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Jack Cantrell TCCHS debate team members earn recognition at competition; Cantrell qualifies for state

Thomas County Central High School Debate team is off to a promising start in its competition season. Members competed in The Gladiator Debates at Johns Creek High School Oct. 15-16.

Participants included Jack Cantrell, Caleb Kinneer, Mallory Bustle, Veronica Vanlandingham and McKaleigh Watson. Two students earned recognition: Caleb Kinneer and Jack Cantrell. Kinneer competed in Public Forum Debate with his partner Mallory Bustle and won an individual speaker award for sixth place (out of 24 competitors). Cantrell won first place in Extemporaneous Public Speaking.

“Extemporaneous speaking is a speaking event where students draw three current event topics from an envelope, pick one, and are given 30 minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech, using the Internet to do research,” he said. “It’s an awesome category because it forces you to think quick[ly] on your feet; you don’t have time to stress out or worry. You have to move quickly.”

He delivered three speeches that covered different topics: the refugee crisis in Europe, a new minimum global corporate tax rate, and whether or not age restrictions on adults owning guns violate the Second Amendment.

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GP Library Garrison-Pilcher's newly renovated media center buzzes with excitement

Thomas County Schools’ newly renovated library at Garrison-Pilcher Elementary School is filled with the buzz of tiny voices excited about the book they may have just finished reading or even more excited about the book they are looking to find. Students look forward to visiting the library as a class or independently during the day.

Specific modern upgrades for the library include more kid-friendly furniture, a reading area with a large couch, bookshelves that are the same height as the students, and large windows for the students to see in and out of the library.  There is also a “makerspace” area for the students to make and create. A makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school, library, or other facility for making, learning, exploring, and sharing.

The lighting is brighter and can be controlled at various settings. Two ViewBoards are available for teaching whole groups in the makerspace and reading areas.

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AP Class TCCHS adds AP Research to its AP Capstone program

Thomas County Central High School continues its mission to offer a variety of Advanced Placement courses that challenge students consistently. This year, it adds AP Research to the roster, the second course in the AP Capstone program the school began last year.

“Our coursework combines a rich and rigorous study of discipline and method with an extended student-led research project, inviting students to think and work at a level typically not experienced until upper-level undergraduate or even graduate study,” instructor Cole Donovan said. “Our discussions and readings explore modes of thought and knowledge across the humanities, social sciences, and hard sciences, while the independent research project can focus on any topic in which the student has [an] interest.”

While some may think AP Research – or research overall – belongs to STEM programs, Donovan hopes to challenge that perception with this course.

“It is hard sometimes for people to imagine what researching Classics might look like, or drama, or art, or literature,” he said. “Yes, STEM research is valuable. Look at our current global situation--STEM research is what is pulling us out of this pandemic. But there is a world of research beyond that, and one of my hopes for this course is to encourage students to begin to see that.”

AP Research fosters deep and critical thinking about topics on students’ terms of what interests them.

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JROTC team TCCHS Army JRTOC hosts first Raider event

Area high school cadets recently received some direct training in military physical and mental preparation when the Thomas County Central High School Army JROTC program hosted a Raider Challenge. This competition is the program’s varsity-level sport, explains Senior Army Instructor Lt. Col. Kevin “Buzz” Ingram.

“I was pleased with how everything turned out,” Ingram said. “We had some small challenges, but like any military operation, we learn and adjust for future events. The campus here is ideal for hosting, and we had the necessary resources to provide a challenging training opportunity for the participating teams. The biggest thing I want my team and the others who participated [to learn] is continuing to develop their teamwork skills as well as the realization of what they are capable of accomplishing.”

Participants cull from area Army JROTC programs, but naval and air force groups may also join. Teams from Crisp County, Sumter, Turner County, Worth County, Dodge County, Dooly County, and Ware County high schools joined with the TCCHS team for the event. Competition category depends on team configuration: all male, all female, and mixed (at least four females compete in each event).

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CURE photo Thomas County Schools help fight childhood cancer

The Thomas County School System decided to "GO GOLD" in September which was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Faculty, staff and students wore gold or yellow on Friday, September 3, to share awareness and show support for kids and families impacted by childhood cancer. Each school in the system also participated in Caps for CURE by paying one dollar to wear a hat on Friday. Thomas County Schools raised a total of $2,125.68. The money raised was donated to CURE Childhood Cancer. Sharon Johnson visited the school system recently to accept the check on behalf of CURE. 

TCMS library GaDOE Awards $3,754,352 to Thomas County Schools in Second Round of L4GA Literacy Grants

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) awarded the Thomas County School System $3,754,352 over four years to advance literacy efforts. During this second round of Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in Georgia (L4GA),  grants were awarded to 23 school districts totaling $22,101,554. 

Curriculum Director Robin Cartright “We are excited to again be awarded the L4GA grant as it allows us to provide literacy opportunities to our students and to our community. Through previous grant awards, we have implemented literacy initiatives and provided books and other texts that have led to stronger readers, and I have no doubt this will continue with the current grant award.”

Dr. Lisa Williams, Superintendent of Thomas County Schools stated, “I commend the extraordinary collaboration among our district and school level faculty in preparing the grant. It’s because of their exceptional teamwork that our system was awarded the L4GA literacy grant. The funds received from the grant will go a long way in helping our system to continue its focus on overall literacy improvement."

As a recipient of the Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) grant, Thomas County Schools will focus on creating plans for children from birth to 12th grade. Additionally, the school will partner with the community to support early literacy for all local children.

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