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TCMS Bands receive straight superior ratings TCMS band

The TCMS seventh and eighth-grade concert bands recently participated in the Tampa Bay Classic Music Festival. The weekend was filled with fun and educational activities, and both bands earned straight superior ratings for stage performance.

On the first day, the students attended the Broadway musical “Wicked” at the Straz Center for Performing Arts in downtown Tampa. On Saturday morning, the bands performed in the Tampa Bay Classic Music Festival at the University of South Florida where they earned straight superior ratings. Afterward, the students enjoyed the afternoon at Busch Gardens Theme Park.

The eighth-grade band director, William Majors said, “It’s become a tradition to take a trip like this every other year so that our seventh and eighth graders can experience something both fun and educational. This is the first overnight spring trip we’ve taken since the pandemic. The format is intended to expose students to a premium quality musical experience, such as a symphony orchestra, or, as in this case, a Broadway musical. Our bands also perform for judges, receive ratings, and are given a brief clinic by one of the adjudicators. This year, our seventh-grade band received a clinic from Devin DeDon, former band director at Buchanan Middle School in Tampa, and our eighth-grade band received a clinic from Matthew McCutchen, Director of Bands at the University of South Florida."

TCCHS named AP Honor School AP Chemistry

Consistent dedication to advanced academics – especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – secured Thomas County Central High School’s place on a very selective list. 

TCCHS has achieved recognition from the Georgia Department of Education as an Advanced Placement Honor School in two categories: AP STEM and AP STEM Achievement.

Assistant Principal Dr. Erin Rehberg said TCCHS stands out in these categories because of its high number of AP courses (currently 20) and its faculty and students’ dedication to success.

“Earning this award means that our students have not only enrolled in the most challenging STEM courses offered at TCCHS, [but] they have also done remarkably well on the exams,” Rehberg said. “This honor speaks to the dedication of our students to achieve at the highest levels and to the dedication of our faculty to help them succeed.”

The GaDOE began recognizing AP Honor Schools in 2008. According to the Feb. 17 official press release, Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods named 273 AP Honor Schools from 97 school districts. The 2023 honorees earned their titles based on 2022 AP courses and exam results. There are eight categories: AP Access and Support, AP Challenge, AP Expansion, AP Humanities, AP Humanities Achievement, AP Schools of Distinction, AP STEM and AP STEM Achievement schools.

Record number of Thomas County students make District Honor Band District Honor Band

On February 10 and 11, band students from Thomas County Central High School and Thomas County Middle School traveled to ABAC in Tifton, Georgia, to participate in the District 2 Honor Band Clinic. Nearly 100 students participated from the Thomas County School District, and this prestigious group honors the best youth musicians the state offers.

TCCHS Band Director Joe Regina said that the high school is well represented at district honor band every year, but having so many students selected is quite an achievement.

"I'm so unbelievably grateful that Thomas County Schools supports the fine arts the way that it does, which is something that you just don't find in every school district,” Regina said. “Everyone from the superintendent to the principals and administrators, down to the faculty and our tremendous band staff district-wide are all a part of this great accomplishment." 

Phoenix Brock, a TCCHS freshman French horn player, enjoyed his experience at District Honor Band. 

“I got to meet new people, and the food was really good which is a big plus for me,” Brock said. “Also, I felt like I really learned from the music we played. I hope I can grow as a french horn player and a member of the TCCHS Band. Overall, I would love to do this again next year!" 

TCMS Weiss makes All-State Band Carter Weiss

Thomas County Middle School Tubist, Carter Weiss, recently participated in the GMEA All-State Band Clinic at the Classic Center in Athens. Weiss was one of only 14 tuba players in the state to make one of the two middle school All-State Bands.  

His clinician was Erin Cole Steele, an experienced music educator who now works as a clinician and consultant for Conn-Selmer and the Hal-Leonard Corporation.  

Weiss said, “I had a great experience at All-State. I made some new friends, and I was able to spend time with my family. If there’s anything I learned from my experience at All-State, it’s that through hard work and dedication, you can do anything you put your mind to. It is also through the hard work and dedication of my band directors, Mr. Majors and Mr. Booth, that I was able to attend this event.”

During the band clinic, the All-State Middle School Band performed “Verity March” by Laura Estes, “Skyward” by Katahj Copley, “Fragile” by Randall Standridge, and “Choose Joy” by Randall Standridge.

“Carter is a very talented young man who also puts in the hard work to be considered among the best in the state," TCMS Band Director William Majors said. "The All-State audition process is extensive, including two rounds that cover scales, etudes and sight-reading.  To make the GMEA All-State Band is a huge accomplishment and we are very proud of this young man.”

GP and CC National Garden Club Youth Art Contest

Thomas County Schools produced 19 local winners in the National Garden Club Smokey Bear/Woodsey Owl Poster Contest who will have their posters judged at the regional level in late February. What is now known as the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest began as an initiative of the New Mexico State Garden Club in 1959.  In 1994, the contest celebrated Smokey Bear’s 50th birthday under the name of the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest. The contest became a national art competition inviting children to draw their interpretation of Smokey Bear and his wildfire prevention message or Woodsy Owl and his conservation message. Today, the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest is an annual tradition amongst elementary schools, scout troops, and youth groups across the nation.

CC Garden Club

GP Garden Contest

Exploring shells at Garrison-Pilcher Matthew Morris shells

Thomas County second graders in LeAnn Roddenberry’s class at Garrison-Pilcher Elementary School reaped the benefits of their teacher’s shelling trip to the 10,000 Islands in Florida.

Roddenberry brought back shells that she hand-selected for each of her students:  Olives, Florida Fighting Conchs, and Lightning Whelks. An accompanying lesson included how shells are made, the properties of the shells, and also how to identify them.

“Shelling is one of my favorite hobbies,” said Roddenberry. “It brings me joy to teach my students about these beautiful natural treasures.”

Roddenberry shares her shells and her love of collecting them with children in hopes that it will inspire them to get outdoors, enjoy nature, and put something unique into their hands and homes.

TCCHS’ Jones wins second at region competition; 13 advance to state Claire Jones

Science and its innumerable avenues of exploration led 23 Thomas County Central High School students to attend the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Regional Science and Engineering Fair Feb. 10 in Tifton.

Thirteen of these students earned a chance to represent TCCHS at the state-level competition: Dru Jones, Laney Mobley, Riley Ambrose, Lilian Oaksford, Laylen Hines, Kathryn Covington, Layla Staley, Even Roberts, Kayden McClain, Caroline Westberg, Nayeli Badillo, Joleth Correon, and Claire Jones.

“I am extremely proud of all the students' hard work to prepare for region science fair,” TCCHS Science Department Chair Meagan Bradshaw said. “Students came prepared and ready for their judges' interviews.”

Freshman Claire Jones, 14, also won second place in the senior division (high school) for her project, “Don’t Be A Chicken.” Her experiment tested how various seasonings – salt, cinnamon, garlic powder and onion powder – would affect preserving a chicken thigh over five days. She hypothesized that salt and cinnamon would have the best results while the onion and garlic powders would be the least effective.

“I conducted my experiment by measuring the weight change of each piece of chicken,” Jones said. “Whichever ones lost the least amount of weight were coated with the best preservative, and whichever ones lost the most had the worse preservative."


Fair Bear winners announced at Cross Creek Fair Bear Winners

Three fourth graders from Cross Creek Elementary placed in the recent Fair Bear Writing Competition. Simeon Sturrup's essay was selected as the winning entry for fourth grade.  His entry will be forwarded to the Georgia National Fair for the state-wide competition. Preston Maisto’s entry earned second place, and Ashlyn Schie placed third at the school level.

This year’s Fair Bear Writing Competition sponsored by the Georgia National Fair has Fair Bear discovering the public library. This year’s theme prompted writers to include all of the amazing things that are offered and found in public libraries. Students were able to use their own experiences of finding books and being able to participate in all of the fun activities offered by public libraries to create their stories. Open to fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in Georgia, this contest allows students to submit a creative writing essay based on the theme of the contest.