Special Recognitions » 2023-2024


Georgia High School Association Class 5A Girls Golf State Champions
Greenbrier High

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Head Coach: Casey Heckathorn
Assistant Coach: Daniel Jordan 
Team members: Anna Wicklum, *Manuela Pacheco Gonzalez, *Zion Young, *Madilyn “Madi” Link, *Kristin McNeal, Reagan Henderson, *Avery Simpson, Adyson Lukich, *Benton Vineyard


After winning the GHSA 5A Area 1 Championship by a whopping 53 strokes, the Lady Pack faced a much stiffer field at the GHSA 5A State Championship at Fields Ferry in Calhoun, Georgia.


Greenbrier held a narrow one-shot lead over Northview High School after 18 holes. On day two, after falling behind by 9 strokes on the front nine, the Greenbrier girls rallied to not just erase the 9-stroke deficit, but pull ahead and win by 10 strokes for the Greenbrier Girls first-ever State Championship in girls golf.


Greenbrier also had two individuals earn GHSGCA All-State Honors: Freshman, Adyson Lukich, and Sophomore, Reagan Henderson.


Congratulations, Girls Golf Team players and coaches! 

(Due to the recognition scheduled during the summer months when school is not in session, some team members were unable to attend.)


Thanks to members of the Greenbrier High NJROTC for leading the Pledge

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Georgia High School Association Class 6 A Boys Golf State Championship
Lakeside High

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Former head coach Brad Powers
Coach Justin Crawford

Lakeside High School senior Barrett Loftis helped lead the school's boys golf team to remarkable success this season. His exceptional talent and competitiveness were instrumental in securing tournament championships at both the Blue Devil Shootout and the Taylor Made Adidas tournament.

In addition, Barrett played a pivotal role in leading the team to a 6A Area championship. This remarkable accomplishment demonstrates his ability to perform under pressure and contribute to the collective success of his team.

Barrett was also awarded the prestigious honor of individual runner-up.

Congratulations, Barrett! 



Thanks to members of the Greenbrier High NJROTC for leading the Pledge

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Columbia County 4-H Northeast District Representative
Board of Directors
Jack Wurst - Harlem High

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Jack is a junior at Harlem High School. He traveled with Columbia County 4-H to the State Congress in Atlanta this past July 2023, competing in the Dairy Foods project and Leadership in Action. He was one of the two-state winners of Leadership in Action and received a $500 grant to continue his work creating cake kits for local food banks. After having served as Vice-President on both the Junior and Senior Board of Directors Jack was also elected to the 4-H State Board of Directors as the Northeast District Representative for 2023-2024, and was installed for his term during State Congress. Jack has also earned a trip to the National 4-H Conference held in Washington, DC, on April 19-24, 2024.

Congratulations, Jack, for this accomplishment!



Georgia Department of Education Literacy Leaders Award

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North Columbia, North Harlem, River Ridge and Stevens Creek Elementary Schools were a few of only 155 from across the state to earn the title of Georgia Department of Education Georgia Literacy Leader. The award aims to recognize outstanding achievement and growth in student proficiency in literacy on the Georgia Milestones Assessments. Qualifications were determined using the Georgia Milestones Reading Status indicator, which is based on the Lexile score associated with students' performance on a subset of questions on the ELA assessment.




Georgia High School Association Student-Athlete Advisory Council Member for 2023-2024

Rikki Carver - Lakeside High

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The GHSA Student Advisory Council is made up of 20 Georgia student-athletes. Rikki was nominated by athletic director Derrick Myers because of her intelligence and work ethic. Her application was submitted last spring and scored by a panel based on answers to five questions. Rikki was selected as the representative for Georgia 6A. The council’s focus this year is to improve sportsmanship in schools and acknowledge good acts from student-athletes and coaches. Congratulations, Rikki! 



National Beta Club National Convention Winners

The National Beta Club National Convention is the nation’s largest independent, non-profit, educational youth organization in America with over 445,000 active members and more than 9,600 clubs both nationally and internationally. Students from the Lakeside Middle Beta Club recently participated and placed among the top 10 in the nation. 

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Advisor: Emily Gainey
6th place in Engineering
Om Doshi, Averie Lutz, Tyler Malloy, and Erich Anne Sadang

5th place in Quilling Art
Om Doshi

The National Beta Club National Convention is one of the highest honors a member of Beta Club can participate in. These students successfully designed and built a working freestanding model of an elevator and elevator shaft out of a prescribed list of materials and fitting in a small container. With only 45 minutes to complete the task, and with no part of the project being preassembled, this was no small task. Each member of the team then co-presented their project to the judges.  At the National Convention, the Lakeside Middle team competed against 54 middle school teams from across the United States and placed 6th. Students spent countless hours from October to June, even during the summer months, developing their skills in design, testing, redesigning, practicing, and competing. 

Team member Om Doshi also created an art piece using the technique of paper quilling. He used the Beta Club Convention theme “The Power of Beta” to influence his artwork by creating a picture of both a dragon and a dog out of curled paper which represented how everything has the power of something bigger inside them. Om qualified to compete at the National Convention by placing in the top 5 at the National Beta Club Georgia State Convention. At the National Convention, Om competed against 32 other paper-quilling art pieces from middle schools across the United States and placed 5th.

Congratulations, students and Ms. Gainey! 


Evans High School Class of 1983 Alumni Donation 

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The Evans High School Class of 1983 held their 40th class reunion in August, 2023. The Class of 1983 planning committee collected donations from members to host the event. Remaining funds after the reunion were donated by the class to the Columbia County School District Foundation. Members of the class' planning committee presented the donation to the Board of Education.

 Members include: Tammy Shepherd, Doug Hemingway, Jan Wiggins, Jeff Dowdle, Alice Padgett, Phil Lee, Judy McLure, and Millie Kolinski (not pictured)

Thank you, alumni! 


North Columbia Elementary 4-H Presidents

Thanks to these student leaders for leading the pledge.

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Columbia County School District Teacher of the Year Top Five Finalists

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Pictured from left: Cassandra Rodriguez - Evans High; Crystal McDowell - Greenbrier High; Brook Andrews - Stallings Island Middle; Allison Dixon - Greenbrier Elementary; Jennifer Roper - River Ridge Elementary; Dr. Steve Flynt, Superintendent. 

This year’s finalists are as follows:

  • Brook Andrews – Stallings Island Middle School
  • Allison Dixon – Greenbrier Elementary School
  • Crystal McDowell – Greenbrier High School
  • Cassandra Rodriguez – Evans High School
  • Jennifer Roper – River Ridge Elementary School


The 2023-2024 Teachers of the Year are selected in the spring of the previous school year by peers from their respective schools. The method for selecting the Teachers of the Year is comprised of a rigorous process that includes internal and external judges. The finalists will undergo additional evaluations culminating in the selection of the Columbia County School District Teacher of the Year.

The finalists will be recognized by the Columbia County Board of Education on September 12, 2023.  The Columbia County School District Teacher of the Year will be announced at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet. The winner selected as the Columbia County School District Teacher of the Year will go on to represent the district at the state level.  

For bios of the top five finalists and all school-level Teachers of the Year, click here.  

Cedar Ridge Elementary - 4-H Presidents 

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Student leaders from Cedar Ridge Elementary led the Pledge of Allegiance during the Board Meeting. Great job, student leaders! 

Georgia Department of Education 2023 Distinguished Title I and Reward Schools

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Euchee Creek Elementary was named a Title 1 Distinguished School, led by Principal Katy Yeargain.
Martinez Elementary School was named a Title 1 Distinguished school as well as a Reward School, led by Principal Angela Young.

Each year, the Georgia Department of Education recognizes Title 1 Distinguished schools for being the highest-performing Title I schools in Georgia, while the Reward Schools designation recognizes Title I schools making the most significant improvements.
Distinguished Schools are among the highest-performing 5% of Title I Schools statewide and Title I Targeted Assistance schools based on the combined ELA and math content mastery scores from the statewide assessments of the most recent year.
Martinez Elementary was also named a 2023 Title I Reward School.  Reward Schools are among the greatest-improving 5% of Title I Schoolwide and Title I Targeted Assistance schools when comparing the content mastery scores from the most recent two years of statewide assessments.
These two schools are now eligible to apply for the 2023 National Distinguished School award. 

The Georgia Art Education Association
2023 Youth Art Month Award of Merit
from the Council for Art Education and the National Art Education Association

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Ms. Tiffany Weser, art teacher at Columbia County Virtual Academy, and Ms. Gail Peake, art teacher at Lakeside High School, serve as co-chairs for the Georgia Art Education Association. This year, Ms. Weser and Ms. Peake received the Award of Merit from the Council for Art Education and the National Art Education Association. This is a national-level award for their work with the state art educator’s organization, The Georgia Art Education Association, Youth Art Month program (as known as YAM).
Youth Art Month is a nationally recognized celebration for Arts Education that highlights art activities throughout the year with culminating events in March.  The coordinators from each state compile a digital report of data and images from all the events, programs, shows for the school year. This information is collected from art educators from across the state. Last year Ms. Weser and Ms. Peake's report was awarded Special Recognition. Their report for 2023 Youth Art Month has been selected for an Award of Merit. This is the third-highest award given by the CFAE and NAEA for Youth Art Month.
Award winners will be honored at the National Art Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota in April 2024. Congratulations, and thanks to these outstanding educators for all that you do for art education in the CCSD!


Martinez Elementary 4-H Presidents

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Thanks to 4-H Presidents from Martinez Elementary for leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the board meeting.

Georgia Department of Education Student Advisory Council Representative
Ally Xu - Lakeside High

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Each year, State School Superintendent Richard Woods selects Georgia students to serve on the Student Advisory Council. Congratulations, to Ally Xu, a junior at Lakeside High, for being one of only 69 students selected from across the state, for being selected to serve on the council for the 2023-2024 school year.
Throughout the year, Ally and fellow students will meet with Superintendent Woods to provide feedback on the impact of state policies in the classroom. Members of the council will also discuss other education-related issues, serve as the Superintendent’s ambassadors to their respective schools, and participate in service projects to benefit schools and students. 

This year, students selected for the Council wrote essays addressing a wide variety of issues in education, including curriculum and graduation requirements; the impact of federal- and state-mandated assessments in the classroom; the importance of teacher recruitment and retention efforts to students’ classroom experience; and access to opportunities and resources for students in rural areas. Congratulations, Ally! 

Georgia High School Association State Esports Coach of the Year
Brad Williams - Harlem High

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Brad Williams started the Harlem High School Esports program in the Fall of 2020 and has enjoyed consistent success, with at least one team reaching the state playoffs in five out of the six seasons in the program's short history.
Harlem High Esports has fielded teams in a variety of games over the last three years, changing each season to adapt to student interests. Coach Williams is also a founding member of the GHSA Esports Advisory Council, the PHNX Gaming Foundation, and is responsible for the implementation of an esports-specific coaching clinic that is updated every season.
Congratulations, Mr. Williams!

Columbia County School District Foundation
Board of Trustees

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The Columbia County School District Foundation was formed last spring to support the district’s vision and mission.  Six initial Foundation Trustees have been recruited and have volunteered to dedicate their time and expertise to govern the organization and to help with fundraising and programming efforts.

These six individuals represent a variety of backgrounds and work across many business sectors. All either have graduated from the Columbia County School District and/or have children who have graduated from the district. This is a group of people with many years of combined experience serving in similar capacities for other local organizations and nonprofits.

Trustees include the following:

  • Foundation Chairman - Adam Williams, Partner with The Cleveland Group.
  • Foundation Vice-Chairman Stan Shepherd, Regional Director with AT&T
  • Foundation Secretary - Megan Moye, Chief Marketing Officer with Meybohm
  • Jonathan Samuel, President of GIW Industries
  • Steve Baxter, Vice President of Pollock Company
  • Wendy Perry, Principal with Katalis

Additionally, several non-voting Trustees will help advise the Foundation regarding how to best support the district. 

  • Lee Ann Meyer, Columbia County School District Board of Education representative  
  • Dr. Steve Flynt, Columbia County School District Superintendent
  • Ashley Rice, Columbia County School District Foundation Coordinator, will serve as Executive Director for the Foundation
  • Alex Casado, Chief Financial Officer for the Columbia County School District, will serve as the Treasurer for the Foundation.

Thank you to our Trustees for the time and energy you have already spent and will spend, helping to support and grow the Foundation! For more information about the Foundation, or to make a tax-deductible donation, click here.


4-H Presidents lead the Pledge of Allegiance 

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Thanks to the 4-H Presidents from Brookwood Elementary for leading the Pledge at the Board of Education meeting. 

November 14, 2023
Columbia County Board of Education Special Recognitions

Columbia County Exchange Club 2023 First Responder of the Year Award

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The Exchange Club of Columbia County recognized CCSD School Police Officer Carrie Wokutch as the Columbia County Exchange Club's “First Responder of the Year."

She was selected by the Exchange Club organization from hundreds of officers who serve the Columbia County community in Harlem, Grovetown, Columbia County Sheriff's Office, and Columbia County School District Police.

 Nominations were selected for exemplary performance of duty, heroism, or other distinguished service.  

Congratulations, Officer Wokutch! 

4-H Student Presidents lead the Pledge of Allegiance

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Thanks to the 4-H Presidents from Riverside Elementary for leading the Pledge at the Board of Education meeting. Great job, student leaders! 

December 14, 2023


Macy’s Great American Marching Band Honoree & 
Saluting America's Band Directors Marching Band Honoree

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Rutledge Boykin, (pictured left), Assistant Band Director at Greenbrier High School, and Jordan Evans, a Junior in the Greenbrier High School Band, were each selected through an application and review process to participate in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  

In addition to serving as the Assistant Band Director, Mr. Boykin is an alumnus of Greenbrier High School. He performed as a Tenor Saxophone player with the “Saluting America’s Band Directors Marching Band.”  Mr. Boykin was one of 450 band directors featured, and one of 14 teachers from Georgia.  This group also performed a memorial concert at Ground Zero.

Jordan Evans was one of 8 Sousaphone players in a band of 250 students.  He had to complete both a marching and music audition to be selected to the group. This musical group was named “Macy’s Great American Marching Band.”  Jordan is an All-State tuba player and also Vice President of Tri-M Music Honors Society at Greenbrier High School. Mr. Boykin serves as Chapter Advisor of Tri-M. 

Congratulations, Mr. Boykin and Jordan and thanks for representing CCSD!


Science Grant Recipient Award Winner
Crystal McDowell - Greenbrier High

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Crystal McDowell teaches AP Biology at Greenbrier High, and is our current Columbia County School District Teacher of the Year.

Over the past few years, Mrs. McDowell has applied for and received several grants and awards to support science education. Her influence on science extends beyond the classroom.

Voya Financial has awarded Ms. McDowell one of the $2,000 Voya Unsung Hero Awards for “STEMify the Life Science Classroom.”  This grant will fund the purchase of Force Sensors, Reflex Hammer Accessories for the Force Sensors, Goniometers, all of which will be used in Human Anatomy and Physiology so students can collect and analyze data using technology. 

In addition to the Voya award, Mrs. McDowell has been awarded grants from the Toshiba America Foundation totaling over $23,000 in the past 2 years to be used for “Developing STEM Literacy and Applied Science through Biotechnology,” as well as “The Da Vinci Project: Innovation Inspired by Nature and Inheritance.”
From Savannah River Nuclear Labs, she received a grant for $5,000 for “The Da Vinci Project: STEM Innovation and Career Development through Biotechnology.”
From GaDOE she received a grant for $3,000 for “Digging Deeper with Data.”
Lastly, Mrs. McDowell’s third science case study has been published and she hopes to use it with the Georgia Cancer Center in training teachers in the CSRA this summer.  She also hopes to teach other educators how to write their own case studies and help them find useful ones to access. 

This year she was one of three finalists for the NSTA Shell National Science Teacher Award and she is a Georgia finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. 

Congratulations, Ms. McDowell, on these outstanding accomplishments! 



Baker Place Elementary 4-H Presidents

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Thanks to these 4-H Presidents from Baker Place Elementary for leading the Pledge at the Board of Education meeting. Great job, student leaders! 



January 9, 2024

Georgia Junior Beta Club
State Competition Winners

Blue Ridge Elementary, Stevens Creek Elementary, and Lakeside Middle

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Beta Club is an academic service club that emphasizes academic leadership and community service. To be considered for membership, students must be working at or above grade level, demonstrate excellent academic success, and have a good moral character. Traditionally, students are awarded membership based on their grades (GPA), or test scores and character traits. These students participated in the state competitions in Savannah on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2023.

Blue Ridge Elementary
2nd Place
Campaign Skit event

Advisors: Mendy Grant and Laura Walker
Team members include:

                      • Anika Batra
                      • Patrick Kenny
                      • Deeba Latifi
                      • Harper Lovett
                      • McKenzie Manning
                      • Emma Palmer
                      • Reign Townsend

Stevens Creek Elementary
2nd Place for Living Literature 
3rd Place for Creative Writing
Advisor: Patricia Dekle

                      • Barrett Pankow


Lakeside Middle
3rd Place - Robotics
3rd Place - Engineering
Advisor: Emily Gainey

Robotics team members include:
                      • Valynsia Calhoun
                      • Emma Cox
                      • Arya Doshi
                      • Peter Kenny
                      • Zavi Voigt
                      • Vash Whaley

Engineering team members include:

                      • Adain Cox
                      • Logan Cox
                      • Arya Doshi 
                      • Isabelle Pendley
                      • Zavi Voigt
In individual events:
                      • Grace Williams - 2nd place - Recyclable Art
                      • Emery Smitherman - 3rd place - On-site Drawing
                      • Madeline Smith - was selected for the National Jr. Beta Performance Dance Team 


GHSA Girls Flag Football State Champions
Greenbrier High

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The Greenbrier High Girls Flag Football Division II Team defeated Lithia Springs High School to earn the GHSA State Championship in mid-December at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The team started the season with a loss against Southeast Bulloch, who is the top-ranked team in the country. They went on to win the next 18 games in a row. They had to play tough teams from Evans, Lakeside, and Grovetown multiple times, as well as many difficult non-region opponents. The offense was dominant throughout the season, scoring 469 points, led by Quarterback Kenzie Horton (Area Player of the Year), Aaliyah Silver (All Area, Atlanta Falcons Player of the Week), Presley McDermott (All Area), and Maggie Pangle (All Area). However, in the playoffs it was their defense that helped seal the deal, never allowing more than one point in any game. The pack's defense was led by Linebacker Sophie Campanaro (All Area) and rushers Alisha Mikell (State All Star) and Ari Boone. Ari was also a dominant force as a punter, averaging 40 yards per punt.  In the state championship game, Maggie Pangle gave a heroic performance, coming back from injury to make the game-winning touchdown catch. The season ended with the team not only winning a State Championship in the largest Division of 91 teams but also being nationally ranked No. 2 by Max Preps. 

Congratulations, Greenbrier High Girls Flag Football Team for your Division II State Championship!

Greenbrier High Girls Flag Football Team members:

                    • Ana Laura Altamirano-Boone
                    • Arianna Altamirano-Boone
                    • Darcy Bridwell
                    • Sophie Campanaro
                    • Bailey Chauvin 
                    • Maziah Driskell
                    • Kenzie Horton
                    • Finley Jones
                    • Abby Lester
                    • Greer Massey
                    • Presley McDermott
                    • Carrington Meyers
                    • Alisha Mikell
                    • Sarah Newland
                    • Maggie Pangle
                    • Mamie Cate Pangle
                    • Jai Sheffield
                    • Aaliyah Silver
                    • Avery Simpson
                    • Hailey Valentino.


                    • Daniel Jordan
                    • Wes Marshall
                    • Jamie Smith
                    • Ali Collins

2023-2024 Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council Member
Julie Savina

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CCSD parent Mrs. Julie Savina is one of 31 parents from across the state selected to serve as a member of the Georgia Department of Education Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council.

Parents are nominated by their school district at the beginning of each year and are selected for participation on the state Parent Advisory Council based on their capacity to lead, current levels of involvement in their child's school, and responses to application questions.

As a council member, Mrs. Savina will meet several 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 learned, serving as advisors and ambassadors in their respective communities.    

Mrs. Savina has four children who attend Grovetown Elementary, Middle, and High. She enjoys volunteering with the schools, helping in the library, and any other behind-the-scenes assistance for teachers as needed. She has a background in teaching so she brings her experience to this state task force.

Congratulations, Mrs. Savina for being selected for the second time as a member of this very important council for a second year. We are grateful for your support of public education in Georgia and Columbia County.


Euchee Creek Elementary 4-H President

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Thanks to our 4-H Presidents from Euchee Creek Elementary for leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the Board Meeting.


January 23, 2024 Special Recognitions


Georgia Thespian Honor Society Chapter State Officer
Grovetown High

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State Officer - Anthony LoBianco
Advisor - Dan McGill

The International Thespian Society (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. It is a visible, positive symbol of the quality of your theatre program. ITS recognizes, rewards, and encourages student achievement and celebrates the work of students in all aspects of theatre – performance and production. Each student is honored on a national level and gains access to opportunities and resources beyond those of their school. 

The Georgia Chapter of Thespians selected Anthony LoBianco as one of only eight State Thespian Officers within Georgia.  He joins the rank of an elite group of theatre leaders within our state who will represent the entire Chapter to the State Board, and will provide leadership to the annual state Thespian events, including the annual Thespian Conference at Columbus State University, where more than 6,500 theatre students from around our state gather to learn their craft from the very best professionals in the industry.  We congratulate Anthony for being the first Grovetown High Thespian to ever be elected to this prestigious position.


CSRA Environmental Science Education Cooperative Competition
Greenbrier Middle and Stallings Island Middle

The CSRA Environmental Science Education Cooperative is comprised of federal, state, and private governmental agencies, businesses, and non-profits that are committed to environmental education.  These member organizations volunteer their time and resources for outreach programs, teacher education efforts, and on-site education programs to further their mission. 

Each year, they host the Eco-Meet, an environmental science competition for middle school students in the CSRA.  This year’s competition was held at the Ruth Patrick Science Center in Aiken.  Students spent the day meeting, answering questions, and completing tasks as a team in order to earn points. Congratulations, to student teams from both Greenbrier Middle and Stallings Island Middle for placing among the top three in their respective categories.

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Greenbrier Middle

3rd Place
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hydropower Station Competition
Elizabeth Carter
Pancho Mancera
Nephi Phillips
Isabelle Jones
Advisor: Allison Williams and Olivia Silvey

The Corps of Engineers' station focused on hydropower and its role in the environment. In particular, students were expected to understand the benefits and the basic function and operation of a hydropower plant. Students were expected to study the benefits and components of hydropower as well as the effects of dams and hydropower on water quality, aquatic life, terrestrial habitats, and fish migration.


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Stallings Island Middle
Advisors for both teams: Brook Andrews and Kimberly Wahus

1st Place, Eco-meet overall winner
Keira Green
Srishti Gotam
Doug Andrews
Jonas Mondi

3rd Place, Eco-meet overall winner
Audrey Wang
Bela Karia
Sara Karia
Anunya Madhavaraman

The eco-meet competition consisted of six different testing stations. Each testing station had an environmental study packet and sample questions available for teams to utilize before the competition. Students spent time after school studying and preparing for each station’s unique tests and performance tasks.


South Columbia Elementary 4-H Presidents

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Thanks to the 4-H Presidents from South Columbia Elementary for leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the board meeting. Great job, student leaders! 

February 13, 2024 Special Recognitions 


CyberPatriot State Championship Winners
Greenbrier Middle School and Greenbrier High School

CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air and Space Forces Association to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future. ​At the core of the program is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, the nation's largest cyber defense competition that puts high school and middle school students in charge of securing virtual networks.
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Greenbrier Middle School
Teacher Advisor: Loradonna Schultz
Team mentors: Hank Dow and Jeffrey Fleming

First Place Team Members:
Brendan Fleming
Tristan Garrison
Jordan Jeter
Nolan Mennis
James Youmans
Advisor: Loradonna

Second Place Team Members:
Jackson Cluney
Kyan Fleming 
Cade Mitchell 
Carter Stone
Cayden Wamsley

This is the sixth year in a row that a team from Greenbrier Middle has placed first in the state competition. Ms. Shultz has been the Greenbrier Middle School CyberPatriot teacher advisor since the club's induction. 


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Greenbrier High School
Teacher Advisor: Ty Abero

Gold Tier First Place in State
Michael Agnello
Chloe Bell 
Joshua Marksmeier
Jason Nistler
Peyton Phillips 
Gabriel Sanders-Punke-Bendt

Platinum Tier Second Place in State
Liam Fedak
Leland Green 
Bryant Hodge 
Max Jaremski
Elisa Owens 
Dagen Shehorn

Congratulations, Greenbrier CyberPatriot Teams!



Georgia Forensics Coaches Association Speech and Debate State Champion
Kenzie Houk - Grovetown High School

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Kenzie Houk is the new state champion for the 2nd Year Public Forum debate. She is a senior and the Vice President of the Grovetown High Speech and Debate Team. Public Forum debate is a team-based event wherein two students debate against two other students from another school over a resolution that is either supported or denied based on a coin flip during a round. The tournament involves five rounds and students earn “speaker points” on how well they debate in those rounds.Across the state, approximately 30 students from 23 schools competed in this event, and the Grovetown High School Public Forum team collectively researched and crafted the debate cases. A total of seven students represented Grovetown High School, the Columbia County School District, and the CSRA. Their debate coaches are Brett Carter and Mark Epps.Congratulations, Kenzie and the Grovetown High School Debate Team.



Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA)
District Music Educator of the Year
Wendy Baggott - Evans Middle School

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Georgia Music Educators Association was founded in 1938 and has been actively involved in public and private schools, colleges and universities since that time. GMEA sponsors conferences and professional growth opportunities. They host choral and band events for all age levels, including performance evaluations.  The association is divided into 14 districts, each of which sponsors its own events also. Congratulations, Mrs. Baggott, on being selected as Music Educator of the Year for our state district.  


Evans Elementary 4-H Presidents

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Thanks to 4-H Presidents from Evans Elementary for leading the Pledge at the Board of Education Meeting. Great job, student leaders.

February 27, 2024 Special Recognitions 


Columbia County School District Aspiring Principals Academy Completors 2023-2024

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In 2019, the Columbia County School District (CCSD) established the Leadership Development Program to recruit, employ, develop, and retain quality leaders in the CCSD. This cohort recently completed its year-long program that provides an opportunity to apply what they have learned to real-world scenarios, as they learn the knowledge and tools they need to be an effective leader in a school. The group works collaboratively to analyze various situations, apply lessons learned throughout the course, and problem-solve. Scenarios included conducting school improvement plans, analyzing school data, and incorporating leadership standards while facilitating school activities that are designed to maximize student achievement and success.

The academy culminated last month with this cohort successfully presenting their final project to members of our Executive Cabinet.

Congratulations to each of these school leaders and thank you for your dedication to the students, staff and families of the CCSD.  

2023- 2024 Aspiring Principals Academy Cohort 

Travis Azar
Dr. Carey Anne Cushman 
Dr. Jeremy Davis
Dr. Leslie Dial
Nichole Lewis
Michael Jones
Sharard Pritchett
Sean Prouty
Valery Reed
Deborah Rogers
Blake Stitcher


4-H Presidents Lead the Pledge

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Special thanks to 4-H Presidents from Greenbrier Elementary School and Parkway Elementary School for leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the board meeting. Great job, student leaders. 

March 12, 2024, Special Recognitions


Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA)
All-State Band and Orchestra

Being named to the GMEA All-State Band is one of the highest honors a band student can receive in middle and high school. To qualify for All-State Band, students must successfully complete two auditions. In the first audition, they must perform a lyrical etude from a required list, play an 8-12 measure excerpt after sight-reading it for only 60 seconds, and perform four or more major scales and a chromatic scale. Those who score high enough in the first audition, go on to the 2nd Round All-State audition where they must perform their lyrical etude and a technical etude. Next, they must perform a sight-reading excerpt that demonstrates both lyrical and technical abilities. Students who score highest in the 2nd Round audition are selected for the GMEA All-State Band. Across the state, only about 400 band members out of approximately 7000 are selected for the All-State Band. The band students audition for the All-State Band, but the students who earn the highest scores in the state are placed into the more selective All-State Orchestra.

Evans Middle School

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Sophia Ann Martin 
Band Director - Karena Washington


Stallings Island Middle School

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Selina Huang
Band Director: Tayler Norwood


Greenbrier High School

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Kevin Berry  
Kenneth Comette
Jordan Evans  
Rigel Kotas 
Eli Ly 
Mason Pounds  
Mason Rubano 
Noah Torabi  - All-State Orchestra 
Band Director: Dr. Brian Toney
Assistant Band Director - Rutledge Boykin


Grovetown High School

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Sebastian Blizzard
Matthew McKinney
Band Director: Steve Whitaker


Harlem High School

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Palmer Bloodworth 
Band Director: Curtis Carver


Lakeside High School

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Luke Baker 
Peyton Geigle
Nathan Oester
Steven Pang 
Dawson Pope  
Rand Sayno
Xinyu Su
Haichen Zhou
Cole Eichenberger - All-State Orchestra
Band Directors: Jared Best and Jonathan Witmer


Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) All-State Chorus

The GMEA All-State Chorus is one of the highest musical honors a choral student can receive in middle and high school. To qualify, students must successfully complete two auditions. In the first audition, they have to perform a solo from a required list, sight-sing three examples of four measures each, two in a major key and one in a minor key, and sing three different scales. Those chosen from the first audition must learn the music they will perform on the all-state weekend.  At the second audition, they sing 12-16 measures of each selection but do not know which measures they will be tested on until they walk into the audition room. Across the state, approximately 1,200 singers out of 7,000 are selected to sing in three different choirs. 

Columbia Middle School

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Abigail Alwine
Addison Colson
Joy Dyer
Amyah George
Sadie Pressley
Stephanie Russell
Myla Searcy
Chorus Director: Kennedy Smith


Greenbrier Middle School

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Bella Heritage 
Chorus Director: Jason Bailey


Grovetown Middle School

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Braylen Ferguson  
Chorus Director: Victoria Alvarez


Riverside Middle School

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Kevin Jiang
Ashley Swiss 
Chorus Director: Erin Dibling


Stallings Island Middle School

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Aaron Francis
Paige Geigle
Vivienne Kim
Shayne Lowe
Chorus Director: Rebekkah Crose


Grovetown High School

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Deanthony Clarke
Willy Powell Jr 
Chorus Director: Brandon Ball


Lakeside High School

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Kashvi Boga
Violet Herrmann  
Sunny  Huo
Benjamin Teboe  
Charles Terry 
Chorus Director: Maggie Christine


Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Music Technology Showcase Winner
Shelby Eshman - Columbia Virtual Academy
(Student unable to attend, so her teacher, Ms. Mary Angel Cleary, accepted the recognition on her behalf.)

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The Music Technology Showcase selection is the highest state-level award a student of music technology can win. Only 10-12 students from Georgia are chosen to have their music featured at this live GMEA-sponsored showcase. To qualify for selection, a student must average in the top 10% of scores among applicants currently enrolled in music technology. Students create an original or derivative song using music editing software and submit it for adjudication by a diverse panel of college and industry professionals. This year, one of the judges was a Grammy Award Winner. Selectees are honored at a presentation at the GMEA Conference where their music is played for professional producers and a live audience at Tweed Recording Studio. Shelby's song, Neon Serenade, was selected for the 2023 Showcase in the category of derivative work.


Grovetown Elementary School 4-H Presidents

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Thanks to 4-H presidents from Grovetown Elementary School for leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the Board of Education meeting. Great job, student leaders! 

March 26, 2024, Special Recognitions


GHSA State Literary Competition winners

GHSA Literary is a Fine Arts and Academic competition. Students compete in categories like literary interpretation, essay writing, extemporaneous speaking, and music. Each of these students had to win first place at the regional level to advance to the state level.

Grovetown High School

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Head Coach: Rebecca Todd
Assistant Coach: Brandon Ball 

Emily Soares - State Champion 
Extemporaneous Speaking 

Musical Trio Performance - 3rd Place 
Emma Anderson 
Molly Henke
Noa Rote

Lakeside High School

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Head Coach: Grace Bellmer

Assistant Coaches: Vicki Horne and Maggie Christine

Riya Makan - State Champion 
Literary Analysis Competition 

Jack Shaffer - State Runner-Up
Humorous Literary Interpretation

Anne Hensley Young - State Runner-Up
Personal Essay

Musical Quartet Performance - Third Place
Matthew Basila
August Bauer
Lucas Bruggeling
Benjamin Teboe

The Lakeside High School Literary team was also declared the 6A State Runner-Up, finishing only one point behind the State Champions.  

Team Members:
Riya Makan 
Jack Shaffer 
Anne Hensley Young 
Matthew Basila
August Bauer
Lucas Bruggeling
Benjamin Teboe



GHSA State Boys Swim Championship

Evans High School

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To be eligible to compete in the Georgia High School Association’s state swim meet, Ben had to meet the qualifying standard time for each event. He qualified in the 200 Yard Individual Medley and the 100 Yard Backstroke. To advance to the final round, Ben had to place in the top 20. At the end of the preliminary round, Ben was 4th in the 200 Individual Medley and 5th in the 100 Backstroke. At finals, Ben placed 4th in the 200 Individual Medley and was 2nd place in the state in the 100 Backstroke with a time of 51.22 seconds.  

Benjamin Hill
2nd place
100-Yard Backstroke
Head Swim Coach: Benjamin Prescott
Assistant Swim Coach: Whitney McTier


GHSA State Boys Traditional Wrestling Championship

Greenbrier High School

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To qualify in the Georgia High School Association’s individual wrestling meets, wrestlers had to place in the top four in the region to advance to sectionals.  Sebastian placed 1st in the Boys 5A Region 1 which moved him on to sectionals where the top six wrestlers from each weight class would advance to the traditional state tournament to compete in a twelve person bracket.  Sebastian placed 1st in the GHSA Class 5A Section A at the 150 lbs weight class, which moved him into the top 12 in the state, qualifying him for the state tournament and the championship finals.  Through his dedication and persistence, Sebastian represented Greenbrier High School and Columbia County with confidence and determination. By placing in the state championship again this year,  Sebastian is the only Wolfpack Men’s wrestler to end his high school career as a 3-time state placer.  

Sebastian Melendez
2nd place
150 lb Weight Class Division  

Head Coach: Tyrone Abero
Assistant Coaches: Aaron Epstein and Derek Pollard


GHSA State Girls Wrestling Championship

Greenbrier High School

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This team of wrestlers began their journey to the Georgia High School Association’s state championship by competing in the Girls Area 1 Duals where they were the defending champs.  In order to qualify for state, teams had to place in the top two in their region.  They met that challenge to punch their ticket to the State Duals and become back-to-back region champions.  After defeating several opponents in opening rounds, they advanced to the State Championship finals against the defending champions, Carrollton High School. The ladies fought hard, but unfortunately lost a tough match to Carrollton.  Although they experienced a tough finals match, they displayed great perseverance and rallied together throughout the tournament.  This group of young women was more than just a group of individuals, they were a collective spirit, bonded by a shared goal and genuine camaraderie, and represented both Greenbrier High and Columbia County well at the highest level of state competition.  The ladies finished the GHSA’s state tournament with a 2nd place finish, which is one place higher than the previous year when they finished third.

Head Coach: Donell Bradley

Assistant Coaches: Tyrone Abero, Aaron Epstein, and Derek Pollard

Team Members:
Danyah Ahmed 
Arieana Bacon
Kynsley Buckland
Jansen Drumgoole 
Journey Drumgoole 
Jordan Epstein
Larissa Hitchcox
Kaylynn Hottenrott
Esperanza Huitron
Gabrielle Jefferson
Maria Kimball \
Ryan Lewis\
Liz Martinez
Josie McQuillan 
Phoebe Melvin
Mya Pilger 
Jalaia Ross
Emma Seiter
Abigail Sekajipo
Stella Stancoven
Jade Stephens 

Arieana Bacon
1st Place
155 lbs Weight Class Division


Jordan Epstein
3rd Place
100 lbs Weight Class Division

Individual award winners Arieana Bacon and Jordan Epstein had to place in the top four in the region to advance to sectionals where the top six wrestlers from each weight class advanced to compete in a twelve person bracket.  Arieana and Jordan placed 1st and 2nd at sectionals in their respective weight classes, which moved them into the top 12 in the state, qualifying them for the state tournament.  Jordan and Arieana both represented Greenbrier High School and Columbia County with poise, grit, and determination.  


Grovetown High School

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Shaniyah McDaniel 
2nd Place 
115 lbs Weight Class Division

Head Coach: Bruce Zuehlke

Assistant Coach:  Everette McDaniel


Shaniyah is a sophomore at Grovetown High School. She finished the season with a record of 33-3. Shaniyah finished second in Georgia High School Association’s 115 pound division this year. She also led the girl’s program at Grovetown High to their first two Championships in tournaments. She was a State qualifier last year and she is expected to compete for a State Championship again next year. Her coaches say her leadership on the team is outstanding and will be a key to their success over the next two years. 


Savannah College of Art and Design Award Winners

Columbia Virtual Academy

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Savannah College of Art and Design gives three Scholastic Art and Writing awards at the state level.  They are the Gold Key, the Silver Key, and Honorable Mention. These awards have inspired bold ideas in creative teens throughout the county since 1923. The competition is so fierce that your odds of winning are about one in 20.  

When I call your name, please come forward. Family members here to support these students, please stand and be recognized.

Iris Holberton
Silver Key
Library Sculpture

Graysen McClary
Honorable Mention
Digital Drawing

Aunalisa Hedrick
Honorable Mention for two
Digital Drawings

Tiffany Weser


North Harlem Elementary 4-H Presidents 

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Special thanks to our 4-H Presidents from North Harlem Elementary School for leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the Board of Education meeting. Great job, student leaders.