Lady Rebels golf team receives grant for 2020

FCHS Golf, Team FYN Sports
Lady Rebels
Lady Rebels

From left are, Jinna Wheeler, FCHS Golf Coach Bryan Richerson, Evie Webb, Raven Porter, Lainey Panter, and JoAnn Setliffe.

The Fannin County High Lady Rebels golf team received a grant from the Georgia Women’s Golf Association on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

The grant is for the upcoming 2020 golf season and was presented by JoAnn Setliffe and Jinna Wheeler with the association

“The purpose of the grant is to assist an organization through funds to develop, promote, maintain and protect the best interests of the game of golf among amateur female golfers throughout the State of Georgia,” according to T.C. Dillard with the high school.

The application to receive the grant was submitted during the spring. The school received word in October that Fannin County had been awarded the grant for the upcoming golf season.

Lady Rebels team members were quick to offer their thanks, led by junior Lainey Panter.

“I want to personally thank the Georgia Women’s Golf Association for their generous donation to our golf team.  I am very grateful to live in such a supportive community that wants to promote women’s golf and supports the success of our student-athletes,” Panter said.

The Lady Rebels golf team has played well in recent years. Last season, they missed qualifying for the state tournament as a team by just a few strokes during the 2018-2019 season.

Panter shot an 85 in the Area 3-AAA tournament last season.

She led the Lady Rebels to a seventh-place finish, just a few shots shy of earning a shot at the team title at the state tournament.

Panter’s 85 did qualify her to move on and compete for the state’s Class AAA individual title.

She fired a 184 during the two-day event, which was held May 20-21 at Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course in Elberton.

Panter’s score was good enough for 17th out of the 53 competitors who qualified and faced off during the state-title event.

The Lady Rebels will tee it up beginning in late winter/early spring of 2020.


No GSA club request made at Fannin High

Board of Education, Education, News
No GSA request made

BLUE RIDGE, GA – As of Friday, Sept. 27, there has been no formal presentation or request for one to begin any new club at Fannin County High School, according to Principal Erik Cioffi.

“The reality is … there’s been no formal presentation to start up a new student-imitated club sponsored by a certified teacher,” Cioffi said Friday, echoing required guidelines he listed in a statement put out Wednesday.

Principal Erik Cioffi

The statement was issued, according to Cioffi, because he felt the issue warranted it.

He also hoped that it might help calm some of the more callus debates taking place in the county.

“Although some of the comments and conversations have been healthy and appropriate, there have also been several that are inappropriate and harmful to our student body,” Cioffi’s statement said Wednesday.

On Friday, he reiterated that, saying “I stand by everything I wrote in the letter.”

The issue at hand is the possible formation of a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club at Fannin County High. While no formal request has been made, nor has a certified teacher at the school stepped forward as sponsor, opinions on both sides have been hot and heavy.

No GSA request made

The petition in favor of starting a GSA club at Fannin High.

Two petitions, one in support of the GSA and one opposed, have gotten nearly 3,000 signatures combined online, with the numbers still climbing. Social media has been ripe with argument and debate over the issue, though Cioffi reiterated that there had been no request to form a GSA club.

Cioffi made it clear that he has the final approval in the matter, and that he would not discriminate against any group that met all of the criteria to form an official club.

“If anyone meets the criteria, they would get approval.”

Go here to see Cioffi’s statement and the guidelines to form a school club.

Both the petition for and against the possible formation of the GSA went online within hours of each other Wednesday, Sept. 25, the same date as Cioffi’s statement.

Both are featured on

The “GSA should be allowed at Fannin” petition has more than 1,700 signatures, while “Don’t Let Homosexuality Be Pushed on Students in Fannin County” has garnered nearly 1,200.

The apparent author of the petition in favor of the GSA, Mason Rice, has yet to be confirmed.

The description of Rice’s petition reads, in part, “Anyone is welcome to join. This club was started because kids wanted a place to go to talk about how their day has been, what they have done today, and any personal issues. These kids … need a place to go and talk about a topic they can relate to. … (K)ids are being made fun of, picked on, etc. because they feel differently.”

The Gay Straight Alliance Network, which oversees all of the GSA clubs and groups in the country, has members in 19 states. will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as needed.



Jill Dyer named Fannin County Teacher of the Year

Board of Education, Fannin County High, News
Jill Dyer named Fannin County Teacher of the Year

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Fannin County High’s Jill Dyer is the 2021 Teacher of the Year for the Fannin County School System.

The announcement was made by Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney at the annual banquet held at Willow Creek Falls on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

“I just want to say how honored I am,” Dyer said as she accepted the award. “I am so blessed.”

Jill Dyer named Fannin County Teacher of the Year

Jill Dyer displays the plaque she received for being named Fannin County High’s Teacher of the Year. She was also named the Fannin County School System Teacher of the Year on Tuesday. Dyer is pictured with, from left, Assistant Superintendent Robert Ensley, Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney, Fannin County High Principal Erik Cioffi, and Assistant Superintendent Darren Danner.

Dyer said she tells her teaching students that “teaching is one of the few professions that requires every part of you. Your mind, your body, and your soul.”

“The most important thing I think that we can do for our kids is to try and figure out what each one of them needs, and everyone is different,” Dyer said, citing her faith as her guiding principal.

“I pray on my way to school every day,” she said. “I pray for my kids. I’m always praying for my kids.”

She said she also prays for wisdom.

“I need wisdom to know what these kids need, and God is the only one who can give me that wisdom,” Dyer said, adding, “I also pray for patience.”

“I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today without His help. He’s blessed me beyond what I deserve, and I just pray all the time that what I do is not for me, what I do is for the kids,” she said.

She finished by saying, “I just want to thank you and tell you how honored and humbled I am and that I’ll be praying for you too.”

Dyer teaches reading enrichment, ninth-grade literature, yearbook, and teaching as profession pathway classes. She has a master’s degree in education from the University of Georgia and has been teaching for 20 years, the past decade in Fannin County. Dyer has also worked with students at Mountain Education Charter High, Lumpkin County High, Towns County High, and the Georgia Virtual School.

Jill Dyer named Fannin County Teacher of the Year

The nominees for Fannin County School System Teacher of the Year were all named teacher of the year from their respective schools in the district. They are, from left, West Fannin’s Kimberly Brannon, East Fannin’s Dana Harper, Fannin High’s Jill Dyer, Blue Ridge’s Ashley Coffinger, and Fannin Middle’s David Queen.

Jill and David Dyer have been married for nearly 30 years and have two children. Courtney Dyer is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and currently in law school at Florida State. Dusty Dyer is a University of Georgia graduate currently attending Augusta University’s School of Applied Health Science as a doctoral candidate in physical therapy. Dusty graduated from Fannin County, while Courtney graduated from Lumpkin County.

Each school in the district named a teacher of the year for their school, with one being awarded the system-wide honor.

Dyer will now go on to the state level. This will be the 50th year Georgia has named a state-wide teacher of the year.

Gwatney said before the announcement how important teachers are to the community.

“Teachers, behind each of your awards are countless hours and preparation and work to broaden the minds, build the characters, and better the lives of students,” Gwatney said.

“I’d like to congratulate you by being recognized by your peers as the teacher of the year at your own school. What an honor to be recognized as exemplary by your colleagues.”

Jill Dyer named Fannin County Teacher of the Year

Blue Ridge Elementary’s Ashley Coffinger, center, was named the runner-up for system-wide teacher of the year at the annual banquet Tuesday. Pictured are, from left, school board member Bobby Bearden, Assistant Superintendent Robert Ensley, school board chairman Lewis Deweese, Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney, school board member Mike Cole, Coffinger, Deputy Superintendent Betsy Hyde, Blue Ridge Elementary Principal April Hodges, school board vice-chairman Chad Galloway, Assistant Superintendent Darren Danner, and school board member Terry Bramlett.

Ashley Coffinger was named the system’s runner-up as Blue Ridge Elementary’s Teacher of the Year. Coffinger has taught for eight years, all at Blue Ridge. She holds a master’s in mathematics and is currently a special education teacher focusing on second-grade curriculum and behavior expectations. Coffinger and her husband live in Fannin County where they are raising four sons.

The remaining teachers of the years from each school included Dana Harper from East Fannin Elementary. Harper teaches first grade and has previously taught second grade during her 16-year career.

West Fannin’s Teacher of the Year is Kimberly Brannon. She is the lead special education teacher at the school and focuses on pre-k through third grade. She has taught for 16 years in the Gilmer and Fannin school systems. Kimberly and Tim Brannon have been married for 15 years and have three children.

David Queen was honored by Fannin County Middle School as Teacher of the Year. Queen works on the sixth-grade team providing support in math, ELA, science, and social studies. He has been teaching for 20 years, with the last four being at Fannin Middle.

The five school winners were vetted by a team from the Pioneer Regional Service Agency (RESA), according to Gwatney. This included completing a set of questions that are part of the application for state teacher of the year and answering questions during a face-to-face interview.

Those questions and interviews are evaluated and a winner and runner-up are selected.

For more information on Pioneer RESA, visit


Possible Gay Straight Alliance club formation leads to protests

Board of Education, Fannin County High, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – The possible formation of a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club at Fannin County High School has led to online protests and a petition with nearly 1,000 signatures.

Possible GSA club at FCHS

An online petition against the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance club at Fannin County High has garnered nearly 1,000 signatures.

The petition is called “Don’t Let Homosexuality Be Pushed on Students in Fannin County” and is in direct response to the possible formation of the GSA.

The petition was posted earlier this week under the name Emily Deal, and the description states that two students were trying to begin the GSA club and the only way to stop it was “by having everyone stand up against it. Some students have even gone as far as saying they would drop out of school if this does go through. … They won’t let us bring religion into the schools, so why is it ok to bring this into schools?”

It also states that there are three steps to creating a club: “a teacher to sponsor and at least ten people who say they would join. The next step is to take it to the principal. Then the principal must approve it.”

The author of the petition has not yet been confirmed.

Fannin County High Principal Erik Cioffi issued a letter Sept. 25 outlining the school’s requirements to form a new club.

Principal Erik Cioffi released a letter dated Sept. 25 to “address the comments/petitions regarding the interest of a new club on the campus of FCHS.” He does not directly mention the possible GSA club.

Cioffi related that there are five criteria to become a club on campus. The club must be (1) student initiated, (2) have a certified teacher as a sponsor, (3) have goals and purpose, (4) have a minimum number of 10 participants, and (5) meet on school grounds and be supervised.

He went on to say that “not every club will appeal to every student. Participation in any club at FCHS has not ever been or will ever be pushed on any student. That is why they are all voluntary and not mandatory.”

Cioffi also wrote that “FCHS will not discriminate against any club that has followed the guidelines to form; otherwise, we would not be able to provide any clubs that so many of our students participate in and enjoy being a part of on a daily basis.” will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as they are available.

Possible GSA club at FCHS

Fannin County High Principal Erik Cioffi released a letter Sept. 25 outlining the requirements to form a club at the school.




Fannin Rebels Lose to the North Hall Trojans 62-13

FCHS Football

The Fannin County High School Rebels took on the North Hall High School Trojans Friday night for their third game in the regional conference. The Trojans came out of the locker room ready to rumble and executed offensive plays to gain the win over the Rebels, 62-13.

In the first quarter, the Rebels received the kickoff and started on their own 20-yard line. The Rebels attempted to find holes in Trojan’s defense but was limited. 12 Luke Holloway made a 24-yard connection to 88 Jalen Ingram for the first touchdown of the game. Shortly after, Holloway gained a 10-yard touchdown rush, 86 Sarah Sosebee with the extra point put 13 on the scoreboard for the last time of the night. The Rebels had a combined total of 137-yards compared to Trojans 248-yards, and a score of 27-13 Trojans.

The second quarter was even more difficult for the Rebels as they tried to get down field but between incomplete passes, flags for ‘false starts’ and ‘offsides’, the Rebels just didn’t have luck on their side. The Rebels gained 15-yards compared to Trojans’ 144-yards, 41-13 Trojans.

Coming out of halftime, the Rebels pulled together more yards than the previous quarter, a combined total of 85-yards, but the glimmer of hope the Rebels felt when the Trojan’s end zone was in sight, was snuffed out by an interception. The Trojans gained 142-yards adding to their lead, 55-13.

The Fannin Rebels suffered a great loss during the third quarter when 15 Chandler Kendall, a senior at FCHS, was seriously injured after colliding with a Trojan. Kendall played his very first season of high school football this year and since has had some great plays on the field. Kendall was also featured as last week’s Player of the Week for TeamFYNSports.

Kendall’s father shared, “Update on Chandler… Broken collarbone but not displaced 4 to 6 weeks. He said he was thankful for the life long memories made over the last 8 weeks. He would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Had a blast AWESOME EXPERIENCE.”

In the fourth quarter, the Trojans opted to run the clock out after their 80-yard touchdown, with the extra point, the Trojans had a decimating lead of 62-13. While in possession, the Rebels broke even on yards after a tackle for a loss of 5-yards kept them behind the 40-yard line before the turnover. The Trojans were in possession once more before the final buzzer.

With a game total of 660+ yards, the Trojans brought home the W. It was their back-to-back touchdowns in the first half that set them apart from the Rebels. The Trojans came out onto the field seeing scoring opportunities and answering efficiently with 4 touchdowns in the first quarter and 2 more in the second quarter.

The Rebels play their 4th regional game at home against Dawson County High School at 7:30pm. Dawson Tigers are coming off a bye week after losing to Greater Atlanta Christian, 23-20. The Tigers are 6-1 overall, and 2-1 in the Region. Come out to support the Rebels this Friday as they take on the Tigers.


The Rising Epidemic of Students Vaping in Fannin County


On Thursday, Oct. 4 Fannin County High School hosted a panel of qualified speakers to discuss the rising epidemic of teens vaping within the Fannin County region.


The panel included: Fannin County High School (FCHS) Principal Erik Cioffi, Fannin County Middle School Principal Keith Nuckolls, Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney Allison Sosebee, Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby, Chief Executive Officer of Highland Rivers Melanie Dallas, Director for Addictive Diseases at Highland Rivers Ansley Silvers, Doctor Bill Whaley Board Certified Physician and Addiction Specialist who serves as the medical consultant for the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Task Force, and President of Georgia Board of Pharmacy Bill Prather and owner of Blue Ridge Pharmacy.

The panel members addressed what vaping is, substances often used in vape pens, and the health risks of vaping.

Vape pens can look like jump drives, electronic cigarettes, and other electronics.

Through vaping, a person can ingest illegal substances such as synthetic cannabinoids like Pinaca. Pinaca has recently been discovered and listed as a schedule 1 drug like LSD or heroin.

Local pharmacist Bill Prather explained that there about 100 different cannabinoids and they are being chemically altered in other countries and then being distributed in the US.

Prather stated, “I think this is going on because of the discussion about marijuana. THC the active ingredient in marijuana that makes you high is still a schedule 1 narcotic. Many states have legalized marijuana as a medical drug and even a recreational drug. All these cannabinoids that are coming into the United States are coming from those plants and they’re being altered, and this is what our young people are ingesting.”

This is important because these drugs could do serious harm to Fannin’s youth because no one really knows what these substances are made of until they’ve been studied in a lab.

District Attorney Allison Sosebee referenced a story from another county where a student had ingested an unknown substance while vaping in the school bathroom and the student went into an acute psychosis, and when he came to, he attempted to pull his tongue out of his mouth.

The issue here, is that when students see adults—or people on social media, in movies, commercials, etc.—using vape pens, these devices appear harmless.

When vape pens and e-cigarettes were first on the market, they were used in place of real cigarettes and were intended to be used to quit smoking. Dr. Whaley explained that vape nicotine equaled the same amount as 20 standard cigarettes.

Each panel member communicated how important it is that this epidemic be taken seriously since there are no regulations or studies on how vaping certain substances can affect Fannin’s youth.

The vaping industry is so new that there are not any safety regulations in place to monitor the effects of vaping.
Director of Addictive Diseases Ansley Silvers stated, “We’re talking about ‘decision making, decision making, decision making’ and brain development and we’re expecting these kids to think like an adult and to think through things…I think we as a community we need to educate these sophomores, juniors, and seniors [about the consequences of drugs] and constantly remind them of the ‘why’ [they shouldn’t do drugs].”

As a result, the Fannin County School System has decided to tackle vaping on school premises with severe consequences.

Principal Cioffi stated, “As of September 7th, if a student is caught with any vaping product or being caught in the act, they will receive 5 days of out of school suspension (OSS). They will also be put in our database where if they have a second offense then they would be recommended to alternative school.”

Cioffi also explained that FCHS is looking into installing technology that can detect when Juuls and other vaping devices are being used to keep students from vaping in the bathrooms, hallways, and other parts of school grounds.

Fannin County is on high alert with this vaping epidemic. Students should expect more school policies and focused attention on the devices they bring to school and use while on school premises.

Rebels Take the W on Homecoming Night 45-7

FCHS Football

The Fannin County High School Rebels take on the Cherokee Bluff Bears for their first regional home game. Rebels brought high energy into the first half and executed their plays during the 4th quarter, beating the Bears 45-7.

After the coin toss, the Rebels’ #32 Treylyn Owensby with the kickoff return to their own 34-yard line. From there, the Rebels set the tone of the game as they scored three touchdowns. Luke Holloway handed off to Owensby for a 30-yard touchdown, Holloway connected with Chandler Kendall for a 37-yard touchdown, and Holloway passed to Jalen Ingram for a 32-yard touchdown. Sarah Sosebee with the extra 3 points gave the Rebels the lead of 21-0.

Rebels defense dominated the first quarter as they kept the Bears off the scoreboard. Every time it looked as though the Bears would gain a few yards, they would get flagged for ‘false start’ and ‘off sides’ which pushed them back. It was apparent that the Rebels had established an early lead that would put too much pressure on the Bears to come back later in the game.

Second quarter began much like the first, with the Rebels adding to their lead. Rebels moved the pigskin downfield with Kendall 24-yards, Holloway 6-yards, and Owensby 26-yards and the touchdown. Sosebee with the extra point brings up the score 28-0 with 8:05 left in the 1st half.

With less than five minutes left in the 1st half, the Bears execute a trick play (triple reverse) and find themselves at the Rebels 6-yard line. From there, the Bears took on Rebels defense before lighting up the scoreboard the only time that night, 28-7.

After their touchdown, the Bears seemed to have caught a second-wind, or maybe the Rebels backed off a little, allowing the Bears to get into the red zone on Rebels 19-yard line. The momentum of the game may have been turning the Bears way, but that same moment was short lived when the Bears had a turnover.

The Rebels take over at their own 19-yard line with 38 seconds left in the 1st half. The Bears intercepted Holloways attempt to connect with Ingram before the buzzer sound ended the 1st half with the Rebels on top, 28-7.

It was obvious after the Rebels first half, Head Coach Chad Cheatham needed to go into the locker room and maybe remind the Rebels that they had not yet won the game and they needed to finish the game.

In the 3rd quarter, the Bears received the kickoff but weren’t successful in moving downfield. The Bears made it to their own 35-yard line before being pushed back 5-yards for a flag on the play. This caused the Bears to have to punt.

With Kendall’s 20-yard punt return, the Rebels start on their own 44-yard line. The Rebels were unable to get anything going in that drive and were forced to punt that would give the Bears the ball on their own 34-yard line.

In the 3rd quarter, the Rebels defense stopped any hope the Bears had of getting into the end zone. The Bears were forced to punt and 44-yard punt, the Rebels were put on their own 1-yard line. Basically, having to run 1st down out of their own end zone, Holloway handed off to Owensby and gained 26-yards giving the Rebels some breathing room as the sound of the buzzer ended the quarter.

Rebels start the 4th quarter on their own 27-yard line and only 12 minutes away from winning the first region game of the season. The Rebels left it all on the field as they made quick work of crossing the 50-yard line into Bears territory. Holloway handed off to 35 Will Mosley for a 52-yard touchdown. Sosebee was on fire as she went 5 for 5 lighting up the scoreboard 35-7.

The Rebels defense did not allow the Bears to get any positive yards. Mason Rhodes and Jackson Weeks kept the Bears at the 31-yard line for the 2nd and 3rd down. Rhodes tackled a Bear at their own 21-yard line for a loss of yards bringing up a 4th down. Bears backed the punt, 31 Campbell Constentino blocked the punt and 50 Matthew Lewis made the recovery at the Bears 11-yard line.

A Rebels drive to their own 9-yard line, and on the 4th down and elected to go for a 21-yard field goal attempt. 38 Alex White with a 21-yard field goal giving the Rebels 38-7 with 7:39 left in the game.

The Bears received the kickoff and attempted to make their way into Rebel territory but at this point there was no moving the ball past Rebels defense. With 3:51 left in the game, the Bears found themselves 4th and 8 at their own 43-yard line. 83 Dalton Ross tackled a Bear for a loss at their own 36-yard line for the turnover on downs.

With a little less than 3:30 left in the game, Rebels took over at their own 36-yard line. Owensby gained 25-yards, Matthew Postell gained another 7-yards, and Norton rushed the last 7-yards for the touchdown. Sosebee went for a successful 6 for 6 and the Rebels broke the scoreboard 45-7.

The Bears received the kickoff with 2:57 left in the game. The Rebels kept them in their own territory for the last two minutes and the buzzard sounded ending the game leaving the Bears at the 40-yard line.

The Rebels played a great game as many players put their hands on the ball and defense made some great plays—like Constentino’s block on the punt and Lewis’s recovery. The Rebels win their first regional game against the Bears.

Let’s see who comes out on top during tonight’s game. The Rebels will be playing East Hall High School at home at 7:30! It’s alumni night along with Fannin Park and Rec so come out and support all the Rebels dating back to the 80s!

Player of the Week: #12 Luke Holloway

FCHS Football, Player Of The Week

TeamFYNSports Reporter’s Player of the Week goes to number 12 quarterback Luke Holloway! Holloway is a sophomore at Fannin County High School. Holloway’s improvement week after week contributed to the Rebels securing a home region win against Cherokee Bluff. As a sophomore, Holloway showed leadership as he connected with Chandler Kendall and Jalen Ingram and handed off to Treylyn Owensby and Will Mosley for a combined total of 6 touchdowns. Week after week Holloway seems more confident and much more comfortable as the sophomore Fannin Rebels quarterback. Congratulations, again, to Luke Holloway from TeamFYNSports. - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

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