According to confirmation from the Gilmer School System, a parent reported the threats to administrators who promptly contacted authorities.

The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office quickly investigated and arrested the individual. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office will also have extra staff monitoring the High School on Wednesday, March 27.

Bobcat Trail reopens today

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Road repair on Bobcat Trail after a gas line break during road work is completed and both lanes are operational from Old 5, at the Civic Center, to Gilmer High School.

According to Gilmer High School, “We will return to our regular drop off and pick up times and routines, effective Monday morning. In addition, we will return to our regular bell schedule. All students will attend Advisement on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and will be dismissed at 3:20. Early Dismissal for eligible students will resume on Thursday, March 21.”

Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs has stated that the return to open traffic has appeared to be business as usual so far. With no reports of issues with the traffic or the road’s condition, it seems parents and students driving to school will soon return to the way things were before the storm damage and gas line break.

Bobcat Trail repair hits gas line

News
A 2-inch natural gas line was hit, causing a leak, during repairs on Bobcat Trail in March.

A 2-inch natural gas line was hit, causing a leak, during repairs on Bobcat Trail in March.

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Repairs on Bobcat Trail came to a halt Monday evening, March 4, as the contractor on the project struck a gas line hidden under the pavement.

It appears that a backhoe struck the line when digging under the roadway and began leaking the gas as a section was torn out. According to an on-site Supervisor for DRS Contracting, an emergency locate had been called in. He further stated that an unnamed subcontractor for Atlanta Gas Light gave the “all-clear” for DRS to go ahead with the project.

He asserted that Atlanta Gas Light’s report didn’t show any line in the area.

The line that was struck was four feet below the damaged roadway that was shut down by Gilmer County Charter School System last week. Work had just begun on repairing the damage today before hitting the line.

While digging out under a section of road on Bobcat Trail, DSR Contracting struck the gas line.

While digging out under a section of road on Bobcat Trail, DSR Contracting struck the gas line.

Emergency Servcies were immediately contacted as well as Atlanta Gas Light. The Ellijay Fire Department responded to the scene to monitor threats during repairs.

According to Gilmer County Charter School System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, Atlanta Gas Light has arrived on scene tonight and estimates that the line repair should be completed “fairly quickly.”

Downs further stated that the lines must be cleared and all pilot lights re-lit in the kitchens of both Gilmer Middle School and Gilmer High School. She said, “At this point we are thinking that everything will be fixed and ready for school in the morning.”

Stay with FYN for updates on Bobcat Trail and the continuing repairs near Gilmer High School.

Updates to Bobcat Trail and GHS

Bobcat's Corner, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Repairs are beginning today, March 4, on Bobcat trail at Gilmer High School.

As citizens have already been using the Legion road entrance to the high school, they will continue with one major difference. According to authorities in the Gilmer County Charter School System, “these repairs require that both lanes of Bobcat Trail coming north from the Civic Center be closed. GCSS buses will access the High School via the back of Gilmer Middle School, past the stadium and up the hill with student and parent drivers.”

The school system has made additional changes to parent and student traffic for arrival and dismissal this week as follows:

Arrival: All car riders will continue to be dropped off in the student parking lot. Please pull forward to the far set of stairs before circling through the parking lot to exit. When exiting Bobcat Trail towards Legion Road, all cars will be required to turn right at the stadium parking entrance. No cars will be permitted to go straight and exit behind Gilmer Middle School.

Dismissal: For this week, ALL student drivers will be dismissed at 2:30, Car Riders will be dismissed at 2:45, and Bus Riders will be dismissed at the regular 3:20 dismissal time. Again, as cars exit Bobcat Trail, via Legion Road, all cars will be required to turn right at the stadium parking entrance, and no cars will be permitted to go straight and exit behind Gilmer Middle School.

While current information points to the repairs being finished by week’s end, it is likely that parents and students will be able to access Bobcat Trail next week. However, no specific statements from the school have fully confirmed this yet.

High School closes Bobcat Trail

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County High School is shutting down one of its two entrances to the high school. Bobcat Trail, the entrance across from the Gilmer Civic Center, has seen road damage recently.

Due to the road damage on Bobcat Trail, the school needs to divert all traffic coming to the High School to ensure student safety. Beginning today, February 27, “only school buses will be allowed to enter Bobcat Trail from Old 5 (Main Street at the Civic Center). All car traffic will need to enter Bobcat Trail from Legion Road.”

Parents/Guardians dropping off students will need to have students exit their cars at the base of the main stairs in the lower student parking. Drivers will then need to circle through the student parking lot in order to exit back onto Legion Road. No cars will be allowed beyond the Noah Harris Center between 7am-8:15am and 2:30pm-3:45pm.

FYN currently understands that there is expected to be officers at Legion Road, just as they would be at Bobcat Trail, directing traffic onto Old Highway 5.

No changes are needed in how student drivers enter and exit the school grounds. Student drivers will need to be extra cautious when driving and parking in the student parking lots due to the extra vehicles that will be coming through.

These changes are to set to be in place for a few days at least, according to the Board of Education.

Board splits on approval of Foley as principal

News
Gilmer BOE 2019, school closed

ELLIJAY, Ga. – As the Gilmer County Board of Education went through usual approvals for administration in January for the coming school year, an unusual take on the votes came as Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs said she was requested to go through approvals one at a time instead of all together.

Those individual votes came so a no vote could be given to Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley. She was approved in a 3-2 decision with Tom Ocobock and Ronald Watkins as the dissenting votes. FYN later asked these two why they voted no. However, they simply commented that they had their reasons.

Watkins specifically said, “Hopefully, things will straighten up and next year will be a yes vote.” He did note simply that he wasn’t satisfied with the position, declining to explain further.

Ocobock did agree that he wanted next year to be a yes vote, but also declined further comment.

One other dissension came with the Central Administration positions. As Bob Sosebee was recommended for Director of Facilities and Transportation, Ocobock spoke in the meeting saying, “I’m giving him the yes vote, but I want to see marked improvement in maintenance on these schools in this year.”

Ocobock said he has seen trash and alluded to more as he repeated that he wanted a marked improvement.

With these approvals of administration, the Board will move forward next month with recommendations for staff and contracts for the coming school year.

PHS lockdown and what’s next in the Vaping Campaign

Uncategorized

Jasper, Ga – The Pickens County Board of Education hosted a no-threat lockdown today on the campus of Pickens High School.

Parents and citizens saw the Pickens County Sheriff respond to concerns saying:

We currently have a team of deputies and K-9 units participating in a controlled sweep of the Pickens High School campus. While the school is being checked, students are being placed in a non-emergency lockdown status. Students are safe and no threat exists at the school.

When questioned about the lockdown, Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson said the K-9 sweep was scheduled for a few weeks ago, but had to be pushed back due to scheduling conflicts with Cherokee County who supplies the K-9 units. As the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has retired its last K-9 unit for medical reasons, Wilson stated it is a part of the agreement with Cherokee County to utilize theirs.

With the lockdown and sweep completed, Wilson informed FYN that no drugs were located during the sweep today. Though he noted it was not directly related to the rising use of vape devices, Wilson did respond to questions about the trend saying that it is a concern in the school system.

Sweeps like this is a part of the school’s enforcement of its code of conduct as well as state and federal law. Though Wilson said there is more going on behind the scenes in the system’s response to the rising vape concerns and to school security in general, he declined to release details saying, “There is a number of things that we are doing and things that we are working with the Sheriff’s Office, some of that we just can’t publicize at the moment.”

More information on these steps like the K-9 sweeps and other programs the school already has in place over its years in operation can be found at the upcoming Monday, September 24, day of events involving the Office of the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and Pickens School district as they hold a meeting for parents for information and the ‘Chat with the Superintendent’ at Pickens High School at 6 p.m.

Wilson went on to note that the school system is being forced to change the way it views vaping devices. While he notes that it is against the law for underage kids to possess cigarettes and vaping devices and they have enforced the law, he did state that the school system may have, at times, not utilized the most extreme forms of discipline available in every situation involving the use of nicotine. He went on to say, “Now that this added ability of being able to vape just about anything, that brings it to a whole different level.”

As part of the school’s efforts to inform parents and students about the dangers that vapes present with not knowing what is in them, the board is working with the District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office. Wilson said, “We may have looked at vaping in the past as more of a replacement for a cigarette, and not as a delivery device for drugs… Going forward, we probably would.”

He added later, “We’re going to have to really start disciplining to the fullest extent that we can, given to us by our Code of Conduct or either by the Law to keep our children safe.”

Gilmer CLC dedicates new building

Uncategorized
Gilmer CLC CCMS Campus Clear Creek

East Ellijay, Ga. – The Gilmer Christian Learning Center (CLC) opened the doors of its new addition at the Clear Creek Campus this week to dedicate the building and allow the public to see where students will be learning and growing in the coming years.

The new campus adds on to the already well-established work being done at the High School campus located on Bobcat Trail between Gilmer High School and Gilmer Middle School.

Executive Board Member, Loy Jarret spoke at Sunday's Open House and Dedication of the Gilmer CLC's new Clear Creek Campus.

Executive Board Member, Loy Jarret spoke at Sunday’s Open House and Dedication of the Gilmer CLC’s new Clear Creek Campus.

As stated in Executive Board Member Loy Jarrett’s opening remarks of the Dedication Ceremony, the CLC began as a dream from Joel Stembridge. With the dream accomplished in 1985, Jarret went on to say that this building represents “Joel’s second wish.”

Jarret said the CLC exists to, among other things, teach kids about self-image, individual achievements, people skills, and spiritual foundation. As the mind, body, and soul make up a person, the soul stands most important.

“Life is a marathon,” said Jarret, “It’s not just a sprint… The more that we can expose these kids to this marathon, the more that they will improve our next generation.”

Accomplishing the 20-month long process, the building stands completed. With only interior items like landscaping, shelving, and supplies left to put the finishing touches in, CLC Director Jennifer Colson said the Gilmer CLC Clear Creek Campus will achieve its deadline to be ready for classes this fall. With students already lined up from last years class registrations, the building will begin seeing use in just a few weeks.

Jennifer Colson, Director of Gilmer's Christian Learning Center, is set to split time at the two locations as she manages the program and its continued growth.

Jennifer Colson, Director of Gilmer’s Christian Learning Center, is set to split time at the two locations as she manages the program and its continued growth.

With one 7th grade class and one 8th grade class, the cycle changes every 9 weeks to help reach as many students as possible. More than that, Colson says they are excited to have the new building in the Clear Creek campus and will be looking to host 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in the building as the system goes through changes to its schools’ restructuring in the coming years.

 

s Director, Colson says she will be splitting her time between the two buildings in order to support the staff of the CLC’s two locations.

Colson spoke at the Dedication Ceremony to offer thanks for those who donated, volunteered, and provided in every way for the new building. She also noted that the CLC program will be moving into the new building debt-free, an amazing feat as the CLC is a completely non-profit organization.

Thanking God for provisions and guidance, Colson said it has been astonishing as people have continuously volunteered and donated time and time again for the expansion. Whether it was volunteers working, others financially supporting, and professionals donating services, the progress has marched on to prepare the new facility as Colson states, “It’s just been amazing to see how the community has come together and said ‘We believe in CLC. We believe in the mission of this ministry. We believe our seventh and eighth graders need to hear about Jesus daily.'”

 

 

Check out these photos and more from the ceremony and open house at FetchYourNews’ Facebook Page.

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MECHS Graduation & Scholarship recipients

Mountain Education Charter High School

Albert E. Harrison Scholarship recipients from Gilmer and Fannin Counties (l-r) Filipe Arreaga, Christopher Byrd, Bryson Darnell, Madison Davenport, Phebee Garrett, Mallory Grimes, Lindsay Irons, Makenzi Ledford, Katelyn Roberts, Dakota Skiles, Pennie Tuck, Lexus Walden, and Jadie Weaver, also pictured Mr. Jason Smith and Mr. Doug Harrison of Ellijay Telephone Company.

Mountain Education honors seniors at special dinner

News
MECHS Gilmer Honor Graduates and recipients of the Presidents Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence included, left to right, Salutatorian Dakota Skiles, Bryson Darnell, and Jessica Jones. Not pictured is Felipe Arreaga.

MECHS Gilmer Honor Graduates and recipients of the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence included, left to right, Salutatorian Dakota Skiles, Bryson Darnell, and Jessica Jones. Not pictured is Felipe Arreaga.

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.

Seniors honored for the Presidents Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement included, left to right, Christopher Byrd, Phebee Garrett, David Green, Mallory Grimes, Sonia Guzman, Luke McClure, Katelynn Roberts, Pennie Tuck, and Jadie Weaver. Not Pictured is Kacie Crook, McKenzie Hagin, Jacob King, and Luis Olea.

Seniors honored for the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement included, left to right, Christopher Byrd, Phebee Garrett, David Green, Mallory Grimes, Sonia Guzman, Luke McClure, Katelynn Roberts, Pennie Tuck, and Jadie Weaver. Not Pictured is Kacie Crook, McKenzie Hagin, Jacob King, and Luis Olea.

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.

 

 

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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.

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.”

Facilities plan discussed at board retreat

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Education has detailed the plans for their buildings over the next five years at a board retreat in March.

The plan incorporates the use of Instructional Units (IUs) in relation to state and federal programs utilized to spread funding to counties based on their “need.” By better planning facility use and more details on those facilities, the Gilmer County Charter School System (GCCSS) hopes to maximize their IUs to secure as much funding as possible from these state programs.

The funding itself, however, comes in the form of reimbursements instead of pre-project funds. Most citizens should recall this is the same process the board is currently using a part of its coming renovations at Gilmer High School (GHS). The applications will allow for partial reimbursement of a few parts of the project including items like roofing and HVAC work.

Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes

Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes

Additionally, the board retreat allowed members to discuss and see the current plan on what they will be seeking in terms of facility changes and movements to come. Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes asserted that the plan is the board’s current intentions for the future, but that it was also not set in stone. Parts of the plan rely on approval of the next Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) for example. She also told FetchYourNews that the plan could change with major unforeseen circumstances.

Allowing the flexibility to change gives the school board a cushion for contingencies and alterations while also giving the guide for the next five years.

The plan described will see the board finishing up the GHS renovations before adding onto Mountain View Elementary school. The board is planning to have Ellijay Primary School (EPS), Ellijay Elementary School (EES), and Mountain View Elementary School converted into full, preschool through fifth grade (P-5) elementary schools. Looking even further ahead, the board is also discussing moving what is now EPS to a new building on the board’s property near Yukon, near Clear Creek Middle School.

As a part of this conversion, the three P-5 elementary Schools would serve their local districts where they are located. Students would then move to Clear Creek Middle School as the county’s sole middle school for grades six through eight. Moving up from there, students would attend Gilmer High School’s campus with the current Gilmer Middle School serving on campus as a ninth-grade academy and the current GHS building serving grades 10 through 12.

One possibility could see EPS becoming a preschool to second grade with EES as third grade to fifth grade until the new building can be completed, but regardless the plan will ultimately end in the three P-5 schools.

That new facility would have the board moving away from Ellijay Primary School, avoiding the damages from its location in the flood plain and moving out of a nearly 50-year-old building, as well as having the new building in a better location for its district.

Once the new building for EPS is completed, the board wants to look at EES for needed renovations at that time. According to Gilmer Schools Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services, Stuart Sheriff, completing EES renovations should see a potential 10-year period where the board’s facilities would only need normal maintenance, requiring no major renovations.

With people still asking why the board does not utilize their old location for Oakland Elementary, Dr. Wilkes noted that Oakland can only house 247 students making it too small to be utilized. She also noted other issues the board has faced with the location, including sewage leasing and relative location to other schools and district possibilities.

With the plan set, the board has already been moving on GHS renovations and will begin phase one of the two-phase project this summer.

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