Blue Ridge, Ga. – Fannin County High School Principal Erik Cioffi will be leaving the Rebels for a new position as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Personnel with a school system in Massachusetts.
Cioffi submitted his resignation to the Fannin County School System (FCSS) to be effective August 28, 2020. The Board of Education is expected to accept this resignation at a special called meeting on July 23,2020.
“This move allows us to be closer to our immediate families in New England,” Cioffi said of the new position he will be filling in Massachusetts. “I was born and raised in Massachusetts so I will be returning home.”
Cioffi said in an email sent out to colleagues that his family will remain in Georgia to complete their senior year at Fannin County High School, but that all will be reunited upon graduation. He plans to visit frequently and attend events throughout the year.
The resignation date of August 28 will allow Cioffi to remain with the FCSS to help bring in the start of this unusual school year with new protocols in place due to Covid-19.
Cioffi acknowledged his intention to be an active member in restarting the school year : “Many protocols and procedures will be fine-tuned over the next couple of weeks as we seek guidance from the North Georgia Public Health Department and local leaders.”
“I want to “Thank you” for an amazing 11 years – I will reflect often on the successes and relationships that have been built and I truly believe the staff at FCHS is one of the best in the country,” Cioffi said to his colleagues adding, “Thank you for your efforts and dedication to the students of Fannin.”
The Fannin County School System has listed an anticipated job opening of High School Principal on their website (anticipated because Cioffi’s resignation is not finalized until the BOE holds an official vote).
The website states that the position is not an entry level leadership position and “a preferred applicant’s portfolio will highlight prior successful teaching- and leadership-related experiences, demonstrate effective communication skills, and prove one’s ability to lead.”
Applications can be filled out online, via the FCSS website. Interested individuals who qualify should ensure that a completed application is entered online (in Frontline) no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 31, 2020.
Blue Ridge, Ga. – Uncertainty best describes the school year so far, and among this uncertainty has been how to handle graduation for the Senior Class of 2020.
“It is my hope that the following communication helps alleviate the stress of our 2020 Graduates and their
families,” Fannin County High School (FCHS) Principal Erik Cioffi stated in an email, adding, “I would love nothing more than to have our full traditional graduation ceremony at FCHS on May 22nd.”
Cioffi goes on to say, “After consulting with our local leaders and following guidelines, as of today, May 6, 2020, it is our hope that we can create and celebrate graduation through various formats that our senior class of 2020 will cherish for a lifetime.”
Fannin County High School has opted to hold a traditional (modified) Graduation Ceremony on May 22, 2020 at the FCHS Stadium. This ceremony will begin at 8:00 p.m. with the following practices in place for public safety:
Under the following conditions, FCHS will offer a 2 Guest Invitational Ceremony on campus for our
- Tickets will be issued to the graduates and they will choose who receives them.
- All guests will be required to wear a mask (graduates may remove during their walk or giving speeches).
- All guests will follow social distancing guidelines (6 feet apart); local law enforcement will be present to monitor and ensure full cooperation for the safety of all guests
- All visitors will have their temperature taken (forehead thermometer) upon entering the stadium by local EMS. Anyone who has a temperature reading of over 100 degrees will not be permitted to enter.
- We will use both the visitor stands and the home stands for the ceremony (we can seat safely 440 guests).
- The graduates will be assigned seating on the field (from the 50 yard line to end zone,all graduates will face the scoreboard)
- At the conclusion of the event: students will be dismissed to the visiting parking lot and then we will dismiss guest from the stands. Guests will park on main campus and students will park behind visitor stadium.
In order for this event to be successful – All students and guests must adhere to the above guidelines
The May 22nd Graduation Ceremony will be live streamed at www.fanninrebeltv.com for all extended
family and community members to watch our Graduates be celebrated in these unprecedented times.
**Inclement weather – Graduation will be re-scheduled for May 23rd @ 10 am **
Graduation Rehearsal on May 20th @ FCHS Stadium
Required by all Graduates:
9:00 am – Honor Graduates
10:30 am – Remaining Graduate Candidates
- All Graduates will park behind the visitor stadium and report to the stadium field upon arrival
- All Graduates will be required to wear a mask
- All Graduates will follow social distancing guidelines (6 feet apart)
- All Graduates will have their temperature taken (forehead thermometer) upon entering the stadium. Any Graduate who has a temperature reading of over 100 degrees will not be permitted to enter.)
Seniors must also complete Graduation Procedures May 11 – 13:
- Arrive on campus in the football stadium visitor parking lot at your designated time.
- Seniors are scheduled in five minute intervals over a period of three days. It is imperative you arrive 5 minutes prior to your scheduled time and leave campus immediately after you receive your diploma jacket and take pictures.
- Remain in your vehicle until instructed to exit.
- Enter the field house paying attention to the floor markers for social distancing.
- Your temperature will be taken.
- Only the student or designee may Only the student or designee may enter the field house to return items (one person).
- Following directional arrows, go to each station returning or picking up items.
- Following directional arrows, proceed to the field.
Items to Return
Textbooks, Classroom Library Books
Library Book(s), Calculators
Fines, Dues, Lunch Charges
Uniforms, Instruments, Scripts, Calculators, Etc.
Items to Collect
- Up to (3 vehicles) 15 guests may enter the visitor entrance and view from the track as student walks.
- Each student will have his/her name called and be able to walk the field for a private graduation
ceremony with his/her family. A photographer will be present to capture the moment.
- Student and guests will exit the stadium on the opposite side of the parking lot.
- The walk will be videotaped, to be used at a later date, in the event a virtual ceremony would
- Allotted time is approximately 10 minutes.
Congratulations to the Fannin County High School (FCHS) VEX Robotics Teams on their recent competition at Gilmer County High School (January 11th). Students from the Engineering program at FCHS designed, built, and competed against other teams from around the State of Georgia in the VEX Robotics Tower Takeover game.
Isaiah Cargle is a senior who has been competing in VEX for four years.
Lexi McGill and Samantha Rosas represent the first all female robotics team at FCHS, and they recently won a $1,000 Girl-Powered Grant through Robot Events. This was their first competition with their new robot!
Bryce Ware and James Kyle competed in VEX and Lego Robotics at the middle school, and this is their first year at the high school level.
These students also have the opportunity to compete at the Technology Student Association (TSA) State Conference in Athens, GA in March.
“I am very proud of these students for competing in such a challenging event. All three teams placed in the top 25, and they have started a strong foundation for the robotics program at FCHS for the future.” Bubba Gibbs, Engineering Teacher and Technology Student Association Advisor.
Featured Image (L-R) Isaiah Cargle, James Kyle, Bryce Ware, Lexi McGill, and Samantha Rosas
Blue Ridge, Ga. – School safety continues to be a top priority for the Fannin County School System. Assistant Superintendent and District Emergency Planning Coordinator Darren Danner wants to remind the citizens of Fannin County of a very important tool the district utilizes to keep the children in our area safe.
SafeSchools Alert is Fannin County School District’s tip reporting service. This online service can allow students, teachers, and parents to report incidents of bullying, intimidation, harassment, weapons, drugs or other threats, and remain anonymous.
“The best information we can get, is what we hear from the kids,” Danner spoke of SafeSchools Alert’s importance and the role the students themselves can play in keeping their schools safe for all. “They’re (students) are on the frontline, so to speak. They see what’s happening. They know what’s going on.”
SafeSchools Alert can be accessed on Fannin County School System’s website by scrolling to the bottom and clicking the SafeSchools Alert icon located at the bottom left of the page. SafeSchools Alert also offers an app that can be downloaded onto mobile devices, and it is this app that students generally choose to use.
According to Danner 95 to 98 percent of tips from the student body come from the use of the downloadable app.
Once a tip has been submitted, SafeSchools Alert will send out numerous emails to faculty within the district. Danner acknowledged that not all tips are reliable, but that some have proven to be very accurate and that all tips are taken seriously and looked into.
“The district has used this going on two years now,” Danner continued. “We’ve had some things that have been put to rest very quickly because of this.”
The Fannin County School System urges everyone that has information about a threat to report it.
Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Board of Education took time during their Jan. 9 regular monthly meeting to recognize a special group of personnel that work every day to keep the children of Fannin County safe.
“Our relationship with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office is special,” Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney spoke of the importance of Fannin County’s School Resource Officers (SROs).
Jan. 9, 2020 marked National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. This day is set aside for citizens to show their support for their local law enforcement.
Gwatney displayed a photo and recognized each individual SRO, as well as Assistant Superintendent Darren Danner whose duties, among others include District Emergency Planning and School Resource Officer Coordinator.
Currently the following officers are stationed at each of the five schools in the district:
- Lt. Darvin Couch – Fannin County High School
- Deputy Anthony Walden – Fannin County Middle School
- Deputy Thomas Kay – East Fannin Elementary School
- Deputy Tracy Summers – West Fannin Elementary
- Deputy Jim Burrell – Blue Ridge Elementary School
Before presenting a certificate to Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby, Gwatney concluded, “I am thankful for these individuals. I’m thankful for the relationship that we have with the Sheriff. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Upon accepting the certificate, Kirby acknowledged that Gwatney’s sentiment goes both ways: “We really do cherish this relationship.”
YOUNG FARMERS ASSOCIATION
PRESENTS: Ag Talk and Monthly Meeting
FFA and 4-H Youth Spotlight Night-
Summer Experiences in Agriculture.
Also, Meet the new FCHS Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor Ms. Emily Dean
August 19, 2019
Fannin County Ag Facility
43 Station Ridge Blue Ridge
( please use the new entrance off of Hwy 515)
FCYFA Monthly Meeting will follow Ag Talk
Meal sponsored by Uncle B’s Feed Supply
Anyone interested is welcome to attend
FCYFA members attend free of charge
Non FCYFA members we ask you pay $5.00
Questions or for Additional Information [email protected] or 706-455-2545
Fannin County High School underclassmen parking passes will go on sale Tuesday, August 6 at 2:00 in the PAC. The process used with seniors in the spring will be followed. Juniors will be served first and IF there are any remaining parking spaces they will be available for sophomores. It is recommended that students arrive at the PAC by 1:45 pm. The annual parking pass fee remains the same at $30.
For more information contact the school.
Recently I’ve started watching the show Friday Night Lights again. Let me just say- this is partially important because I’m not a big TV show person. I don’t have the patience to sit through an hour-long episode nor do I usually have the time to keep up with a series. But I figure with pre-season football kicking in and the fall season quickly approaching, revisiting a show that revolves around high school football is one of the best ways to get me hyped up for what’s to come.
Watching this series has also made me think about a couple of things. For one, why do we as a society rally so much around a sport that’s played by boys no older than 18-years-old? Second, do we put too much pressure on athletes who play the game? And finally, is the hype and the pressure truly worth it?
I think the answer can be summed up pretty easily- yes. And why? For love of the game.
But the love of the game is different for each of us. We’re not all going to attend every single football game or spend thousands of dollars to sit in Sanford every Saturday. We all have our limits, and in my opinion that’s perfectly okay.
I like to say that there’s something about having a team that you love that will get inside of you and never leave. I find it fascinating that there are towns across America like Dillon, Texas that will show up in the thousands to support their Panthers. Coaches and players are local celebrities, and you get your butt in the stands every Friday night just as religiously as a pew on Sunday morning. I came from a high school of nearly 4,000 students and a county of almost one million people, but the same spirit that rallies much smaller towns across the country still pulses through mine.
Yes, oftentimes I’m afraid that means we put too much pressure on the athletes who play the game. In my own personal experience, at the high school level we had so many students that it was nearly impossible to know the daily goings-on at the field house. But it was that age-old cycle of that when we would win, the coaches and players would be praised. One loss and the attitude switched faster than the direction of a twister.
But one of the many great things about this country is we have the freedom of choice in many of our decisions. Even though the athletes and coaches who play these games catch a lot of grief, they still have the choice to walk away. Some do. But for those who don’t? I’d venture to say it’s for love of the game.
When it comes to putting pressure on athletes, especially young ones, I believe the relationship is a two-way street. They should know what they’re doing, but despite all the love we have for the game, we need to understand when enough is enough. I’ve heard the term “daddy ball” thrown around a lot before, and it makes me sad to think that there are parents out there who try to live through their children. It’s important to love and support them, but even more important to let them develop their own love for their game.
Finally, like I mentioned earlier, everyone’s love for the game is different. My Papa Skip, who I probably talk to the most about sports, has a different appreciation for them than I do. I’ll use UGA football as an example. He attended classes at UGA- I never have. He still goes every year to the UGA/Florida game in Jacksonville- I’ve only gone once. He pays each year to have season tickets for the home games- I CERTAINLY don’t do that, although when he doesn’t want them I get first dibs (thanks Papa!)
The point I’m trying to make is while we all may say we love sports, we each love them differently. We each have a certain line we’re willing to cross. But at the same time, come Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or playoffs, we rally behind our team. And we each get our butts in the stands. Why? For love of the game.
Fannin County Young Farmers Association members traveled to Moultrie, Georgia to attend the Sunbelt Agriculture Expo on October 16-17. The Sunbelt Ag Expo 2018 celebrated its 41st year and had over 1200 exhibitors that encompassed 100 acres of exhibit space with over 4000 different product lines. The group also toured the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association in Macon, Carroll’s Sausage in Ashburn, The Museum of Georgia Agriculture, The Georgia Peanut Commission and Rutledge Farms all in Tifton. This trip is an annual event.
*Pictured front row left to right: Rhonda Mathews, Sandy Dungy Gilda Lyons, Jeff Queen, Eli Queen
Back row left to right: Mark Wollschlager, Nick Wollschlager, Darrel Davis, Kenny Holland, Bill Bragg, Kenny Queen,
Albert E. Harrison Scholarship recipients from Gilmer and Fannin Counties (l-r) Filipe Arreaga, Christopher Byrd, Bryson Darnell, Madison Davenport, Phebee Garrett, Mallory Grimes, Lindsay Irons, Makenzi Ledford, Katelyn Roberts, Dakota Skiles, Pennie Tuck, Lexus Walden, and Jadie Weaver, also pictured Mr. Jason Smith and Mr. Doug Harrison of Ellijay Telephone Company.
Jasper, Ga – The Pickens County Board of Education hosted a no-threat lockdown today on the campus of Pickens High School.
Parents and citizens saw the Pickens County Sheriff respond to concerns saying:
We currently have a team of deputies and K-9 units participating in a controlled sweep of the Pickens High School campus. While the school is being checked, students are being placed in a non-emergency lockdown status. Students are safe and no threat exists at the school.
When questioned about the lockdown, Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson said the K-9 sweep was scheduled for a few weeks ago, but had to be pushed back due to scheduling conflicts with Cherokee County who supplies the K-9 units. As the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has retired its last K-9 unit for medical reasons, Wilson stated it is a part of the agreement with Cherokee County to utilize theirs.
With the lockdown and sweep completed, Wilson informed FYN that no drugs were located during the sweep today. Though he noted it was not directly related to the rising use of vape devices, Wilson did respond to questions about the trend saying that it is a concern in the school system.
Sweeps like this is a part of the school’s enforcement of its code of conduct as well as state and federal law. Though Wilson said there is more going on behind the scenes in the system’s response to the rising vape concerns and to school security in general, he declined to release details saying, “There is a number of things that we are doing and things that we are working with the Sheriff’s Office, some of that we just can’t publicize at the moment.”
More information on these steps like the K-9 sweeps and other programs the school already has in place over its years in operation can be found at the upcoming Monday, September 24, day of events involving the Office of the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and Pickens School district as they hold a meeting for parents for information and the ‘Chat with the Superintendent’ at Pickens High School at 6 p.m.
Wilson went on to note that the school system is being forced to change the way it views vaping devices. While he notes that it is against the law for underage kids to possess cigarettes and vaping devices and they have enforced the law, he did state that the school system may have, at times, not utilized the most extreme forms of discipline available in every situation involving the use of nicotine. He went on to say, “Now that this added ability of being able to vape just about anything, that brings it to a whole different level.”
As part of the school’s efforts to inform parents and students about the dangers that vapes present with not knowing what is in them, the board is working with the District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office. Wilson said, “We may have looked at vaping in the past as more of a replacement for a cigarette, and not as a delivery device for drugs… Going forward, we probably would.”
He added later, “We’re going to have to really start disciplining to the fullest extent that we can, given to us by our Code of Conduct or either by the Law to keep our children safe.”
Fannin student Lexus Raven Walden was invited to the Governor’s Mansion as the valedictorian of the entire Mountain Education Charter (MEC) High School system. Lexus had the highest grade point average (GPA) of 16 MEC sites located in the north Georgia mountains. Lexus plans on attending the University of North Georgia this fall and pursuing a career in nursing.
Twenty-one Mountain Education Charter High School students visited the Georgia Aquarium last week. Students visited the exhibits and were entertained by the dolphin show. Lunch was at Johnny Rocket’s restaurant across the street. For many, it was their first visit to the aquarium and they were impressed by the size and activities that go on there.
Mountain Education Charter High School consists of sixteen sites throughout the North Georgia Mountains. We are proud to announce that Lexus Walden from the Fannin site earned the highest GPA of any gaduating senior from all the sites. She thus earns the distinction of being the Valedictorian of Mountain Education Charter High School for 2018. We are so proud to have her represent us at graduation.
Austin Wooten is Mountain Education Charter High School’s May Student of the Month. Austin is a freshman and his work ethic has really paid off this year. He has completed three classes and is on his way to completing three more before the year is out. Austin has found that he enjoys learning about history, and good note-taking has become a newfound skill for him. He hopes to continue on with his education and pursue psychology as a major. Austin likes the independence MEC affords. Congratulations to Austin!
Mountain Education would like to thank all our Student of the Month sponsors this year: Dairy Queen, Papa’s Pizza, ETC, Blue Ridge Adventure Wear, Taco Bell and Subway. Your support of our MEC students is truly appreciated!
This past Friday on day two of the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Lady Bobcats traveled to take on the Lady Rebels. The Lady Bobcats were coming from a win on day one of the tournament while the Lady Rebels were well rested from the bye game that was scheduled on the first day. Both teams came ready to play and were hungry for another win.
It appeared to be an even matchup from the start. Gilmer had the hustle on defense while Fannin had the determination on offense. The Lady Rebels seemed to score the majority of their points off plays. Lady Rebel, Maleah Stepp, led Fannin in scoring with thirteen points with her will to win. The Lady Bobcats made most of their points from driving the lane and playing in the moment. Lady Bobcat, Mallory Kiser, led her team in scoring with nine points due to her grit. Lady Rebel post, Mackenzie McClure, was on fire with her outside shots which put her right behind Stepp in scoring with ten points. Lady Bobcat guard, Taylor Boling, was behind Kiser in scoring with seven points overall. With the first quarter coming to an end, the Lady Rebels were just one point ahead of the Lady Bobcats with a score of 13-12.
The second quarter was back and forth. Neither team could keep a consistent lead for the eight minutes on the clock. The Lady Rebels started to play scrappy on defense and began rebounding. Lady Rebel, Bailey Whitener, got aggressive down low and contributed three points for her team. Another Lady Rebel, Maddie Johnson, got after it and scored five points after getting steals on defense. Gilmer started looking up the court to find Lady Bobcat, Marylee Callihan, who also put five points on the board for her team. Number twenty-four for the Lady Bobcats, Emma Callihan, put her all into the game and contributed four points for Gilmer. With Fannin in the lead halfway through the quarter, Lady cat Michaela Staley drew a foul and made two of her foul shots. Staley’s two points tied up the game. Gilmer continued to score and further their lead until the end of the second quarter. It was the Lady Rebels ball as the clock was winding down and Reagan Henderson happened to be wide open. Henderson received a beautiful pass down low which resulted in her making a buzzer beater shot and contributing two of her overall three points to tie the game 23-23.
With both teams having the same chances of winning, Fannin found their spunk. The Lady Rebels started to draw fouls from driving the lane. Lady Rebel, Hope Franklin, drew two fouls from the block and contributed two of her four points from the foul line. However, Fannin was not the only team to draw fouls. Lady Bobcat, Katie Kiker, drew a foul and put one point on the board for Gilmer. As Fannin’s lead extended, Gilmer came alive on the block. Lady Bobcat, Faith Ralston, scored two of her three points from down low. Another post for Gilmer, Jasmine Staley, contributed two points for the Lady Bobcats from under the basket. Gilmer’s lead strayed farther from Fannin’s which resulted in the score being 31-25 at the end of the third quarter.
With Gilmer down by only six points, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams wanted to win and it showed through their hustle and intensity. With Gilmer trying their best to catch up to Fannin, the Lady Rebels tried just as hard to keep their lead. Although both teams had the heart to win the game, one had to lose. The Lady Bobcats played an amazing game, but were five points away from victory. The Lady Rebels 38-33 win over the Lady Bobcats put Fannin in the championship game to be played the next day against the Lady Dragons.
The Lady Rebels win puts their overall record at 7-6 while the Lady Bobcats record also stands at 7-6. Catch the Lady Rebels next region game at Fannin County High School on January 5 against GAC starting at 7:00! Or catch the Lady Bobcats next region game on the same day and at the same time as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield!