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West Point honors numerous citizens Tuesday night

WEST POINT — A host of awards were presented at Tuesday afternoon’s Black History Program at West Point gym. Among those being recognized were preschoolers at the Chattahoochee Early Learning Academy (CELA) and the Innovation Station Early Learning Center and students at West Point Elementary School, Long Cane Middle School, Troup High, Springwood School and Point University.

Following remarks by guest speaker Kimberly DeBrow, the entertainment and recognition portions of the program began. The Lynch/Lewis family sang the John Legend song “Glory,” featured in the 2014 movie “Selma.” The children sang while holding signs that read “Peace,” “Equal Rights” and “Vote 2020.” The performance was well received by the large crowd on hand inside the gym.

Troup High Family and Consumer Science teacher Connie Aplin commended one of her ninth-grade students, Gabrielle Peay, on having won a statewide award this year. Peay said she had no idea how much the Troup High FCCLA Club would help her when she joined it.

“It helped me in so many ways, especially in public speaking,” she said. “Being in the club opened my eyes to the fact there are people out there who are less fortunate than me. I am so glad I am in this club and want to remain in it throughout high school.”

Jan Franks, principal of West Point Elementary School, recognized the top readers, an outstanding writer and a poster contest winner from her school. Third grade student Caleigh Thomas won first place in the poster contest sponsored by the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha as part of its annual Unity Day program held on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Fifth grade student Cianna Crawford won the school’s outstanding writer award.

Certificates were presented to the third, fourth and fifth grade students who scored above grade level in terms of Lexile scoring. Third grade students scoring well included Liam Moosman, Aniyah Jackson, Jaquilias Jones, Savanna Power, Michael Murphy, Sophie Jackson, Cameron Jones, Ethan Brumfield, Dezaria Davidson and Zyriah Johnson.

Top readers in the fourth grade were Landon Tompkins, Makenzie Houston, Janee Heath, Brandon Seaborn, Kaedence Jackson, Btady Smith, J’Laycia Turner, DeQuavian Towles, Kailynn Smith and Tavian Edwards.

Fifth grade students scoring well in reading included Caleb Brooks, Brylee Bowen, Jakeden Gilliam, Sophie Billingslea, Carson Vaillant, Kennedy Rowland, Jeremiah Jackson, Kaiden Henson, Addison Bartlett and Caelon Winston.

Chase Dial, the assistant director of students at Point University, recognized six students for all-around excellence. Among them were Chase Turner, Emma Bowles, Marquez Jackson, Julia Felix and Tena Byrd.

Dylan Moore, the first-year house parent of Springwood School’s International House, told the crowd that he and his wife had had an “amazing, beautiful and wonderful experience” in guiding the lives of 21 students in the program. He said that he’d been in constant communication with their parents and introduced a Korean student named Kyle.

“He loves to eat Korean barbecue,” Moore said, “and is into jiu jitsu.”

Four-year-old B’Mora Moss of the Innovation Station Early Learning Center stole everyone’s heart away by reciting a poem about what she’s been learning.

Chief Donald Britt of the West Point Police Department introduced Britney Lovelace, who read passages from “First Grade Blues,” a children’s book she has written about the first week in first grade. It’s a fun look at how many of them are missing kindergarten while they get adjusted to a new teacher and have lots of new things to learn. Lovelace attended West Point Elementary School in her youth.

Chattahoochee Early Learning Academy (CELA) Director Heather Hoats introduced three-year-old students Sophia and Alani and then invited everyone to an open house at CELA, to be held between 6:30 and 8 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 5.

“We have a website and a Facebook page,” she said. “Please reach out to us if you have any questions.”

Members of the West Point City Council presented plaques to young professionals in the city who are doing good work in the community. Council Member Deedee Williams presented a plaque to Amanda James. She commended her for starting a free pantry and lending library in West Point.

“We now have six locations in the city,” Williams said. “Amanda and her husband Michael maintain it along with volunteers who help them. Amanda moved here 10 years ago to work at Kia. That’s where she met Michael. They now have four children and a grandchild.”

Council Member Gerald Ledbetter presented a plaque to Christopher “C.J.” Hicks of One Touch Phone Service.

Council Member Gloria Marshall recognized Kevin Patrick with a plaque. Patrick is vice president of Premier American Financial Services and is active on several boards in the city such as the development authority. Patrick was joined by his wife, Ranisha, in accepting the award.

“Behind every successful man, there’s a good woman by his side,” Marshall said.