BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Blue Ridge Elementary School announced their Fire Safety winners on Wednesday, September 18, 2019! Congratulations to these students from everyone at Fetch Your News!
Our 1st place winners of the Fire Safety Poster Contest were announced this morning, and we would like to share this exciting news with you. I have attached the photo of our winners.
“Not Every Hero Wears A Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape.” Is the name of the contest this year.
Top Row (L-R) Zoe Callihan (5th Grade Winner), Laurel Minear (4th Grade Winner), Addyson Bradburn (3rd Grade Winner)
Bottom Row (L-R) Claire Whitener (1st Grade Winner), Aubrey Tapia (2nd Grade Winner), Sean O’Quinn (Kindergarten Winner)
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BLUE RIDGE, GA – Blue Ridge Elementary School (BRES) students participated in a mid-morning gathering and cooking activity hosted by Ingles Supermarkets, Dole Packaged Foods, and Captain Planet Foundation to celebrate their Project Learning Garden and Sustainable Initiative.
BRES received a “learning garden” grant from Ingles and Dole in 2019 for their on-campus garden to teach students about growing their own vegetables and living sustainably. The school changes out the plants with each season.
Assistant Principal Gini Bell commented that the kids love the garden and during tomato season, they were outside picking handfuls daily to take home.
Currently, strawberries, peppers, green beans, and lettuce are growing and students harvest them. They also have a cooking class every two weeks to learn about preparing food.
Tasha Gomes, the Learning Garden Manager with the Captain Planet Foundation led the children throughout the presentation. She taught them how to sauté vegetables, season meals, and properly use a knife.
She also instructed the children to not “yuck anyone’s yum” explaining that everyone had different tastes and not to make anyone feel bad for liking something different.
All the students eagerly ate their sautéed green beans and salad, grown and prepared by themselves. Many agreeing that they would like to eat these meals again.
The Captain Planet Foundation began in 1991 and was founded by Ted Turner and Barbara Pyle. It’s based on the cartoon, Captain Planet and the Planeteers and strives to ensure that the next generation is environmentally conscious. The organization has conducted over 2,000 hands-on environmental education projects with schools and non-profits that serve children in all 50 U.S. states and in 23 countries internationally.
The Project Learning Garden program provides a context for multidisciplinary learning, ranging from nutrition and science to social studies, math and language arts. Students benefit by expanding their palates, taste-testing healthy foods, and learning about food origins; engaging in authentic science field investigations; manipulating the environment to understand math in real-life applications; recreating historical activities; and writing across all these disciplines.
Only four schools received the grant from Dole and Ingles in 2019, which marked the second year that the organizations partnered to offer Project Learning Gardens to schools in Ingles’ market area. Ingles Grocery stores cover six southeastern states with its headquarters in Asheville, NC.
Ingles works with local farmers to carry more local food than its competitors, and the company has donated more than 18 million dollars to local schools through its Tools for Schools program. The two programs together teach children the cycle of food is a great opportunity for all.
BRES received a $200 check from the North GA Master Gardeners August 28, 2019. The group is supporting BRES to purchase bird seed and plants that provide food for the birds as well. BRES is grateful for the continued support of the Master Gardeners. This year they plan to volunteer time to help BRES with various beds including our pollinator garden and on our community service project restoring the town’s historic, forgotten graveyard. Included in the picture is Flora Grindstaff (Master Gardener), Jane Brackett (Master Gardener), April Hodges (BRES Principal), Sally Crawford (Master Gardener), Teresa Tate (STEAM Teacher), and Gini Bell (BRES Assistant Principal).
BRES was awarded a Captain Planet Foundation Project Learning Grant this Fall. Over the past 5 months we have received a $500 garden enhancement gift card that we were able to purchase items for our current school gardens. Teachers have participated in online professional development on ways to incorporate grade level standards in our learning garden activities. Today we received a fully equipped mobile cooking cart and classroom lesson kits!
From the Captain Planet Foundation:
I’m thrilled to be writing you today to let you know that Blue Ridge Elementary has been selected to receive Project Learning Garden, a garden based education grant program from Captain Planet Foundation.
In partnership with Dole Packaged Foods and your local Ingles, we are able to provide PLG to Blue Ridge Elementary so that your students and teachers can get growing in the coming semester.
Your school will receive the following:
Raised garden beds or a $500 Garden Enhancement gift card
Professional development for teachers and for school garden teams
Access to standards-aligned lessons and curriculum/science supplies to teach those lessons and take learning outdoors
Fully-equipped mobile cooking cart
Colorful, interpretive garden signs
Attached, you will see information about what resources your school will receive (a garden, mobile cooking cart, professional development, standards-based lessons and supplies, etc.) and there is more information about the program on our website here.
This grant is being offered to you at no cost thanks to our friends at Dole Packaged Foods. We’d love to work with you to bring Project Learning Garden to your students and teachers! If we do not hear from you within the next week, we may move on to another school, so please reply with any questions you may have or to confirm your interest!
Many talented Fannin County and Copper Basin young artists had their pieces displayed recently at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Center to kick off Youth Art Month.
Blue Ridge Elementary School, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Fannin Middle School, Fannin County High School, and Copper Basin High School were well represented with various arts from rock painting to canvas.
The following Art teachers/mentors were on hand as well:
Nancy Watkins – Blue Ridge Elementary School.
Kimberly Huffman- East Fannin Elementary School.
Ben Sexton- West Fannin Elementary School.
Dana Stone- Fannin Middle School.
Holly Vicarro- Fannin County High School.
Jennifer Danner- Copper Basin High School.
Bethany Musselman, a Fannin County High School Art student, helped dedicate the month of March as Youth Art Month by reading the 2019 Proclamation.
Each First Place winner from the various schools represented received a Gift Certificate to The Art Center’s store.
Hudson York- Blue Ridge Elementary School.
Presley Daves- East Fannin Elementary School.
Ava Acker- West Fannin Elementary School.
Vanessa Medrono- Fannin County Middle School.
Bethany Musselman- 2D- Fannin County High School.
Alyssa Anderson- 3D- Fannin County High School.
Aidan Garcia- Copper Basin High School.
Watkins, Huffman, Sexton, and Stone accepted the First Place prize awards for the students in their respective schools who were not able to attend.
Executive Director Nicole Potzauf commented the Youth Art Month event was one of her favorites at the Art Center which showcases and honors students to help develop creativity in the community.
One young artist, Ireland Wilson, a freshman at Copper Basin High School, sold her first acrylic painting.
She said in a candid interview the inspiration behind her painting was, “I love space. I gave Ms. Danner the idea of a ‘night sky’. We just went with it.”
To view all the wonderful pieces of art from our local youth, please visit the Blue Ridge Mountains Art Center at 402 West Main Street in beautiful downtown Blue Ridge, GA. Call (706) 632- 2144 or email BlueRidgeArts@gmail.com for more information on March Youth Art Month.
2019 Upcoming Youth Art Events
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The following students were inducted into the BRES Student Council:
Yohana Cendejas-Hernandez – 4th
Angel Mojica-Carmona – 4th
Lilly Whitener -4th
Miller Denton – 5th
Eli Queen – 5th
Arwen Wood – 5th
(Left to right in the main picture above)
Previous members (served refreshments)- Conrad Head (5th), Adeline Beavers (5th), Kennedy Mason (5th)
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – After hearing concerns expressed at the Jan. 11 Board of Education (BOE) meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney, as well as other members of the board, added a new agenda item covering extracurricular activities within the school system.
At the Feb. 8 BOE meeting the board unveiled this new item. Dr. Gwatney explained that updates of Fannin County extracirruclar activities will be a recurring item.
While these updates will encompass all of Fannin County’s extracurriculars, the focus of the Feb. updates centered around the state of the Fannin County Athletics Department.
Fannin County High School Principal Erik Cioffi presented this information to the public.
“There were some questions about accountability,” Cioffi spoke of concerns presented at the previous BOE meeting. “You don’t have to look any further than right here. I am the one who has hired people and put them in positions. So if there is a concern it should come to my department.”
Cioffi spoke of the staff of Fannin County School System and added that the pool of educators in which coaches can be pulled from is currently 59 certified teachers.
“They are teachers first and they have responsibilities that make up a bulk of their time,” Cioffi added.
Athletic Director Dr. Scott Ramsey clarified that there are 62 coaching positions that have to be covered, and for this reason coaches have to work or coach in multiple departments. Ramsey backed up Cioffi stating that a coach’s first priority is to be an educator.
“As they should be,” Ramsey stated. “Because that is the ultimate thing, they (students) leave with a high school diploma.”
Cioffi discussed the current Georgia High School Association (GHSA) policy and why Fannin County continues to be placed a AAA region school. In the past GHSA reevaluated schools on a two year cycle. Recent changes, however, has left evaluations happening every four years.
“We have no control over the region we’re placed,” Cioffi explained.
A meeting is scheduled on Feb. 21 where representatives from Fannin County Athletics along with representative from other AAA schools will meet with GHSA officials to examine the new policy.
“It’s ridiculous. If they (GHSA) get it wrong, that’s impacted a child’s entire four years,” Cioffi told the crowd about plans to hopefully bring about change on the state level when it comes to athletics.
The possibility of dropping to AA classification could pose a different set of difficulties for the student athletes of Fannin County, as travel is cited to be a large consideration in the possibility of changing regions.
A new AA classification could mean that students would have to travel as far as three hours away to play other AA teams.
Cioffi also proposed what all parties (parents, coaches and administration) want a “Winning Culture”, and explained how to take steps in this direction: “Before we even get to a winning culture, we need a positive culture. That’s going to take everyone in this room and everyone outside this room to get there.”
“Stay positive. Our kids see when there’s negativity going around,” Cioffi spoke of the recent discussions taking place via social media. “One thing I can promise you is that coaches aren’t posting things on social media about kids and parents.”
“Communicate with each other and figure out how can we best meet the needs of all the programs,” Cioffi went on,”Ultimately we want all programs to be successful.”
The parents coming forward was a big step in addressing the issues that Fannin County Athletics faces, and administration wants to keep lines of communication open and figure out how to “get over the hump and move forward.”
Athletic Director Dr. Scott Ramsey concluded the presentation: “We’re working together, because we don’t ever want to be an us versus you mentality. There never needs to be adversary. We all need to be working for the good of the kids.”
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