White County High, Truett McConnell students, first responders simulate car crash

News

Student Tiffany Partain simulates a victim in a mock vehicle accident at White County High School Friday.

CLEVELAND, Ga. — It was just a mock vehicle accident, but hopefully the students at White County High School (WCHS) got the message, especially with prom night fast approaching.

The “accident” was staged by White County Emergency Services along with students from the high school and the nursing school at Truett McConnell University (TMU). The setting was the lower parking lot at WCHS and the entire student body was on hand to witness the event.

In introducing the accident, WCHS Principal John Osborne said, “One of the most liberating things you will ever do is to get your license. But don’t ever, ever not respect what a car can do. You are literally driving a missile and you’ve got to take that seriously.”

WCHS student Aden Stein plays the role of a drunk driver in Friday’s mock vehicle accident.

Aden Stein, played the role of a drunk driver who faces 20 years in prison for causing the accident that “killed” 17-year-old Tiffany Partain. Those injured in the wreck included TMU students Hannah Bradley, Jendra Chaverria, Priscilla Badu, Rachel Brown, Emily Drane and Morgan Harris.

White County Emergency Services employees Ana Newberry and Josh Taylor narrated the events, explaining the actions that are taken at a fatal accident scene. Sadly, their narration struck very close to home. Newberry lost her son in a car wreck and Taylor lost his younger brother.

An AirLife helicopter arrives at WCHS Friday ready to transport victims to the hospital following the mock car crash.

Throughout the event, Partain’s “lifeless” body lay on the hood of the car she was driving. First responders worked to extricate the passengers in her vechicle, TMU students Bradley, Chaverria, Badu, Harris, Brown, and Drane.

Meanwhile, a state patrol officer administered field sobriety tests to Stein before placing him in handcuffs and transporting him to jail.

Moments later, an AirLife helicopter landed to transport the injured to the hospital.

Taylor told the students looking on, “We put a lot of hard work into this. The school put a lot of hard work into this. We want everyone to learn something from this about how serious distracted driving can be.”

He talked about being on duty at the fire station the night he heard a 911 call come in about a traffic fatality. “I thought ‘Man, I hate that for somebody. They just lost a loved one,'” Taylor said. Thirty minutes later, he learned the deceased was his younger brother.

White County Emergency Services employees Ana Newberry (left) and Josh Taylor narrated Friday’s mock vehicle accident, hoping to impress on students the dangers of impaired or distracted driving.

Newberry recounted to the students the day her son was killed in a motor vehicle accident. “He over-corrected while he was reaching for the phone that I was calling him on,” she said. “I had to go to the hospital because the GSP (Georgia State Patrol) would not let me go to the vehicle. There is my son coming out of the ambulance with a sheet over him,” she said as she fought back tears. “If you don’t think that affects you as a mother. I’ll never have grandchildren. He will always be 24 to me. So that phone you’ve got in your hand, put it down!”

Hopefully, the hard work by the school, first responders and students will save someone’s life.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach.If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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White County High School, Ninth Grade Academy named to list of Georgia’s Highest Performing Schools

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. — White County schools continue to receive recognition for academic excellence.

Last month, Tesnatee Gap Elementary School and Mount Yonah Elementary School were named to the list of Title 1 Highest Performing Schools in Georgia.

When state School Superintendent Richard Woods named the Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools for 2018 this month, White County High School (WCHS) and the Ninth Grade Academy (NGA) were recognized in three categories: AP Challenge Schools, AP STEM (science technology engineering mathematics) Schools and AP STEM Achievement Schools.

AP Challenge Schools are schools with enrollments of 900 or fewer students and students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science, and social studies).

AP STEM Schools are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science A).

AP STEM Achievement Schools are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses and at least 40 percent of exam scores on AP math and science exams earning scores of 3 or higher.

White County School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Wilson said, “I am so proud of the work that Mr. (John) Osborne, Mrs. (Mary Ann) Collier and staff at NGA/WCHS are doing to help our students achieve at the highest level. This is a testament of the increased rigor we have seen at every level of our school system.”

AP exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP courses are one of several ways Georgia students can access college-level learning at the high-school level. Students who receive a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam may receive college credit.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach.If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Ransomware, sportsmanship were the hot topics at Tuesday’s school board meeting

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. — The White County Board of Education devoted much of its time during Tuesday’s meeting to a discussion of the ransomware attack that impacted the school system server two weeks ago and sportsmanship.

The cyber attack was not as devastating as the one that was launched against the city of Atlanta.

School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Wilson said four files containing 11 employee social security numbers were accessed but nothing was downloaded. “I encourage everyone to freeze their credit,” Wilson said. “Its worth the $3 it costs to protect yourself.”

The school system’s total financial loss was the $5,000 deductible paid to the insurance company. Wilson said new procedures are being put into place to protect against future attacks.

The sportsmanship discussion centered on fan behavior. Wilson said there had been several incidents of poor sportsmanship at White County High School games this year, mainly involving parents.

“We are definitely going to start pushing our parents hard,” he said. “We want to be a model for our kids. We all get upset when a kid gets a technical foul on the court while that same kid’s parents may be up in the stands screaming and hollering.”

Wilson said there had been some incidents where fans verbally abused coaches as well. “We’re not going to put up with them being ugly to our coaches either. This season, we’ve had some parents chew on them pretty hard, and we’re not going to have that anymore,” the superintendent explained.

Wilson said the school system has new sportsmanship guidelines that fans will be required to follow. The guidelines will be discussed during weekly meetings with athletes and parents and will be posted publicly at different sports venues.

Several pay-as-you-go items were also discussed and are expected to be voted on at Thursday’s school board meeting, including extra surveillance cameras for schools ($20,000), a viewing station ($3,000), global positioning system (GPS) for buses ($18,154) and a tarp for the White County High School baseball field ($6,000).

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Students in Dawson, White and Lumpkin counties stage walkout to honor those killed in Parkland, Fl.

News

Dr. Rob Brown

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Students all across the nation staged a 17-minute walkout Wednesday organized by Empower, a youth branch of the Women’s March. National organizers say the walkout was staged to “demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence.”

However, in heavily Republican counties like Dawson, Lumpkin and White, the walkouts were more about a respectful memorial to the 17 students and faculty killed at a Parkland, Florida, high school last month and less about making a political statement.

Lumpkin County Schools

Lumpkin County School Superintendent Dr. Rob Brown said about 125 students at Lumpkin County High School and 25 at Lumpkin County Middle School participated.

“It was all about showing respect for the students and faculty involved in the Parkland tragedy,” Brown said.

While some Georgia school systems threatened to punish students who walked out of classes, that was not the case in Lumpkin, White or Dawson counties.  “We believe First Amendment rights are just as important in schools as they are in the rest of society,” Brown said.

Students at both schools stood around the American flag in observance of the 17 minutes. “The principal encouraged the kids to work on their social skills by talking to students they don’t know and getting to know them,” Brown said.

White County Schools

Dr. Jeff Wilson

Students in White County schools were also welcome to join in the walkout. School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Wilson said 200 White County Middle School students participated along with about 50 at the high school and 15 at the Ninth Grade Academy.

“We respect their right to express themselves as long as it’s respectful and doesn’t disrupt the other students,” Wilson said.

The walkout had a very unique significance at WCMS thanks to a teacher, Melanie Lawhorn, and her students, who developed the “Warriors for Kindness” project. The project, which is posted on the school’s website states, “In order to honor the lives of the 17 individuals lost in Parkland, Florida, White County Middle School students are performing 17 random acts of kindness during the one-month anniversary week.”  The acts of kindness are being logged and will be mailed to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as a sign of support and love for the community.

Dawson County Schools

Dr. Damon Gibbs

School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said the event in Dawson County was respectful and non-disruptive.

“We allowed our students to gather in remembrance of those killed in Parkland, Florida, as well as to express their desire to see an end to school violence of any kind,” Gibbs stated.

Staff was assigned to hold discussions with students and answer any questions that they had.

“We respect the right of our students to express their opinions in a respectful and non-disruptive way,” Gibbs said. “We are also seeking their opinions about how we can make our schools safer in the future.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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4th of July Was a Quiet One for Firefighters

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Thankfully, there were no fires for White County firefighters to deal with Tuesday. Fire Chief Norman Alexander said, “This was one of the quietest Independence Days I can ever remember.”

There was one scare, however, involving White County High School. At 1:47 a.m., a passerby noticed smoke coming from the roof at the high school and called 9-1-1.

Firefighters responded only to learn the smoke was produced by workers who are replacing the roof at the high school. Replacing a roof is hot work so they decided to do the work before sunrise when the temperature is much cooler.

Other than that false alarm, firefighters got a well-deserved day of rest.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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White County Among Nation’s “Most Challenging” High Schools

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – The Washington Post has released its 19th annual “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” list and, for the second year, White County High School was named to the list. The list shows how successfully schools around the nation challenge their students. Only 12 percent of the nation’s high schools qualify.

The schools are ranked by the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. According to National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, nearly one in three of the Most Challenging High Schools are Charter Public Schools, like White County.

White County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeff Wilson said, “I’m very proud of all the hard work of our students, teachers and administrators along with the great support from our school board and the White County community.”

This list doesn’t include campuses with a very small population and only included those with a “high school atmosphere,” so institutions located on college campuses and schools which include seventh grade and lower were not considered.

 

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School Board Works on Balancing Budget

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. — The White County School System is about one month and $11 million away from a balanced Fiscal Year ’18 budget.

School Board members held a preliminary budget hearing Thursday which revealed schools have estimated expenditures of $65,411,417 in FY ’18 and estimated revenue of only $54,239,323. A second budget hearing is set for May 25 at 6 p.m.

In the meantime, Board members will work on ways to balance their spending plan.

The good news is the School System has a healthy fund balance, expected to grow to $17,370,434, by June 30, the end of the fiscal year. Board members can make up the shortfall from the fund balance. A second, less desirable solution, would be to ask taxpayers to make up the entire difference in the form of a millage increase. A more likely scenario would be to remove some money from the fund balance and ask for a millage increase to make up the rest.

The Board will approve the final budget, review the millage rate, schedule and advertise the budget and millage rate public hearings if necessary on June 29.

During Thursday’s meeting, the Board approved:

  • An agreement to pay North Georgia Physicians Group to provide an athletic trainer on a three-year scale of $8,000 during the next school year, $10,000 (2018-‘19) and $12,000 (2019-’20);
  • The formation of a wellness committee, consisting of the superintendent or his designee, school system and community representatives from areas designated in federal law to participate in the development, implementation and periodic review of school wellness policies;
  • A White County High School Senior Night field trip to Six Flags on May 5, and an away match in July for the White County High School volleyball team to Panama City Beach, Florida, to compete against two local schools;
  • An amendment to the employee and student smoking policy;
  • Construction of cases and an area to honor White County Veterans at a cost of approximately $ 20,000;
  • Formation of a Spanish National Honor Society at White County High School.

 

 

 

 

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Tim Cokely Named White County Football Coach

News, Sports

CLEVELAND, Ga. — Tim Cokely, a highly successful prep football coach in Florida, is the new head football coach at White County High School.

Cokely has had a highly successful 27-year coaching career that includes 185 wins, 73 losses and six state championships. He was introduced at a press conference Thursday in the school’s Media Center by Athletic Director Alan Griffin. In 2016, he led Leon High School in Tallahassee to a 7-3 record last year.

Griffin said, “We are thrilled to have Coach Cokely here. We received more than 70 applications and conducted six interviews.”

“It’s great to be a Warrior,” Cokely said. “I realize you are trusting me with your most precious commodity, your children.”

Cokely said he met with assistant coaches in the morning and is going through a process to determine which ones will remain.

“The process will take some time,” he said. “In situations like this there is always a little bit of angst but there shouldn’t be. We’ll go through it the right way.”

Asked about changes in the offensive and defensive schemes, Cokely said, ” I have to coach what I know. I’m basically a one back, inside run, zone stretch coach. I’ve always been involved in the offense and call all the plays. But I typically hire a guy to coach the defense so I haven’t had much say on that side of the ball. I do believe in putting our best players on defense.

Cokely has coached a number of players whose skills took them all the way to the NFL like tight end Dwayne Carswell (Broncos), Ernie Sims (Lions, Colts and Cowboys) and Antonio Cromartie (Jets).

Cokely will replace Bill Ballard, who announced in November that he was stepping down as the White County football coach after six years. Ballard remains with the school as head track coach.

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