Whitefield Student Is Chess Champ

Drew Justice, a Whitefield Academy Sixth grader, recently represented his school in the National Elementary Chess Championship held in Nashville, Tennessee.

The tournament, sponsored by the U.S. Chess Federation, draws more than 2,000 players from around the country in a four-day event that begins with a 6-round blitz (fast chess) tournament and concluding with a 7-round standard tournament. Justice had an outstanding performance in the K-6 blitz tournament, claiming first place.

Overall, Justice holds four national titles in chess: 2013 K-1 Co-Champion, 2015 K-3 Blitz Co-Champion, 2017 K-6 Bughouse Champion, 2018 K-6 Blitz Co-Champion (1st place on tiebreaks). In the 2018 regular tournament, Justice came close to securing another national title. After winning his first five matches, he played very well in round 6 to earn a draw. Then, still tied for first place going into the final round, he was outplayed by a strong opponent from California and ended the regular tournament in 8th place. There are three types of chess championships: regular (90 minutes per player), blitz (5 minutes per player), and bughouse (partner chess).

Justice is a chess “Expert” (2000 U.S. rating), and hopes to get to “National Master” (2200 rating) by the end of middle school. He has been an avid chess player since he was three years old. In addition to chess, Justice enjoys playing basketball, football, and looks forward to being in the marching band next school year. He enjoys the challenge of playing other top players from around the country, and also teaching chess to younger children at Whitefield through after school programs and summer camps.

Whitefield Academy is a Christ-centered, college preparatory school serving more than 800 students in PreK4 through 12th grade. For more information, visit whitefieldacademy.com.

From the June 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton,  and Austell, GA.

Brinker To Lead International Academy

Katrina Brinker has been selected as the new Head of School for International Academy of Smyrna (IAS) and will assume her role on July 1. Brinker most recently served as the Assistant Principal at IAS.

“We are excited that Katrina will remain an integral part of the IAS family and community,” said Cornell Longino, IAS board chair. “She is a servant leader who exhibits humility and enthusiasm. We have the utmost confidence that she will support the growth and achievement of our school.”

Brinker has been involved in education for more than 15 years. She holds both an associate of science degree in Dental Hygiene and bachelor’s degree from Indiana University; a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and an Educational Specialist degree from Indiana State University; she also has a certification in Turnaround Leadership from Harvard University.

“I am dedicated to ensuring a well-rounded, focused learning environment that will benefit all students, their families and the IAS community,” said Brinker. “Together, I believe that all things are possible.”

She and her husband, Terrance, have three children and are members of The Breakthrough Fellowship in Smyrna. Among her volunteer commitments include her participation with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Ellipsis Women’s Ministry and Fusion Couple’s Ministry.

From the June 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Congratulations To The Class of 2018

High school graduation ceremonies saw seniors don caps and gowns as they picked up their diplomas throughout southern
Cobb in May.

Whitefield Academy recently hosted the class of 2018 graduation ceremony at the Church of the Apostles in Buckhead, graduating 59 seniors.

Pebblebrook High School had 520 graduates, as some 90 percent of  the senior class earned diplomas. Seniors also received in excess of $13.5 million in scholarships.

Campbell High School saw some 622 seniors graduate. At least one will be attending
an Ivy League college. South Cobb High School had 460 graduates for the class of 2018
Of the more than 8,000 Cobb County School District seniors graduating as part of the Class of 2018, about 76 percent will continue their educational journey in college.

“Every one of the 8,000 graduates who are walking across stages this week have success stories to tell,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale. “Whether the next step in their journey is college or career, each student’s
success is a reflection of their hard work, their family’s involvement, and their teachers’ dedication.”

Whitefield Academy named Katie Cella as valedictorian.

Campbell High School named Jennifer Shen as valedictorian. She is the daughter of Shyh-Chiang Shen and Minya Huang, and will be attending Georgia Tech, majoring in industrial and systems engineering.

Campbell High School named six Salutatorians, including:

  • Grant Adams Brown, son of Dick and Lisa Brown, will be attending Georgetown University majoring in international business, Spanish, and Portuguese.
  • Andrew Stephenson Huffman, son of Trey and Kristen Huffman, who will be attending University of Virginia, majoring in finance.
  • Patrick Jacob Kramer, son of Andrew and Jennifer Kramer, who will be attending Georgia Tech, majoring in biology.
  • Emma Lynn Sollenberger, daughter of Alan and Stacy Sollenberger, who will be attending Northwestern University, majoring in secondary education.
  • Jeniveve Alexandra Vaia, daughter of Jason and Siley Vaia, who will be attending Georgia Tech majoring in material science and engineering.
  • Patrick Theodore Will, son of Geoffrey and Celeste Will, who will be attending Georgia Tech majoring in economics.

Pebblebrook High School named Brinkley Madison Doherty as valedictorian. She is the daughter of Wendi Doherty and Frankie Doherty. She will be attending Tulane University, majoring in cell and molecular biology and dance.

Pebblebrook High School named Erin Victoria Davis as salutatorian. She is the daughter of Gretchen Davis and Eric Davis. She will be attending Boston University, majoring in acting with a minor in political science.

South Cobb High School named Zainab Molumo as valedictorian. She is the daughter of             Sade and Bolaji Molumo. She will attend Emory- Oxford University, majoring in human health, pre-med or pre-optometry.

South Cobb High School named three salutatorians, including:

  • Donni-Margree Lenora Crenshaw, daughter of Jeffery Crenshaw & Donna Crenshaw. She will attend University of Georgia, majoring in biology with a concentration in neuroscience.
  • Paige Nicholas, daiughtter of Kevin and Susan Nicholas. She will attend the University of Georgia, majoring in biology.
  • Sha’kira Thomas, daughter of Natasha Thomas. She will attend Mercer University, majoring in biology.

From the June 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

 

King Springs Parents Create Trail To Griffin

While King Springs Elementary School teachers were busy preparing fifth grade students for their move to middle school, members of the School Council worked to pave a literal path to Griffin Middle School.

During a panel discussion with parents in the fall, the School Council determined that there was a need to fix up the walkway that connects the elementary school to the middle school. Dozens of students use the path everyday to avoid the traffic as they walk to and from school. Students also use the path during the day when walking to events like field day.

To help fund the improvements to the pathway, the King Springs School Council applied for and won a $1,000 grant from Keep Smyrna Beautiful. They used the grant funds and a small amount from the PTA to install timber edging and crushed granite along the path. They also added two-dozen shrubs and solar lights. One school family donated three Japanese maples.

More than a dozen school volunteers and the King Springs principal, Dr. Cindy Szwec, worked together to beautify the path.

From the June 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Crosswalk Gets Improved Signage

New Dynamic Speed Display signs will soon go up near a school where a crossing guard was hit and killed last year. The Board of Commissioners approved the installation of the signs at their meeting Tuesday.

The signs will soon go up near Lindley Middle School and will be donated by Radar Signs, Inc., as part of Cobb’s pilot program. The signs let drivers know how fast they are going.  Studies have shown they are effective in getting drivers to slow down.

Cobb DOT, along with Georgia DOT and other partners, launched a Roadway Safety Audit last year after the death of crossing guard Edna Umeh last November. The audit is nearing completion and interim DOT Director Erica Parish says changes should be made to the roadway before the start of the next school year.

Among the changes being considered are medians dividing the four-lane road, and installation of a “HAWK” crossing which is a lighted, well-marked pedestrian crossing.

From the June 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Smyrna Adds Second Playful Piano

  Smyrna Arts & Cultural Council and Smyrna Parks & Recreation partnered with the Campbell High School Art department on the second Playful Pianos of Smyrna offering.

Susan Thayer, Cobb County Board of Education member, generously donated the baby grand piano.  Art teachers Lisa Underwood and Michael Ross worked with approximately 35 CHS Students, for more than 70 hours of painting to create a Keith Haring inspired, Smyrna specific, baby grand piano.

The intricate layout of the design incorporates Smyrna’s signature Jonquil flower, a reference to the new Sun Trust stadium, strips of bacon to honor the mayor, and a plethora of dancing figures fueled by DJ Dog.

The piano was installed under the large square pavilion in front of Smyrna City Hall on W. Spring Street.

Surprise Results, Election Runoff

The name was familiar, but nobody knew who she was – until she won.

Sandra Bullock won the Democratic party primary in House District 40, ahead of Erick Allen for a seat being vacated by Rep. Rich Golick.

But after the win, she bowed out, citing health concerns.

Once Bullock’s withdrawal becomes official, Allen will become the nominee – and go up against Republican pick Matt Bentley.

In Smyrna, and in some state races, the campaign is not over.

Smyrna voters will choose a new council member in Ward 6 in a runoff election July 24.

Idella Moore finished first in a crowded field, with Tim Gould in second place to force the runoff.

In the District 2 School Board contest, Dr. Jaha Howard defeated Angela Pressley.

In congressional races:
• Rep. David Scott (D-13) will face David Callahan, winner of the Republican primary, and Libertarian candidate Martin Cowen in November for the 13th District congressional seat.
• Lucy McBath will face Kevin Abel in a runoff for the Democratic nomination for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Karen Handel (R-6) was unopposed.

In House District 39 State Rep. Erica Thomas, D-Austell, survived a primary challenge from three fellow Democrats, defeating Sheila Edwards and Tray S. Deadwyler. She will face Republican James “J.W.” Morrow Jr., in November.

Leah Aldridge won the Georgia Senate Republican primary and will face state Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, in November for the Senate 6 post.

From the June 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

 

 

Smyrna Sets Memorial Day Ceremony

The City of Smyrna will hold its annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Twentieth Century Veterans Memorial, 2800 Bank Street (between Smyrna City Hall and the Smyrna Library) on Monday, May 28, at 9:30 a.m.

The event and parking are free and open to all.

Scheduled speakers are Lt. Gen. Steve Arnold, US Army (Ret) and Gunnery Sgt. Victoria Turney, US Marine Corps (Ret).

The ceremony will feature the Georgia Army National Guard Band, Campbell High School JROTC, and the US Air Force Honor Guard.

Military equipment displays will include current and vintage military and security vehicles and weaponry, a US Marine Patrol Boat, H3 Hummer, and other attractions.

Long after the guns have fallen silent and the bombs stop exploding, the children of our fallen warriors will still be missing a parent. Spouses will be alone. Parents will grieve.

“It is for these heroes and the men and women of the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard training or in harm’s way to protect our freedom that we gather on Memorial Day,” said Linda Hedrick of the Smyrna Veterans Committee.

This year’s sponsors include, The City of Smyrna, Smyrna Veterans Committee, Veterans Memorial Association of Smyrna, American Legion Post 160, Northwest Speakers, Smyrna Rotary Club, Jonquil City Kiwanis, Chick-fil-A of South Cobb, and JWC Real Estate.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Smyrna Community Center.

From the May 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

Smyrna Garden Tour Set for May 19

The 2018 Keep Smyrna Beautiful Garden Tour will lead visitors though five beautifully landscaped private gardens within the community.

The Tour is Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 ($20 the day of the event).

The gardens offer an assortment of sizes, styles, terrain, and plantings to ensure each visitor leaves with at least one idea they can use in their own garden.

“This is the 10th anniversary for this wonderful event and Keep Smyrna Beautiful intends to make it exceptional,” said Janet Liberman, Executive Director Keep Smyrna Beautiful.

Though you may begin your tour at any of the garden locations, tour organizers recommend your first stop be at the newly renovated Reed House. The 1910 historic home on Atlanta Road will host a plant sale, sponsor tables, a raffle of great prizes, and refreshments. The tour is self-guided between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Keep Smyrna Beautiful is honored to have the Charyn Darby Foundation as the tour’s presenting sponsor for yet another year.

All proceeds of the tour will be awarded in grants to Smyrna area schools in support of gardening, recycling and academic goals.

Tickets can be purchased now at the Smyrna Community Center, Smyrna Recycling Center and other neighborhood retail establishments: Vickery Hardware, Love Street and Neighbors Feed and Seed. Tickets may also be purchased with credit cards thru KSB office Monday – Friday. Call Keep Smyrna Beautiful at 770-431-2863 for more information.

Here is just a brief description of the beauty and creativity you can expect to see on the tour:

The Freeman garden is a two-acre visual feast of hydrangeas, roses, bridges, hollies, rhododendrons, ferns, waterfalls, and more. The home has been featured on the Atlanta Botanical Garden Tour.

The Bennett garden offers ideas on how to reuse and recycle in your garden. The owner-constructed and maintained garden offers koi and turtle ponds, a circular patio and arbor nested between planting beds.

The Jordon’s took a mature garden from a previous owner and put their stamp on it. The Jordan’s set out to create a garden that would be easy to care for in their retirement years by replacing grass for flowering shrubs and perennial beds. The back garden offers raised vegetable beds and pea gravel paths.

The Lindley garden is a peaceful sanctuary tucked within the busy streets of Smyrna. The garden is home to a variety of roses, boxwoods and maple trees. Bird houses and fountains bring many feathered friends to the garden.

The Kirk garden was designed to accommodate a steep slope and drainage. The backyard features a koi pond, dry creek bed and kitchen garden. The homeowner has incorporated plants from her childhood along with heirloom roses and other flowering perennials.

From the May 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.

WellStar Vinings Heath Park Opens Surgery Outpatient Center

The final piece of the new WellStar Vinings Health Park fell into place with the opening of the Outpatient Surgery Center in April.

The 20,000 sq. foot surgery center includes 17 private prep and recovery rooms, three operating rooms and three procedure rooms.

The new center will also provide onsite treatment and testing, pharmacy and pathology support and   a private patient discharge elevator.

“Tonight is special because it another event in the yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of Cobb Hospital allowing us to serve our community closer to home,” said Callie Andrews, President of WellStar Cobb Hospital.

The Vinings location opened in September of 2017 as the third Health Park in Cobb. A fourth will open in Cherokee County in February.

Dr. Bill Mayfield, WellStar chief surgical officer, “what we have done here, is that we have reinvented the future of surgery.”

The new facility is “designed for patient safety, patient experience and patient flow. (The center is) packed with technology and connected by one electronic medal record.”

“Opening our Vinings Health Park Outpatient Surgery Center will allow us to meet the growing demand for outpatient care in the local market,” said Joe Brywczynski, senior vice president of WellStar Health Parks Administration & Development. “This addition allows us to offer a variety of outpatient medical services and procedures to patients close to home, in one location for increased convenience.”

The addition will create 25 new jobs, increasing the total employment at the Vinings Health Park to more than 175 team members.

From the May 2018 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.