Hollis Innovation Academy Students Build and Race Their Own Miniature Cars at ‘Nerdy Derby’ Event


Brother and Sister at Nerdy DerbyStudents and families from the Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy recently had a blast building and racing their own personalized, miniature race cars, all thanks to the fun-filled “Nerdy Derby.” The daylong event is twist on the Pinewood Derby, where all rules are thrown out and the focus is on rewarding creativity, cleverness and ingenuity.

Held Saturday, March 18, at Hollis, Nerdy Derby brought together 100 students, families and members of the school community. Fourth and fifth graders in the Hollis Hackers Club used their creativity to make their own cars and build a 31-foot long track. The event was sponsored in collaboration with the Atlanta Science Festival, Decatur Makers, and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing.

“It was a great success getting the community involved with our STEM initiatives,” Hollis principal Dr. Diamond Jack said. “It was fun to have everyone make cars and compete in the race.”

Boys at Nerdy Derby

March 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

APS High Schools’ Robotics Teams Win Big

FIRST Robotics Teams

March has proven to be a winning month for Atlanta Public Schools’ FIRST Robotics teams. Earlier this month, Carver, Grady, Jackson, North Atlanta, and Washington High Schools all competed in qualifying tournaments across Georgia. FIRST is designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields. There are currently 6,000 teams competing around the world.

Here are the highlights:

  • Carver’s Team Clutch was chosen to join the third seeded alliance and ended the tournament as Quarterfinalists at the Columbus qualifier
  • Washington’s Atomic-Robotic-Dogs were chosen to join the second seeded alliance and ended the tournament as Finalists after being narrowly defeated by the fourth seed at the Columbus qualifier.
  • Grady’s G3 Robotics were the Winners of the Gainesville qualifier on March 4-5. At the Columbus, Georgia, tournament, G3 captained the fifth-seeded alliance and ended the tournament as Quarterfinalists.
  • Grady’s G3 Robotics were also honored with three major awards:
  • Industrial Design Award, which celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addresses the game challenge.
  • Entrepreneurship Award celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit by recognizing a team that has developed the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage and achieve team objectives. G3’s business operations team won the award by developing a comprehensive business plan; writing a series of essays about their team’s goals, organization and partnership; and by communicating these ideas effectively to judges in one-on-one interviews in the pits at the event.
  • Chairman’s Award – the most prestigious award in FIRST Robotics – honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. G3 won this award based upon the team’s passion and accomplishments around team goals: robots for all; building awesome robots; drones for good; and developing a STEM pipeline.

Grady will now move on to play in the Peachtree State Championship at the University of Georgia, April 6-8. Washington and Carver may also qualify, as final determination of qualifying events are held next weekend. Jackson High School will play next weekend in Albany in hopes of qualifying for the state championship.





March 27, 2017 at 4:24 pm Leave a comment

State Superintendent Richard Woods Visits Cascade Elementary for National Agriculture Literacy Day

State Super Woods at Cascade ES (National Ag Lit Day 2017)

State Superintendent Richard Woods selected Cascade Elementary to read to students for National Agricultural Literacy Day on March 23, 2017.

State Superintendent Richard Woods read to third- and fifth-grade students at Cascade Elementary School Thursday, to celebrate National Agricultural Literacy Day.

The annual observance was launched in 1973. It is designed to promote a better understanding of how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced; highlight the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy; illustrate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable product; and showcase various career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries.

Cascade ES gardenCascade is one of the many Atlanta Public Schools with a community garden that features various plants, flowers and foods.


March 23, 2017 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

APS Wins Four Awards at Moot Court Competition

Moot Court Competition - 2017

Atlanta Public Schools moot court teams won four awards at the Seventh Annual Young Litigators Moot Court Competition, held recently at the Fulton County Government Center.

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) students made an impressive showing at the Seventh Annual Young Litigators Moot Court competition, held last week at the Fulton County Government Center.

Moot Court is a mock Supreme Court hearing where teams work with attorneys and write a brief based on a current issue. The teams pose as lawyers and defend their brief in front of panel of distinguished judges. The 2017 issue dealt with the Fourth Amendment and a law enforcement officer allegedly using excessive force to subdue a fleeing individual.

APS teams from Martin Luther King and Crawford Long Middle School competed in the middle school category, while teams from South Atlanta, Drew Charter and Therrell High School competed in the high school category. APS schools came away with four awards:

— Middle School, Best Brief – M.L. King
— Middle School, Overall Team – M.L. King
— Middle School, Best Oral Argument – Zeruiah Wilson, Long
— High School, Best Oral Argument – Alvin Winston, Drew Charter

The seven-member panel of judges included famed attorney Benjamin L. Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin. Attorney Crump, of ParksCrump Attorneys at Law, specializes in personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice cases. Students presented Crump with the Young Litigators Social Justice Award following the competition.

The other panelists were Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Judge Johnny Mason; Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney; Fulton County Associate Juvenile Court Judge Renata Turner; Attorney Cora Graves of Gwinnett County Public Schools; Attorney Chantel Mullen Chief Executive Officer of Mullen and Associate, LLC and Mullen Law; and Attorney Adam Sutton of the Cordell and Cordell Law Firm.

If you would like additional information on moot court, or would like to start a team at your school and have it involved in the 2018 competition, send an email to soul.stice@ymail.com or visit www.soulsticeinc.com.


Middle School Teams

Martin Luther King
Kameron Clark and Miles Jackson
Principal: Paul Brown
Sponsor: Shekela Edwards
Attorney Advisor: Christopher Cottrell
Assistant: Nyomi Haynes

Crawford Long
Tony Philips, Jartavious Wallace, Shaluan Fox and Zeruiah Wilson
Principal: Lisa Hill
Sponsor: Kiwi Cody
Attorney Advisor: Amanda Jones

High School Teams

Charles Drew Charter
Alvin Winston, Naima Cooper, Naomi Ray, Brooke Turpeau and India Girualt
Principal: Peter McKnight
Sponsor: Jennifer Ulbrich

South Atlanta
Alexander Render, Miesha Young and Carla Franklin
Principal: Dr. Patricia Ford
Sponsor: Tom Dunn
Attorney Advisor: Lakeesh Dent
Assistant: Destinee Holt

Treasure Ransom
Principal: Shelly Powell
Sponsor: Anthony Jackson
Attorney Advisor: Terrell Dark

March 22, 2017 at 4:24 pm Leave a comment

Mays Girls, South Atlanta Boys Honored by Atlanta City Council

Mays girls, South Atlanta boys honored at City Hall (3-20-17)

The Mays girls and South Atlanta boys basketball teams were honored with proclamations by the Atlanta City Council for winning state championships.

The Mays girls and South Atlanta boys basketball teams, winners of state championship titles this season, were honored at Atlanta City Hall on Monday by the Atlanta City Council and City Council President Ceasar Mitchell.

The Mays girls became the Georgia High Schools Association (GHSA) Class AAAAAA champs by way of a hard-fought 52-21 win over Harrison (Cobb County), back on March 9. It was the second state championship for the program, which won the Class AAAA title in 2003. The Raiders began the season with a record of 5-7, but rallied to a final record of 22-9, under the leadership of head coach Chantay Frost.

The South Atlanta boys won the GHSA Class AA championship after dismantling Swainsboro (Emanuel County) 68-33, on March 11. The Hornets finished with a record of 29-1 and were the No. 1 team in the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Class AA Top 10 poll from the beginning of the season until the end. South Atlanta’s boys last won a state championship in 2009 (Class AAA).

The wins were sweet redemption for both programs. This year’s seniors on Mays’ team were sophomores when the Raiders lost the Class AAAAA championship game to Stephenson (DeKalb County). South Atlanta advanced to the semifinals last season, but lost to eventual champion Morgan County.

To view a mini-documentary on both championship teams, click here.

Mays 2016-17 Roster: Seniors Brandi Heard, Kamiyah Street, Kendall Pack and Sierra Loving; juniors Denea Evan, Demeesha Wallace and Meesha Wallace; and sophomores Kyra McWhorter, Jade Bell, Chardae Bell and Natoria Hill. The team is coached by Chantay Frost.

South Atlanta 2016-17 Roster: Seniors Frank Bailey, Acey Brown, Antonio Gay, Freeman Jordan, Devonta Pullins, Demontay Roberts and Tyler Thornton; juniors Dondre Barnes and Jalen Stegall; and freshman Ja’Quavian Florence. The team is coached by Michael Reddick.



March 21, 2017 at 9:15 am Leave a comment

Are You Smarter Than a Fourth Grader? Mary Lin Elementary’s Charles Heydt Advances to the National Geographic State Bee


Mary Lin fourth grader Charles Heydt is headed to the National Geographic State Bee Championship on Friday, March 31. Photo courtesy of Colin Heydt

“Volcanic in origin, the Canary Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean and administered by what country?”

“The easternmost point on the Horn of Africa is part of which country?”

“Archaeologists have begun excavating an ancient lost city in the region of Mosquitia in which country north of Nicaragua?”

If you guessed Spain, Somalia, and Honduras, perhaps you are ready to compete against the fourth graders at Mary Lin Elementary. After in-class tests to narrow down the field, 10 finalists met on stage to compete in the inaugural Mary Lin geography bee.

By knowing that “Liberia” was the answer to “The Vai script is a unique indigenous writing system found in Sierra Leone and what country to its southeast?”, fourth grader Charles Heydt became Mary Lin’s first geography champion after a tense round of tiebreakers. Charles prepared for the bee “by reading geography textbooks and memorizing countries, capitals, and other information like GDP.”

Charles went on to become the only fourth grader in Georgia to qualify for the National Geographic state bee, which will be held on Friday, March 31, at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.

Students in grades 4-8 from over 10,000 schools nationwide compete in annual geography bees. School winners take qualifying tests in order to advance to the state bees. The 50 state champions go on to compete in the national championship, with the chance to win a $50,000 scholarship. The National Geographic Society administers the program, which began in 1989.

Parent Kate Sandhaus worked with the school’s administration and fourth-grade teachers Charisse Barnes-Ferraro, Nancy Bates, and Clay Barnhart to bring the geography bee to Mary Lin. “Knowing places on a map is important, but geography covers so much more: climate, land forms, economies, political systems, human cultures, current events, and more,” Sandhaus said. “Geography brings a map to life and helps you understand the world.”

“We are so proud of Charles and all of the other students who made it into the school wide geography bee,” said Mary Lin principal Sharyn Briscoe. “They say the world is getting smaller and we have access to so many places due to technology and internet access. It is our hope that we can inspire our students to learn as much as they can about the world, learn respect for our differences, and learn to take care of it. The Geo Bee is a great step in this direction!”

March 17, 2017 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

APS Claims Three State Championships in Basketball

South Atlanta Boys Basketball - 2017 State Champs Class AA

South Atlanta won the 2017 Georgia High Schools Association basketball state championship with a 68-33 win over Swainsboro, last Saturday at McCamish Pavilion on the campus of Georgia Tech.

You get a state title, and you get a state title and you get a state title!

It rained state championships in Atlanta Public Schools (APS) this basketball season as the district was the only school system in the state to have two separate schools win a title on the varsity level and one junior varsity title as well.

Atlanta Wolfpack - 2017 Wheelchair JV State Champs

The Atlanta Wolfpack won the 2017 Adaptive Sports Junior Varsity state championship last week.

The Atlanta Wolfpack, the APS wheelchair basketball team, defeated the Houston County Sharks, 40-22, to win the junior varsity wheelchair basketball state championship on March 4, at Hull Middle School in Duluth (Gwinnett County). The Sharks had defeated the Wolfpack in previous meetings between the two teams, but the APS squad – made up of players from Carver, Douglass, and South Atlanta High School, as well as Long Middle School and Perkerson Elementary School – would not be denied this year.

Mays Girls Championship_2017

The Mays girls won the GHSA Class AAAAAA state championship, last Thursday at Stegeman Coliseum on the campus of UGA in Athens.

Five days later on March 9, the Mays girls defeated Harrison (Cobb County), 52-51, to win the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Class AAAAAA basketball state championship at Stegeman Coliseum on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens. The Raiders were led, as they were throughout the season, by senior guard Kamiyah Street, who scored 26 points. She made four-of-six free throws in the game’s final minute to help seal the win against the Hoyas, who kept the game close all night.

Then on March 11, the South Atlanta boys led from start to finish and put an emphatic exclamation point on its season with a 68-33 win over Swainsboro (Emanuel County) in the Class AA state title game. The Hornets led by 14 points at halftime and never looked back. South Atlanta was led in scoring by Devonta Pullins with 20 points and Jalen Stegall added 15. The Hornets sealed the deal this season after coming up a bit short previously. They lost to Morgan County in the state semifinals last season and again to Morgan County in the 2015 quarterfinals. But this year, South Atlanta closed the deal in style.

Congrats to our three state champions in basketball!

Atlanta Wolfpack: Ja’Kobe Pearson, a freshman at Douglass; Willie Jackson, a senior at Carver; Ouyona Underwood, a junior at South Atlanta; Jarvis Wallace, a sophomore at South Atlanta; Jartavious Wallace, a sixth grader at Long Middle School and Jakamron Wilkerson, a fifth grader at Perkerson Elementary School. The team is coached by Jimmy Roberts, kindergarten paraprofessional at Perkerson.

Mays: Seniors Brandi Heard, Kamiyah Street, Kendall Pack and Sierra Loving; juniors Denea Evan, Demeesha Wallace and Meesha Wallace; and sophomores Kyra McWhorter, Jade Bell, Chardae Bell and Natoria Hill. The team is coached by Chantay Frost.

South Atlanta: Seniors Frank Bailey, Acey Brown, Antonio Gay, Freeman Jordan, Devonta Pullins, Demontay Roberts and Tyler Thornton; juniors Dondre Barnes and Jalen Stegall; and freshman Ja’Quavian Florence. The team is coached by Michael Reddick.



March 16, 2017 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

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