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Heali Patel TCCHS’ Patel selected for WYT

A genuine excitement for and interest in the nation’s government and history led one Thomas County Central High School student to a prestigious recognition.

Grady Electric Membership Corp., or Grady EMC, selected junior Heali Patel as its representative on the 2024 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, commonly called the Washington Youth Tour. Patel prevailed over several other applicants in Thomasville and Thomas County.

“I feel blessed to be selected to represent my school, community, and even my state on this tour,” Patel said. “I was elated when I heard that I was chosen. I immediately called my mom to tell her the good news. Then, I rushed to find Mrs. [Erin] White and Dr. [Erin] Rehberg.”

This trip is a week-long immersion into the nation’s capital to learn more about its history and government. Erin White, system MERIT director and Advanced Placement coordinator, told Patel about the tour.

“It’s a great opportunity for Heali, and I’m so excited that she’ll get to represent our community,” White said. “Heali interacts with people very well and is very interested in public service.”

TCCHS Assistant Principal Dr. Erin Rehberg said the school’s thrilled Patel received this selection. Joining Patel will be high school students selected by other electric cooperatives from around the state and nationwide. 

“This opportunity promises an extraordinary adventure for students, and I am confident that Heali will thrive amidst the company of fellow high-achieving peers from across the state as she explores the nation's capital,” Rehberg said.

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Patel TCCHS duo headed to state tech competition

Two youth in Thomas County Central High School’s computer science program recently designed their way to a state contest. 

Students Dev Patel and Manthan Patel won first place in Internet Applications at the Georgia Student Technology Competition region-level event held Feb. 1 in Bainbridge.

“I am proud of them, and I want to point out that they did all the work,” TCCHS computer science teacher and Future Business Leaders of America adviser Mark Thompson said. “All I did was provide feedback.”

The duo created their website as one of their FBLA projects. Website Design has been on the FBLA competition docket for a while but mainly focuses on layout. Participants often use site layout software; however, Thompson said Website Coding and Development – the duo’s event – is a new state competition category this year. 

“What is unique about the new category is that the students must learn and display proficiency in writing code to make the site,” Thompson said. “They cannot use site layout software. This is much more difficult but can make unique web pages that cannot be replicated using layout software. This new category will allow computer science students to show off their coding skills.”

The project was eligible for the GaSTC, so the duo entered to gain more experience and feedback on their design. Their entry was a website built for St. James, a local restaurant. 

Eleventh-grader Dev Patel said the FBLA project prompt was to make a website that included a job application for a local business, but they took this idea further. 

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SRTC TCCHS SRTC programs visit TCCHS

A recent postsecondary event aimed to show local high school students that they don’t have to move far away or pay high tuition prices to receive a college education.

Thomas County Central High School held a Southern Regional Technical College Programs Fair on Thursday, Feb. 15. Representatives from SRTC’s career pathways set up booths and met with select junior and senior classes.

TCCHS Senior Guidance Counselor Tammy Shealey said the partnership between TCCHS and SRTC enables high school students to discover career paths available within their community.

“Our students are able to obtain the training they need at the postsecondary level without having to leave Thomasville,” she said. “I was thrilled to be able to have 16 programs from SRTC come to the school to speak with our students and showcase various careers that are relevant to our community.”

SRTC cosmetology student Anna Cooper embodies success in this process. She will graduate this year and has an apprenticeship at a local style bar, where she plans to work after graduation.

“We want to show people they have a great school right down the road,” Cooper said. “You don’t have to go to a fancy school and spend buckets of money; you can go down the road and get just as good of an education.”

Some other programs at the fair included early childhood education, welding, business and medical assisting.

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Accent on Academics

Students at Lost Creek Students at Lost Creek

Thomas County Central High School Advanced Placement Environmental Science class and Envirothon team members recently spent two days completing field work at Lost Creek Forest.  “The trip to the woods gave us a glimpse into some of the activities of environmentalists,” student Riley Jones said. “We took a lot of things we have learned in our environmental class and applied them to the trip. Our guides challenged us by putting us in the shoes of environmental scientists, asking us to analyze the forest and make decisions that environmentalists would make.” Activities the young scientists conducted included soil analysis, water quality studies, a canopy study, discussion of prescribed burns, and tree coring.


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Thomas County Central and the Tobacco Free Coalition of Southwest Georgia have partnered together to make all Thomas County Schools a tobacco free environment.