Atlanta Public Schools Display Respect, Gratitude to Our Nation’s Veterans, Military Service Men & Women
Standing over six-feet tall in his U.S. Army dress blues, two-star Major General Leslie C. Smith exudes a presence that demands respect.
However, when the Frederick Douglass High School graduate told the crowd of JROTC cadets and other students that he grew up in a neighborhood around the corner from the school, a place they all know well, the level of respect they had for him went through the roof.
Major Gen. Smith’s visit was just one of a number of special programs and initiatives that took place in Atlanta Public School buildings throughout the district this week in honor of Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11.
“I wanted them to know that they have to opportunity to succeed just like everybody else,” Major Gen. Smith said. He is a member of the graduating class of 1981 at Douglass and paid a visit to his alma mater and to Maynard Jackson High School on Thursday. “I wanted them to know that they should set their goals high because they have a lot of potential, and they should not be afraid to ask for help. There are a lot of people – their principal, their teachers, their JROTC commander, alums like me – a lot of people who care about them and who are proud of them.”
Major Gen. Smith’s school visits culminated a busy week of activities surrounding Veteran’s Day. All week, schools and students displayed their gratitude and respect for the nation’s veterans and its active military service men and women.
To start the week, students at Morris Brandon Elementary School – with help from community partners Healthy Green Schools and West Paces Ferry Dentistry – shipped more than 1,000 pounds of candy they collected on Halloween to military service men and women stationed overseas to show their gratitude. Additionally, the boxes of candy the students sent included letters of encouragement from all 1,050 Morris Brandon students.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, cadets in the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy JROTC helped create 10,000 care packages for a USO initiative called “Operation Care Package,” which took place on the campus of The Coca-Cola Company.
“It feels really good to give back to people who have done so much for us,” said CSK Cadet Sade Suggs, a junior who plans to attend college on an ROTC scholarship and pursue a career in medicine. Seven of her eight sisters serve or have served in the military. “Our veterans deserve this.”
Also on Wednesday, the Mays JROTC drill team performed in the Atlanta Chapter Tuskegee Airmen Second Annual Veterans Day program at the Masonic Lodge in Riverdale.
“I knew about the Tuskegee Airmen,” said Mays Lieutenant Colonel Cadet Emmanuel Patterson, a senior who would like to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. “I know that they are the main reason that the military was desegregated and that they were the greatest fighting group in the history of our military. If it were not for their time, energy and sacrifice, none of us would be where we are today.”
Four APS Football Teams Begin State Playoffs, Three Cheerleading Teams Compete in Sectionals and State Competition
Four Atlanta Public Schools high schools will be featured in the first round of the Georgia High School Association state football playoffs, Friday. All games will begin at 7:30 p.m.
— Benjamin E. Mays (9-1), which finished the regular season ranked fifth in the Atlanta Journal Constitution Class AAAAA Top 10 poll, will host Creekview High School (Cherokee County) at Lakewood Stadium (70 Claire Drive). Last season, Mays advanced to the Class AAAAA finals in the Georgia Dome.
— George Washington Carver (7-3) will travel north to Dalton to face the Dalton Catamounts (Dalton City), the Region 7AAAAA champions.
— Henry Grady (6-4) will travel north to Tunnel Hill to face the Northwest Whitfield Bruins (Whitfield County), the No. 2 seed from Region 7AAAA.
— Maynard Jackson (6-4) will travel south to Eastman, Ga., to take on the undefeated Dodge County Indians (Dodge County), the Region 1AAA champions.
Meanwhile in Columbus, three APS high schools will compete for a state championship in cheerleading this weekend.
— Mays won the Region 6AAAAA championship last week, thus earning a birth in the Georgia High Schools Association State Championship competition, Saturday, Nov.14.
— Frederick Douglass and Jackson placed third and fourth, respectively, in the Region 4AAA competition last week, good enough to earn spots in the GHSA State Sectional competition, Friday, Nov. 13. If the Astros and Jaguars place in the top eight (out of 24 teams) in the sectional, they will advance to the state competition on Saturday.
Donors Choose and Google Surprise Cascade Elementary Special Education Teacher with Tools to Help Students with Special Needs
by Kimberly Willis Green
During a top secret special assembly held November 4, Cascade Elementary School Special Education Teacher Sheakita Turner was surprised by representatives from Google.org, DonorsChoose.org, Cascade Elementary Principal Dr. Sylvia Sanders, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen, and Atlanta Board of Education members Steven D. Lee (District 5) and Eshé P. Collins (District 6) with funds to fully support her Big Comfy Rug project and a $2,500 gift card for other classroom resources.
A few weeks ago, Turner requested support from DonorsChoose.org to provide a comfortable learning space for her students, many of whom are in wheelchairs or are sensory learners. Without a large area rug, her students are unable to leave their wheelchairs to learn and play with others. “The Big Comfy Rug project will help ensure the comfort and success of every student in my class,” said Turner. “I will be able to get on the floor with my students for circle time and sensory play.”
Donors Choose and Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities focuses on empowering America’s Special Education Teachers with innovative tools and technology to help students with special needs. The project is part of Google’s philanthropic efforts to expand opportunity and independence for people living with disabilities, including 6.4 million special education students in the U.S. public education system.
In addition to Ms. Turner’s project, Google.org announced it would be funding all special needs projects posted on Donors Choose in Fulton, DeKalb, Douglas and Cobb counties — totaling more than $145,000 in donations, fulfilling more than 115 teachers’ goals and impacting more than 7,200 students in greater Atlanta.
Every year, America’s teachers spend an average of $490 of their own money to ensure that the kids they teach have all the tools they need. Google.org is focused on celebrating these teachers, helping these teachers and making education accessible for all children.
“Google.org is proud to support DonorsChoose.org’s efforts to celebrate teachers working with special needs students,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google.org, Google’s philanthropic division. “We care deeply about education and the power of innovation to improve people’s lives, and that’s exactly the work in which these teachers are engaged.”
Congratulations Ms. Turner!
Atlanta Public Schools will show its respect and appreciation for the area and the nation’s veterans and military men and women, as several schools and the district’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) will participate in events and activities for Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11.
This week, students at Morris Brandon Elementary School will send 1,092 pounds of candy they collected on Halloween to United States service men and women stationed all over the world.
The school held a contest in which each classroom competed to see which one could bring in the most candy. The winning classes were teachers Laura Hayley and Yolanda Patterson’s kindergarten classes, which each collected 45 pounds of candy. Bailey Anderson’s fifth grade class was just behind them with 43 pounds collected.
Two of Morris Brandon’s community partners – Healthy Green Schools and West Paces Ferry Dentistry – helped coordinate the contest and will handle shipment of the candy to the troops. Also, students wrote letters to the troops and included them in the boxes of candy.
“As an International Baccalaureate school, we stress the importance of being risk takers and world leaders to our students,” said Morris Brandon Assistant Principal Tiffany Momon. “This speaks to how our students take that to heart. They are risking and sacrificing their own happiness of eating their Halloween candy by giving it away for someone else to enjoy, and they are displaying leadership by stepping up to ensure that our troops know that they are appreciated.”
Additionally, on Thursday, Nov. 12, the day after Veteran’s Day is officially observed, two-star United States Major General Leslie Smith, a graduate of Douglass High School (225 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive), will return to his alma mater at 1:30 p.m., to be honored for his distinguished record of service to the nation.
APS students will also participate in the following Veteran’s Day activities include:
— Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 10 and 11 at 11 a.m. Cadets in the Coretta Scott King JROTC unit will provide color guard escorts for a Veteran’s Day program at The Coca-Cola Company Headquarters. Additionally, during both days, they will make candy bags for the USO, also at The Coca-Cola Company Headquarters.
— Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. The Mays High School JROTC unit will participate in the Atlanta Chapter Tuskegee Airmen Second Annual Veterans Day program, taking place in the Grand Ballroom of the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge, located at 7340 Old National Highway in Riverdale.
Dr. Charles Drew is remembered most for his ground-breaking work as a great physician, surgeon and researcher, whose pioneering work in the field of blood plasma preservation has helped save millions of lives over the years. But most people do not know that Dr. Drew was a phenomenal athlete in high school and in college.
Now, students at the Atlanta school named in his honor are following in his footsteps of being high achievers in academics and athletics. Atlanta Public Schools’ Charles Drew Charter High School won its first state championship last Saturday in Carrollton, Ga., as the boys’ cross country team dominated the 13 other schools in the Georgia High School Association Class A Public Schools division.
The Eagles defeated second-place Georgia Military College (Milledgeville) – which had won two of the last three state titles – by 50 points, 42-92, in the cross country scoring system in which a runner is assigned a point total based on the place in which he or she finishes the five kilometer (3.10 miles) course. A team is comprised of seven runners with only the top five finishers on each team earning points (one point for first place, two points for second place, 10 for tenth place, etc.). Thus, the team with the lowest point total wins.
Five of Drew’s seven runners placed in the top 20 of the field of 96: Henry Cox, Jeremiah Furlow, Isaiah DuBose, Joseph Jones, and Roland Blanding. This was only the second year Drew has competed in the championship meet.
It is the first cross country state championship for an APS school since the Crim girls won the Class AA title in 1992, and is the first cross country state championship for an APS boys’ team since North Fulton won the Class AA title in 1979.
Drew’s performance leads the list of outstanding performances by APS fall sports teams:
— Benjamin E. Mays won the Region 6AAAAA championship, earning a birth in the Georgia High Schools Association State Championship competition, Saturday, Nov.14, in Columbus, Ga.
— Frederick Douglass and Maynard Jackson placed third and fourth, respectively, in the Region 4AAA competition, good enough to earn spots in the GHSA State Sectional competition, Friday, Nov. 13, in Columbus, Ga. If the Astros and Jaguars place in the top eight (out of 24 teams) in the sectional, they will advance to the state competition on Saturday.
— Henry Grady had both of its teams place in the top 10 of the Class AAAA division at the GHSA state championship meet. The girls placed fourth and the boys placed seventh.
— The North Atlanta boys placed 11th in the Class AAAAA division at the GHSA state championship meet.
— Jackson had both of its teams place in the top 25 of Class AAA. The boys placed 20th while the girls placed 23rd.
Four APS schools advanced to the state playoffs (all games are 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13, unless otherwise noted):
— Mays finished the regular season 9-1, ranked No. 5 in the Class AAAAA division of the Atlanta Journal Constitution Top 10 poll. The Raiders are the No. 2 seed from Region 6AAAAA and will host the Creekview Grizzlies (Cherokee County), the No. 3 seed from Region 7AAAAA, in the first round of the state playoffs.
— George Washington Carver (7-3) is the No. 4 seed from Region 6AAAAA. The Panthers will travel north to Dalton, Ga., to face the Dalton Catamounts (Dalton City), the Region 7AAAAA champions.
— Grady (6-4) is the No. 3 seed from Region 6AAAA. The Grey Knights will travel north to Tunnel Hill, Ga., to face the Northwest Whitfield Bruins (Whitfield County), the No. 2 seed from Region 7AAAA.
— Jackson (6-4) is the No. 4 seed from Region 4AAA. The Jaguars will travel south to Eastman, Ga., to take on the undefeated Dodge County Indians (Dodge County), the Region 1AAA champions.