Two APS Cadets Awarded National Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Award

By: Alicia Sands Lurry

Two Atlanta Public Schools 6th Brigade JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) cadets are recipients of the national Legion Of Valor Bronze Cross Award by the Department of the U.S. Army.

Cadet Major Lauren Bailey, a senior at  Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, and senior Cadet Lt. Col. Zachary Flash of North Atlanta High School, are the 2016 recipients of the national award. Bailey and Flash are the only recipients among more than 20,000 cadets in Georgia – and two of only 29 – recognized in the United States. Established in 1951, the Bronze Cross for Achievement rewards cadets from the Reserve Officers Training Corps who demonstrate excellence in military, scholastic and civic affairs.

“Atlanta Public Schools’ JROTC program is continuing its long lineage of Legion Of Valor winners,” said retired Lt. Col Robert Rooker, director of Army Instruction and Leadership Army JROTC for APS. “We are extremely proud of these students and their extraordinary leadership and scholastic achievement.”

With all A’s and a 94 percent academic average since the beginning of her high school career, Bailey is currently slated to become salutatorian of her 2017 graduating class. In addition to her numerous academic achievements and role as the Battalion executive officer, Bailey is a proven academic leader. She is a member of the Color Guard; Honor Guard and the CSKYWLA drill team; National Honor Society; Beta Club; and also served as a JROTC Battalion Major. In addition, she was selected as the 2015-2016 Superintendent’s Young Ambassador, and received the JROTC Merit honor. As a junior, she received the Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. scholarship.

Flash’s academic accolades are just as impressive. With ambitions to become an emergency medicine physician or special operations officer, Flash boasts a 97 percent academic average, and his extracurricular activities include: Mu Alpha Theta; Men of Excellence; No Place for Hate; Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy; National Society of High School Scholars Ambassador; member of the North Atlanta High School football team; rifle team captain; Color Guard and Honor Guard; Fit to Fight Krav Maga training; drill team; lifeguard; and swim instructor and manager. He has also participated in the Army JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl team; Georgia Boys state representative; U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar; and U.S. Military Academy at West Point Summer Leaders Experience.

The Bronze Cross for Achievement honor is awarded to one senior cadet per district who meets the following criteria: a Marine Corps JROTC class standing in the top 25 percent of their class; school academic class standing in the top 25 percent; and the most demonstrated exemplary military leadership.


September 13, 2016 at 10:11 am Leave a comment

Atlanta Public Schools Student Has a Magical Moment

By: Donovan M. Harris

“Dear Little Bear, there are no words in the English lexicon to describe just who “Little Bear” is. You bring your sunshine to everyone you meet, and we are better for it. I am better for it. You love and give yourself even when you have nothing to give.”  These are the words penned by Autumn Murray’s mother, Ekuwa, who affectionately calls her daughter “Little Bear.” Autumn is a seventh-grade student at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School.

Autumn was selected to be a part of Bert’s Big Adventure. The nonprofit organization provides an all-expenses-paid, five-day journey to Walt Disney World® for children with chronic and terminal illnesses, along with their families. The organization was founded by Bert Weiss, radio host of “The Bert Show”.

At the age of 12, Autumn was diagnosed with stage III lymphoblastic lymphoma. According to the American Cancer Society, stage III lymphoblastic lymphoma is also known as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system. When doctors first checked the lump in Autumn’s chest, they told her it was a natural growth. A month later, it became a bone infection. Two days later, doctors diagnosed her with the chronic disease.

At home resting after a chemotherapy treatment, Autumn and her mom were given the surprise of a lifetime. Greeted by a parade of Disney princesses, they opened the door and were soon told they had been selected to attend Bert’s Big Adventure’s annual trip to Walt Disney World.

During Bert’s send-off broadcast, Autumn’s mom, Ekuwa, was once again surprised. Employees of Audi Atlanta raised $14,000 to purchase a reliable car to assist Ekuwa with transporting Autumn to her doctor’s appointments. After returning from the Bert’s Big Adventure trip, Audi Atlanta surprised Ekuwa again by adding her to the Audi Atlanta team.


Ekuwa (Left) and Autumn (Right) pictured with Audi Atlanta team. (Photo courtesy of 2016 Issue of Bert’s Big Adventure)

In response to all of these great surprises, Ekuwa states, “I don’t know how I can repay them all, but I will sure try with copious amounts of baked goods!”

Story Courtesy of: Author David Crawford and Bert’s Big Adventure Magical Moments Magazine 2016


September 13, 2016 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It): KAC Off to Best Start in Program History


KIPP Atlanta Collegiate is off to its best start in program history at 3-1, after Friday’s 42-14 win over Osborne of Cobb County.

KIPP Atlanta Collegiate became the first Atlanta Public School to earn its third win of the season as the Warriors dominated Osborne of Cobb County, 42-14, Friday night.

KAC (3-1) scored on its first play from scrimmage – a 74-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Octavious Arnold to Mario Cruz – and eventually built a 22-0 lead before halftime. Arnold, a junior, led the way for the Warriors 309 yards passing and two touchdowns, both to Cruz, who finished the game with three catches for 128 yards. Geronda Hall scored on a 68-yard run, Quienton Arnold, Octavious’ brother, had a 48-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and Otis Odum had a touchdown and led KAC in rushing with 97 yards.

The Warriors’ 3-1 start is the best in the brief history of the football program, now in its third varsity season under the leadership of head coach Lester Caldwell.

Here’s how the other APS teams faired over the weekend:

Mays 47, Langston Hughes (Fulton County) 28
The Raiders (2-1) opened their Class AAAAAA-Region 5 schedule with a win over the Panthers. It is the second consecutive victory for Mays, which has scored at least 30 points in every game this season.

B.E.S.T. Academy 34, Douglass 31
The Eagles (1-3) picked up their first win of the season while Douglass fell to 1-2. B.E.S.T. has won all three matchups with the Astros.

South Atlanta 57, Clarkston (DeKalb County) 0
The Hornets (1-3) earned their first win under the leadership of new head coach Brad Stephens and his staff. It was South Atlanta’s first shutout victory since a 56-0 win over Towers (DeKalb County) on Sept. 8, 2012.

Washington 25, Lithia Springs (Douglas County) 21
The Bulldogs (1-2) took advantage of four turnovers and went on to defeat the Lions for their first win of the season. Desean Powell had a 3-yard touchdown run and Michael Soloman returned a blocked punt 17 yards for another score.

Maynard Jackson 16, North Clayton (Clayton County) 6
The Jaguars (1-2) picked up their first win of the season in a hard-fought defensive struggle. Hassan Hall had a 4-yard touchdown run and quarterback Dwayne Holton threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Roderick Hammond to help secure the victory.

Dunwoody (DeKalb County) 14, North Atlanta 10
The Warriors (1-2) fell to 1-9 all-time against the Wildcats.

Ware County 35, Grady 21
The Knights (2-1), ranked No. 10 in the Atlanta Journal Constitution/Georgia High School Football Daily Class AAAAA Top 10 poll, lost for the first time this season to the team ranked No. 7. Senior quarterback Caylin Newton put forth a valiant effort in the loss, completing 21-of-34 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns. Also, Jacquez Sloan caught four passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Therrell 49, McNair (DeKalb County) 22
The Panthers evened their record at 2-2. It was Therrell’s highest point total in nearly 10 years. The Panthers defeated then-Southside (now Maynard Jackson), 52-20, back on Nov. 7, 1997. Also, junior Juwon Reid has been nominated for the Recruit Georgia Highlight of the Week award for his 35-yard interception return for a touchdown in the game. Visit to vote for Juwon.


September 12, 2016 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

TwinSports TV Brings Strong Anti-Bullying Message to Gideons Elementary Students


Twin sisters Regina and Renita Deloatch of TwinSportsTV brought their “Stop the Bullying”School Tour to Gideons Elementary School.

Twin sisters Regina and Renita Deloatch know all too well how bullying can impact the life of a young person. Their cousin, who was bullied as a child and throughout her school-age years, eventually committed suicide when the tormenting became too much for her to bear.

That personal tragedy has inspired the Virginia natives to create a 90-minute, interactive, high-energy presentation they call their “Stop the Bullying” School Tour. It has made stops in more than 150 schools nationwide since 2012. Recently, the more than 300 students at Gideons Elementary School took in the show.

“It ties in to all of our character building initiatives like Social Emotional Learning and ‘No Place for Hate,’ which we are implementing with fidelity here at Gideons,” said counselor Dr. Clara Matthews, who invited the Deloatch twins to Gideons. “This is something our kids needed to see, messages they needed to hear.”

The show promotes positive concepts like self-love, self-worth, respect and kindness while also stressing the importance of education. It uses hip-hop beats and lyrics and features real-life dramatizations to grab and hold the attention of students.

“We know how bullying can alter the course of a life,” Renita Deloatch said. “We want to touch the kids who are being bullied, but we also want to touch the kids who are doing the bullying so they can realize what they are doing is wrong. Our message is educational, but we want it to be fun and engaging as well.”

After the performance at Gideons, the twins and their other show participants were swarmed by students, wanting autographs, pictures and advice.

“Our goal is for all the kids we meet to become better people and be nicer to each other,” Regina Deloatch said. “We want them to realize their full potential and go on to graduate from college. If our message can reach just one child, and help that child keep from being bullied or make that child stop bullying other kids, we could have saved a life. And that’s our goal. We don’t want to lecture. We want to uplift.”


September 8, 2016 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

L.P. Miles, Dobbs Elementary School Launch School-Based Community Health Centers




Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held this week at L.P. Miles Elementary (top) and Dobbs Elementary for new school-based health centers that will be housed at each school.

On a recent visit to L.P. Miles Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen complained about an earache. But the physician on duty at the school’s new school health center diagnosed and treated the problem and in no time she was feeling much better.

Thanks to the generosity of Emory University, Healing Community Centers and Southside Medical Center, ailing students and adults in the Miles and Dobbs Elementary School communities – some with earaches like Dr. Carstarphen – will not have to travel far for health services.


The school health center at Miles Elementary was established through a partnership with Healing Community Centers.

An “oasis” in the middle of a desert.  That’s the sentiment now that two school-based community health centers are open for business in southeast Atlanta (Dobbs) and southwest Atlanta (Miles). Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held Wednesday for the state-of-the-art facilities, located on the campuses of both schools. The centers provide a “health care oasis” in these communities.  Each will offer physical health,dental health and emotional/behavioral health services with a licensed physician, dentist and behavioral specialist on staff throughout the day. The health care centers will be in operation Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“This will help improve our attendance because now our students can get the health services they need right here,” said Miles Principal Thalise Perry. “We can nip those illnesses in the bud. The wrap around services this health center will provide are what our school and this community needs.”


Southside Medical Center serves as the principal partner to Dobbs Elementary School for its school health center.

Dobbs Principal Dr. Charnita West agreed. “Now our students and the members of this community have a place to go where they can get quality health services, and our school staff members can use the health centers as well,” West said. “This will help our student attendance and our staff attendance as well. This community needed a facility like this and I am so grateful that our school was chosen to house it.”


September 8, 2016 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

Volunteers Provide Free Backpacks and School Supplies to Slater Elementary Students

Loews Giveaway_Slater Students

Assistant Principal Dr. Jeffrey Copeland and a group of Slater Elementary fifth graders are all smiles following a backpack and school supply giveaway sponsored by Loew’s Hotel.

During a special assembly last week, employee volunteers from an Atlanta hotel surprised 300 third, fourth, and fifth graders at Thomas Heathe Slater Elementary School when they passed out brand new backpacks filled with school supplies.

The school assembly featured representatives from Slater’s long-time corporate sponsor, Loew’s Hotel, who donated to the school as part of its community-focused “Good Neighbor” program. Representatives learned about Slater’s needs on the website, and decided to make a difference.

Loews Hotel_Backpack 2

Principal Eunice Payne (Front row, first from left), Dr. Copeland, and students pose with Loew’s Hotel employee volunteers following the backpack giveaway.

Shirley Pendergrass, a technology paraprofessional at Slater, said she appreciates Loew’s support of the school.

“They called to see if there was a need for a sponsor at our school,” Pendergrass said. “When Loew’s called, [Assistant Principal] Dr. Copeland was actually looking for some chairs for the main office. And just like that, a relationship was birthed. Loews has been giving 110 percent from that first encounter.”

Pendergrass also noted that in 2015, Loew’s employees donated several community service hours reading to students. In addition, several of their chefs volunteered and mentored students during lunch, while others held “treat-a-trunk” in October, and hosted a staff holiday party and end-of-the-year retirement celebration.

“And to top it all off, Loew’s has donated over $20,000 to our teachers through,” Pendergrass added. “We are truly grateful for their support.”

Loews Hotel_Backpack Giveaway

Loew’s Hotel General Manager Mark Castriota (front center) is surrounded by Slater Elementary staff and employees from Loew’s Hotel, all of whom stuffed 300 backpacks filled with school supplies for students.




September 7, 2016 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It): Mays Erases 22-Point Deficit, Stuns Peachtree Ridge

B.J. Phillips (Mays football)

Mays senior quarterback B.J. Phillips led the Raiders to a 36-31 win at Peachtree Ridge on Friday. Mays trailed at one point 28-6.

The Mays Raiders mounted a furious comeback in enemy territory and shocked one of the top teams in Gwinnett County, Friday night.

Led by senior quarterback B.J. Phillips, the Raiders trailed at one point 28-6, but rallied for a 36-31 win at Peachtree Ridge in Suwanee. Phillips threw four touchdown passes – two to Amir Adur Rahman and one each to Norman Price and Kortez Daniel – and completed 22-of-36 passes for a total of 225 yards.

Midway through the fourth quarter Mays (1-1) trailed 31-21, but the defense stepped up and sacked the Peachtree Ridge quarterback in his own end zone for a safety to make the score 31-23. The Raiders took possession and Phillips threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Daniel to trim the Lions’ lead to 31-29, after Mays’ point after attempt failed. However, the Raider defense rose to the occasion again, and forced Peachtree Ridge to punt the ball back to Mays with a little under two minutes left in the game. Then, with just 13 seconds remaining, Raider running back Armis Stokes scored the winning touchdown from the 1-yard line.

“It shows how much character these guys have,” Mays interim head coach Niketa Battle told the Gwinnett Daily Post after the game. “We hadn’t been playing well on defense and we needed a spark in the second half to get us going.”

Here’s how the other APS teams faired over the weekend:

North Atlanta (1-1) evened its record this season with a 13-10 win over KIPP Atlanta Collegiate (1-1), Thursday night at Grady Stadium.

Douglass 35, South Atlanta 7
The Astros evened their record this season at 1-1, and evened the all-time series record against the Hornets (0-3) at 2-2.

The Lovett School 34, B.E.S.T. Academy 6
The Eagles (0-3) dropped their third consecutive game this season against a tough private school program.

Alexander (Douglas County) 31, Carver 26

The Panthers (2-1) comeback bid was thwarted with less than a minute left in the game on an interception by the Alexander defense.

East Coweta 49, Maynard Jackson 7
The Jaguars (0-2) held East Coweta to just 7 points in the second half but could not mount a comeback.

Salem 28, Therrell 20
The Panthers (1-2) lead early but could not hold on against the Seminoles.

September 6, 2016 at 5:49 pm Leave a comment

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