Outstanding School Nutrition Program Administrative Review
Congratulations, to the Columbia County School District Nutrition Program, for completing a successful Administrative Review by the Georgia Department of Education!
The United States Department of Agriculture regulations require that the Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program conducts an Administrative Review of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs in participating districts every five years.
The Columbia County School District School Nutrition Program was selected for an Administrative Review this school year, which includes an in-depth assessment of the School Nutrition Program operations at the district level and at the school level. A few program areas included in the review were: the accuracy of Free and Reduced meal eligibility certification, the accuracy of meal counting and claiming for federal reimbursement, compliance with the meal pattern and nutritional quality requirements, financial management, professional standards and training, food safety, and much more. These are just some of the aspects of the program the nutrition program's staff are responsible for overseeing every day at a District level.
Four schools were selected for on-site visits by the Georgia Department of Education. Selected schools include the following:
While onsite at each school, the reviewers observed breakfast and lunch service, as well as afterschool snack service for compliance with program requirements.
Thank you to everyone who works in the kitchens and cafeterias every day across this great school district, for your outstanding work and dedication to feeding the students of this county and for making the District’s school nutrition program a success.
Deputy J.D. Paugh Memorial Foundation Donation
The members of the Deputy J.D. Paugh Memorial Foundation donated $7,800 to Columbia County School District Police to purchase of custom-fitted armored vests for School Resource Officers.
Pending approval of a grant applied for by CCSD Police Chief Gary Owens and his staff, the department will be able to receive an additional vest at no cost for each vest that is purchased through the foundation’s generous donation.
The Deputy J.D. Paugh Memorial Foundation was formed in memory of fallen motorcycle police officer J.D. Paugh, who lost his life in the line of duty in 2011.
Paugh was well known in the local motorcycle community, and the foundation regularly holds memorial motorcycle rides in his honor to raise funds used to purchase items of necessity for law enforcement agencies, such as radios, cages for K9 officers, and more.
This donation is the foundation’s first to the Columbia County Board of Education.
Georgia 4-H Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award Winner
Mr. Billy Wilkes is a school bus driver for the Columbia County School District. He soon began volunteering with 4-H student programs 22 years ago. At the Georgia 4-H Fall Forum, in December, Mr. Wilkes was named the Georgia 4-H Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer, the highest volunteer award from Georgia 4-H.
The Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award is given to an individual who has served 10 or more years as a 4-H volunteer. Applications include a nomination letter and personal statements from people the nominee has impacted. Mr. Wilks is one of two nominated to advance to the National 4-H Salute to Excellence competition which will take place later this year.
Mr. Wilkes has had an impact on many students from Columbia County and around the state. Some students have gone on to become 4-H camp counselors, environmental educators, state staff, and even 4-H agents.
International Thespian Honor Society, Georgia Chapter, State Officer
Brandon Worth - Evans High
Brandon Worth of Evans High was selected to be the 2023-2024 State Thespian Officer for the Georgia Chapter of the International Thespian Honor Society (ITS).
The ITS is the only theatre honor society for middle and high school students in the United States. Affiliation brings credibility and distinction to students, theatre programs, and schools. Each student is honored on a national level, gains access to opportunities and resources beyond those of their school.
All schools recommend many candidates for this top honor. LeadCon 1 and LeadCon 2 conferences were held in Warner Robins, GA at Houston County High School. The first selection at the Leadcon conference was narrowed down to 50 students in September 2022. Another LeadCon conference was held in January 2023 and narrowed down to nine students.
This past weekend, Brandon participated in the 2023 Georgia Thespian Conference where he worked as a Junior Thespian Officer to prepare for the Georgia Thespian Conference, which is a three-day conference located in Columbus, GA, in which thousands of GA thespians - students and teachers - may attend a wide variety of workshops taught by theatre professionals from around the country. The conference also gives participants the chance to view other schools' performances selected from the GHSA One-Act Competition. Currently, Brandon is featured in leading and supporting roles in Choral and Theatrical activities at Evans High as well as an Officer for the Choral and Theatrical program.
Macy's Great American Marching Band
Nathan Vasquez - Grovetown High
The Macy’s Great American Marching Band is a select group comprised of some of the finest high school marching band students from across the United States. Each year students interested in participating in this band submit to an arduous application process. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of prestigious high school and college band directors from across the nation and students are selected based on their individual performance abilities. Nathan is an outstanding musician that has dedicated himself to higher levels of achievement and this is one of several musical honors that he has achieved.
Nathan was one of three students representing the state of Georgia, and the only student from the Columbia County School District and the region selected to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Nathan is very thankful for his band director Mr. Whitaker. He credits him for saving his passion for music and discovering the meaning of never giving up and improving in the face of adversity.
Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) - Music Technology Student Showcase Winners
Will Powell Jr. - Grovetown High
Michael McCombs - Grovetown High
Johnathan Stonehocker - Greenbrier High
Three students were recently recognized as state-level winners for the GMEA Student showcase.
Each year, GMEA sponsors and carries out an annual digital composition competition for the purpose of encouraging students who have an interest in, and an aptitude for, the writing of original digital music. Entries are judged on four criteria: Musical Content, Creativity, Technical Proficiency, and Realization of Process, and awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze certificates in each division and category. Top entries at the State level in each division and category had their works presented during the GMEA Showcase in Athens, GA, on January 27, 2023. Students who are selected for best-in-show, receive a 1-year free professional subscription to Soundtrap.com, an online editing software/platform.
Willy Powell Jr. and Michael McCombs, of Grovetown High, with advisor Mary Angel Cleary, and Johnathan Stonehocker of Greenbrier High with advisor Stephen Hansen, were recognized for their winning compositions at the GMEA Music Technology Student Showcase. Greenbrier High Principal Chip Fulmer standing in for Stephen Hansen.
Willy Powell, Jr. is a junior at Grovetown High School, and Michael McCombs is a senior at Grovetown High, under advisor Mary Angel Cleary. Both Willy and Michael had compositions selected for the GMEA Music Educator's Conference, where the winning compositions were played for professional producers and a live audience at Tweed Recording Studio. This is a state-level honor, for which Willy and Michael competed against students across the state of Georgia. Submissions were taken from students enrolled in a music technology class who created an original or derivative song using music editing software. Submissions are reviewed by a diverse panel of college professionals and industry professionals, one of which is a Grammy Award Winning judge. For a song to make the selection panel, it must average in the top ten percent of scores.
Willy Powell - 4PF: To listen, Click Here.
Willy Powell - Mahusiano: To listen, Click Here.
Michael McCombs - Abstract Nature: To listen, Click Here.
Johnathan Stonehocker is a senior at Greenbrier High School. Johnathan was awarded the top prize in the digital music competition. For winning, Johnathan will receive a three-hour recording session at a recording studio and a $500 piece of music equipment of his choosing. Johnathan has been writing music for over eight years and has been competing in music competitions all around the state. He has released his own self-produced album, "Disarray". Johnathan plans to pursue a career in songwriting and music production at Berklee college of music on a partial scholarship. Johnathan’s teacher is Stephen Hansen.
Georgia High School Football Daily All-State Football Team
Georgia High School Football Daily is an e-newsletter published weekdays from August through December. Founded in 2009, it has more than 23,000 subscribers.
The Georgia High School Football Daily All-State Football Team is also The Atlanta Journal-Constitution all-state team. The team is chosen through nominations from coaches statewide. They also take into consideration all-region teams.
Region 3 - AAA Player of the Year
Matthew Williams - Harlem High
Coach Mark Boiter
Matthew Williams was unanimously voted player of the year in Region 3-AAA by the region’s coaches. That’s a rare honor for a lineman. Player of the Year awards almost always go to quarterbacks, running backs or wide receivers. Matthew allowed zero sacks as an offensive lineman and was described as “a dominant run blocker.” His team averaged 30 points per game and put up more than 2,000 yards rushing and 1,500 passing. On defense, he had six tackles for losses and a sack and blocked two field goal attempts. Matthew has signed to play football for Georgia Southern University.
AAAAAA First Team Kicker
Will Hattaway - Lakeside High
Coach Mark Boiter
Will Hattaway Made nine of ten field-goal attempts and put 21 of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. Hattaway is ranked the No. 24 place-kicker nationally by Kohl’s Kicking. Will has been named to the AAAAAA GHSF Daily first team as a kicker. Will Hattaway is the only football player in Columbia County to receive this prestigious award. In addition to his First Team All-State recognition, Will was named to the First Team All-Region and First Team All-Area. Will was also named the Georgia varsity top punter for field goal percentage in 6A (6th in the state for all qualifications) by MaxPreps and received a five-star rating from Kohl’s Kicking Academy. He was also a member of Team Georgia for the 2022-2023 Border Bowl.
In addition to being a top athlete, Will has maintained a 4.0 GPA during his high school career and will sign a national letter of intent to play for the back-to-back national champions Georgia Bulldogs in the Fall.
SRP Federal Credit Union Donation
In 2018, SRP Federal Credit Union launched the Affinity High School Debit Card program with all Columbia County high schools.
This program was designed to be able to provide an additional funding resource for local high schools. Each high school worked with SRP to develop a co-branded debit card design that is unique to each school and are displayed on the slide before you. Each time a SRP customer makes a transaction with their school-branded debit card, SRP makes a monetary donation to that school.
Thank you, SRP Federal Credit Union, for supporting public education in Columbia County.
January 10, 2023
2022 Education Youth Art Month Digital Report Award
This year two Columbia County School District art teachers were selected by The Council for Art Education for this award.
Gail Peake from Lakeside High, and Tiffany Weser from the Columbia Virtual Academy serve as the state coordinators for Youth Art Month (as known as YAM).
Each year, The YAM coordinators from each state compile a digital report of data and images from all the events, programs, shows and other related activities for the year. The information is collected from art teachers from across the state of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Education Art coordinator. The information was gathered for the Georgia digital report presentation and sent to the Council for Arts Education for judging where the state presentation was selected by the council for special recognition.
As the state coordinators for YAM, Ms. Peake and Ms. Weser will represent Georgia at the National Art Educators Convention awards ceremony to be held in San Antonio, Texas in April. Ms. Peake and Ms. Weser will also be presenting a session at the national conference about their collaboration between the virtual art program at Columbia Virtual Academy and the in-person art program at Lakeside High School.
Georgia Middle School State Cross Country Champions
Riverside Middle’s Kadence Thomas ran the two-mile run in an impressive 13 minutes, 40 seconds, and 41 milliseconds. Her performance earned her a second-place overall finish in the girl’s division at the Georgia Middle School State Cross Country Division 2 Championship. Kadence is coached by Barbara Petty.
The Riverside Middle School Boys Cross Country Club took second place overall in the Boys Division. Prior to competing at the state championship, the team placed first in three previous meets. Team members and parent and community coaches, include the following: Corbin DeVries, Ian Hout, Rigel Kotas, Ty Martin, Devon McLoughlin, Miles Negro, Rylan Pettit, Aiden Pullum, Colin Ritz, Benny Stewart, RJ Thomas, Vance Walter, Bryan Dent - Parent Coach, Fran Martin - Parent Coach, Stacie Pettit - Parent Coach, Hunter Martin - Community Coach, and Barbara Petty - faculty sponsor.
Evans Middle School’s Cross Country Girls took third place in the state out of 13 teams and 107 runners in the Girls Division 3 event. Team members and coach include the following: Monica Adee - Coach; Leliana Beemer, Estella Deal, Anastasia Hewitt, Paislea Jarrett, Alexis Lewis, Kylee McGowan, and Victoria Mellnick.
In addition to the team’s third-place finish Lilianna Beemer earned medals in the six races she competed in, along with first place in four of them. She finished the season at the state competition with another first-place win, and a personal record by running the two-mile run in 12 minutes, 24 seconds, and 91 milliseconds.
Harlem Attic Treasures $50,000 School Donations
Recently, Harlem Attic Treasures donated $50,000 to local schools in the Columbia County School District. Harlem High, Harlem Middle, North Harlem Elementary, Euchee Creek Elementary, and North Columbia Elementary received $10,000 each.
The donation was the result of profits received from sales at the local Harlem thrift store. For the past 14 years, Harlem Attic Treasures has worked to meet the needs of people in the community, including students and their families in the Columbia County School District. In the Spring, Attic Treasures celebrated a huge milestone-donating a total of 1 million dollars to date to local schools and other nonprofits and organizations in the area. Store profits are also used to provide several college scholarship opportunities for local graduating seniors.
The Columbia County School District is grateful for Partners in Education like Harlem Attic Treasures and their dedication to public education in Columbia County.
State Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council
Grovetown Elementary parent Julie Savina was selected to represent the Columbia County School District as a member of the Georgia Department of Education Superintendent's Parent Advisory Council.
Mrs. Savina is a mother of four Columbia County students who attend all levels of Grovetown Schools to include a fourth grader at Grovetown Elementary, seventh-grader twins at Grovetown Middle, and a sophomore at Grovetown High. Mrs. Savina volunteers weekly at Grovetown Elementary and is always willing to help in any way possible. She says she has enjoyed volunteering with the schools since her family moved to the area three years ago for her husband’s job at John Deere.
With a background in teaching for six years prior to having children, Mrs. Savina says she is also planning to bring to the table what she has learned with navigating schedules for four children at three different schools, including sports and extracurricular activities, among other important educational topics.
Members of the council will meet three times this year with State School Superintendent Richard Woods to discuss education issues in Georgia, with a primary focus on increasing parent and family engagement to ensure student success, as well as to provide input on new policies, projects, and materials that impact students and their families. Members will then bring back the information learn, serving as advisors and ambassadors in their respective communities.
December 13, 2022
Scholastic Art and Writing Award National Gold Medal Winner
Leila Hill - Columbia Virtual Academy
Last March, Leila Hill was recognized for being selected as a gold key winner at the state level for her drawing “The Heart of a Papa.”
On June 9, 2022, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Ceremony was held at Carnegie Hall in New York. National Gold Medal winners were invited to the awards ceremony with guest speakers and highlight reels of each winner's artwork and writing samples. During the ceremony, the Art gold medal winners were recognized as a group.
Lelia is such a talented artist who in 2021, won the Congressional Art Award for Senator Rick Allen. Leila’s awarded piece was featured in Congressman Allen’s office in Washington DC for a year. Leila has also submitted a portfolio for the 100th anniversary of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)/Scholastic Art competition in hopes of winning another gold medal and a scholarship to SCAD.
Georgia Cheerleading Coaches Association Cheerleader of the Year
Caroline Hilley - Lakeside High
Coaches nominate their outstanding senior athletes, who then go through an application process, which is scored on the student’s academic achievements, community service, school activities, and passion for the sport of cheerleading.
From the application, the top 30 athletes are selected for their division. Caroline Hilley was one of 30 selected from regions 5A- 7A. She and other selected athletes in each division went on to compete in both an interview and performance competition. The pool was narrowed down to the top 16 athletes in each division, who were named to the GCCA All-State Team and received a scholarship. The overall highest score in each division is named the GCCA Cheerleader of the Year for their respective division.
Caroline was the overall winner for regions 5A-7A.
Georgia Department of Education Title I Distinguished School
Martinez Elementary has been named a 2021-2022 Title I Distinguished School.
This designation recognizes the highest-performing Title I schools in Georgia, and Martinez Elementary is one of only 71 schools to earn the recognition this year.
The Distinguished Schools designation recognizes Title I schools that ranked in the top five percent based on combined English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Achievement Rate scores from FY2021 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) Content Mastery data. While a full CCRPI report was not available in 2021 due to data limitations resulting from the pandemic and an associated federal waiver, Content Mastery data was available since students took state assessments in 2021.
Schools must be Title I to be eligible for the Distinguished School designation and must not currently be identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) or Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI).
Georgia Council Teachers of Mathematics Award Winners
Teacher of Excellence in Secondary Mathematics
Stefanie Frey, Greenbrier High
This award is given to a teacher who is a member of GCTM; has taught mathematics at least three years in Georgia; has strong content foundation in mathematics appropriate for their teaching level; shows evidence of growth in teaching of mathematics, and shows evidence of professional involvement in Georgia Council Teacher Mathematics and National Counsel Teacher Mathematics, and who has not received the Excellence in Teaching Mathematics award the past five years. Congratulations, Ms. Frey.
Dwight Love Award
Taylor Thompson, Evans High
4-H Presidents - Blue Ridge Elementary
November 8, 2022
State School Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council
Georgia Association of Middle School Principals Awards
Two Columbia County School District school leaders were recently recognized for their leadership and service by the Georgia Association of Middle School Principals (GAMSP). GAMSP is the organization of and state voice for middle grades school principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders in Georgia.
Dr. Holly Barnes received The Jerry Davis Georgia Distinguished Principal Award from the GAMSP in recognition of her outstanding leadership and service to middle school students. The award was established in 2011 to honor outstanding middle school principals in Georgia.
4-H Presidents - Riverside Elementary
Thanks to our 4-H Presidents from Riverside Elementary for leading the Pledge at the Board of Education meeting. Great job, student leaders!
October 11, 2022
The Augusta Chronicle Cyber City's Best Public School Winner 2022
North Columbia Elementary
Exemplary High Performing National Blue Ribbon School 2022
North Columbia Elementary
GHSA Cooperative Spirit Sportsmanship Award 2021-2022
4-H Presidents - Martinez Elementary
August 9, 2022