2018 - 2019

Special REcognitions

April 23, 2019

FCCLA State Leadership conference competition 2019

Since 1945, members of Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, FCCLA, have been making a difference in their families, careers, and communities by addressing important personal, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. Today there are over 160,000 members in more than 5,300 chapters!

We are pleased to recognize two Greenbrier High FCCLA State Leadership Conference award winners.

These students are led by Advisors Ms. Liza Davis and Ms. Nancye Peel.In the Hospitality category, sophomore Hadden Peel placed second. On the Consumer Services Test, Freshman Nadiah Brown placed first in the state.

2019 Young georgia authors - Resa District winners!

The Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition was created to encourage students to develop expertise in their writing; to provide a way for schools to support and celebrate the writing successes of all students; and to encourage and recognize student achievement in writing throughout Georgia.

Each year, school districts select winners from grades K through 12 and district grade level winners go on to compete at the RESA level.

We are proud to share that, this year, we have seven RESA District winners!

Second Grade Winner - Adetooke Adeyemi from River Ridge Elementary, who wrote "The First Pet Snake." Teacher: Kimberly Phillips

Third Grade Winner - Elliot Dhandapani from River Ridge Elementary, who wrote "Life As a Dog." Teacher - Laura Johnson

Sixth Grade Winner - Dalyn Brown from Columbia Middle, who wrote "The Day of October 19, 1982." Teacher - Marissa Beemer

Seventh Grade Winner - Victoria Johnson from Evans Middle, who wrote "Pen of Symphony." Teacher - Jason Winge

Eighth Grade Winner - Ava Yu from Greenbrier Middle, who wrote "Waiting." Teacher - Andrea Smock

Ninth Grade Winner - Olivia Ubaldo from Evans High, who wrote "Like a Lightening Bolt." Teacher - Benjamin Miller. (This is Olivia's third year being recognized as a Young Georgia Author, winning at the county level in 7th and 8th grades.)

Tenth Grade Winner - Elizabeth Fulton from Lakeside High, who wrote "The House of Love." Teacher - Tara Van Buskirk

Read the complete set of works by each grade level of our Young Georgia Authors HERE

Congratulations, to all of our district winners and their teachers!

2019 First Tee annual national school program

Recently, students from 27 Richmond, Burke, Columbia and McDuffie County elementary schools participated in The First Tee of Augusta’s 5th Annual National School Program Skills Challenge. The students participated in Snag Golf, which is a form of golf that uses larger clubs and balls, and they also submitted an essay based on one of the nine core values of the First Tee, which are our values, to include: Courtesy, Respect, Judgment, Responsibility, Sportsmanship, Confidence, Honesty, Integrity, and Perseverance.

We had two students who were recognized as one of the highest scoring boys and girls for each grade level in the Skills Challenge.

From Euchee Creek Elementary and coached by Shane McCook, Raley Truitt won the Third Grade Girls’ Division.

Euchee Creek also won first place overall in the golf tournament! Team Members include: Raley Truitt, Third grade; Collins Barnett, Third grade; Jack Langley, Fourth grade; Heidi Yeager, Fourth grade; Aaron Sosbee, Fifth grade; and Sydney Stokes, Fifth grade.

From North Harlem Elementary and coached by Ms. Denise Francis and Ms. Renee Owen, Evan Calamas won the Fourth Grade Boys’ Division.

Evan Calamas of North Harlem Elementary won the Fourth Grade Boys' Division

Euchee Creek Elementary Overall Winners and Raley Truitt (at left), who won the Third Grade Girls' Division.

Lakeside High sophomore Shivum Lal with his advisor and teacher Sarah Wexler Smith.

Lakeside High sophomore named area key club officer

With thousands of clubs in more than 38 countries, Key Club International is the oldest and largest student-led service program for high school students, promoting leadership through serving others.

Using the four core values of leadership, character building, caring, and inclusiveness, members learn how to lead and stand for what is right through service and volunteerism.

There are 15 lieutenant governors that serve on the Georgia District Board – one for each of the 15 divisions in the state. We are very proud to announce that Lakeside High Sophomore Shivum Lal was recently elected by his peers to serve as the East Central Georgia Key Club International Lieutenant Governor.

Shivum's responsibilities will be to assist Key Club leaders in high schools from as far away as Washington, Milledgeville, and Louisville, as well is in the Augusta area. And he will be contacting high schools in his assigned area to encourage students and faculty to form new key clubs.

Shivum’s advisor is Ms. Sarah Wexler Smith, and the sponsor is President of the Kiwanis Club of Columbia County Mark Woelzlein.

Congratulations, Shivum and thank you Ms. Smith and Mr. Woelzlein for your part in his success!

Shivum Lal and Kiwanis Club President Mark Woelzlein.

Future Business Leaders of America State Winners & Advisor of the year!

Preparing today’s students for success in business leadership, Future Business Leaders of America, or FBLA, is the largest student business organization in the world, with more than 250,000 members.

The Georgia chapter is 72 years old and is the largest in the nation with over 25,000 members.

During state level competition at the State FBLA Conference held in Atlanta in March with about 3,500 members in attendance, we had two winners.

Out of 42 competitors, Evans High School Student Joshua Egbuka placed third in Securities and Investments.

We are also pleased to announce that Ms. Nunnallee was named the FBLA Region 4 Advisor of the Year.

Logan Carlile, from Greenbrier High, under the direction of Whitney Poucher, placed first and is the 2019 State Champion in Cybersecurity. He also placed sixth in Networking Concepts.

Congratulations, students and advisors, and best wishes as you participate in the National Competition that will take place in San Antonio, Texas, June 28-July 2.

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) 2019 State Competition winners

Some of the most popular courses of study in our high schools are the Healthcare Science Technology Education programs. We currently have 11 Healthcare Science teachers who serve as advisors for Health Occupations Students of America, its student organization better known as HOSA.

HOSA has approximately 15,604 members in the state of Georgia, and its State Leadership Conference was held in Atlanta in March. All five of our high schools had students who attended the conference and represented us well in state level competitions, which include a multiple choice test, and, for those who score well enough, a performance round where the competitors are judged on their use of critical thinking skills.

This year we have several winners from three of our high schools – Evans, Greenbrier, and Grovetown.

Evans High

Advisors Ms. Leslie Vandenabeele and Ms. Tami Gordon.

Senior Emily Jackson placed second in Physical Therapy; and senior Tyler DiFranco placed first in Nurse Assisting.

Grovetown High

Advisors Ms. Lashon Bennett and Ms. Jessica Kirby.

Senior Jordan Armstrong, who placed first in Prepared Speaking.

Greenbrier HIgh

Advisors Mr. David Capel and Ms. Michelle Meadows.

Senior Rachel Crowe, who placed third in Physical Therapy; Junior Carson Crow placed third in Nutrition, (unable to attend due to attending the Youth Leadership graduation banquet), and Senior Meghan Hicks, who placed second in Medical Spelling.

2019 JROTC State Drill Meet Champions!

Lakeside High

Under the direction of Sergeant Linda Gary

Lakeside High either won or qualified for state in 15 categories at the region meet and they placed in 11 of the 15 events at the state meet!

  • 1st Place State Champions - Platoon Unarmed Regulatioin, led by Cadet SFC Russell Folger
  • 1st Place State Champions - Platoon Armed Regulation, led by Cadet 1SG Jayden Pitts
  • 2nd Place Female Dual Exhibition, Cadet SFC Avery Magill and Cadet SSG Aubrey Faison
  • 2nd Place Squad Unarmed Regulation, led by Cadet 1LT Bennett Klein
  • 2nd Place Squad Exhibition, led by Cadet CSM Joseph Rumbaugh
  • 2nd Place Platoon Exhibition, led by Cadet Maj. Samuel Aslakson

Grovetown High

Under the direction of Sergeant First Class Anthony Williams

  • 2nd Place Unarmed Platoon, led by Cadet Lt. Col. Cheyenne Veerkemp
  • 1st Place State Champions in Female Armed and Unarmed Squad, led by Cadet First Sgt. Armoni ruff and Cadet CSM Lesley Olivar

Evans High

Under the direction of First Sergeant Louis Strickland

  • 1st Place- State Champion Female Squad Exhibition led by Cadet Capt. Veronica Tubalinal
  • 1st Place- State Champion Female Platoon Exhibition led by Cadet Capt. Cristal Valdez
  • 2nd Place Female Squad Unarmed, led by Cadet Capt. Cristal Valdez
  • 3rd Place Male Dual - Cadet CSM Thomas Halloran and Cadet Capt. Christian Wright
  • 3rd Place Male Squad Exhibition, led by Cadet CPT. Christian Wright

Reigning solo exhibition

state champion


For the fourth consecutive year, Cadet CSM Lesley Olivar, of Grovetown High School, is the State Champion in Solo Exhibition. She is the first person in the state of Georgia to achieve this honor! Congratulations Lesley!

Law Enforcement explorers national competition winner

Grovetown High

Under the leadership of Grovetown High School Law and Justice Instructor, Mr. Tim Perry, once again members of the Grovetown High School law and justice class have taken part in and received honors at the Law Enforcement National Explorer Competition held this year in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Freshman Jordan Hinds and Senior Gabrielle Updike won 2nd place in the Moot Court competition, which involves arguing a case before a panel of judges as if appearing before the Supreme Court.

Grovetown High had another team of students place first in two competitions.The team members are: Leah Shelt, Alysha Morales, Samantha Smith, Jamillie Vasser. This team won first place in the Burglary in Progress and Officer Down competitions, which are simulations of just what their titles indicate, a burglary in progress and an officer down.

For burglary in progress, the team has to properly respond to a building that is found to have a door open and an alarm sounding, and then apprehend, question, search, and arrest an intruder, all in accordance with state law.

In the Officer Down Competition, the team has to properly respond to a scene where they find an officer on the ground with a bloody knife beside him and an unknown female trying to assist an unknown handcuffed male. They have to maintain their own safety, provide first aid to the injured officer, investigate the scene, arrest the guilty party and communicate with dispatch.

Congratulations to all of these students and their advisor for these first place wins!

Technology student association (TSA)

2019 State Competition Winner

The Technology Student Association, or TSA, is dedicated exclusively to students enrolled in engineering and technology education pathway programs. The chapters prepare students to be successful inventors, designers, creative problem solvers, responsible citizens and leaders in a technology society. From Lakeside High, under the direction of Principal Dorcas Powell, with the support of Ms. Millicent Bowman, who formerly worked at Lakeside. Thomas Newell placed fourth in Essays in Technology and second in Photographic Technology.


2019 State Leadership Conference Champions

SkillsUSA is a national membership association serving middle, high school, and college students who are preparing for further education and careers in trade and technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. It is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry, working to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

SkillsUSA offers competitive events to showcase the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. We are pleased to recognize a number of state medalists who will go on to compete at the national level this summer.

Evans HIgh

Under the direction of Mr. Robert McCullough and Michael Meyer, Robby Miller, Faith Richardson, and Osvaldo Carranza (not pictured) won silver for Welding – Metal Working Display.

In the category of First Aid/CPR, earning a silver medal was Logan Klepal. In this competition, students conduct first aid and CPR in five different scenarios.

Under the direction of Advisor Katie Wethington, Abigail Ewing earned a gold medal in the category of Photography.

Congratulations, Evans students and staff!

Harlem High

From Harlem High under the direction of Mr. Tim Lewis, junior Daniel Brazzle won bronze for Diesel Equipment Technology. Daniel won silver in this same category last year and upon graduation, Daniel desires to pursue a career as a Diesel Technician. Congratulations, Daniel and thank you, Mr. Lewis, for helping him excel!

Greenbrier HIgh

Under the direction of Mr. Gerald Wuchte, in the category Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Kelly Morgan, Jonathan Schanck, Hannah Ferrando and Hannah Doyon earned a silver medal.

Grovetown High

Under the direction of Mr. Tim Perry Grace Ene, Autumn Kent, Anderyn Updike and Alysha Morales received a bronze medal for third place in the Community Emergency Response Team.

Heather Glover won a bronze medal in the Career Profile Portfolio category. Gabrielle Updike won a bronze medal in the category of Extemporaneous Speaking. And Gavin Carnes won a bronze medal in the category of Automotive Brakes.

We are also pleased to announce that Alysha Morales was elected as a Georgia SkillsUSA State Officer, and the first week in May, she will go through a three day process to determine which office she will hold during the next school year.

Mr. Tim Perry has been named the Georgia SkillsUSA 2018-2019 Advisor of the Year. The SkillsUSA State Directors Association created the Advisor of the Year award to recognize and honor dedicated career and technical education instructors who serve as SkillsUSA advisors.

GOld chapters

SkillsUSA has a Chapter Excellence Program offered to the more than 19,000 chapters across the country. Each year schools enter competition based on their demonstration of personal, workplace, or technical skills. Then the SkillsUSA National office selects the top 24 chapters in the nation as Models of Excellence in one of the three areas.

We are proud to announce Grovetown and Greenbrier were named Model of Excellence Chapters for this school year. This is a major accomplishment since only 24 chapters in the nation are selected out of over 19,000 chapters and Columbia County has two schools named as Models of Excellence. This is a first for Greenbrier and a second for Grovetown!

March 26, 2019

4-H students lead pledge

Students from Greenbrier and Grovetown elementary schools lead the Pledge of Allegiance before the Board of Education meeting. Student leaders pictured from Greenbrier are: Gabe Perez, Kaitlyn Henson, Grish Kinger, Abel Needles, and Daniel McQuillian. Pictured from Grovetown are: Rylan Grant, Maggie Roffers and Gregorii Murdov.

District spelling bee champion

The county-wide spelling bee took place January 15th at Columbia Middle School, where 26 students from grades four through eight competed for the district spelling bee championship. After 14 rounds of competing, Evans Middle eighth grader Lauren Trimble was declared the winner by correctly spelling “Buddha”.

As our district’s spelling bee champion, Lauren earned the opportunity to compete at the Regional Spelling Bee that was held February 23rd in Eatonton, GA, at Putnam County Elementary School. At the Regional Spelling Bee, Lauren competed against 36 other students from various counties in Georgia and placed 4th among the 37 competitors.

Congratulations, Lauren! And thank you, Ms. Basinger, for your part in helping Lauren earn these honors!

Foreign language alliance for internationall rapport (FLAIR)

student of the year

The Foreign Language Alliance for International Rapport, better known as FLAIR, is supported by the Department of English and Foreign Languages at Augusta University.

Founded in 1985, FLAIR is one of the first foreign language alliances in the State of Georgia and encompasses 15 counties from Georgia and six counties from South Carolina.

All modern language students, who qualify by having an A average for three consecutive semesters in a language, are invited to become members of the FLAIR Honor Society. From its inductees, each school may nominate one student for FLAIR Student of the Year.

Nominees must: Have demonstrated outstanding abilities and achievement in the classroom; Have an attitude toward independent and self-directed learning beyond the regular classroom experience, and Have a personal commitment to continue to study in the foreign language.

At the FLAIR Honor Society induction ceremony held earlier this month, Greenbrier High Junior Chris Kinsler was chosen FLAIR Student of the Year.

Congratulations, Chris! He is pictured with his sponsor, Greenbrier High Spanish Teacher Ms. Christy Presgrove.

American Association of teachers of spanish and portugese

teacher of the year

Ms. Presgrove was recently selected as the K-12 Teacher of the Year for the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese!

Ms. Presgrove has been an active member of FLAIR and AATSP, and she earned a master’s degree in Spanish Language and Culture from the University of Salamanca, Spain in 2012.

Last summer, Ms. Presgrove, along with Evans High Spanish teacher Di Johnson and Augusta University professor Dr. Jana Sandarg, presented a session at the centennial AATSP conference in Salamanca, Spain.

Congratulations, Ms. Presgrove for your excellence in teaching Spanish and Chris for your excellence in the study of Spanish.

CyberPatriot State and National Winners

The CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program was created by the Air Force Association to excite, educate, and motivate students toward careers in cyber security and other STEM disciplines that are critical to our nation’s future. CyberPatriot’s core program is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition that challenges teams of students to find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments.

This year, Columbia County middle and high schools had 48 teams, up from 35 last year, that participated in the CyberPatriot XI, competing against teams from all fifty states, including 162 teams from the State of Georgia alone, as well as, teams from Australia, Canada, Bermuda, Egypt, England, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Nigeria.

This is an online competition that lasts six consecutive hours. Teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and they are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services. At the State level, to qualify for the Gold tier, the team must find a minimum of 400 threats.

Middle School Category

In the Middle School Category, our students competed against approximately 1,273 middle school teams.

Evans Middle

The Tax Collectors V2

Placed Third Place in State

Team members:

Maverick Power - 6th Grade

Zander Conner - 7th Grade

Trey Diaz - 7th Grade

Brandon Ruby - 7th Grade

Coach: Elizabeth Comella

Mentors: Michael Winn, US Army IT/Cyber Security; and Preston Comella, Augusta Tech Cyber Security Student.

Greenbrier Middle

Top Hat Hackers

2nd Place State

15th Place in the Nation

Team Members:

Grant Osterburr - 6th Grade

Nicholas Simpson - 7th Grade

Joshua Brown - 8th Grade

Caydon Hammerstrom - 8th Grade

James King - 8th Grade

Thaniel Rayneck - 8th Grade

Coach: Loradonna Shultz

Mentors: Master Sergeant Michael Simpson - Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Cyber Division for the Cyber Protection Brigade; and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Nathan Biggers and Kirk King

Greenbrier Middle

The Phishers

1st Place State

10th Place in the Nation

Team Members:

Leland Green - 7th Grade

Dylan Biggers - 8th Grade

Kye Hammerstrom - 8th Grade

Tiger Wang - 8th Grade

Coach: Loradonna Shultz

Mentors: Master Sergeant Michael Simpson - Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Cyber Division for the Cyber Protection Brigade; and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Nathan Biggers and Kirk King

High School Category

Greenbrier HIgh


2nd Place State - Gold Tier Team

6th Place Nationals - Gold Tier Team

Team Members:

Michael White - 9th Grade

Ian Rausch - 10th Grade

Ryan Baggott - 11th Grade

Christopher Stickney - 11th Grade

Brooks Lewis - 12th Grade

Cole Rappold - 12th Grade

Coach: Whitney Poucher

Mentors: Eric Davis, Luke O'Donnell, and Frank Estrada

Grenbrier High

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1st Place State - Gold Tier Team

Team Members:

Braden Lewis - 10th Grade

Anthony Besson - 11th Grade

Brandon Cage - 11th Grade

Logan Carlile - 11th Grade

Christopher Drenthee - 11th Grade

Maxwell Parsons - 11th Grade

Coach: Whitney Poucher

Mentors: Eric Davis, Luke O'Donnell, and Frank Estrada

Greenbrier HIgh


1st Place State - Platinum All Service

Team Members:

Gary Carter - 11th Grade

Leara Dobbins - 11th Grade

Julianna Ford - 11th Grade

Liam Heger - 11th Grade

Justin Heger - 12th Grade

Brian Lesieur - 12th Grade

Coach: Whitney Poucher

Mentors: Eric Davis, Luke O'Donnell, and Frank Estrada

Thank you to our

Columbia County Chamber of Commerce

columbia County Career and College Expo

During our March 12 board meeting, over at the Columbia County Exhibition Center, the first ever Columbia County Career and College Expo was in full swing.

A total of 65 colleges and 48 businesses were in attendance. Of the 1,630 students who attended the event, 1,142 high school students from 20 different public high schools from as far away as Glascock County and Warren County; 354 middle school students from thirteen different public middle schools from as far away as Thomson ; and 54 students from 21 other schools from elementary to private academies to a few college kids (Georgia Military College). We even had a few kids with no attachment to a school or who were home schooled kids or another kind of school.

Registration totals were calculated using the figures of 1,630 students with an estimated 2.25 to 2.5 persons attending, for an estimated total of 3,670 – 4,075 attendees. Needless to say, this was a huge success in providing students with access to career and college information, and the nearly 1000 surveys will help us serve our students better.

Thank you, Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber Foundation for making this event happen, and for all the other educational initiatives you provide for our community!

Political Action Committee

Tuesday, March 19, 2019, was a pretty important referendum for our school district and community. Prior to this vote, the Chamber of Commerce has never been able to provide support for the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

But, because of Columbia County Chamber CEO and President, Tammy Shepherd’s leadership, the Chamber recently was approved to have a political action committee, which is currently chaired by Reagan Williams.

Ms. Shepherd, Mr. Williams, and Columbia County Board of Education chairman Mr. David Dekle and Dr. Sandra Carraway, Superintendent of Schools, presented to various organizations, educating our community and the PAC raised money to support the continuation of this one-cent sales tax for education.

Because of their effort, about 6,201 voters turned out to vote and the ESPLOST passed with an 83.73% approval. That is about 1850 more voters than in the 2015, when 74.8% of the voters approved the continuation of the ESPLOST.

Again, thank you, Ms. Shepherd and the Chamber of Commerce for your support of education in Columbia County.

Resolution presented to Chamber of COmmerce PAC

This resolution was presented by the Columbia County Board of Education to the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee for their support of ESPLOST to continue to fund education in our community.

College board 2019

Advanced Placement honor Schools

Once again, many of our high schools have been recognized as College Board Advanced Placement honor schools. Did you know that Georgia is ranked 16th in the nation for the percentage of students scoring a three or better on at least one AP exam during high school, and 13th in the nation for AP participation? This is significant, as the graduation rate for students who complete just one AP course is 98 percent. In our county we have long recognized the advantage students have when they pursue this advanced coursework, and we continue to expand AP access for our students, adding six new AP subjects at Harlem High this year. So it is no surprise that we continue to earn state recognition and want to honor our high schools for their hard work and success. We are so proud of the work our teachers do in the AP arena, and more proud that our students are earning college credit in these areas.

AP Access and support school

Schools with at least 30% of their AP exams taken by students who identify themselves as African-American and/or Hispanic, and with 30% of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher, for the third consecutive year, congratulations to Grovetown High!

AP merit schools

Schools with at least 20% of the student population taking AP exams and with at least 50% of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher, congratulations to Evans, new to the list this year, and for the third consecutive year, Greenbrier and Lakeside!

AP STEM SChools & AP STEM achievement schools

AP Stem Schools:

Schools with students testing in at least 2 AP Math courses and 2 AP Science courses, for the third consecutive year, congratulations to Evans, Greenbrier, Grovetown, and Lakeside.

AP STEM Achievement Schools:

Schools with students testing in at least 2 AP math courses and 2 AP science courses and with at least 40% of the exam scores on AP math and AP science exams earning scores of 3 or higher, for the third consecutive year, congratulations Evans, Greenbrier, Grovetown, and Lakeside!

AP Humanities schools

Schools with students testing in all of the following AP courses: at least 1 ELA course, 2 social science courses, 1 fine arts course and 1 world language course. For the second year in a row, congratulations to Evans, and for the third consecutive year congratulations to Greenbrier and Lakeside!

March 12, 2019

Martinez Elementary School - stem state certified!

We are pleased to honor Mr. Wade White, principal, and all of his staff, as Martinez Elementary School was recently awarded STEM certification by the Georgia Department of Education.

Martinez is the only STEM elementary school in our district, joining the ranks of Lakeside Middle, our only STEM middle school. This certification recognizes schools that have implemented a culture of Innovation, Interdisciplinary instruction, and Business and community partnerships. There are only 40 elementary schools in the entire state that have earned this designation.

As part of the STEM-certification initiative, for the past four years students in all grades have been taught with an interdisciplinary approach using the Engineering Design Process. This process allows students in each grade level to develop 21st Century skills of Critical thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity.

Just this past week, a committee consisting of representatives from math, science, CTAE, fine arts, technology and business evaluated the school’s program and awarded the STEM-certification.

Congratulations, Mr. White, faculty, staff, and students!

CSRA Elementary Honor choir - VOCE

VOCE, The Young Voices of Greater Augusta is a non-profit organization that provides high quality vocal and music education for students all over the CSRA who are in grades first through twelfth. VOCE believes strongly that young people can do AMAZING things if we show them they can and offer them the opportunity. In keeping with that belief, VOCE started an Annual Elementary School Honor Choir for fourth and fifth grade singers, and I believe this is the second year. This event offers young singers the opportunity to participate in a high level performance group, AND gives them a chance to serve as leaders.

This year our teachers auditioned their students and were able to send no more than 22 per school. Once these singers were registered, they received a packet of music and rehearsal recordings much like they will in middle and high school for All-State Chorus. And, because you know our teachers always go above and beyond, they scheduled extra rehearsals before and after school to make sure their singers were prepared. The Honor Choir event culminated with a benefit concert held at Abilene Baptist Church, where they raised $3,400 to benefit The Ronald McDonald House of Augusta.

This year the Elementary Honor Choir has 215 members, of which 201 are Columbia County students. Sadly, we don’t have space for all 201 to be recognized before the Board of Education, but, each participating school has identified two students to attend as representatives of their school's group of talented musicians.


February 26, 2019

Augusta Sports Council All-csra high school football awards

Since 2010, WJBF News Channel 6 has held the ALL-CSRA High School Football Awards Show to honor the very best high school football players in the Augusta area. This year they partnered with the Augusta Sports Council to host the annual banquet, where they honored these talented players and gave several major awards and scholarships to the most deserving athletes.

We are proud to announce we have three student athletes who were named Players of the Year for their positions.

Grovetown High School Defensive Player of the Year Simeon Barrow (left) with coach Damien Postell.

Defensive player of the year

Earning $1,000 and the title of Defensive Player of the Year is Simeon Barrow, of Grovetown High School.

Simeon led his team with 80 tackles; He set two school records, record #1 for having 31 tackles for a loss; And record #2 for having 15 sacks; He forced one fumble; and He had one interception and batted down two passes!

In addition to being named the County Defensive Player of the Year, Simeon was also named: 1st All-Region; 1st Team All County; 1st Team All-Area; 2nd Team All-State; and He was selected to play in the North/South All Star Game. Simeon has eleven D-1 offers, to include scholarships to: Liberty, West Georgia, Georgia Southern, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Cincinnati, Tulane, Michigan State, Missouri, East Carolina, West Virginia and Florida International.

Congratulations, Simeon, for earning the All-CSRA Defensive Player of the Year and best wishes as you continue using your talents!

Offensive Player of the Year AJ Brown of Harlem High School with coach Mark Boiter.

Offensive player of the year

Earning $1,000 for the Offensive Player of the Year is AJ Brown of Harlem High School.

This season AJ rushed for an average of 2.17 yards per carry and scored 23 touchdowns. His 2018-2019 Football awards include: Columbia County Player of the Year; Augusta Chronicle Player of the Year; Region 4AA Player of the Year; He also earned the recruit Georgia First Team All-State; AJ played in Georgia/Carolina Border Bowl and the North-South all-star game.

AJ's coach Mark Boiter says AJ is not only an outstanding football player, but he is also a young man with great character and a student leader at Harlem High.

Congratulations, AJ, for earning the All-CSRA Offensive Player of the Year and best wishes as you continue using your talents, on and off the field!

Kevin Jones could not attend the Board of Education meeting according to Coach Lewis. Harlem's baseball team was playing Westside High School that evening and Kevin is the 3rd baseman and the cleanup batter, and the team needed him. Coach Lewis wanted everyone to know Kevin is the “perfect kid to coach”.

Ray Guy Best Punter Award

Earning $1,000 for the Ray Guy Best Punter Award is Kevin Jones, also of Harlem High School.

Kevin Jones' awards include: Special Teams Player of the Year for Region 4AA; All CSRA Team Punter; First Team All-Region; The Atlanta Journal Constitution First Team All-State; and the Recruit Georgia First Team All-State.

Kevin is the Max Prep State Leader in Punting with a 49.3 yard average; The ProKicker.com 2019 third ranked punter in the nation and first in the State of Georgia.

He was also the Georgia/Carolina Border Bowl Punter for team Georgia.

Congratulations to Kevin for all of your accomplishments!

Wrestling State Champions

Jackson and Drew Eller of Evans High School with their coaches Rich Davis and Jeffery Woodward

Last year we had two wrestling state champions, one from Evans and one from Greenbrier.

This year we have two state champions again, both from Evans High, and they are two of only four undefeated wrestlers in 6A this year.

Sophomore Jackson Eller competed in the Class 6A 138 pound class. Last year he placed 3rd in the 132 pound class. This year Jackson’s record is 57-0!

And, for the third year in a row, Jackson’s brother Drew Eller is the Class 6A champion! Drew is a junior, and he competed in the Class 6A 152 pound class. He has championships in three different weight classes, to include: State champion in the 126 pound class in the 9th grade; State champion in the 160 pound class in the 10th grade, and State champion in the 152 pound class in the 11th grade.

We don’t know for sure, but it is probably a very small group of wrestlers who become the champion in three different weight classes!

Drew’s record this year is 56-0; and overall, he is 157-0.

Drew and Jackson, without jinxing you, we look forward to seeing you next year!

All-State Honor Chorus 2018-2019

Columbia County schools have superior fine arts programs, and we continue to have a large number of students who are selected to the Georgia Music Educators Association’s All-State Chorus—one of the highest musical honors a student can receive in school.

To qualify, students must successfully complete two auditions. In the first audition, they have to: perform a solo from a required list; sight-sing three examples of four measures each, two in a major key and one in a minor key; and sing three different scales.

To prepare for the second audition, students must learn the music they will perform on all-state weekend. At the second audition they sing 12 – 16 measures of each selection, but they do not know which measures they will be tested on until they walk into the audition room.

Across the state, approximately 1200 singers out of about 7000 are selected to sing in three different choirs.

We are proud to present 17 students, representing six of our middle schools, and eight students representing three of our high schools, for a total of 25 All State Chorus Members!

Evans Middle School

Under the direction of Wendy Baggott

Kensli Bennefield, Cadle Davall, Erin Davis, Isabella Lumley, Bethany Sachau, and Kaylee Solenberg

Greenbrier Middle

Under the direction of Karen Boyd

Skye Boutall, Gabriela Hernandez, James King, Simon Toney, Liberty White, and Josh Wickell

Grovetown Middle

Under the direction of Nicklaus Porter

Harrison Gresham

Lakeside Middle

Under the direction of Denise Pike

Reagan Galey and Aidan Eclavea

Stallings Island Middle

Under the direction of Rebakkah Nordan

Vaijayanthi Nistala and Sarah Watson

Evans High School

Under the direction of Jean Lancaster

Jonathan Tanksley, Jayla Lawson (not pictured), and Kenyun Butler (not pictured).

Greenbrier HIgh

Under the direction of Lori Van Lenten

Isabella Chaney, Addaly Hart and Addison Wilson

Grovetown High

Under the direction of Angel Cleary

Jalen Perkins and Lawrence White


Georgia Music Educators Association Composers Competition Winner

The Georgia Music Educators Association holds an annual composition competition for the purpose of encouraging students who have an aptitude for writing original music.

This year, Alex Thomas of Lakeside High School was one of just eleven composers selected to perform his original song at the Georgia Music Educators conference.

Alex is joined by his peers: John-Isaac Autry, Lily Brannigan, Bella Eclavea, Ansley Franco and Tyler Newton.

February 12, 2019

Battle of the Books Champions!

Baker Place Elementary School!

Battle of the Books is a bracket style competition, with one school’s team battling another school’s team and the winner of that battle advancing to the next round until the overall victors are identified.

The teams consisting of 4th and 5th grade students are required to read ten designated novels in genres from historical fiction, fantasy fiction, humor fiction and realistic fiction.

They meet regularly beginning at the start of the school year to read and re-read the novels and to practice for the competitions.

The battle for the championship was held on January 25th at the Greenbrier High Auditorium and teams from all 18 elementary schools battled one another.

During the competition, teams are asked questions that begin with the phrase “In what book…” and the students have to buzz in and answer with the correct title.

This year, we are pleased to recognize Baker Place Elementary’s team as the 2019 Battle of the Books champions!

A great big thank you goes out to Greenbrier High for hosting the competition and to all of the parents, teachers, and others who helped make this event possible and a success!

The coaches are: Media Specialist Emma Stephens; Media Clerk Betty Rice; and Gifted Teacher Christa Arrington.

Team members are: Aubrey Aenchbacher, Felicity Agee, Hayley Black, Julia Blumberg, Emma Fischer, Lillian Garner, Robert Gilbert, Aidan Hayes, Courtney Heath, Ben Neely, Sophia Packer and Aslynn Williams.

Georgia Music Educators Assocation

All-state Band and Orchestra Members

The Georgia Music Educators Association was founded in 1938 and is the fifth largest state music education association in the United States.

This association has more than 3,200 members who are teachers in public and private schools, colleges and universities, and private studios.

Maybe the most important activities of the association are the annual All-State Band and Orchestra membership selections and the band and orchestra performances.

Each year, about 20,000 talent-worthy students in grades 6 – 12 are judged at the school district level, as they play selected scales for their grade; part of a prepared piece; and a sight-reading exercise.

Students who meet the cut score for their instrument are then invited to participate in the final auditions.

At the final auditions, approximately 3000 students perform the entire audition piece and two sight-reading exercises before judges who are behind a screen in the audition room.

The highest scoring students at the final auditions are selected for membership in the All-State bands and orchestras, which will perform in Athens, later this spring.

Congratulations to all of these students and their instructors for helping them achieve these honors!

Middle School All-State Band Members:

  • From Greenbrier Middle School under the direction of Mr. Kevin Baggott, eighth grader Simon Toney – Trumpet
  • From Riverside Middle School under the direction of Mr. Geoffrey Rosche, eighth grader Luke Frain – French horn
  • From Stallings Island Middle School under the direction of Mr. Tayler Norwood: eighth Grader Jeffery Li – Clarinet; for the second year in a row, eighth grader Clark Walker – Bassoon; and eighth grader Ryan Hanling – earned alternate for Clarinet.

Greenbrier High All-State Band

Under the direction of Mr. Brian Toney

Tenth grader Maggie Rezendes – Trumpet

Tenth Grader Davis Rogers – Trombone

For the fifth year in a row, Eleventh Grader Ryan Baggott – Tuba

Twelfth grader Isaac Ha – Trumpet

Evans High School All-State Band

Under the direction of Mr. Zack Bradley

For the second year in a row, eleventh Grader Jasmine Lee – Clarinet

Lakeside High School All-State Band

Under the direction of

Mr. Jim Tau & Mr. Jared Best

Ninth Grader Hamilton Kane – Trombone

Ninth Grader Roderic Parson - Baritone

Tenth Grader Colby Brown – percussion

Tenth Grader Nikhil Young – percussion

For the second year in a row, tenth grader Tan Charintranont - Clarinet

Tenth grader YaYang Zhou earned alternate - Tuba

Twelfth Grader Srikrishnan Raju – percussion

For the third year in a row, twelfth grader William Rich – Trumpet

Twelfth grader Kate Blake earned Alternate – French horn

Twelfth grader William Tate earned alternate – alto sax

ALl-State Orchestra Members

From Greenbrier High for Violin

For the third year in a row, Tenth Grader Evan Thomas

For the fourth year in a row, Tenth Grader Etta Thomas

From Lakeside High for Violin

For at least the second year, Eleventh grader Sabrina Liu

For the third year, Senior Srikirshnana Raju, and

For the seventh year in a row, Senior Nao Kamitani

4-H Presidents Lead pledge

Thank you to our 4-H Presidents from Lewiston Elementary School.

Emma Grace Winge, Ashli Jones, Maile Abell (not pictured), Jeremy Howard, Wick Medlin, and Giana Gabriel.

Great job to our student leaders!

January 22, 2019

Schools earn State greatest gains and highest performing Awards!

There are currently 181 school districts in Georgia, with over 2,200 schools. This past December, Governor Deal, along with the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, announced that of these 2,200 schools in 181 districts, 159 schools in 42 districts have earned the Greatest Gains and/or Highest Performing school awards.

The Greatest Gains honor is bestowed upon schools that exhibit high student achievement growth in their College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) Single Score range and have earned a three-year average CCRPI Progress Score in at least the 93rd percentile.

We are proud to announce that three of our schools have earned a greatest gains award!

In the Highest Performing category, schools must exhibit high academic performance by earning a three-year average CCRPI Content Mastery Score in at least the 93rd percentile.

Additionally, the three-year average CCRPI Closing Gaps Score must be at or above the 75th percentile in the state. We are proud to announce that three of our schools have earned a greatest gains award, as well.

River Ridge Elementary School

For Greatest Gains, River Ridge earned a Silver Award; and for Highest Performing School, River Ridge earned the Gold Award for scoring at or above the 97th percentile!

Greenbrier High School

Earned the Bronze Award for Greatest Gains!

Greenbrier Middle School

Earned the Bronze Award for Greatest Gains this year; AND the Bronze Award for Highest Performing School for the second consecutive year for scoring at or above the 93rd percentile!

Stevens Creek ELementary School

Earned the Silver Award for Highest Performing Schools for the second consecutive year for scoring at or above the 95th percentile!

District part of Cyber Education Center of excellence Distinction

A member of the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot Program, Fort Gordon’s Alliance for Cyber Education was established in 2003 by Congressman Charlie Norwood and consists of Burke, Columbia, Lincoln, McDuffie, and Richmond counties in Georgia, and Aiken and Edgefield counties in South Carolina. The local program encourages STEM programs to area K-12 schoolchildren in an effort to strengthen their cyber skills and to develop a future cybersecurity workforce. In 2011, CyberPatriot established the Center of Excellence designation to be awarded to institutions that excel in emphasizing cybersecurity and developing the workforce of tomorrow.

We are very proud to announce that our region is the first in the states of Georgia and South Carolina to be named the nation’s newest CyberPatriot Center of Excellence.

Presenting the award to the school district was Dr. Tom Clark, a retired Command Sergeant Major in the US Army and the current Executive Director of Project Management Professional.

Clark stated that the Columbia County School District has been one of seven counties in two states to help grow the CyberPatriot program from just 16 teams in 2016 to 101 teams this year. Columbia County Schools account for 44 of those CyberPatriot teams, who have participated and won at the state level.

A big thank you to our 4-H Presidents from Baker Place Elementary School for helping to lead the Pledge of Allegiance before the board meeting! Great job to our student leaders!

Pictured: Zchariah Gilbert, Ivan Rodriguez, Declan Alwine, Ella Etiene, Courtney Heath and Rebekah Watson.

January 8, 2019

Mark Weinberger (center) and his daughter Karly (third from left) generously donated furniture art and lighting fixtures for six of our new student life centers. Merit Flooring (not pictured), provided and installed new flooring in all of the rooms! A huge thanks to both of our outstanding partners in education!

Weinberger's Furniture, Merit Flooring outfit life centers!

Our school district has made an investment in providing our students with services and supports they need as they work to maximize their achievement, sometimes under very difficult circumstances that prevent them from doing their best. An important part of providing these supports is our new student life centers, recently implemented in each of our high schools at at the alternative school. These areas have been made possible by very generous donations made by two of our Partners in Education.

Weinberger's Furniture and Merit Flooring, generously donated materials and manpower to outfit our new student centers in each of our high schools and at the alternative school. These areas are designed to help students feel comfortable in accessing services like mental health and other support areas including, food pantries, and clothes closets, or just to do laundry, all of which will help enhance students’ ability to be successful in school, to graduate on time, and to improve their well-being.

Merit Flooring removed the old flooring in each high school’s student center and replaced it with carpet tiles. Then, after speaking with the graduation coach from each school to find out their needs, wants, and how each school wanted their student center to look, Karly brought in chairs, sofas, tables, lamps, artwork, etc., to fill the room.

Learn more about our Wraparound Support Program.

Lakeside High School

Evans High School

Harlem High School

Columbia County Alternative School

Grovetown High School

Greenbrier High School

Georgia Power Donation launches STEM PRogram!

Over the past few years, our schools have been working diligently to incorporate the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) model into daily instruction. From time to time, this requires us to reach out to local businesses to help support our efforts.

Grovetown Middle School is growing its STEM program and was looking for support to begin a new student-led, student-centered project involving weather. Using the engineering design process, students would design a structure which would withstand severe weather. The Grovetown Middle sixth grade science teachers and Assistant Superintendent Michele Sherman reached out to the Georgia Power Foundation for support. And the Foundation responded with a $3,500.00 grant.

Thank you Georgia Power!

Thank you, Georgia Power, for generously supporting these teachers’ efforts and for helping us provide our students with an outstanding education!

Georgia Power New Teache Assistance Grant winners Mr. Hunter Peace (left), 8th grade teacher at Evans Middle School and Ms. Marielba Mata (right), 5th grade teacher at Grovetown Elementary School. Each received a check for $1,000 from Georgia Power area manager, Mr. Kerry Bridges.

Georgia Power New Teacher Assistance Grants

Each year Georgia Power offers a $1,000 New Teacher Assistance Grant to the state’s best and brightest new teachers.

Nominations are received from each of the public colleges in Georgia that have education programs.

Candidates must be academically in the top 25% of their graduating class, show a high aptitude for teaching, and have obtained a full-time teaching contract at a public school in Georgia during the 2018 calendar year.

This grant is to help these new teachers purchase materials and supplies for their classrooms.

Thank you to Georgia Power for your ongoing support of local education!

Citizens of Georgia Power donate to

euchee Creek Elementary campus project

Georgia Power area manager Kerry Bridges (left), Euchee Creek Elementary teacher Leslie Olig, Euchee Creek Elementary Principal Katy Yeargain and new president of the Citizens of Georgia Power group Zac Bartlett.

Euchee Creek teacher Leslie Olig and Principal Katy Yeargain with former President of Citizens of Georgia Power and area Manager Kerry Bridges with a donation check for $5,000 at the head of the school's nature trail the funds will be used to expand.

The Citizens of Georgia Power is a volunteer organization within Georgia Power. Entering its 57th year, this organization consists of 48 chapters with 3,727 members and offers opportunities for Georgia Power employees in every region to be service role models.

Before we left for winter break, they donated $5,000 to Euchee Creek Elementary.

The goal of the Augusta Chapter’s Legacy Project Donation was to partner with the Board of Education to fund a lasting project that could also be a hands-on project for their volunteers. They have proposed making the Euchee Creek Elementary Nature Trail their Earth Day project for 2019, so Georgia Power volunteers can help with the trail and be a part of the end result for the students and school. The donation will be used to extend the Discovery Trail, to include removing trees, and a forester will be assisting and guiding them through this process.

They will also be adding a weather station.

Thank you, Citizens of Georgia Power, for supporting this project and for your generous gift.

4-H Presidents

Cedar Ridge Elementary School 4-H Presidents led the Pledge of Allegiance. Student leaders pictured (not in order) are: Caden Bierman, Paxton McGary, and Shelby Banks.

Job well done to our student leaders!

December 11, 2018

4-H Presidents Lead the Pledge

4-H Presidents from Parkway Elementary School attended the December 11, 2018 board meeting and lead other attendees in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Thank you to these student leaders!

Joseph Thibodeau Harlem High

International Miniature Aerobatic Club 2018 WOrld championship team member

Harlem High School senior Joseph Thibodeau was selected to be a member of the International Miniature Aerobatic Club (IMAC) 2018 USA World Championship Team.

IMAC was founded in 1974 and is non-profit organization devoted to flying scale aerobatic model aircraft and to pilot education. It is the main governing body responsible for hosting and judging precision aerobatic contests for hundreds of pilots across the United States and Eastern Canada.

In September, 82 pilots representing 18 countries competed in the 2018 World Championships held at the Academy of Model Aeronautics flying site in Indiana. Each country’s team competed in five divisions: Unlimited, Advanced, Sportsmen, Intermediate, and Freestyle. Earning the opportunity to represent the United States by winning the 2017 South Eastern IMAC Championship, Joseph was one of 16 pilots to represent Team USA during the World Championship competition. He flew in the advanced division and finished sixth in his division with the United States finishing first overall.

Harlem High senior Joseph Thibodeau stands with his model plane he used to compete as a member on the IMAC 2018 USA World Championship Team.

He has also earned the following titles: The United States Champion in 2016; Third place winner in the 2018 National Championships; The South Eastern Championship three years in a row, and He will compete for this title again in the coming weeks in Jacksonville Florida. It should also be noted that Joseph was selected to lead the United States during the parade of nations.

Additionally, Joseph will be an Honor Graduate and is hoping to continue flying giant scale aerobatic remote control airplanes as he plans to attend either UGA or Georgia Tech to study engineering.

Congratulations, Joseph. We wish you the very best as you pursue your dreams!

Georgia Department of Education

2018 Military Flagship School

Riverside Elementary

The Georgia Department of Education has created a new Military Flagship School Award to recognize schools that go above and beyond to provide a supportive environment for military students and families.

This is the first year for the award, and out of the sixty-one applications received, seven schools received the honor, one of which is Riverside Elementary.

Riverside was selected because they offer easy online enrollment and easily accessible resources and information for military families.

The school offers a newcomer’s club at the start of every semester to help students transition into the Riverside family.

Students have the opportunity to be recommended for small groups dealing with the issue of parent deployment and facilitated by the school counselor.

Riverside has many volunteers in uniform in the building throughout the year. Many of these volunteers read to students in class, present on Career Day, and participate in special events such as Field Day and Veterans Day.

We’re proud to recognize Riverside for receiving this award, and we’re proud to share that all of our schools go above and beyond to help our military connected children and families acclimate well to our schools.

Martinez Elementary School

2018 Title I Distinguished School (4th Consecutive Year)

Georgia Department of Education

Title I Distinguished Schools


Title I schools are schools that have more than 40% of their students who receive free or reduced meals.

Because we know that the effects of poverty generally have a negative impact on student achievement, Title I schools who find success in helping their students excel should be recognized and honored for their work with some of the neediest of our children.

So every year the Georgia Department of Education recognizes the highest-performing Title I schools in the state. These schools are among the top 5% of all Title I schools, when ranked according to their most recent College and Career Readiness Performance Index score.

We are proud to recognize three of our elementary schools who have achieved this honor.

They are, for the first time, Cedar Ridge Elementary, under the leadership of Principal Leanne Gregg; Also for the first time, Euchee Creek Elementary under the leadership of Principal Katy Yeargain; and for the fourth year in a row, Martinez Elementary under the leadership of Principal Wade White.

Congratulations to the students, staff, and leadership of these schools!

Cedar Ridge Elementary School

2018 Title I Distinguished School

Euchee Creek ELementary School

2018 TItle I Distinguished School

Thank you to Columbia County Community Connections Director, Julie Miller

Over the past 15 years under the leadership of Ms. Miller, Columbia County Community Connections has supported our students in an amazing way.

For example, this organization has

  • Written grants of $5 million for our schools and over $10 million for the community that directly benefit the school district – with afterschool and enrichment programs.
  • The afterschool program at HHS was credited with helping the school increase its graduation rate to 85%.

  • The organization has provided at no cost to parents an elementary afterschool program for NHE and ECE for more than 6 years that has helped struggling students get on track academically, socially and behaviorally.
  • They created a teen court that teaches leadership skills to youth, provides restorative justice to teens who have made poor choices, and gives them an opportunity to clear their record.
  • Community Connections has paid summer work experience for hundreds of teens, teaching them soft skills and giving them an opportunity to learn work skills and build business contacts in the community.
  • They have taught substance use prevention and abstinence classes in the schools.
  • They have provided anger management classes to middle school students and training for local teachers and counselors on the Strengthening Families Program curriculum and offered the program to local families.
  • They have coordinated and grown the Food4Kids Saturday Sacks program from one school to 32 schools serving more than 600 children weekly.
  • They have supported the work of our social workers, providing resources such as food, clothing, utility assistance and transportation to students and their families in times of need.

And they started a program to serve unaccompanied homeless youth. They also helped youth who have dropped out of school to get their GED and go on to college, military, or work. And they have supported the school district by serving on committees and helping wherever needed.

Needless to say, Julie Miller has been an integral part of the success of our schools, and, at this time, we want to give her this token of our appreciation.

Ms. Miller was presented with a plaque of appreciation inscribed with: Julie Miller, Award of Excellence.

Thank you for your exceptional support of our students and their families. We wish you the very best.

November 27, 2018

4-h presidents lead the pledge

The 4-H presidents from South Columbia Elementary School attended the November 27 board meeting and lead other attendees in saying the pledge of allegiance. Thank you to Dontay Palmer, Ansley Becsey, Akira McKie, and Colby Lovett-Akeson.

A special thanks to our School pto presidents

As we all know, an integral part of the success of our schools and our school district is our parents, especially our PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) leaders.

These parents give countless hours of their time, Working in our classrooms, the media center, the front office; Raising money to give our students and staff, items like playgrounds and computers; and Helping with events such as book fairs, fun runs, and carnivals. Without these dedicated people, our students would miss out on so much and our teachers would carry greater loads.

Parents, we recognize the men and women who help make our schools outstanding places for children. Thank you for partnering with us to prepare your children, and all of our students, to be responsible and engaged citizens. We appreciate you!

elementary pto presidents

Baker Place ELementary - Kelli Wirtz

Blue Ridge Elementary - Jennifer Nichols

Brookwood Elementary - Jenny Newton

Cedar Ridge Elementary - Cindy Correa

Euchee Creek Elementary - Patricia (Trish) Lopez

Evans Elementary - Nicole Cook

Greenbrier Elementary - Erin Rymer

Grovetown Elementary - Cynthia (Cindy) Bradford

Lewiston Elementary - Kim Combs

Martinez Elementary - Tina Weathers

North Columbia Elementary - Ashley Walden

North Harlem Elementary - Brandy Marble & Melissa Bateson

Parkway Elementary - Kaleigh Killebrew

River Ridge Elementary - Alysha Painter

Riverside Elementary - Darren Scheyer

South Columbia Elementary - Jennifer Powell & Lauren Hinote

Stevens Creek Elementary - Jill Morris & Kristen Wilson

Westmont Elementary - Courtney O’Neal

Middle school pto presidents

Columbia Middle School - Jennifer Miller

Evans Middle School - Ashley Storey

Greenbrier Middle School - Amber Shehorn

Grovetown Middle School - Julie Thornton

Harlem Middle School - Julie Perry

Lakeside Middle School - Sherri Norris

Riverside Middle School - Gretchen Daly

Stallings Island Middle School - Heather Deal

High school pto/student council presidents

Evans High School - Demetric Hillman

Greenbrier High School - Amy Newton

Grovetown High School - Dr. Ashley Gess

Harlem High School - Tommy Shepherd

Lakeside High School - Erin Tabor

November 13, 2018

AU Mindframe STEAM/STEM Competition winners!

Recently Augusta University held the inaugural MINDFRAME Competition, a problem solving competition that gave fourth through eighth grade students the opportunity to apply the content of what they are learning in the context of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

Six teams from Columbia County took first through third places in one of the five categories out of more than 700 students from Augusta, Aiken, Columbia County, Edgefield and North Augusta. Categories included: Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Engineering, Spoken Word and Rocketry.

The competition consisted of two parts: a long problem and a spontaneous problem. This year, the long problem question was, “How can we keep the American Dream alive?” Teams prepared an answer to that problem and presented it at the competition held October 6, which for us was fall break weekend. So extra kudos to the students and staff who participated!

The spontaneous challenge was an impromptu problem that was given to the team at the time of the competition and was worked out and solved on the spot.

Teams were assessed on their quick thinking, their teamwork, and their creativity as they worked through the problem.

Congratulations to all of our exceptional students for their hard work, which paid off with several wins! Way to go!

The four Rocketeers



1st Place in Middle School Rocketry!

Team members include: Carissa Veriato, Avery Boyd, Emily Forshee and Leland Green

Advisor: David Phillips

The River

River Ridge Elementary

2nd place in Engineering

Team members include:

Gabby Burkett, Elise Clemente, Amelia Floyd, Gray Hollan, Abby Lester, Gavin Petit and Dong-Bo Zhang.

Advsors: RRE Teacher Dawn Jeffers and parent Amy Clemente

NCE Full STEAM Ahead

North Columbia Elementary

1st Place in Performing Arts

Team members include: McKenna Custer, Lillian Dye, Wesley Hinton, Cole Hyland and Kyle Rodgers

Advisor: Instructional Specialist Amy Williamson

Grovetown Patriots

Grovetown Middle School

3rd Place in Rocketry

Team members include: Si (Curtis) Starks, Ja'Varie Roundtree, Ella Tevid, Hope Belanger and Kayden Talor

Advsor: Computer Science Teacher Christen Smith

The RIverhawks

Stallings Island Middle School

1st Place in Visual Arts

Team members include: Aryan Gupta, Charles Timmons, Anshika Saxena, Vivan Sudharsan and Nidhi Shenoy

Advisors: Deborah Hundt and Alayna Paine

The Dork side

Greenbrier Middle School

1st Place in Engineering

Team members include: Alyssa Bartlett, Bethany Lillie, Sydney MacDonald and Kendall Schneller

Advsor: David Phillips

Georgia fire safety poster contest

Gage Anderson - North Columbia Elementary School

Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association has sponsored Fire Prevention Week, a time to educate people about how to reduce the likelihood of having a fire and how to escape safely in the event there is one.

To encourage awareness of fire prevention, the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner sponsors a Fire Safety Poster and Essay contest using the campaign theme.

This year’s theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere!” Gage took 1st place in the 2nd Grade state competition, under the advisement of his art teacher and NCE Teacher of the Year, Ms. Audrey Crosby!

American Chemical Society's

national chemistry Olympiad winner

Felix Pei, of Lakeside High School is an American Chemistry Society National Chemistry Olympiad winner.

Every year since 1984, the American Chemistry Society has sponsored the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad program. The Olympiad is a multi-tiered chemistry exam competition created to encourage high school students to achieve excellence in chemistry. No more than two students from each high school in the United States are invited to take part in the national competition. Of more than 850 students in Georgia who took the exam this year, only 13 students qualified to advance to the national exam. Felix was one of these 13 students.

In the national competition, which consists of a three-part, four hour and forty-five minute exam, Felix scored at the honors level. He was one of the top 144 students in the nation out of over 16,000 who participated. Congratulations, Felix, for this major accomplishment. And thank you to his advisor, Ms. Neera Young!

4-H Presidents

Riverside Elementary School 4-H Presidents led the Pledge of Allegiance. They are: Avery Tanksley and Elizabeth Carter. Great job to our student leaders!

October 23, 2018

Elementary School 4-H presidents Lead the Pledge of Allegiance!

special recognition - realizing educational ACHIEVEMENT can happen (reach) scholarship awards


Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) is a needs-based mentorship and scholarship program created by Governor Deal to encourage students to persist in their educational pursuits. Participating school districts identify rising eighth grade students who display academic promise and provide them with the academic, social, and financial support they will need to graduate from high school, attend and complete college, and achieve success in the workforce. Today, REACH serves nearly 1,200 scholars in 134 school districts across Georgia.

Scholars sign a contract agreeing to maintain good grades, uphold good behavior and attendance, meet with their assigned mentor at least twice a month and their academic coach once a month, attend REACH activities throughout each school year until their completion of high school. Scholars who complete the program receive $2,500.00 per year for up to four years to be used toward educational costs at a University System of Georgia, Technical College System of Georgia, or eligible private post-secondary institution.

Eight students, together with their parents or guardians, signed their REACH commitment contract. Columbia Middle: Kioko Mitchell; Evans Middle: Nancy Zuniga-Martinez; Greenbrier Middle: A’mya Wiggleton; Grovetown Middle: Jessalyn Hall; Harlem Middle: Ayanna Youngblood; Lakeside Middle: Amber Avery; Riverside Middle: Derek Counsel; and Stallings Island Middle: Alexandra Pena-Gomez.

October 9, 2018

North harlem elementary 4-h presidents lead the pledge

For the October 9, 2018 board meeting, attendants were led through the Pledge of Allegiance by four North Harlem Elementary school Fifth Graders, who are their school's 4-H presidents. The boys quartet was composed of Max Maya, Caleb Leatherwood, Venturious Holcomb, and Eder Coronado.

Jefferson cooperative outreach for education donations

Jefferson Energy Cooperative Outreach for Education Program, or CORE, made another generous donation to Harlem Middle School and Harlem High School. Mr. William Irwin, Vice-President of Energy Service, and Mr. Steve Chalker, Director of Public Relations, represented the company and received CORE's Certificate of Appreciation presented by the board of education. Harlem Middle School's Principal Carl Jackson and Harlem High School's Principal Dietmar Perez attended the event on behalf of their schools.

The CORE program is funded by unclaimed capital credits, which are refunds that the company is unable to provide to customers who have moved and cannot be located. The only stipulation for the use of the funds is that they are used for specific projects and not for ongoing operating expenses.

This year, CORE donations will be in the amount of $8,000 for Harlem Middle and $8,000 for Harlem High School! Harlem Middle plans to use these funds to purchase very expensive TI-84 graphing calculators and for signage inside their building. Harlem High plans to use these dollars to purchase technology to make their classroom smart televisions interactive.

Thank you, Jefferson Electric, for providing power to these two schools and for these funds to support education!

Left to right: Leslie Olig, Kayla Pritchett, Sydney Thornton, Hannah Smith, Britanny Pritchett, Sandy Helling

girl scouts receive gold award

Four young ladies, affiliated with Girl Scouts, an organization composed of more than 10 million girls worldwide who use their talents to positively affect their communities, and several of their guides, received the gold award. The Gold Award was created in 1980 to recognize these good works and the leadership qualities of the scouts who complete them. This award is earned by fewer than 6% of Girl Scouts annually and scouts spend one to two years on their projects.

Greenbrier High School: Senior Hannah Smith earned the Gold Award in September of 2017 by creating a recycling garden with a curriculum for the teachers at Greenbrier Elementary. Ms. Sandy Helling, Fund Development Specialist for Augusta, was her adviser.

Grovetown High School: Senior Sydney Thornton earned the Gold Award this past June, by building a map at the front of the Euchee Creek Park and Trails, creating a website for the park, and placing posts throughout the park that describe the flora in the area. Her advisor was Mr. Fred Worley.

Harlem High School: Senior Brittany Pritchett earned the Gold Award this past January by assisting a local stable and holding a free horse camp for low income children. The stable plans to continue this project in the years to come. Sydney’s advisor was Ms. Helling. Junior Kayla Pritchett earned the Gold Award this past August by building a volleyball court at Euchee Creek Park. She also conducted a two day clinic for middle school girls in the area to teach them how to play volleyball and to improve their skills. Her advisor is Ms. Leslie Olig, the media specialist at Euchee Creek, who recieved a Certificate of Appreciation.

September 25, 2018

Greenbrier High Representatives: Kinnley Coffman, Carson Crow, Sachin Ganeshbabu, Cali Macisak, Andres Martinez, Grace O'Neal, Hadden Peel, Davis Rogers, Madison Smith and Dongyu Zhang.

Lakeside High Representatives: Nikhil Balan, Emory Burch, Patty Callaway, Abigail Colvin, Ansley Colvin, Ryan Holleran, Sanam Patel, Zachary Thomas and Kyler Worthington.

Evans High Representatives: Jack Baughn, Aniyah Bussey, Adaire Hill, Nancy Kye, Sydney Loflin and Corrie Polhill.

Harlem High Representatives: Ava Tisdale

Students selected to leadership class

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership Class of 2019 selected 26 students from the Columbia County School District, out of the 32-member class. We are so proud of our students for being selected to be a part of this excellent opportunity.

The Youth Leadership Columbia County is a year-long experience in partnership with our Partners In Education at the Chamber of Commerce.

Congratulations to all students selected to participate in this class.

superintendent's student advisory council 2018-2019

Students elected to serve on the Columbia County School District's Superintendent's Student Advisory Council are elected representatives of their respective school student bodies. Congratulations for all of our student leaders who are working hard to keep our district leadership informed to better serve you.

Evans High School Advisory Representatives: Rebekah Hollar - Executive Committee Chair; Lydia Rouse - Senior President; Jacie Lane - Junior President; Rachel Hunter - Sophomore President; and Kate Yeargain - Freshman President.

Greenbrier High School Advisory Representatives: Jordan Inglett - Senior President; Michael McGrath - Junior President; Neba Ngoh - Sophomore President; and Carson Meddings - Freshman President.

Grovetown High School Advisory Representatives: Brandy Edwards - Executive Committee Chair; Olivia Stephens - Senior President; Brianna Ladiero - Junior Class President; Kayleigh Lamkin-Boyd - Sophomore Class President; and Linda Daniels - Freshman Class President.

Harlem High School Advisory Representatives: Taylor Gray - Senior President; Anna Burnett - Junior Class President; Savannah Allen - Sophomore Class President; and Aiden Gibbs - Freshman Class President.

Lakeside High School Advisory Representatives: Noah Strickland - Senior Class President; Olivia Strickland - Junior Class President; Morgan Johnson - Sophomore Class President; and Michael Bates - Freshman Class President.

STate superintendent's advisory council members

Three of our middle school students were selected to serve on State School Superintendent's Richard Woods student advisory group.

State Superintendent Student Advisory Council: Evans Middle School - Bryce Nunnallee and John Lane. From Greenbrier Middle School - Simon Toney. Congratulations students for being selected to represent Columbia County School District! We are proud of you!

September 11, 2018

Thanks to our 4-H Presidents from Euchee Creek Elementary School for leading the pledge.

Junior League Augusta

Each year the Junior League of Augusta provides four opportunities for area educators and community organizations to apply for funding to support their project needs. This year the Junior League awarded two teachers from our schools with grants.

In the category of Award for Classroom Enrichment, Ms. Katy Jones from Martinez Elementary was awarded $359.30 for her Hydroponics Program. Hydroponics was chosen by the Martinez second grade teachers as the year-long problem based learning project, as the school seeks to gain STEM certification. Hydroponics is all about growing plants without soil - "Plants working in water." The Junior League of Augusta grant funds will be used to purchase growing kits, water filatration systems, nutrients and grow lights needed for each second grade student to grow vegetables without using soil. The class has partnered with community members and the goal is to help students learn about sustainable gardening at school and at home.

In the category of Field Trip Fund, Lakeside Middle School teachers Ms. Gail Snipes and Ms. Samaritan Simmons applied for and received $500. They plan to take their students to the Augusta Players' performance of "A Christmas Story" December 5th and to the performance of "Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963" February 21, 2019.

Congratulations to Ms. Snipes, Ms. Simmons and Ms. Jones for earning these grants for your students!

And a special thank you to Junior Leauge Augusta for your generous gift!

Georgia Forestry Association's

Project Learning tree

2017 Outstanding Organization and Educator of the Year

In 1987 a group of teachers, with the help of natural resource professionals, created Project Learning Tree to provide students with opportunities to Investigate environmental issues, practice critical thinking skills, and make informed, responsible decisions.

Since its beginning, Georgia Project Learning Tree has trained over 22,830 educators in topics ranging from forests, wildlife, and water, to community planning, waste management, and energy.

Each year, the Project Learning Tree State Steering Committee identifies a Project Learning Tree Outstanding Organization, which is a group that demonstrates strong support for and works with Project Learning Tree.

At this year’s Georgia Forestry Association’s Annual Conference in Hilton Head, Euchee Creek Elementary was awarded the Georgia Project Learning Tree 2017 Outstanding Organization.

Each year Georgia Project Learning Tree also recognizes a trained Project Learning Tree educator for his or her use of the Project Learning Tree curriculum with students, teachers, and their communities. The outstanding educator is chosen through a nomination process, for activities such as: increasing student tests scored by using Project Learning Tree; preparing preservice educators to use Project Learning Tree with their future classes; And supporting Project Learning Tree’s Awareness, Knowledge, Challenge, Action learning process.

This educator is also recognized at the Georgia Forestry Association’s Annual Conference. Congratulations to Ms. Leslie Olig, the Georgia Project Learning Tree 2017 Outstanding Educator!

Cyber city's best!

The Augusta Chronicle's Cyber City’s Best Awards contest, formerly known as Best of Augusta, starts with readers of the Chronicle nominating their favorite businesses from among thirteen categories, with multiple sub-categories. The next phase asks readers to vote again for their favorite business from the top five in each category and the top three out of each category make it to the top finalist list.

In the Public School category we had several schools nominated, to include: Baker Place, Blue Ridge, Evans, North Columbia, River Ridge and Stevens Creek elementary schools. And Greenbrier and Lakeside high schools.

Columbia County schools earned the top three spots. These were North Columbia Elementary, Evans Elementary, and River Ridge Elementary.

Today we are proud to say that the Best of the Best in the public school category is North Columbia Elementary, under the leadership of Ms. Tonya Gambrell!

August 28, 2018

Columbia County Schools Teachers of the Year


Elementary School teachers of the year

Baker Place Elementary - Christa Powell

Blue Ridge Elementary - Lynn Carswell

Brookwood - Meredith Hinson

Cedar Ridge - Amber Lazenby

Euchee Creek - Lieghton Foster

Evans - Karen Angelucci

Greenbrier - Alex Heider

Grovetown - Tameria Perry

Lewiston - Melissa Cassada

Martinez - Stephanie Adams

North Columbia - Audrey Crosby

North Harlem - Marisa Forney

Parkway - Hollee Schonewolf

River Ridge - Melanie Roberts

Riverside - Cathy Kepshire

South Columbia - Tina Hammond

Stevens Creek - Becky Bennett

Westmont - Brandi Reynolds

Middle school teachers of the year

Columbia - Jamie Cohan

Evans - Lauren Dukes (not pictured)

Greenbrier - Paige Dobbs

Grovetown - Jessica Shepherd

Harlem - Jeremiah Johnson

Lakeside - Amy Cox

Riverside - Christy Van Meter

Stallings Island - Ginger Sutton

High school

teachers of the year

Evans - Allison Waddell

Greenbrier - Whitney Poucher

Grovetown - Jannette Thomas

Harlem - Troy Willard

Lakeside - Elizabeth McDaniel

Columbia county school district Teacher of the year finalists

Grovetown High School - Jannette Thomas; Riverside Middle School - Christy Van Meter; Grovetown Middle School - Jessica Shepherd; Stevens Creek Elementary School - Becky Bennett; and Blue Ridge Elementary School - Lynn Carswell.

August 14, 2018

Two Columbia County Schools earn industry certification

Two courses at Grovetown and Lakeside highs' Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) programs recently received the highly coveted industry certification.

When a program becomes industry certified, it receives a “stamp of excellence,” which represents the apex of program quality. Only those programs that have successfully undergone rigorous review by leaders from business and industry are recognized with this distinction, indicating the program is the “best of the best.” It is validation from industry that the skills needed to be successful in the field, are being delivered to students in the program.

And students completing a pathway in an industry certified program will have strong credibility with employers and often preferential hiring, because this certification is an indication to employers that they will receive qualified students who will make productive employees.

At Grovetown High School instructor Kris Norris was awarded a brand new industry certification for the Automotive Service Excellence Certification.

At Lakeside High School, instructors Pamela Gosney, Susan Johnson and Lisa Olson earned re-certification for the school's Health Care Science Industry courses.

Congratulations to all of our instructors working to bridge that career gap from high school to industry!

Mr. Erroll Thomas

Recipient of the South Carolina Order of the Silver Crescent

On June 24, 2018, the Order of the Silver Crescent was awarded to Mr. Errol Thomas, a North Augusta resident, who teaches math and science at Columbia Middle School.

In 1997, then South Carolina Governor David Beasley established the Order of the Silver Crescent. The award is considered the highest civilian award and a once in a lifetime achievement for significant contributions, leadership, volunteerism, and lifelong influence within a region or community.

Mr. Thomas was recognized for his years spent serving as a role model, providing academic guidance, and helping encourage local children and teens to make good choices.

Mr. Thomas and his wife, Sabrina, run Choices LTD, which serves the community with motivational speaking, and by mentoring and tutoring youth to help students achieve life goals, becoming better citizens and people.

Choices LTD has awarded students with over $50,000.00 in scholarships since they were founded in 1999.

Congratulations to Mr. Thomas!

Thank you for working in our school district, and thank you for your work with Choices LTD.

Sidney Burkhalter

2018 Elks Lodge Americanism Essay Georgia State Contest Winner!

Sidney Burkhalter from Brookwood Elementary submitted her essay to Augusta Elks Lodge #205, and is the Division I Essay contest winner for the State of Georgia.

The Elks organization was founded to promote and practice the four cardinal virtues of: Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love, and Fidelity; and To promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its members; To quicken the spirit of American Patriotism and To cultivate good fellowship."

The youth of our country have always been important to the Order. So each year, they sponsor an Americanism essay contest geared toward students in the fifth through eighth grade to help promote patriotism.

This year the topic for the essay which could not exceed 300 words was “Why our Veterans are America’s Heroes."

Sidney is an avid reader and loves the Harry Potter series.

For winning this contest, Sidney received a plaque and $100. She used the money to buy books to read.

Congratulations Sidney and Thank You for writing about why our veterans are America’s heroes!

Harry Zhou

Perennial Math National Champion!

Harry Zhou from Stevens Creek Elementary School recently added Perennial Math National Champion to his recent Math Olympiad 2017-2018 win!

There are two steps to becoming a Perennial Math National Champion.

The first step is competing in the on-site math tournament. For this tournament, Harry competed on-line against other students for half a day. At the end of the day, he was declared the Perennial Math Columbia County Tournament winner. Harry had to win this tournament in order to advance to the National Championship Tournament, which is the final competition.

The National Championship Tournament takes place virtually and is a live competition. Harry competed against 83 fourth grade winners from across the country, winning first place and being named the Perennial Math National Fourth Grade Champion.

This past April we recognized Math Bowl and Math Olympiad winners who competed against students, increasing their love for math while improving upon and showcasing their talents.

One of the coaches is Ms. Tara Farr of Stevens Creek Elementary. Ms. Farr is also Harry's teacher. Thank you for promoting the love of math in your students and offering them an opportunity to compete!