Not in My School: CSKYWLA Students Take a Stand Against Bullying


“Not in My School” (NIMS) Ambassadors at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy are pictured with Melissa White, founder of “Writing Our Wrongs,” during a NIMS assembly in recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month.

By: Alicia Sands Lurry

Not in my school. Not on my watch.

Students at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy are taking a stand to combat the devastating impact of bullying with kind words, gestures and good deeds.

Earlier this week, Not In My School (NIMS) student ambassadors hosted a special assembly as part of “NIMS Week” to recognize National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. The event featured a special guest speaker and spoken word and creative dance performances, and helped kick off a bevy of activities designed to highlight bullying awareness.

Led by Melissa D. White, motivational speaker and founder of the nonprofit organization “Writing Our Wrongs,” dozens of CSK students were encouraged to use their voice to impact change in their community through writing and speech. During the assembly, White discussed “Are You M.A.D. Enough to Make a Decision?” and shared the importance of bullying prevention, social justice, and the need for young women to take a stand for others. Students also received pledge cards urging them to take a stand against bullying and prejudice.

In addition to hosting the assembly, NIMS ambassadors decorated their school in blue and wore their T-shirts designed by fellow NIMS Ambassador Faith Russell. They also distributed ribbons and encouraged teachers to decorate classroom doors promoting bullying awareness. As part of this week’s culminating activities, students will display banners and posters throughout the school and pass out treats and gift bags attached with kind notes.


Left to right: CSKYWLA principal Eulonda Washington; NIMS ambassador Faith Russell; “Writing Our Wrongs” founder Melissa White; and CSK school social worker Latanya Farrar.

Junior Jamea Lamar, NIMS assistant commander and first sergeant with JROTC at CSK, hopes the program will impact change in her school. She knows a classmate who is being bullied, and hopes that she’ll find strength and support through the program.

“I want her to get the help she needs and to know we’re all sisters,” Jamea said. “I want her to know that this is a safe place.”

According to, students who are bullied are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. Other effects include health complaints and decreased academic achievement and school participation. These same students also are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

Dr. Mona Venning, JROTC instructor and NIMS co-chair, said NIMS is not only designed to combat and prevent bullying, but to also create a supportive place for students to learn and thrive. Dr. Venning co-chairs the program with school social worker Latanya Farrar.

“We want to help students so they can learn, focus on school, and feel safe in a friendly environment,” Dr. Venning said.

For more information about bullying prevention and awareness, please visit:









October 20, 2016 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

JROTC 2016-17 Superintendent’s Young Ambassadors Honored at Annual Breakfast


The 2016-2017 class of JROTC Superintendent’s Young Ambassadors was honored this week with a breakfast reception in the offices of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLC in Atlantic Station.

Atlanta Public Schools honored students who are among its best and brightest leaders this week, as a new class of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Superintendent’s Young Ambassadors was announced during a breakfast at the offices of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLC in Atlantic Station.

Atlanta Public Schools began the JROTC Superintendent’s Young Ambassadors program three years ago to recognize the best citizens from every APS school with a JROTC program. JROTC Superintendent’s Young Ambassadors are chosen by a variety of factors and must pass a rigorous interview board composed of college, military, and professional panel members.

As part of their duties, they help plan the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Atlanta —  where more than 300 cadets participate – as well as parts of JROTC Summer Camp, and more than 200 participated in last year’s APS Special Olympics.


This year’s ambassadors are:

Melina Alferoff                        Carver High School

Chrisshara D. Barnes               Therrell High School

Yatzari Bartolon                      Douglass High School

Jesus Bibiano-Hernandez         North Atlanta High School

Ketarra L. Billingsley                Douglass High School

Zachary Bracknell                    North Atlanta High School

Samaria R. Campbell               Grady High School

Nykera Dixon                         South Atlanta High School

Ruben Duarte                         North Atlanta High School

Erin D. Golden                        Therrell High School

Eric Hollis                              Washington High School

Victoria A. Hood                     Coretta Scott King High School

Enrico Jones                           Maynard Jackson High School

Shandrea Lockhart                  Therrell High School

Cenia Lopez-Gutierrez             Mays High School

Jasmine May                           Mays High School

Luke A. Pengelly                     Grady High School

Eric Ponder                            South Atlanta High School

DeSean D. Portis                    BEST High School

Jameshia Stafford                   Washington High School

Sade S. Suggs                        Coretta Scott King High School

Adrian Terrell                         Carver High School

Jasmain Tinsley                      Carver High School

Joshua M. Torrance                 BEST High School

Tashe Troutman                      Maynard Jackson High School

Zyon Watkins                         Maynard Jackson High School

Kayla Williams                        Mays High School


October 20, 2016 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

APS Students Celebrate Hispanic and Latino Culture in Grand Style

By:Donovan Harris

¡Viva la cultura! Numerous schools throughout Atlanta Public Schools celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in “grand style” in a variety of creative, fun and innovative ways to commemorate Hispanic and Latino culture.

Hispanic Heritage Month was officially signed into legislation as a nationally-recognized month (celebrated from October 15- September 15) in 2004 to promote the accomplishments of Hispanic Americans.

Twenty two Grady High School students visited Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to attend the airport’s annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. This year’s theme, “Preserving Culture through Leadership,” allowed students to meet prominent Hispanic-American business leaders.


Grady High School students in conversation with Hispanic-American business leaders at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

Parents and students at Hutchinson Elementary celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with their “Taste of Hispanic Heritage” event by bringing in traditional Hispanic dishes such as carne asada, arroz con leche and flautas to share amongst the faculty and staff.

Similarly, Garden Hills Elementary’s parents and students held an “International Dinner” which included music, students and staff members performing traditional Colombian and Mexican dances.

The vibrancy of the rich Hispanic and Latino culture is alive and well in the Atlanta Public Schools. Schools throughout the district continue to celebrate the diversity of the faculty, staff, students and communities that Atlanta Public Schools serves throughout the school year.

October 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm Leave a comment

ICYMI: Douglass, KAC, Mays Victorious at APSDomecoming 2016 North Atlanta, Grady Win APS Cross Country Titles


The Mays Raiders came from behind to knock off Creekside (Fulton County), 19-14, in the finale of the 2016 APS Domecoming Football Classic, Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

Another year, another successful Atlanta Public Schools Domecoming Football Classic.

A total of about 10,000 spectators – and hundreds more who stayed outside to tailgate and socialize with their fellow alums – flocked to the Georgia Dome to see five APS schools in action in the 2016 APS Domecoming Football Classic, sponsored by The Loudermilk Family Foundation. Here’s a recap:

Game 1 – Douglass 20, Therrell 16:  Douglass thrilled its homecoming fans by winning its fourth consecutive game. By doing so, the Astros held on to third place in the Georgia High School Association’s (GHSA) Class AA-Region 6. The top four teams in each region advance to the GHSA state playoffs. The Astros now have an overall record of 5-2, 3-1 in their region, and are poised to make it to the state playoffs for the first time since 2007. Therrell fell to 2-5 overall, 1-3 in the region.

Game 2 – KIPP Atlanta Collegiate (KAC) 28, Washington 7:  The Warriors spoiled homecoming for the Bulldogs. KAC improved its record to 6-1 overall, 3-0 in Class AA-Region 6, tied for first with Hapeville Charter (Fulton County). Like Douglass, KAC has won its last four games in a row. Washington fell to 2-6 overall, 1-5 in region play.

Game 3 – Mays 19, Creekside 14:  In the Domecoming finale, the Raiders sent their alumni home happy. Mays trailed 7-0 in the first quarter and 14-6 at halftime, but stormed back with two touchdowns in the second half to stun Creekside (Fulton County). The Raiders, ranked No. 7 in the Atlanta Journal Constitution/Georgia High School Football Daily Class AAAAA Top 10 poll, improved to 6-1 overall and 5-0 in Class AAAAA-Region 5, where they are tied for first place with Alexander (Douglas County).

In other football games involving APS teams over the weekend:

Hapeville Charter (Fulton County) 23, B.E.S.T. Academy 12

Maynard Jackson 48, Lithia Springs (Douglas County) 20

Centennial (Fulton County) 55, North Atlanta 7

Grady 55, North Springs (Fulton County) 6

Carver 37, Riverwood (Fulton County) 26



Also on Saturday, Ellie Harkin (bottom left) and Jackson Pearce gave North Atlanta two gold-medal winners at the annual APS Cross Country Championships, in Grant Park.

North Atlanta and Grady took home the team titles at the annual APS Cross Country Championships, Saturday in Grant Park. North Atlanta won the boys’ championship, while Grady is the girls’ champion.

Five Grey Knight girls were among the top 10 individual finishers to lead Grady to the championship:  Walden Jones, with a time of 21 minutes, 57 seconds, placed second; Magda Dumitrescu (22:51), third; Emily Schulz (23:03), fourth; Anna Tischer (23:10), sixth and Lindsay Schroeder (23:46), eighth.

North Atlanta sophomore Ellie Hankin won the individual championship in a time of 21:15. The other top 10 individual finishers were Kate Breeden (23:07) of North Atlanta, fifth; Peyton Rodgers (23:45) of Drew Charter Senior Academy, seventh; Sarah Hetzel (23:59) of North Atlanta, ninth and Rebekah Hetzel (23:59) of North Atlanta, 10th.

On the boys’ side, North Atlanta was led by individual champion Jackson Pearce, a senior, who pulled away from the field with a winning time of 17:07, a full minute faster than the second-place finisher – his teammate, Matthew Aspinwall (18:08). The Warriors’ other top 10 finishers were Mac Bloodworth (18:18.45), fourth, and Matthew Self (19:11), eighth.

Others finishing in the top 10 were Aidan Goldston (18:18.43) of Grady, third; Alan Johnson (18:44) of Mays, fifth; Joshua Williams (18:52) of Douglass, sixth; Isaiha Davis (19:01) of Grady, seventh; Montaive Lightner (19:22.40) of Douglass, ninth and Ethan Heyns (19:22.88) of Maynard Jackson, 10th.





October 18, 2016 at 11:25 am Leave a comment

Chloe Robinson Helps Lead Mays Into Domecoming 2016, 12 APS Water Polo Knights Make State All-Star Team


Mays junior Chloe Robinson is the extra point kicking specialist for the Raiders, who will face Creekside in one of three football games featuring five Atlanta Public School teams in the APS Domecoming Football Classic, Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

By the very essence of what they do, football kickers have to become comfortable performing under pressure. For some, it’s too much. But not Mays’ Chloe Robinson.

Not only does she stare down the pressure of being a first-year football player and a female on a team ranked in the top 10 in the state, she carries the name of a legend with her every time she steps on the field. Chloe, a junior, is the great-great-granddaughter of one of the most famous football coaches to ever walk the sidelines – former Grambling State University head football coach Eddie Robinson, one of the winningest coaches in college football history.

In fact, pressure is the reason Chloe is on the team. When the Mays football coaching staff set out to find a consistent place kicker last spring, no one from the boys soccer team stepped up, according to Raider head coach Maliki Battle. So they turned to the girls team.

“We knew her from the track team and knew that she was a good athlete,” Battle said of Chloe, who plays forward on the Raider girls soccer team. “None of the boys wanted to come out, so we asked her and she agreed.”

Senior Mhalik Mack came on board this summer as the football team’s kickoff and long field goal specialist. He plays on the boys soccer team and said the reason many of his teammates turned down the invitation to kick for the football team was due to the pressure.

“They all told me they don’t like the pressure,” Mhalik said. “When you’re out there on the field everybody can see you line up as the kicker. A lot of times the game is on the line. Everybody knows whether you messed up or not.”

Chloe just shrugs it off. “Yeah, I guess there is pressure, but not too much,” she said. “You just have to keep your head down and kick. If you don’t make it, try to make it the next time.”

Chloe, who is the team’s extra-point kick specialist, has made more than her share of kicks this season. She currently ranks in the top five in the region in success rate on extra-point kicks. She is one reason the Raiders are tied for first place in the Georgia High School Association’s (GHSA) Class AAAAAA-Region 6, and ranked No. 7 in the Atlanta Journal Constitution/Georgia High School Football Daily Class AAAAAA Top 10 poll.

Mays is one of five Atlanta Public Schools (APS) teams featured in three games at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, as a part of the APS Domecoming Football Classic, sponsored by The Loudermilk Family Foundation. The Raiders, who have an overall record of 5-1, 4-0 in the region, will take on Creekside (Fulton County), 4-2 overall, 2-2 in the region. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Here are the other APS Domecoming Football Classic games:

(1:30 p.m.) Therrell at Douglass:  Both teams compete in Class AA-Region 6. Douglass is 4-2 overall, 2-1 in the region while Therrell is 3-4 overall, 1-2 in the region. Currently, Douglass holds the fourth and final state playoff spot in the region standings. Therrell is fifth.

(4:30 p.m.) KIPP Atlanta Collegiate (KAC) at Washington: Like Douglass and Therrell, KAC and Washington compete in Class AA-Region 6. KAC is 5-1 overall, 2-0 in the region, tied for first. Washington is 2-5 and 1-2 in the region, tied for fifth with Therrell. KAC, in just its third season of varsity football, has more than doubled its win total from the previous two years. The Warriors finished 1-9 in 2014 and 2015.

In other games involving APS teams (all games are Friday):

Hapeville Charter (Fulton County) (3-3, 2-2 in Class AA-Region 6) at B.E.S.T. Academy (2-5, 2-1), 7:30 p.m., Lakewood Stadium

Lithia Springs (Douglas County) (0-6, 0-3 in Class AAAAA-Region 6) at Maynard Jackson (1-5, 0-3), 5:30 p.m., Grady Stadium

Centennial (Fulton County) (5-2, 4-1 in Class AAAAAA-Region 7) at North Atlanta (1-5, 0-4), 8 p.m., Grady Stadium

Grady (5-1, 3-0 in Class AAAAA-Region 6) at North Springs (Fulton County) (4-2, 2-1), 7:30 p.m., Thermopylae Stadium in Atlanta

Carver (4-2, 2-1 in Class AAAAA-Region 6) at Riverwood (Fulton County) (3-3, 2-1), 7:30 p.m., Bill Hoskyn Stadium in Atlanta



Twelve members of the APS Knights water polo team were chosen to participate in the Georgia High School Water Polo Association (GHSWPA) All-Star games, Saturday at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross. Water polo is a club sport in the state of Georgia.

A dozen members of the APS Knights water polo team were selected to compete in the Georgia High School Water Polo Association’s (GHSWPA) All-Star games, Saturday at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross.

Selected from the Knights’ A-Team, are Colin Forsyth, George Kimbrough, Bo Maiellaro and Ethan Roman.

From the B-Team, Andrew Beamon, Hayes Beamon, Jaime Matherson and Clare Wheeler.

From the girls team, Mo Mobley, Hannah Rakoski, Sam Schaffer and Ripley Smith.

October 14, 2016 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Atlanta Public Schools’ Alexandra Huguelet is Named Georgia School Counselor of the Year

By: Alicia Sands Lurry

huguelet-picAlexandra Huguelet, Ed.S., school counselor at Mary Lin Elementary School, has been named 2016 Georgia School Counselor of the Year (GSCY) by the Georgia School Counselor Association.

Known for her positive attitude, love of children, and commitment to improving school climate and culture, Huguelet was nominated for the award by former colleagues. Her selection was based on essays, a video submission, and data from her previous elementary school showing a 47 percent decrease in student discipline referrals. Through her work as a school counselor, Huguelet serves as an advocate who strives to remove academic, social, and emotional barriers to student success.

The GSCY award honors professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates – and often lifesavers – for the nation’s students. Huguelet will be honored during a special ceremony on Nov. 2 in Macon, Georgia.

“I’m still in shock,” said Huguelet, who joined the Mary Lin school community in August after spending four years at Powder Springs Elementary School in Cobb County. “It is such an honor to be recognized by your peers, and this award shows how effective school counselors can be.”

In her role as school counselor, Huguelet pulls from a variety of curricula and national standards to engage students. She uses methods such as visual arts, drama/role play, yoga, and deep breathing techniques to help students communicate and cope with anxiety, anger, or other challenges they may face.

Huguelet also works with students in large and small groups. She focuses on a wide range of issues from basic school success skills like responsibility, leadership, self-control, bullying prevention, and goal setting, to changing family dynamics and coping and social skills.

“I am really excited to be a part of the APS community,” she said. “School counselors have national standards developed by the American School Counselor Association, which allows me to create a comprehensive school counseling program to meet my students’ needs. This is a new model that APS is embracing for school counselors, and it aligns perfectly with social-emotional learning.”

Huguelet said she’s fortunate to receive the support of parents, teachers and students, and to work in an environment that allows her to address the whole child, based on each student’s particular needs.

“As a school counselor, the most rewarding part is the hugs, smiles and love notes from students,” said Huguelet, who is currently working on her doctorate degree in counseling and student personnel services at the University of Georgia. “Kids are so loving and appreciative, and the feeling you get helping them is indescribable. That’s why it’s so important for me to provide students with a safe place to be heard at school.”

Principal Sharyn Briscoe is proud to welcome Huguelet as Mary Lin’s new school counselor.

“She brings warmth, patience, and a quiet voice to the students,” Briscoe said. “Although she has only been here for a few months, all of the students already know her and trust that she will listen to their concerns. She continues to promote No Place For Hate, has implemented a peer leadership program, and a new counselor advisory board. We won the counselor lottery!”


October 13, 2016 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

North Atlanta High Student’s Film Debuts at White House Film Festival


By: Alicia Sands Lurry

Aspiring filmmaker and North Atlanta High School senior William Thomason recently attended the first-ever South by South Lawn event at the White House, where his three-minute film, “LEGO: Education For Her,” was screened as part of the 2016 White House Student Film Festival. Thomason’s film was one of three selected out of 700 entries.

Held earlier this month in association with the American Film Institute and inspired by South by Southwest, the event celebrates the spirit of innovation and brings together creators, innovators, and organizers to share how they are changing their communities. Students in grades K-12 submitted entries around the theme, “The World I Want to Live In.” Thomason’s film, a charming, stop-motion Lego animation, describes the story of a young woman whose life was changed for the better by Let Girls Learn  —  and the mission of equal access to education for all.

During the event, Thomason, who is an IB film student, met President Barack Obama; Bob Gazzale, president of the American Film Institute; and the cast, creators, and producers of the new Netflix original series, “Stranger Things.”

Thomason’s film was screened prior to the debut of Leonardo DiCaprio’s new documentary and a panel discussion with President Obama.

He described the experience as both surreal and a huge honor.

“Not only was it great to have my film screened in front of film industry professionals, but it was gratifying to see all my hard work pay off,” said Thomason, whose film focuses on the 62 million girls who do not have access to education.

North Atlanta High School IB film teacher Andre Regan couldn’t be more proud. He noted that Thomason is the first NAHS student whose film has been screened at the White House.

“William is probably one of the best film students I’ve had in the past 20 years,” said Regan, who also serves as NAHS athletic director. “Overall, he’s humble and quiet, and a film kid at heart. He is able to watch older movies and translate them with a modern-day mind. William has a great future ahead of him.”

Following graduation, Thomason plans to attend college to study filmmaking in his pursuit to find compelling ways to tell stories. His top choices include the University of Texas at Austin, University of Georgia, Belmont University, and Boston University.





October 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

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