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May 22, 2015
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Chambers BOE honors top students, retiring staff
Chambers BOE honors top students, retiring staff

Teachers and staff personnel who are retiring at the end of the current school year were recognized with plaque presentations at the Wednesday meeting of the Chambers County Board of Education. Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge (in back, at right) noted that the 10 people being recognized had close to 300 years of experience between them. "We are losing quite a lot this year," she said. "These are people who have shown a love for children over the years." In front, from left, are Sara Clark, a teacher at Fairfax Elementary School for 27 years; Dr. Melinda Johnson, 20 years at Bob Harding-Shawmut Elementary; Rennie Sheree Core, 29 years, Eastside Elementary; and Jack Wood, bus driver, 15 years. In back, l-r, are Angie Milner, 28 years, Huguley Elementary; Fletcher Carr, bus driver, 57 years; Charles Williams Jr., 10 years, custodian, Eastside Elementary, and Dr. Hodge. Not shown is Priscela Holley, principal at W.F. Burns Middle School, who's been with the system 36 years. (Photo by Wayne Clark)

By WAYNE CLARK

LaFAYETTE — In 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, Elvis was young, the world was fascinated by a satellite named Sputnik and the Ford Motor Company was manufacturing a car known as the Edsel. That year, Fletcher Carr started driving a school bus for Chambers County schools.

At 3 p.m. CDT this afternoon, he'll load his bus outside LaFayette High School and drive a group of students home for the final time in a career that has spanned an amazing 57 years.

Mr. Carr was among a group of 10 people who were honored by the Chambers County Board of Education Wednesday afternoon. Each will be retiring at the end of the current school year.

Over those 57 years behind the wheel of a school bus, Carr has driven four generations of the same family. He's seen his share of rough days with bad weather and the bus breaking down. He's seen bigger, better buses and technical innovations such as video cameras on the buses.

"Mr. Carr, I was one year old when you started driving buses for Chambers County," Board President Bill Martin – who's been on the board for well over 20 years – said.

"We don't know what the LaFayette High band is going to do without you driving them places," said Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge.

Others retiring at the end of the current school year are Priscela Holley, W.F. Burns Middle School principal, 36 years in education; Sheree Core, Eastside Elementary principal, 29 years with the system; Sally Clark, 27 years in teaching, Fairfax Elementary; Dr. Melinda Johnson, 20 years, Bob Harding-Shawmut Elementary; Angie Milner, 28 years, Huguley Elementary; bus drivers Paula Brown, 14 years and Jack Wood, 15 years; Marissa Morton, lunchroom staff, 26 years; and Charles Williams Jr., custodian at Eastside Elementary, 10 years.

"Every one of you were part of my career in one way or another," said Board Member Judy LaFollette, a former teacher and central office staff member. "I appreciate what each of you did for our system."

Also recognized on Wednesday were the valedictorians and salutatorians of the two senior classes in the system. They include Alexis Dowdell and Trevond Barnes, the valedictorian and salutatorian of LaFayette High, and Gavin Prather and Lacy Striblin, Valley High's valedictorian and salutatorian.

Dowdell will be receiving her diploma Friday evening after having attained a grade point average of 105.724 her senior year. In addition to excelling in the classroom, she was also captain of the cheerleader squad, president of the Student Government Association, senior class president, served as a junior ambassador and found time to do volunteer work at a local nursing home. She's also a published author.

"She's written ads for the school system," said Dr. Hodge. "We've put them on local radio."

Alexis will be attending Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and will major in psychology.

Trevond Barnes, the LHS salutatorian, had a GPA of 101.783 his senior year. He will attend Hampton University in Virginia on a basketball scholarship. He plans to major in business. Trevond, who stands six-foot-nine, was the captain of LaFayette High's 2A state champion basketball team. One recruiting service named him the 11th best player in the state of Alabama this year. "His highlights are on You Tube," Dr. Hodge said.

Gavin Prather, Valley High's valedictorian for the Class of 2015, had a grade point average of 105.683. He took part in a summer internship program with the Chambers County Development Authority and spent some time in Korea as part of the Alabama-Korea Educational Exchange Program (A-KEEP). He plans to major in engineering at Auburn University.

Lacy Striblin, the VHS salutatorian, had a GPA of 104.862 her senior year. She will attend Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Ga., and will major in biology. She's been playing softball since she was a student at W.F. Burns Middle School and was a star player for the Lady Rams throughout high school. She was also a member of the volleyball team.

"She was one of Chambers County's first pre-K students," Dr. Hodge said, giving her a hug. "I was her teacher."

KMMG receives national award for STEM education support
KMMG receives national award for STEM education support

By THE TIMES-NEWS

PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia has been named winner of the fifth annual SAE Foundation Gordon Millar Award.

Randy Jackson, KMMG’s senior vice president of human resources and administration, accepted the award.

The award, which is funded by AVL, is given in special recognition of an individual or organization that best demonstrates continuous philanthropic support of the SAE Foundation mission to encourage and increase student participation and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“KMMG takes a one-team approach to everything they do both at work and within the community,” said Don Manvel, chairman, AVL Americas. “That includes an unwavering dedication to STEM education and helping young people in their surrounding counties become a productive and valuable workforce for tomorrow.”

“We’re excited and fortunate to be in a position where we can help students in both Georgia and Alabama become not only future potential team members, but also people who enrich their communities by being excellent problem solvers and analytical thinkers,” said Jackson. “The SAE Foundation does a phenomenal job helping students become innovators who provide practical solutions to everyday problems. We are honored to accept this award that so embodies everything we believe in.”

About KMMG

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) is the first manufacturing site in North America for Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, Korea. With an annual capacity of 360,000 units, KMMG is located on 2,200 acres in West Point, Georgia, and began mass production on Nov. 16, 2009. KMMG is home to the Sorento CUV and the Optima mid-size sedan, two of the brand’s top selling models in the U.S.

About SAE Foundation

The SAE Foundation is the charitable arm of SAE International that strives to encourage and increase student participation and achievement in science, technology, engineering and math through many programs, including A World In Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series.

About AVL

Founded in 1948, AVL Worldwide is the world's largest independent company for development, simulation and testing technology of powertrains (hybrid, combustion engines, transmission, electric drive, batteries and software) for passenger cars, trucks and large engines. AVL’s North American headquarters are located in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth, Mich.

Jennifer Jones, Thomas Hill named Teachers of the Year
Jennifer Jones, Thomas Hill named Teachers of the Year

By THE TIMES-NEWS

LANETT — Jennifer Jones was selected as the Springwood “Elementary Teacher of the Year” and Thomas Hill was selected as the “High School Teacher of the Year” by the Springwood School Student Government Association.

“Ms. Jones has the ability to reveal to her students the potential that learning can have on their life. She shows extreme kindness and caring to her students in her daily words and actions. It was in Ms. Jones class that I was first introduced to how fun reading and learning could be,” Springwood Student Government President Tanner Martin said.

“The special thing about Coach Hill is that he devotes himself fully to everything he does. He is often the first one to arrive in the morning so that he can offer extra help to his students. He invests personally in both his students and his athletes and makes sure that they know that they can accomplish most anything through hard work. He does this by not only saying it, but by living it. He works hard to reach his full potential, inspiring anyone that comes in contact with him to do the same,” SGA Vice President Lauren Terry said.

Jones and Hill were recognized at the Springwood School Honor’s Day ceremony last week.

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Lanett Recreation track program has successful season
Lanett Recreation track program has successful season

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LANETT — Now in its fifth season of competition, the Lanett Recreation Department’s youth track and field program just wrapped up another successful season, Ronnie Tucker, Lanett Recreation Director, told The Times-News this morning.

“We’ve had a track and field program for the last five years and actually had 46 kids the first year we had signups,” Tucker noted. “We had 15 youngsters come out for the program this spring and did well. We hope to have more kids in the program next year as well,” added Tucker.

This is also the first year Lanett track and field has competed in the Alabama Recreation & Parks Association (ARPA) meets, Tucker noted.

The 15-member squad competed at the district held in Opelika two weeks ago and had two youngsters qualify to compete in Lincoln last week at the ARPA state championships, Tucker said.

London Roberts led Lanett with an outstanding fourth-place finish in the 50-yard dash at the state meet to highlight local performances.

•For additional information about the program, contact: Tucker at (334) 644-4316.

Carissa Harper to play for CVCC Lady Pirates
Carissa Harper to play for CVCC Lady Pirates

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

VALLEY — Valley Lady Rams basketball standout Carissa Harper will be joining good company and friends next year at Chattahoochee Valley Community College.

Harper signed a national letter-of-intent (grant-in-aid basketball scholarship) Monday to play her college basketball for the CVCC Lady Pirates.

Carissa is the third Lady Ram to sign with CVCC in the last two weeks.

Valley High standouts Breyunna Bussey and Diamond Walker also recently signed with CVCC to give the Lady Rams three players at one institution.

Having three players sign from the same class and school at an established college program, in a high profile sport, is indeed a rare item.

The Harper, Bussey and Walker trio combined to help Valley High become one of the premiere and most successful girls basketball programs in all of AHSAA under the direction of coach George Grimes.

“Breyunna, Carissa and Diamond were a part of the great turnaround for Lady Rams basketball,” Grimes said. “They’ve left a great mark for future Lady Rams to live up to. All three should have a great chance of playing early at CVCC,” noted Grimes.

The trio is part of what has been an amazing streak of consistent success for the Lady Rams program.

With Harper, Bussey and Walker, Valley has had eight student-athletes sign scholarships in the last three years.

“Breyunna has a very good offensive game and is an outstanding rebounder on both ends. Diamond plays with a lot of energy on both ends, is a good defender and a driver on offense. Carissa has a big presence in the middle of any defense, but also can be a threat on the inside on offense,” Grimes says.

Valley rang up a four-year mark of 89-21 with one state runner-up finish, a pair of Final Four appearances, two regional crowns, four straight regionals, four straight area tourney titles and three area regular season crowns in the last four years.

The eight Valley High players on scholarship include: Ceira Lovejoy, Cadesia Avery, Brianna Davidson, Tatyana Darden, Audrianna Walker, Harper, Walker and Bussey.

Valley’s “Elite Eight” playing college basketball speaks volumes about the type of program Grimes and his staff have built at Valley High.

Valley High Youth Football Camp set for May 26-28
Valley High Youth Football Camp set for May 26-28

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

VALLEY — Area youngsters who want to learn first-hand football skills and fundamentals will want to attend the annual Valley High Youth Football Camp set for May 26-28 at the Rams practice field, coach Marshon Harper told The Times-News Monday.

The annual camp is one of the most popular in the area and is a great opportunity for kids ages four up to sixth grade to learn from the Valley High staff in a fun environment.

Coach Harper and his staff have many years of experience and it’s an ideal way for your child to learn the game.

Valley High is the only local team to have won two region championships since 2008.

The camp will be held May 26-28 from 8-11:30 a.m. ET daily. The cost to participate is just $30.

Registration for the camp will take place at 7 a.m., May 26.

Obituaries

Obituaries for Thursday, May 21, 2015
Obituaries for Thursday, May 21, 2015

MR. BLANKS

LANETT — Mr. Wm. Harty Blanks, 68, of Lanett died Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at Columbus Specialty Hospital in Columbus, Ga.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 23 at 3 p.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Lanett with the Rev. Darren White officiating. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Lanett is in charge of arrangements.

MRS. JONES

WEST POINT — Funeral services are pending for Mrs. Betty Jean Patillo Jones of West Point, who died Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Tenn.

M.W. Lee Mortuary of West Point is in charge of arrangements.

MRS. RHOADS

LANETT — Funeral services are pending for Mrs. Frances Warren Rhoads, 85, of Lanett, who died Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at LaFayette Extended Care in LaFayette.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.

MRS. SUMMERS

AUBURN — Mrs. Jessie Etheridge Summers was born Nov. 12, 1924, in Atlanta, Ga., and passed away at her home in Auburn Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

A graveside service will be held Saturday, May 23 at 11 a.m. CDT in Auburn Memorial Park Cemetery, with a memorial service to be held in the Fellowship Building at a date to be announced later.

Frederick-Dean Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

MR. WINSTON

LANETT — Funeral services for Mr. Jerome "Jew" Winston will be held Thursday, May 21, 2015, at 2 p.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church with the Rev. Eugene Cooks officiating and the Rev. Bernard Williams assisting.

Morgan and Sons Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

MRS. WOODGETT

LaFAYETTE — Funeral arrangements are pending for Mrs. Ida Mae Woodgett, 85, of LaFayette, formerly of Kansas City, Kan., who died Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at LaFayette Nursing Home in LaFayette.

Vines Funeral Home of LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.

Obituaries for Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Obituaries for Wednesday, May 20, 2015

MRS. SUMMERS

AUBURN — Funeral services are pending for Mrs. Jessie Etheridge Summers, 90, of Auburn, who died Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at her residence.

Frederick-Dean Funeral Home will be directing the service.

MR. WINSTON

LANETT — Funeral services for Mr. Jerome "Jew" Winston will be held Thursday, May 21, 2015, at Ebenezer Baptist Church with the Rev. Eugene Cooks officiating and the Rev. Bernard Williams assisting.

The body will be at the church one hour before the funeral.

Morgan and Sons Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

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