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Northwest Georgia

April 2021

Rising Stars A Premier Local High School Publication

2020

2021

One Act

WRAP UP

Subscriptions Now Available! See inside for details.

APRIL 2021 |

Northwest Georgia Rising Stars

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A Premier Local High School Publication

Outside Sales | Phone Appointment Setters Free Lance Writers | Free Lance Photographers Email resume to brian@nwgarisingstars.com or stephen@nwgarisingstars.com 2 Northwest Georgia Rising Stars |

APRIL 2021


PUBLISHERS Star Printers/Publishers

EDITORIAL MANAGER Brian Pruett, Stephen Norton

EDITING

Annette Pruett

Letter from the

WRITERS

FOUNDERS

Trace Vaughn, Mike Anthony, Matt Crowder Jenna Palazzolo, Dr. Andrea Walraven

“April showers bring May Flowers”, is the old saying, and when you’re in school, you are looking forward to May as it is the end of another school year. For Seniors, it is time for graduation. It also marks the next to last issue for the 2020/2021 school year for NWGA Rising Stars Magazine. NWGA Rising Stars loves sharing the exciting and encouraging stories of our young people in our communities, however, if we do not get any more financial support from the communities (i.e., more advertising) this could be our next to last issue here in the Bartow and Gordon County areas. Without this help and without more advertisers NWGA Rising Stars is in jeopardy of having to close its doors and we will then not be able to share these great stories with you each month, and we really do not want to have to do that. We again would love to continue to share and highlight the youth and all the amazing things they are doing which you would not normally get to hear about unless you read NWGA Rising Stars. So, if you would like to continue reading these positive, uplifting, amazing stories of our youth and would like to advertise, please contact Stephen Norton or Brian Pruett at Stephen@ nwgarisingstars.com or Brian@nwgarisingstars.com. Thank you for your help in advance. Sincerely,

Katie Ward, Adam Dortch, Tim Godbee, Sports Furnace Athletics, Barbara Hall

PHOTOGRAPHY

ART + DESIGN Jessica Doran

SOCIAL MEDIA Audrey Knowles

AD SALES

Stephen Norton, Brian Pruett, Stevie Ray

DISTRIBUTION Danny Sheriff

Stephen Norton and Brian Pruett Co-Founders, Northwest Georgia Rising Stars

RETRACTION: NWGA Rising Stars regrets we ran the right title and pics but wrong article in FCA Gordon Section last month.

CONTACT

Due to illnesses, equipment and family issues, NWGA Rising Stars apologizes for the last two issues being out late.

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Northwest Georgia Rising Stars is a publication of and distributed by Star Printing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored for retrieval by any means without written consent from the publisher. Northwest Georgia Rising Stars magazine is not responsible for unsolicited materials, and Star Printing accepts no responsibility for the contents or accuracy of claims in any advertisement in any issue.

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CARTERSVILLE’S

KAMAU CAPS STELLAR CAREER

When Ian Kamau first signed up for a performing arts class at Cartersville as an elective, he had no idea what path it would provide. “I was just a freshman,” Kamau said. “I didn’t have any experience. If I had to be totally honest, I thought it was a class where I could show up and get an easy A.”

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CASS’S

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CALHOUN’S DORTCH GETS THROUGH CHALLENGING SEASON

O N E

A C T

WRAP-UP 8 ADAIRSVILLE TIGERS

BUFFINGTON STEERING THE SHIP

Coming up through a high school performing arts program can be a long and demanding process. Everyone envisions grabbing a leading role and starring in the spotlight, but there are plenty of other responsibilities that go into making a show a success.

Throughout the area, there is no shortage of high school students who have been on a fast track to becoming outstanding community members despite still being in their teenage years. From sports, to clubs, to jobs, to involvement in charities and community organizations, these young adults have already started to see the big picture of what it will mean to make an impact as they begin the next chapter of their lives

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2020-2021

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ADAIRSVILLE TIGERS ADAIRSVILLE GIRLS SOCCER SCHEDULE

ADAIRSVILLE HIGH 2021 TRACK SCHEDULE

April 15 @ Coahulla Creek April 26 @ Rockmart High School April 28 @ Rockmart High School May 8 @ Lakewood Stadium Atlanta May 13-15 @ Hugh Mills Stadium Albany

Coahulla Creek Invitational Region Championship Region Championship Sectional Track Meet State Track Championship

ADAIRSVILLE BASEBALL SCHEDULE Date Team vs/at Opponent Time 4/13 V vs Ringgold 5:55pm 4/15 V @ Ringgold 5:55pm 4/16 V @ Lafayette 5:55pm 4/20 V vs Lafayette 5:55pm 4/22 V @ Rockmart 5:55pm 4/23 V vs Rockmart 5:55pm Denotes Region Games

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4/13 5:00 PM 4/15 5:00 PM

Sonoraville Calhoun Haralson County Tallapoosa

Home Home

ADAIRSVILLE HIGH 2021 TENNIS SCHEDULE

Date Location & Time 4/13/21 Lakeshore Tennis Center 9:00am 4/14/21 Lakeshore Tennis Center

Opponent First Round Region Tournament Final Rounds Region Tournament

ADAIRSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS AND GIRLS GOLF SCHEDULE April 1st-Murray County @Barnsley 13th-Coahulla Creek @Barnsley 15th-Woodland @Barnsley 20th-North Murray @Barnsley 26th-Boys and Girls Area @Monroe Golf and Country Club


ADAIRSVILLE GETS SERIOUS AT ONE ACT By Mike Anthony The Adairsville drama department is never afraid to take a chance and step outside of its comfort zone. When it came to this year’s one act competition - pushed from the fall to winter due to ongoing pandemic issues - the program took a big swing by performing a show called ‘Rabbit Hole’. “It’s a very difficult show,” Adairsville Drama Director Judson Whitfield said. “It’s about a family dealing with the loss of a child. It’s a lot of emotions and experiences that high school kids haven’t felt in real life, so it’s a stretch for them.” Adairsville also found itself in one of the most competitive regions in Georgia. The program wasn’t able to make it out of region and into the state competition, but Whitfield was very pleased with what he saw from his performers. “You hear things from judges - more than just their overall scores,” Whitfield said. “They had very positive things to say about our kids and how they understood the roles and embraced their characters. That’s what you like to hear, even if we didn’t win.” The region competition ended the one act season for the Tigers, with both Amanda Ferguson and Nirvana Beccera being recognized as allstar cast members at the event. As the school year winds down, the mood will be a bit lighter around the performing arts building as Adairsville now shifts to an all-musical cabaret for its spring show. There will also be more people getting in on the fun.

Tigers One Act Photo Courtesy of Judson Whitfield

“Mostly due to safety precautions, we have had shows with just four or five cast members,” Whitfield said. “For our cabaret, there will be more performers. With the cast and crew included, we will have 44 people working on this show. That’s big as we want to make sure that everyone in the program is getting experience in producing a show.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament.

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ADAIRSVILLE RAIDERS ARE NATIONAL CHAMPS AGAIN By Mike Anthony The Adairsville JROTC Raiders squad made waves last year as both the boys and girls teams secured national championships, with the girls making it a second consecutive title. The target was placed squarely on the Tigers’ backs as they returned to defend their titles this season. Some teams find that staying on top of the mountain is tougher than climbing it in the first place, but Adairsville proved to be up to the task. Both teams traveled to the Gerald Lawhorn Scouting Base in Molena, Ga. at the end of February and returned home with another pair of national championships. “I feel very fortunate to be able to coach kids with such high character and determination,” Sgt. Jerry Queen said. “The most rewarding thing for me is to see hard work and dedication be rewarded. What these kids have had to endure over the past year is something none of us have had to deal with as teenagers.” Not only did the Raiders’ squads have to dance around the complications and quarantines brought about by COVID-19, they also had to be able to contend at a national level during a time that is usually out of season. The Adairsville squads participated in their normal meets throughout the fall, but the national competition was pushed back to the end of February in order to allow as many programs as possible to complete a season. “Once the season ended in November, the Raiders continued to train on Tuesdays and Thursdays by running and strengthening their upper body and core,” Queen said. “We also had eight Raiders that were involved in wrestling and swimming. Once we hit February, we started practicing five days a week.” When the national finals rolled around, a total of 35 teams from 25 schools across eight different states were in competition. Both the boys and girls competed in five different events and Adairsville proved itself head and shoulders above everyone else. The boys won four of the five events, with the girls making a clean sweep. All teams competed in a 5K run, a cross country rescue, a gauntlet course, a physical team test and a rope bridge crossing. The closest thing to a blemish for the Tigers was a third-place finish for the boys in the 5K run. Both Adairsville teams were especially dominant in the cross-country rescue. In the event, teams had to navigate an eight-foot wall and a deep mud pit, along with a three-quarter mile course, all while carrying six 45-pound rucksacks and a litter - weighing 110 pounds for girls and 130 pounds for boys - meant to simulate an injured party. Both Adairsville squads came in more than a minute faster than the second-place squads. The boys also thrived on the rope bridge. They finished in a programbest time of 2:25, beating second place by 22 seconds and shaving 37 seconds off of their time in the event last year. Perhaps most impressive was that both squads were able to put on their championship performances under conditions even more demanding than usual. Due to the need to space out teams in order to minimize interaction and stick to COVID safety protocols, the teams had very little rest as they went from event to event. “Normally, these kids do these five events during an entire day, starting at 8 a.m. and finishing around 5 p.m.,” Queen said. “This year they had to do all five events before 1 pm. I mean, they just came off a 5K run and 15 minutes later they were moving to the Cross-Country Rescue Course to run with a 45 lb. rucksack for almost a mile. The tenacity and perseverance were amazing to watch.”

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ROTC Champions again Photo Courtesy of Sgt Queen

“During the first three events, kids were finishing and were in tears from banging a knee, twisting an ankle or just pushing themselves to their limits, yet when I asked if I needed to put someone else in for them on the next event, each time the answer was no, I’ll be fine. Their dedication and determination are incredible.” Seniors on the teams included Jonathan Anglin, Brandon Bosdell, Doss Dudley and Westin Porter on the boys’ side and Sadie Johnson, Taylor Phillips, Meli Tello and Meagan Wimpy for the girls. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament.

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ADAIRSVILLE’S CLAY ROUNDS OUT STELLAR CAREER By Mike Anthony Two years ago, Noah Clay had to step up for his classmates and castmates. While he had already proven himself as a stellar actor, there weren’t many boys in the program with singing experience and a musical role had to be filled. He stepped up, took the part and got through it. “How did it go?” Clay said. “Well… it went. I didn’t have any real training or experience. I just tried to give it my best. There were a lot of nerves. I think I locked up and just stayed in one key.” Some might view that as a traumatic experience, but Clay has used it as inspiration to become a more well-rounded performer. In fact, he considers that first singing performance one of his prouder moments - not because it was his best, but because it has driven him to work on the musical aspect and take more similar roles. No matter the situation or role, Clay admits that the nerves never really go away. However, the pressure and intensity of a big show night in front of a full house can also bring out the best in performers. “Before a show, and even during rehearsals, I’m always a little nervous,” Clay said. “You

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worry about your lines and hitting your marks. And when you’re on stage there are times when no one can help you. The spotlight is - quite literally on you. But I think that also helps to get the adrenaline going. It can pump you up and really inspire you to go out and do your best.” Adairsville Drama Director Judson Whitfield has only been at the school for two years, but he has seen one of his star actors make big strides in that short amount of time. Whitfield actually credits seeing Clay perform prior to his arrival as a big reason he was excited to take the job and work with the kids in the department. “Noah is what I would describe as a quiet leader,” Whitfield said. “You might not take notice of him if you just pass through the room, but when you’re around every day, you see where the other kids gravitate to him. He’s always doing the right thing and he does it with an attitude of humility and kindness.” In addition to show nights, Clay is also actively involved in the long-term planning for the department and what directions to take. He has been an officer with the school’s thespian troupe throughout his tenure and now serves as troupe president. Most recently, Clay took on another challenging role. For its one act performance, Adairsville produced ‘Rabbit Hole’. In the show, Clay played the role of a father who struggles to get on with life following the loss of a child. “It was really hard to develop that character,” Clay said. “As teenagers, none of us really have that kind of perspective and haven’t dealt with those emotions before. And it’s not just about losing a child. There’s grieving, there’s fighting with my wife and there’s dealing with friends and trying to put on a brave face since you have to keep moving through life.” Clay looms large over the performing arts department, but he has also spent a few hours each week away from the stage. Already well ahead of his high school coursework, Clay has been dualenrolled at Kennesaw State University for the last two semesters and is now well on his way to a college degree. In college, Clay aims to major in business administration in order to stay in the family business. His family owns and operates Rock Fitness Center in Adairsville and Clay can often be found manning the front desk. Following college, Clay plans to take a more active role in the daily operations of the facility. Of course, that’s not to say that the stage won’t still be calling. “I’ve been a little busy to see about (the theater scene at KSU),” Clay said. “But I’m definitely interested in learning what is out there. The community that builds around performing groups is something really special. That’s something I want to keep experiencing.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament. Photos by Katie Ward

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Where are They Now?

During his time at Adairsville High School, Andrew Cornwell was a well-rounded student-athlete. Excelling in extracurricular activities such as soccer, cross country, track, wrestling, and marching band. In addition to these activities, Andrew became the President of the Skills USA program and active with his participation in construction class, all while earning a dual diploma. In his four years attending Adairsville High, Andrew enjoyed learning science from his teachers Steve Adams and Brett Tolbert, who he credits for making learning “fun and easy.” Andrew’s favorite subject at Adairsville was construction. The construction teacher, Ron Williams, provided a lasting memory for him; Andrew explains, “Mr. Ron Williams taught me that hard work pays off, and to measure twice and cut once.” Out of all the sports Andrew competed in, soccer was the sport he enjoyed most. He played keeper (goalie) for all 4 years of high school. Andrew was coached by Jennifer O’Neal and Jason Rudd. In his senior year, Andrew was elected as one of the captains of the team. After he graduated from Adairsville in 2005, Andrew joined the Gordon County Fire and Rescue team, earning a certification as an EMT, and currently holds the rank of Sergeant Paramedic. Andrew’s father Marty Cornwell was his inspiration in pursuing a career in firefighting, Andrew says, “I started in the fire service because my father was a fire fighter and we always got to go visit him. I always liked the closeness of my dad and his firefighting buddies and wanted to be part of it.” Marty Cornwell retired as a Battalion Chief for the city of Cartersville after 37 years of service. In July of 2020, Andrew and his wife Maleah opened up a popular startup business located in Cartersville, called Drift Nutrition. Drift specializes in energizing teas and meal replacement shakes. In it’s short existence Drift Nutrition has become a popular destination in Cartersville with those in the fitness community. To help Andrew and Maleah with their small business, support them by stopping in at Drift Nutrition, located at 650 Henderson Drive in the West End Commons shopping center next to Athlete Lockers shoe store. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Matt Crowder is a proud husband and father of four. He is a 2005 Cass High School Graduate, former Cobb County Sheriff’s Office Deputy, current freelance videographer for WSB-TV in Atlanta, and video content producer for The House at Lakepointe church in Acworth. Photo: Top Left: Andrew training a recruit Photo by Adam Dortch Top Center: Andrew with his wife Maleah and kids Adaley and Maverick Photo Courtesy of Andrew Top Right: Andrew at his fire house Photo by Adam Dortch

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By Matt Crowder


CARTERSVILLE PURPLE HURRICANES HURRICANES GOLF SCHEDULE 2021

Date Opponent

Time

4/12 Woodland 4:00 4/26 Billy Peek Tournament (B) TBA Area Tournament (B) TBA Areal Tournament (G) TBA 5/7 North GA HS Classic (B) TBA 5/17 State Tournament TBA

Date 4/13 4/15

Location

Woodland Hills Bradshaw Farms Achasta Green Island Country Club,Columbus, GA

CARTERSVILLE SOCCER SCHEDULE 2021 Opponent Vs. Allatoona Vs. Sandy Creek

Varsity Girls 5:30PM 5:30PM

Varsity Boys 7:30PM 7:30PM

CARTERSVILLE CANES TRACK + FIELD SCHEDULE 2021

Date Meet Location 4/5 Spring Break Somewhere Fun, USA 4/15 Darlington 4-Way Carlington HS, Rome GA 4/19-4/22 Region 5-AAAA Championships Starr’s Mill HS, Fayetteville GA 5/13-5/15 5-A Boys & Girls State T&F Championships Carrolton, GA

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APRIL 2021 |

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CARTERSVILLE TURNS IN SOLID SEASON By Mike Anthony

In a year packed with plenty of uncertainty, the Cartersville performing arts program has been able to keep things as normal as possible. Despite the school going in and out of remote learning, the Hurricanes have been able to run a full season’s worth of shows. Most recently, Cartersville put on its one act show of High School Musical, finishing third at its region competition. “Overall, it was a positive experience,” said Cartersville drama director Dianna Long. “We were used to competing in one act in the fall, so we needed time to figure out scheduling, but everyone bought in.” As with other schools, the entirety of the department at Cartersville had to keep safety at the forefront as the school was particularly hard hit with individual quarantines and periods where there was no in-person learning or practices. The fall was especially tough as Cartersville had to push back its production of Willy Wonka when its lead actor was quarantined due to contact tracing. But the group persevered and - with instances of virus spread now waning - is looking forward to closing out its season with ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, which is set to debut April 24. “I give the kids a lot of credit,” Long said. “Not only did they have to be vigilant for the sake of our shows, but I feel like other schools were just as much on board. That allowed us to compete and gave everyone the full experience.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament. thejoint.com

BRAND GUIDELINES

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Canes singing Photo Courtesy of Dianna Long

Canes in peformacne Photo Courtesy of Dianna Long

Northwest Georgia Rising Stars wants to HELP SUPPORT YOUR BOOSTER CLUB

Sell ad space for NWGA Rising Stars Magazine and we’ll pay you commission to support your team’s booster club and give you space to shout out your events in your schools’ section. Contact Stephen or Brian for more information.

Send us your events for free publicity during your seasons Stephen: 678-756-2013 stephen@nwgarisingstars.com 14 Northwest Georgia Rising Stars |

BRAND GUIDELINES APRIL 2021 © 2019 The Joint Corp. All Rights Reserved. [Rev. 10/4/19]


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CARTERSVILLE’S KAMAU CAPS STELLAR CAREER By Mike Anthony When Ian Kamau first signed up for a performing arts class at Cartersville as an elective, he had no idea what path it would provide. “I was just a freshman,” Kamau said. “I didn’t have any experience. If I had to be totally honest, I thought it was a class where I could show up and get an easy A.” What started out as a way to fill out his class schedule quickly transformed into a passion for Kamau. Far from that first semester as a complete stranger to the world of performing arts, Kamau will graduate from Cartersville in May as an invaluable member of the program. During his tenure in the program, Kamau has immersed himself in all aspects of show production. He has taken on all offered parts - both leading and in support - and has also been a crucial member of the Cartersville squad at the annual literary meets. Nearly every high school athlete and club participant has been affected by COVID over the last year, but Kamau was put in an especially tough spot. He landed the leading role of Willy Wonka in the school’s fall production of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, but contact tracing forced him into quarantine just before the scheduled performances. “I didn’t know what to do,” Kamau said. “I felt bad for everyone who had been working so hard to get the show ready for stage. We were able to wait a couple of weeks to put the show on and I was determined to keep practicing at home so that I would be ready for my part.” Whether it was an unwanted quarantine or the hiatus put on most practices and performances for the better part of 2020, Kamau said that it took a mental toll on just about everyone involved with the production of shows. Nothing came easy for performers who weren’t sure when their next showtime would be, but Kamau was able to use his experience and seniority to play a big role in guiding younger members of the squad. “Ian has been in charge of our mentoring program,” Cartersville Drama Director Dianna Long said. “He has taken a lot of time and made great effort to reach out to younger people in the program. It’s one thing to be good on stage, but it’s great to see his commitment to the entire program and to helping those who are just starting out.” As Kamau has advanced through the program, he has been very aware of his own growth and the depth that it can give to his performances. His dedication to the program has been unflinching, but he understands that there is no fast track from his first day in the program to his current status as a premier player. “There is so much that has gone into my time here,” Kamau said. “First off, it took great teachers, great friends and great family to help and encourage me.” “And there was also a process of developing how I acted. You go from just getting comfortable, to performing, to acting, to really sinking into characters. And then there’s the progression from just learning lines, to doing choreography, to singing songs. It’s a long list of things before you really feel like you’ve accomplished it all.”

Ian on stage Photo by Katie Ward As the curtain slowly lowers on Kamau’s time at Cartersville, he sees plenty of future spotlights in his future. Kamau plans to pursue a future in the arts, but is just as enthusiastic about furthering his education to gain future employment in the medical field. “I’m going to get certified in radiology,” Kamau said. “I’ve just always liked X-rays and I like the technology involved.” That said, the call of the stage is still very loud in his ear. “I’m also still very interested in continuing to perform,” Kamau said. “Attending Julliard is a dream, but there are other things I’d like to do. I want to see what I can do in the theater around Atlanta and Broadway is another dream. I just have a lot of passion and ambition for the future.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament.

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Northwest Georgia Rising Stars

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APRIL 2021

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Cass Colonels 2021 TRACK SCHEDULE

DATE April 13 April 14 April 19-22 May 8 May 13-15

Apr. 15

TIME OPPONENTS PLACE 4:30 SE Whitfield Varsity SE Whitfield HS 4:30 Pepperrell JV Meet Pepperrell HS 10am Reg. 7-5A Championship Calhoun HS 9am Sect. Championship 2,3,6,7 Starr’s Mill HS TBA State Championship 5A, 6A Carrollton, GA

CASS GIRLS SOCCER SCHEDULE 2021

Away

Kell

5:30 pm

CASS HIGH 2021 TENNIS SCHEDULE OPPONENT REGION TOURNAMENT

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CASS VARSITY BOYS SOCCER 2021 SCHEDULE

Date Opponent 4/15/2021 at Kell

Time 7:30 PM

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CASS BATTLES THROUGH TOUGH SEASON By Mike Anthony At Cass High School, plenty of students are involved in numerous sports and clubs that span the entire scholastic calendar. The Colonels are proud of their diversity and versatility, but when seasons get shifted - as it was when the annual one act season was switched from fall to the winter. “Honestly, we were happy to be able to do anything,” Cass Drama Director Chris Agan said. “With our semester schedule, there were fewer people available in the spring. But we weren’t focused on what we did or didn’t have, the important thing was that we had the chance to perform and our goal was to be proud of what we did.” That sentiment revealed itself in Cass’s one act showing. The team’s performance went over the allotted time - disqualifying it from a region championship - but Agan was very proud of what his squad was able to do, given all of the adversity. With the one act season now complete, Cass has moved on to a full-length musical production of The Addams Family for the spring. The production has a good amount of sentimental value for the cast as they were in the middle of rehearsals for the show last year when the pandemic put everything to a halt. “We had four seniors last year who weren’t able to do their final show,” Agan said. “We brought back a lot of juniors from last year, so we are already familiar with the production and it’s going to be important for us to see this through.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament.

The Colonels performing Mother Courage Photo Courtesy of Emma Buffington

In rehearsal for Eurydice Photo Courtesy of Emma Buffington

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18 Northwest Georgia Rising Stars |

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Cass High School Golf Tournament Monday, April 19th, 2021

Benefiting the Center for Advanced International Studies

Event Location: Cartersville Country Club 1310 Joe Frank Harris Pkwy Cartersville, GA 30210

Presenting Sponsor Join us for this opportunity to play 18 holes at the beautiful Cartersville Country Club for a fun day of golf, networking your business, and supporting The Center for Advanced International Studies Format: 4-person scramble Foursome Entry Fee $500 Includes lunch, beverages, snacks, & goodie bag Schedule 8:30 to 10 am Check in, biscuits, coffee, & warm up on the range 10am

Shot gun start

12pm

Boxed lunch served on course

2pm

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Register Early – space is limited Visit https://cassmagnet.com for registration and sponsorship forms. Inquires, call or email Andrea Surcey 770-616-3206 Cass Magnet Foundation

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1000 Colonel Way White, GA 30184

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CASS’S BUFFINGTON STEERING THE SHIP

By Mike Anthony

Coming up through a high school performing arts program can be a long and demanding process. Everyone envisions grabbing a leading role and starring in the spotlight, but there are plenty of other responsibilities that go into making a show a success. Just over a year ago, Emma Buffington was on the verge of bringing a creation of hers from initial thoughts, through writing, casting and directing, all the way to the stage for Cass High School. “It was a show called ‘Shadow Puppets’,” Buffington said. “I wrote and directed it. A day before we were supposed to premiere, everything got shut down and we were never able to take it to the stage.” Despite all of the writing, revisions and rehearsal that never culminated in a live performance, Buffington remains very positive about the situation. “I know that everyone was disappointed that we never got to perform,” Buffington said. “But there was still a lot that all of us learned in preparing for it that we were able to carry on.” Buffington’s role as a director in her junior year would be a prestigious mark for most, but it wasn’t her first. Earlier in her career, she took over direction of a production of Eurydice after the original director had to stand down. “That was a lot of work, but we’re a team,” Buffington said. “We all wanted to make sure that we got the show to stage. And (Cass High Drama Director Chris) Agan knows his stuff. When you bring something to him and he says it’s fit for stage, that’s a very big moment.” Throughout her career, Buffington has done just about everything there is to do for any performing arts program. She has held both supporting and leading roles in productions, but has also taken a large part in envisioning and developing productions from the ground up.  Locking down performing roles and making them come to life on the stage is challenging enough, but writing and directing an entire show is an entirely different venture. Buffington was entrusted with that role by Agan has run the gauntlet of creating and nurturing productions. “It’s definitely a huge task,” Buffington said. “I also see it as a huge honor, where you get to grow a performance and see it come to life. When choosing who would get which part, I would go back and forth every day. So much of having a directing role is having to make the decision on what is best for the show instead of what might be best for each person in the show.” Whether directing fellow performers or rehearsing her own roles such as Pugsley in ‘The Addams Family’ or Jo in ‘Little Women’, Buffington has also had to deal with a significant lack in stage time. Cass has done its best to keep all of its students safe during the now year-long pandemic,

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but that has come at the cost of keeping many large teams and groups separate and strictly limiting the availability of common spaces. “We’ve done plenty of rehearsals in the lobby,” Bennington said. “That’s not a complaint. Chorus and band need the stage time as much as we do and there’s just the one, so we have all done what we can to share and make do.” Creating more fine works - fit for stage or via reading - is in Buffington’s immediate future. Although she has never ventured outside of the United States before, Buffington is pursuing further education in Scotland, with an expected major in the field of creative writing. It’s a huge leap, to be sure, but taking big chances in order to find out what she’s really made of seems to be a driving force for Buffington’s creativity, as well as her own personal growth. “I have already received a couple of acceptance letters,” Buffington said. “Ideally, I’d love to study at the University of Aberdeen, but I haven’t made my choice yet.” Some who expect to study abroad have already travelled the world and want to immerse themselves in a particular culture. As for Buffington, the desire to absorb a new perspective is there, but it is solely due to her own interest in expanding her worldview and personal experience. “I’ve never been outside the United States,” Buffington said. “It’s just a place I’m interested in and curious to be a part of. I’ve got a great and very close relationship with my mom. I know it will be tough to leave her, but she’s also so supportive of what I want to do. And if I don’t take a chance or go on an adventure now, when can I do it again?” By her own admission, Buffington says that she’ll be “pretty terrified” to be an entire ocean away from her friends and family. At the same time, she knows that it will be a help and a new line of perspective as she sees herself writing on historical fiction in the coming years. “I love history, and I like adding a little extra to make people pay attention,” Buffington said. “It kind of goes with how I feel from day to day. I don’t like monotony. I like for new things to happen. I want to experience that and I want to write about it.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament. Photos by Katie Ward


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WOODLAND WILDCATS 2020-2021VARSITY BOYS SOCCER SCHEDULE

Date Opponent Time Location 4/15/21 PAULDING CO. 7:45 pm Woodland H.S.

2020-2021VARSITY BASEBALL SCHEDULE

2020-2021VARSITY GIRLS SOCCER SCHEDULE

Date Opponent Time Location 4/15/21 PAULDING CO. 5:45 pm Woodland H.S.

TRACK SCHEDULE 2021

Date Opponent Time Location 4/13/21 CALHOUN 5:55 pm Calhoun H.S. 4/13/21 LANDMARK CHRISTIAN 7:00 pm LAKEPOINT 4/16/21 CALHOUN 5:00 pm Woodland H.S. 4/16/21 CALHOUN 7:30 pm Woodland H.S. 4/23/21 HARRALSON COUNTY 5:55 pm Woodland H.S.

Date Day 4/13 Tuesday 4/19 Monday 4/22 Thursday 5/8 Saturday 5/13-15 Th-Sat.

Location Opponents Starting time Calhoun Pre-Region preview 4:30pm Calhoun Boys and Girls Region TBA Calhoun Day 2 Region TBA Stars Mill State Sectionals TBA Carrolton Boys & Girls State TBA

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highlands.edu APRIL 2021


WOODLAND MAKES THE SHOW GO ON

By Mike Anthony

Right after they had won second place in the region Photo Courtesy of Kaley Bryant

Performing Aladdin last show before the Pandemic Photo Courtesy of Kaley Bryant

For much of the fall and winter, Woodland High School was under ‘code yellow’ protocol, which prevented any non-student or non-faculty members from coming on to campus. That put a damper on the first half of the performing arts season, but with some ingenuity and determination, Woodland has been able to give its students a rewarding year’s worth of performances and was able to host its region one act competition in February. Other regions were forced to get creative, with some sending judges to each school and others submitting their performances on tape. But Woodland was able to provide the more traditional experience. “We were able to host our entire region for the one act competition,” Woodland Drama Director Kaley Bryant said. “We hosted five schools and kept everyone socially distant in our building while cleaning everything on and around the stage between shows. It was a lot of work, but we wanted to make it happen for our kids and for the other schools.” Woodland performed ‘The Book of Everything’ in the one act competition. The Wildcats finished with a second place showing in region, but finished just out of contention for the state finals. Even so, the cast continues to be hard at work. Woodland fired things up even before the school year started. It put on a show in late summer as recognition and a thank you to seniors from the Class of 2020 who had their time cut short. And as Woodland moves on from one act, it now shifts its focus to a springtime performance of Cinderella. “It’s been a lot of moving things around and changing schedules,” Bryant said. “We’ve had kids in and out of quarantine. We couldn’t do ‘A Chorus Line’, so we created our own show and recorded it so others could experience it. These kids have really worked hard to make sure that they could have a full year’s worth of experiences.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament.

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Above: Enjoying their Christmas Party Photo Courtesy of Kaley Bryant Left: Wildcast’s Region Runner Up Trophy Photo Courtesy of Woodland High School

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THEATER A LIFELONG EXPERIENCE FOR BANTA

By Mike Anthony

Woodland’s Savannah Banta has been a fixture on the high school stage throughout her four years, but - owing to Cartersville’s active and vibrant community program - she has been in the spotlight for over a decade. As a first grader, Banta was introduced to the Cartersville Artistic Talent Showcase (CATS). Even at that young age, participation requires that actors pass an audition. Banta landed a part in a production of ‘The Music Man’ and her stage career was off and running. “It’s something I’ve always loved and it has been a great experience,” Banta said. “I’ve been involved ever since, doing middle school and high school and community performances. It’s a great environment. You get to meet a lot of different people and just share in the culture of theater.” When she entered high school, Banta immediately became a productive cast member of many shows. Her constant hard work and growth as an actor helped her land her first leading role last year for the school’s production of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’, only to see the show shut down due to COVID. The nationwide shutdowns hit many high school students hard. Performing arts was especially vulnerable as hundreds of hours of writing, rehearsal and set design were lost without anyone being able to take in the

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finished product. Banta and her classmates were determined to make the 2020-21 season work out and they have done so with Banta playing some new roles that have further expanded her range as an actor. In Woodland’s one act performance of ‘The Book of Everything’, Banta took on a part wildly different from most previous ventures. Playing the role of Mother, Banta sank into the life of a housewife in 1950s Amsterdam, often subjected to bouts of violence at the hands of her husband. “I have often had roles where I can see parts of myself in the character and lean into that,” Banta said. “This was totally different. I really had to get into character before stepping on stage. I was trying to portray dealing with verbal and physical abuse and acting out a role for a woman which was much different with the setting of the play. I’m usually very happy and outgoing. I’m also not a girl who just sits back and doesn’t voice my opinion, so it was a challenge to be in a character that is totally opposite of me.” Banta helped push Woodland to a second place showing at the region one act competition, coming up just shy of qualifying to perform for a state championship. The Wildcats’ spring show again sees Banta playing against her normal personality, albeit in a much lighter way. “Right now, we’re working on Cinderella,” Banta said. “I play Portia, one of the evil stepsisters. She’s not exactly the brightest person, but that lets me have some fun. I can kind of let all of my bubbly and crazy ideas just take over and crank them all the way up.” When not on stage, Banta is a big contributor to spiritual causes, both within her church and at Woodland. Banta is a member of Trinity at the Well United Methodist Church and also serves on the church’s youth leadership team. Among her responsibilities in that position is to constantly interact with the younger members of the congregation and also help to plan mission trips. Another role she holds within the church is as a youth representative to the overall church council. Banta is responsible for gauging any questions or concerns held by the younger members of the church and relating them to the main decision makers. Banta takes similar roles at Woodland, serving as a leader for the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter and serving on the FCA’s Bartow County council. “It’s a different part of my life, but also a very important one,” Banta said. “My roles with the church and FCA are so much different than with performing. In those roles, you can’t be acting. It’s so important to be honest and not hide any part of yourself if you’re going to do your job with the youth council.” Following her upcoming graduation, Banta will be heading down to Statesboro. She is set to enroll at Georgia Southern University and plans on studying to be a history teacher. “I’m excited for the next chapter,” Banta said. “Both of my parents went there. My brother went there. I have an aunt and a cousin who went there and my best friend is going there. I fell in love with the community and how they support the school, so I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of that experience.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament. Photos by Katie Ward


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APRIL 2021 |

Northwest Georgia Rising Stars

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Athlete of the Month

By Sherry Spinks Cass High’s Frank Kunf took the stage last year to speak at FCA Day at Tabernacle Baptist Church. The senior is a multi-sport athlete competing in soccer, swim, and track throughout his high school career. He has received a varsity letter in all sports. He also is a drum line section leader in the band. Frank uses his influence as an athlete to share Christ with his peers on and off the field. He has been a member of the Cass FCA leadership team all four years of high school. Frank lives out the core values of FCA (integrity, service, excellence, and teamwork) in everything he does. He’s also an AP/Honors student. He plans on attending Georgia Northwestern College to secure a degree in Aircraft maintenance engineering. “FCA has offered me a setting to focus on Jesus and advance his love to students throughout high school.”

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GORDON

Pass It On…Dealing with Transitions By Noah Hunt There comes a moment in every sport where the athlete dresses out. They pull on the jersey. They tighten up the cleats. They have their pregame ritual. As unique and sacred as these pregame practices are, they must come to an end. For every athlete, there is a day the jersey gets washed for the last time. There is a day the cleats are boxed up. The ritual comes to an end. A new name will eventually hang in that locker. A new jersey. A new pair of cleats. Every athlete and every coach are preparing to make a transition. Life itself is full of transitions. Most people are transitioning or headed into a transition. There are several transitions in leadership covered in the Bible. Moses to Joshua, John the Baptist to Jesus, The Apostle Paul to Timothy. There is one instance that stands out above the rest because, just like the athletics analogy, the story is rich with symbol and meaning. In the second chapter of Second Kings, the Bible records a tale of two prophets, Elijah and Elisha.1 Don’t worry about the names. As my good friend and fellow FCA Ambassador, Kyle Ruff of Trinity Baptist Church, says “the ‘S’ follows the ‘J’.” The story is about transitions. The elderly Elijah is transitioning from the role of mentor-prophet to a heavenly reality, while the youthful Elisha must transition from the role of student to God’s prophetic voice in the community. As with any transition, there are choices that must be made. When faced with transitions, individuals are tasked with rising to the occasion. It was God’s time for Elijah to ascend or advance to His eternal destiny. He could accept this grant from God as a burden or a blessing. It was God’s time for Elisha to grasp a new role, to take hold of God’s favor with capability and qualification. He could accept this gift from God as a trial or a triumph. If you want to see how the story turns out, go and read it for yourself. You will not be disappointed. You will see a positive example of two friends welcoming transition and emerging all the stronger for having done so. This can be true in our lives today. Take a moment to evaluate your current situation. Are you coming out of a transition? Are you going into a transition? Have you looked around and taken note of what God desires to do in your life through this moment of newness and uncertainty? Take a moment right now to ask him to show you in His Word, the Bible, how this current transition relates to your advancement or qualification. Are you being promoted? Are you being demoted? Are you being qualified? Are you being disqualified? If you are diligent to pursue the answer to your question in His word, God is sure to show you the answer you seek or answer a deeper question that you did not know to ask. God wants to use the example of Elijah and Elisha to help you encounter life’s transitions in a more productive way. As always, Calhoun and Gordon County Fellowship of Christian Athletes is thrilled to come alongside coaches and athletes, helping to instruct the heart under the jersey. To fully take advantage of all that God has for you, we encourage you to unite with a local body of like-minded Jesus-followers. Because you can find the gathered body of Jesus in

1

Elijah’s Encounter with the LORD and Elisha’s Appointment as Elijah’s Successor (1 Kg 19:9-21); Elijah in the Whirlwind and Elisha Succeeds Elijah (2 Kg 2:1-15)

churches all over northwest Georgia, it is hard to know where to start looking. Here are some brief criteria to consider when deciding where to go to church. 1. Look Local. There are great churches within tenthirty minutes driving distance of your home. You need to celebrate Jesus with people you see elsewhere during the week. 2. Call ahead or check online before you attend. Look and listen for key phrases “the Bible says” or “Jesus said.” This is not foolproof by any means, but if Churches are confident enough to publicly say that they get their authority from the word of God and the words of Jesus found there, you should probably consider looking into their community further. 3. Prayerfully study the book of Psalms. Psalms were ancient songs that focused on celebrating God. If the church you are looking at lines up with the content of worship found in the psalms, keep looking into their community of believers. Let our staff know if we can assist your church search in any way.2 God wants you to be connected to a local community of Jesus-followers that will serve as His living network of trust and service in your life. As always, Calhoun and Gordon County FCA desires to see this community transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. Help us lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church.

2

klamb@fca.org Noah Hunt is a Gordon County native. He is a passionate advocate of extracurricular athletics, the performing arts and humanities and Christian education. He and his wife Tiffany are educators and live in Calhoun Georgia. It is their shared vision and mission to impact their community for human good, God’s glory and the for the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ APRIL 2021 |

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2020-2021

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WRAP-UP

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Awesome of CALHOUN YELLOW The JACKETS CALHOUN HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL SCHEDULE 2021

By Keith Ivey

Date Opponent Location Time Apr 13 Woodland Calhoun HS 5:55 Apr 14 @ Notre Dame (TN) Chattanooga, TN 4:30 Apr 16 @ Woodland Woodland HS (DH) 5:55/7:55 Apr 20 Blessed Trinity Calhoun HS 5:55 Apr 22 @ Blessed Trinity Blessed Trinity HS (DH) 5:55/7:55 Apr 28 1st Round of State Playoffs TBA

CALHOUN HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER SCHEDULE

Date April 13

Opponent Heritage

Location Away

V Girls 5:00

V Boys 7:00

2021 CHS TRACK SCHEDULE

Date April 15th

Time Meet 4:15 Pre-Region Preview

Location Calhoun HS

AREA 4 SLOW PITCH SOFTBALL

April 14-15 April 21-22

Sectionals @ Twin Creeks in Woodstock Elite 8 @ Twin Creeks in Woodstock

CALHOUN HS BOYS GOLF SCHEDULE 2021

Date Location Opponent April 12?? Cartersville Country Club?? Area 4 Tournament April 13 Fields Ferry (B&G) Fields Ferry Invitational April 15 Cherokee Country Club (B&G) Rockmart & Cedartown April 20 Non North GC Nob North Invitational April 22 Fields Ferry (B&G) Co. Creek & Sonoraville April 28 Stonebridge GC Coosa & Armuchee May3/4 TBD-Possible Sectionals May 17 Green Island CC (Columbus) AAAAA State Tournament May 18 Green Island CC (Columbus) AAAAA State Tournament

CALHOUN HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS SCHEDULE 2020-2021 Date Opponent April 13-14 Region Tournament

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Location Dellinger Park Cartersville

APRIL 2021

Time TBD

Self-H y p n

You’re in your car, driving to your destination, and once you arrive, you have no memory of the trip. Or, you’re in a meeting, and you’ve lost track of what was happening in the meeting because your mind was somewhere else. You were hypnotized. The bottom line is that most of us spend part of every day in a “hypnotic trance,” where our conscious mind is performing a task and our subconscious mind is working on something entirely different. Being in a state of hypnosis is a normal part of everyday life. In fact, anytime we are not in full awareness of our surroundings, we are in a state of hypnosis. As “The Motivational Hypnotist,” I end most sessions with guidance on how my clients can hypnotize themselves at home. I’ve got three reasons for doing this: (1) Self-hypnosis supports and enhances our office sessions; (2) Self-hypnosis supports my clients’ desire to modify their emotions, attitudes and behaviors; (3) Self-hypnosis, like hypnosis sessions in my office, is natural and harmless. For self-hypnosis to be effective, I teach my clients the “Self-Hypnosis Game Plan.” Select a safe, comfortable, calm place where you will be uninterrupted while you sit in a comfortable chair. That means turning off the phone. And it means sitting, not lying down, to avoid falling asleep. Put both feet on the floor with your hands resting in your lap. Take three deep belly breaths - in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay close attention to your breathing. Notice how calming and relaxing just breathing can be.

O slowly air wit N each W mind, until c Y things speak to yo positi T remin Coun W T need gets m H

LOCAL COMMUNITIES SUPPORT

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CALHOUN TAKES REGION, IS STATE RUNNER-UP

By Mike Anthony

One Act Region Champs and headed to State Photo Courtesy of Calhoun High School

The one-act performance for Calhoun High was on hold for quite a while, but when the lights were at their brightest, the Yellow Jackets were at their best. Calhoun clinched a Region 7-AAAAA championship - in its first season at the classifications, no less - and finished second in the state with its performance of ‘Freaky Friday.’ “This whole year has been crazy,” said Calhoun Director of Drama Julie Leggett. “It was a tough call to delay one act to the winter, but it was the right call. It just let us live with the show a little longer.” While some area schools responded to the ever-looming COVID crisis by downsizing, Calhoun tried to keep things as normal as possible. The Jackets took painstaking measures to keep everyone safe, but also wanted the entire department to get a full year of experience. “We had a total of 49 cast and crew,” Leggett said. “We didn’t dial down because that year of growth is so important to younger members of the program learning and growing. That said, it took a lot of dedication and accountability for our kids to keep such a large group and make it work.” With its one-act show now in the books, Calhoun now moves on to its two-act spring performance. The Jackets will be performing ‘Chicago’, beginning March 25. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament.

Calhoun’s cast of Freaky Friday photo Courtesy of Calhoun High School

Assisted Living, Memory Care and Respite.

Cast and crew of State Runners up for Freaky Friday Photo Courtesy of Calhoun High School APRIL 2021 |

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CALHOUN RELIES ON DYNAMIC DUO By Mike Anthony

In any production, so much depends on developing great chemistry between cast members. Luckily for Calhoun, two of its top actors also happen to be the best of friends offstage. Seniors Avery Lester and Megan Wright have been friends for, as Wright puts it, “as long as I can remember.” This year, the duo has been integral parts of several major productions as they close out their high school careers on a high note. “Both girls started in our middle school program,” Calhoun Director of Drama Julie Leggett said. “When they were younger, they had supporting roles in our shows. We can really see when younger students are growing and coming along. “Now they’re both able to carry a show. Carrying a show is like carrying a team. There are a lot of people depending on you and there is an enormous responsibility to make things work.” In addition to their natural talent on the stage, the friendship between Lester and Wright have allowed them to hit a new level and provide a deeper dynamic between the two. That proved especially useful given the productions that Calhoun has put on this year. For its one act competition, Calhoun performed ‘Freaky Friday’. In the play, Lester and Wright shared leading roles as the mother and daughter who switch bodies and spend most of the play trying to return to normal.  This spring, the two are again cast as major characters as they take the roles of Roxie and Velma in the musical ‘Chicago’. This performance features the pair as jailed vaudeville stars who sometimes help each other while striving for individual stardom. Both performances feature a lot of back-and-forth with the main characters and play perfectly into the real-life friendship. “I think it helps a lot that we know each other’s mannerisms and little quirks,” Wright said. “We have a script to stick to, but there are little things where we can play off of each other because we know each other so well. In our next show, we get to be sort of ‘frenemies’, so that will be a lot of fun.” “It’s been a blessing to do all of this alongside my best friend,” Lester said. “From winning state in our freshman year, to playing smaller roles, to performing together in our senior year, it’s been a fun and incredible journey.” And the show will go on even after the final curtain falls at Calhoun. Following graduation this spring, Lester intends to continue acting as she pursues a major in either art or graphic design. She hasn’t chosen a school yet, but lists Lipscomb, Young Harris and the University of Georgia

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as possible landing spots. At heart, Lester is an artist. She spends her free time creating pieces and has even done so for others. The ability to design and create is a freeing feeling - and one that has been challenged over the past year. “When everything stopped last year, it was super weird,” Lester said. “With shutdowns and quarantines and restrictions on practicing, it felt very limiting and very tough to make good art.” But Lester Wright and the entire program persevered, claiming another region one act title in their first season as a Class AAAAA school. “No one should ever underestimate themselves,” Lester said. “You can accomplish so much. I’ve always been ambitious. That’s something that has helped me in this program and something I will take with me during the next step.” With a mother who serves as a musical director, Wright has been performing and participating in the arts since she was a small child. She is also a veteran of pageants, competing in the Miss America organization. Wright currently reigns as the Cobb County Outstanding Teen and is set to compete for the title of Miss Georgia. “All of it has been a great experience for me,” Wright said. “I think that competitions and theater both teach you to think on your toes and adapt. And anyone can fall in love with theater. It’s not just singing on stage. There’s crew, tech, ensemble and small parts. There’s something for everyone and it’s a great family to be a part of.” Looking towards the future, Wright hopes to move into the medical field. She proudly announces her extreme passion for healthcare and her desire to help others in need. Wright has already put her long-term plan into action as she serves on the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council, completing disaster preparedness projects on both the local and national levels. “I can’t wait for what’s next,” Wright said. “I’m going to miss performing at Calhoun and with Avery, but I had the best time and I know that everyone is going to continue to succeed.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament. Photos: Top Left: Avery & Megan Photo Courtesy of Julie Leggett Top Center: Avery Photo by Andy Baxter Top Right: Avery & Megan on Stage Photo Courtesy of Julie Leggett


Calhoun’s Dortch Gets Through Challenging Season

By Mike Anthony

Throughout the area, there is no shortage of high school students who have been on a fast track to becoming outstanding community members despite still being in their teenage years. From sports, to clubs, to jobs, to involvement in charities and community organizations, these young adults have already started to see the big picture of what it will mean to make an impact as they begin the next chapter of their lives. Unfortunately, the ongoing pandemic may have hit these people the hardest. With so many extra opportunities either shut down or severely hindered, it would be easy for aspiring teens to dig in and wait things out. But that’s not the mentality of tomorrow’s leaders, and it’s the actions and perspective of someone like Calhoun’s Addison Dortch that prove nothing is going to stop those young people who are determined to make the most of things and make a difference in their communities. Currently a senior, Dortch is a cheerleader for the Yellow Jackets that has long been planning for what will come next for her after graduation in May. Confident and self-assured about her plan for high school and beyond for her first three years, the last one has thrown forth a hurdle that couldn’t have been seen coming. “Everything has been very strange and frustrating,” Dortch said. “You try hard to be safe. You do everything you can, and there were still plenty of times where my friends and activities were taken away due to COVID.” Dortch saw plenty of friends one class ahead of her have the rug pulled out from under them, taking away spring sports, prom, a proper graduation - so many milestones that are supposed to be a highlight of the high school experience. As summer came about, there were also doubts about how much of a traditional year of school, sports and other activities could be had by the Class of 2021. “No one knew what to expect,” Dortch said. “We were able to have summer tryouts, and I was super excited to make the team; we didn’t know how the season would go or if we would be able to compete at all.” Dortch and her teammates were able to get through the summer and fall, but Dortch came down with COVID-19 just before Christmas. Forced out of cheerleading and school alike, it was a whole new world. “It was a big challenge,” Dortch said. “Luckily, I didn’t have to go to the hospital or anything, but it definitely wasn’t fun and it was a challenge to keep up with schoolwork when you can’t be there.” But even when afflicted with the virus, Dortch was thinking of others. Her father is a firefighter and EMS with the Gordon County fire department. Knowing that she didn’t want to put a first responder and essential employee at risk, she made the decision to further disrupt her own routine and move in with her mother while she recovered. “She’s got a huge heart and she’s always thinking about how to help others,” father Adam Dortch said. “It’s been tough watching her go through this, as I’m sure it has for every parent. This has made her mature and grow up so quick and I know so many parents have just been worried

about whether their kids will get to have a senior year and do all of the things that make it special.” The adversity didn’t stop with COVID. Adding insult to injury, Dortch was forced to sit out her final game. While missing a landmark moment like that could deal a big mental blow, she has managed to keep things in perspective and take it all in stride. That’s not to say that it was easy. By her own admission, the constant isolation and disruption of her daily life led to struggles with depression and anxiety, but Dortch credits her close relationship with God, her friends and her family with getting through to better days. And the determination to cheer helped as well. “Before (the season), I wasn’t sure if we would cheer at all, so I’ve just been thankful for every time I could go out there,” Dortch said. “We had 21 girls on the team and almost everyone had to go into quarantine at some point. One night, there were only five of us available, but we went out and did our best.” The end of basketball season marked the final time in six years that Dortch would patrol the sidelines. She doesn’t have plans to cheer in college, but will instead be pursuing a Certified Nursing Assistant license. Dortch has long held plans to go into the medical field. Before COVID, she put in many hours at Gordon Hospital as part of a work-based learning program. Following her days at Calhoun, she plans to work towards her goal of being a labor and delivery nurse. “It’s a passion of mine to help people,” Dortch said. “I like being there for people. And I know I want to do something with babies. Helping out babies and moms is just the biggest thrill and feels like my purpose.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament. Photos by Adman Dotrch

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Where are They Now? LONGTIME LOCAL A ROCK IN COMMUNITY

By Mike Anthony

The communities scattered around the northwest Georgia area are bustling and full of activity, but - at least in terms of scope - are a long way from the major cities of the southeast. While things might be scaled down a bit in the area, that also means that things have a chance to become more familiar. Local stores, traditions and even people can become institutions in these towns and Calhoun can proudly boast Adam Dortch as a face known to just about everyone around. Born in Dalton, Dortch moved to Calhoun as a child and has spent most of the last four decades ingraining himself into the community. Like many kids, sports were a big part of Dortch’s life growing up. His first love was baseball and he played up until his freshman year at Calhoun before a knee injury brought about an early end to his career on the diamond. But, like any good competitor, Dortch found a way to move forward. Once he was back on his feet, he went out for the golf team and quickly became a big contributor for the Yellow Jackets. Dortch had played since the age of seven and was often left to his own devices on the course until dark. With golf as his sole athletic focus, he elevated his game and his team. His high school career culminated with the school’s first - and still only - state golf championship during his senior season in the spring of 1997. A collegiate athletic career wasn’t in the cards, but that caused Dortch to think about what he really wanted out of life following high school. “Growing up, we would always be outside, running around and playing,” Dortch said. “Our house was right behind the old fire station. We got to know the guys and they would always talk to us.” Dortch felt an effect in having a sort of bond with such important members of the community. Of course, that same vein of community service was already running strong in his bloodline. “My grandparents moved to Calhoun when barely anything was here,” Dortch said. “I think the Dairy Queen was the only thing around. But my grandfather was a dentist and the town needed him. He was relied on by everyone around and I want to carry on that name and tradition.” Following high school, Dortch enrolled in the Gordon County Fire volunteer program. Upon reaching full-time status, the gravity of what his job could entail hit hard as his first shift was scheduled just four days after September 11, 2001. “I didn’t think twice about it,” Dortch said. “I was wanting to go to New York to help. There are definitely dangers in this job, but that’s what we train for. When people call for us, they’re usually doing

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so on one of their worst days. That’s what we prepare for and what we try to be there for.” Firefighters are often seen as a sort of real-life superhero. They run into burning buildings, rescue people from car wrecks and don’t think twice to put themselves between everyday citizens and danger. That said, those actions can ring up a pretty heavy mental toll. As Dortch said, people are calling for him on their worst day and sometimes emergency personnel can’t give everyone a happy ending. That’s when Dortch relies on his church and his family. “So much gets bottled up,” Dortch said. “People will always ask, ‘what’s the worst you’ve ever seen?’ but that’s not something they want to know. Luckily, I have a lot of great friends at Rock Bridge Community Church. It’s a great place to go clear my mind and find peace.” “I’ve also had my kids there for me since day one. My oldest, Amberly, is 21 now, but my younger daughter Addison is still at the house. It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders that she can read me and understands when it’s been one of those days.” With nearly 20 years on the job, Dortch seems to have lived up to his own standard. He now jokes that - much like his grandfather - it’s hard to go anywhere in town and not get wrapped up in a conversation with someone who knows him. At the same time, he marvels at how the tiny town he grew up in has grown along with him. He likens it now to more of a college town - both in size and in the community’s pride for the local teams and institutions. And while Dortch is proud to have called Calhoun home for most of his life, he isn’t letting the not-so-small-anymore town be the boundary for what his children can do. “I love Calhoun and I think they do too, but that doesn’t mean I need them to stay,” Dortch said. “I want them to go and do their own thing, whatever that might be or where it might take them. I always wanted to be my best, but I also want my kids to do better than me.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament. Photos Courtesy of Adam Dortch: Top Left: Adam having some fun relaxing Top Center: Addison with her sister Amberly, mother Jennifer Capes and Father Adam at senior night Top Right: Adam in uniform with oldest daughter Amberly


Adam Dortch Photography 706-252-5679 Adamdortch@aol.com newborns•family•seniors•weddings•sports "We would love to shoot you!"

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GORDON CENTRAL WARRIORS Date 4/13/21 4/15/21 4/20/21 4/22/21 4/27/21 Week of May 3rd Week of May 3rd May 17 & 18 May 17 & 18

GORDON CENTRAL GOLF SCHEDULE

Host Calhoun Gordon Central Gordon Central Dade Co. Armuchee Girl’s Fannin Co. Boy’s TBD Girl’s State Tournament Boy’s State Tournament

Place Fields Ferry Fields Ferry Fields Ferry Trenton Golf Club (9 Holes) Girl’s @ Old Toccoa Farms Boy’s TBD 18 Holes each day 18 Holes each day

Gordon Central Baseball Schedule 2021

Date April 12th April 14th April 16th April 19th April 21st April 23rd

Opponent @Dade County Dade County @Dade County Pepperell @Pepperell Pepperell

Time 5:30 PM 5:00 PM 5:30 PM 5:00 PM 5:00 PM 5:00 PM

Teams Girls Boys Calhoun Invitational Girls and Boys X X Gordon Central / Pepperell / Armuchee X X Gordon Central / Coahulla Creek / Chattooga X X Gordon Central / Dade Co. X X Stonebridge X X Area Tournament X Area Tournament X Lake Oconee Academy Savannah GA X Willow Lake CC Metter Ga X

GORDON CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD 2021 SCHEDULE April 15th Arm., SHS, Murray Co. Home April 20th Cass, PHS, Model, Chattooga Home April 26th 27th 7AA Regional Championship Home May 8th AA Sectional Championship Home May 13th - 15th State Championship Rome - Berry

4:15 pm 4:15 pm 11:00 am 10:30am TBA

Tuesday

February 2

Adairsville

HOME

G: 5:00

Friday

February 5

NW Whitfield

Away

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Wednesday

February 10

Sonoraville

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Friday

February 12

Heritage

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Friday

February 19

Fannin

Away

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Tuesday

February 23

Chattooga

Away

G: 5:00

NO BOYS

Tuesday

March 2

Dade

Away

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Thursday

March 4

Pepperell

Away

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Tuesday

March 9

Model

Away

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Monday

March 15

Fannin

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Friday

March 19

Christian Heritage

Away

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Tuesday

March 23

Coosa

Away

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Friday

March 26

Pepperell

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Tuesday

March 30

Model

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Thursday

April 1

Coosa

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Tuesday Tuesday

April 13 2 February

Dade (SENIOR) Adairsville

HOME HOME

G:G:5:00 5:00

B:B:7:00 7:00

Friday Friday

April 16 5 February

Chattooga NW Whitfield

HOME Away

G:G:5:00 5:00

NO BOYS B: 7:00

B: 7:00

Wednesday

February 10

Sonoraville

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Friday

February 12

Heritage

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Friday

February 19

Fannin

Away

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Tuesday

February 23

Chattooga

Away

G: 5:00

NO BOYS

Tuesday

March 2

Dade

Thursday

March 4

Pepperell

Tuesday

March 9

Model

Monday

March 15

Fannin

Friday

March 19

Christian Heritage

Tuesday

March 23

Coosa

Friday

March 26

Pepperell

HOME

Tuesday

March 30

Model

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Thursday

April 1

Coosa

HOME

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

Away G: 5:00 Market B: 7:00 Pintage Antique Away G: 5:00 310 South Wall StreetB: 7:00 Away G: 5:00 Calhoun, GA 30701 B: 7:00

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G: 5:00

Away

G: 5:00

Away

G: 5:00

B: 7:00

B: 7:00 www.pintageantiquemarket.com B: 7:00

G: 5:00 B: 7:00 @pintagemarket

B: 7:00 A PLACE WHERE PINTEREST COMES TO LIFE!

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Tuesday

April 13

Dade (SENIOR)

HOME

G: 5:00

Friday

April 16

Chattooga

HOME

G: 5:00

NO BOYS


GORDON CENTRAL REIGNS REGION AGAIN By Mike Anthony Over the last year, so many things have been thrown into flux. With cancelations, postponements, precautions and other hurdles thrown into just about every walk of life, at least one constant remains. Gordon Central is a force to be reckoned with on the stage. Performing ‘Footloose’ as its one act play, Gordon Central racked up a fifth consecutive Region 7-AA championship. “I’m very pleased with how we responded to adversity,” said Fine Arts Director Dr. Kim Watters. “At one point, we were overwhelmed by absences. act was back tofor February, performed for Do When youone need apushed speaker yourweevent the community in December and did so in masks.” whether it be for corporate, men’s group, While quarantines may have forced the cast to change from day to church group, women’s group, team day at practice, Gordon Central was ready to go when it counted most, event etc.? If so then you need to reach earning a second-place finish at state after clinching its region title. out to Brian Pruett with brandFANS! Brian Watters credited an impactful group of seniors that comprised much of can schedule those speakers for you. For what she called “a plethora of talent.” And just as her students held up a full list of and pricing please their end on stage, shespeakers also credits the support of the school and school contact Brian Pruett at 678-755-0961 or at district for making a great season possible. brian@brandfansatl.com. “I’m very proud of our superintendent and our principal,” Watters said. “They went the extra mile to make sure we could continue to perform. Even when there were outbreaks and places were forced to close, they Visit www.brandfansatl.com today! made every effort to provide a plan where we could be safe and continue to perform.”

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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- athletes contact brandFANS at Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Her678-755-0961 ald. In overora brian@brandfansatl.com decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament.

Former NFL RB and Cartersville Alum Robert LaVette

Former NFL Linemen and Cartersville Alum Andre Fluellen

Warriors celebrating after the region competition Photo Courtesy of Gordon Central Performing Arts

Former NBA and Kentucky Great Tony Delk

Paralympian Gold Medalist Curtis Lovejoy

Former Braves Closer John Rocker, Former NHL and Atlanta, Flames Goalie Dan Bouchard, Former WNBA Great Nakia Sanford, Olympian Mel Pender, Former WWE/WCW great Rick Steiner, Rodeo(Rusty) Star Tim Pharr Best Actress Sydney Rainwater All Star Cast members of Footloose in Footloose Photo by Lyle Currier

Kayla Gaines (Vi) & Heath Richardson (Willard) Photo by Lyle Currier

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GORDON CENTRAL BOASTS STRONG SENIOR CLASS

By Mike Anthony When Gordon Central Fine Arts Director Dr. Kim Watters is asked why her program has been so successful over the last few years, she can point in just about any direction. With talented and experienced seniors staffing all of the different aspects of show creation and production, the Gordon Central performances have continued to run like a finely tuned machine even as safety precautions and limitations have altered some of the process throughout the year. “I can’t say enough about what our seniors have brought to this program this year,” Watters said. “We have gone through a lot of challenges, but they have done everything they can to make sure that it was a successful year for us.” In February, Gordon Central went into the region one act competition with plenty of expectations. The Warriors were the four-time defending region champs and the Class of 2021 kept up the trend, winning a fifth straight with their production of ‘Footloose’. The cast was stacked with senior cast members, including Luke Hare, Tarah Stewart, Sydney Rainwater, Heath Richardson, Kaylan Gaines, Jacob Hammond, Saiji Morales, Maite Ramirez and Yahel Prada. Fellow senior Jada Nalley performed in the ensemble, with Parker Wolfe, Lexy Payne, Emily Pierce, Ian Guider, Kayla Melgar and Joey Kowalczewski serving on the crew. Hare has been a standout performer for much of his time at Gordon Central. He portrayed one of the lead roles, Shaw Moore, during one act competition and is off to Belmont University in the fall to study commercial music. “This has been such a great family over the years,” Hare said. “I think we all act and perform well together and we’ve always had fantastic directors.” Rainwater secured one of her first major roles in ‘Footloose’ as she portrayed Rusty. Rainwater was a big part of Gordon Central’s impressive literary team, rehearsing her part for dramatic interpretation from October through March. She’s also the most well-travelled of the cast. “I’ve had a lot of great experiences,” Rainwater said. “I got to travel to Europe with Dr. Watters, which was really eye-opening. My next step is going to Texas Tech for college. It’s a long way away, but I have some family there and I’m looking forward to the new experiences.”

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Gaines has had a busy senior season. In addition to portraying Vi Moore in ‘Footloose’, she also landed a major part as Marmie in Gordon Central’s production of ‘Little Women’. “I’ve really loved all of my time here. This is a special group,” Gaines said. “There have been so many opportunities to meet people and learn. Acting is fun in that you get to dive into the lives of others.” Gaines also acknowledged the competitiveness and standards that have become a part of the Gordon Central program. “It was amazing to have the opportunity to win region in all four years. We were mostly concerned with just doing our best, but that was a nice goal to meet.” Gaines is undecided where her next step will be, but is hopeful that she will remain active in theater. Ramirez has been active in the performing arts since middle school, first getting into the musical side of things as a sixth grader before trying her hand at acting. “It’s a fun process to be a part of,” Ramirez said. “It’s more than just reading lines. You have to know yourself in order to express everything on stage, but you also have to get to know your character and try to bring them to life.” Following graduation in May, Ramirez has plans to attend Georgia Southern University, majoring in Psychology while also continuing to have a presence in the theater community. Gordon Central will be losing a lot of talent in all areas of production. That said, there have been four other departing region champion senior classes that were able to leave the program in good hands. “We will definitely miss all of our seniors,” Watters said. “But they have done a lot in their time here and it will stay with the program. We wish them all the best and will be ready to compete again next year.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike Anthony is the Sports Editor for the Statesboro Herald. In over a decade of sports writing, he has covered everything from prep state championships, to NCAA Division I sports, to The Masters golf tournament. Photos: Left: Seniors of Footloose Top Right: The Seniors Photo by Katie Ward Bottom Right: Senior GCPAA members


WARRIOR PRIDE GOLF TOURNAMENT TO HELP SUPPORT THE GCHS BASEBALL PROGRAM

MAY 12, 2021 FIELDS FERRY GOLF 581 Fields Ferry Dr. NE, Calhoun, GA 30701 11:00AM LUNCH 12:00PM SHOTGUN START: 4 PERSON SCRAMBLE INDIVIDUALS: $100 includes lunch, greens fee, cart, & gift TEAMS: $400/ four person team PUTTING CONTEST: $10 for 3 puts winner gets $100 MULLIGANS: $54 each, 4 per person max SPONSOR LEVEL: TOURNAMENT SPONSOR: $1000 INCLUDES: hole sign, name/logo on gift towel

HOLE SPONSOR: $200 INCLUDES: hole sign

DONATIONS: prizes, goodie bags, monetary donation of any amount FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER: AUSTIN NORELL 770-878-0247 JERRY ADAIR 678-372-5979 APRIL 2021 |

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FEBRUARY 23 CEDARTOWN @HOME 4PM FEBRUARY 25TH CHRISTIAN HERITAGE @HOME 4PM MARCH 2ND @ADAIRSVILLE 4PM

2021 Lady Phoenix Soccer MARCH 4 SoNORAVILLE

TH

*All Varsity games unless otherwise noted

Day

Date

Time

Opponent

Tuesday February 2 5:00 @ Gilmer Friday February 5 5:30 Armuchee (HOME) Tuesday February 9 5:00 @ GC Thursday February 11 OPEN 4/13/2021 @Southeast Thursday February 18Central N/A OPEN 4/15/2021 @Gordon 4/20/2021 @Dawson Tuesday February 23 County 5:00 @ Coahulla Creek* 4/26/2021 Thursday February 25 OPEN & 4/28/2021 Region @Rockmart Friday February 26 5:00 starting atJVnoon. - Lafayette 5/8/2021 Sectionals Stadium Tuesday March 2 @Lakewood 5:30 @ Ringgold* 5/13-15/2021 GHSA Track Thursday MarchState 4 5:30Meet @ Lafayette* Tuesday March 9 5:00 @ LFO* Thursday March 11 5:00 Gilmer (HOME) Thursday March 18 5:30 Rockmart* (HOME) Tuesday March 23 OPEN Wednesday March 24 5:00 JV @ Lafayette Friday March 26 5:30 @ Murray County* Tuesday March 30 5:00 N. Murray* (HOME)

TRACK + FIELD SCHEDULE 2021

2021 Lady Phoenix Soccer *All Varsity games unless otherwise noted

Thursday

April 1

Tuesday Thursday Friday

April 13 2 February April 15 5 February

Day

Date

Tuesday February 9 Tuesday April 2011 Thursday February Monday April 2618 Thursday February Tues/Wed May 4/May Tuesday February 235 Mon/Tues 10/May Thursday May February 2511 Last Revised February 12/15/2020 Friday 26 Tuesday March 2 Thursday March 4 Tuesday March 9 Thursday March 11 Thursday March 18 Tuesday March 23 Wednesday March 24 Friday March 26 Tuesday March 30

5:30

Time 5:00 N/A 5:30

5:00 TBD TBD N/A TBD 5:00 TBD 5:00 5:30 5:30 5:00 5:00 5:30 5:00 5:30 5:00

Thursday

April 1

5:30

Tuesday Thursday

April 13 April 15

5:00 N/A

Tuesday April 20 Monday April 26 Tues/Wed May 4/May 5 Mon/Tues May 10/May 11

TBD TBD TBD TBD

Pickens County Opponent *Senior Night* @@ Adairsville* Gilmer OPEN (for any reschedules) Armuchee (HOME) *All region games must be played by @ April GC 16 Friday, 1st Round State Playoffs (Girls) OPEN Sweet 16 State Playoffs (Girls) OPEN Elite 8 State Playoffs @ Coahulla Creek* Final 4 State OPENPlayoffs * Region Game JV - Lafayette @ Ringgold* @ Lafayette* @ LFO* Gilmer (HOME) Rockmart* (HOME) OPEN JV @ Lafayette @ Murray County* N. Murray* (HOME) Pickens County *Senior Night* @ Adairsville* OPEN (for any reschedules) *All region games must be played by Friday, April 16

1st Round State Playoffs (Girls) Sweet 16 State Playoffs (Girls) Elite 8 State Playoffs Final 4 State Playoffs

* Region Game

Last Revised 12/15/2020

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PHoeNIX

@DALTON 4PM

MARCH 9TH @LAFAYETTTE 4PM

MARCH 11TH RINGGOLD @HOME 4PM MARCH 12-13TH GRANGER INVITATIONAL TENNIS TOURNAMENT TBD

2021 NWGHSSA TOURNAMENT SCHEDULUE

TH River Marina Lake Weiss TX#5 4/17/2021 Little MARCH 15 @NORTH MURRAY 4PM Cedar Bluff, AL Safe Light-2PM TH MARCH 16 MURRAY 4PM TX#6 5/1/2021 Location to be @HOME determined. TH Possible18 locations are: Weiss, Chester Frost MARCH COAHULLA CREEKNickajack @ HOMEor4PM TX#7 5/15/2021 The Classic Lake Chickamauga MARCH 23RD Dayton, TN @ LFO 4PM Safe Light-3PM

SONORAVILLE HIGH SCHOOL TH MARCH 25 @ROCKMART 4PM

2021 TENNIS SCHEDULE TH MARCH 30 @CHEROKEE HIGH SCHOOL 4PM APRIL 13-15TH REGION TOURNAMENT @ LAKESHORE PARK RD FEBRUARY @HOMETBD 4PM APRIL 20- 23 MAYCEDARTOWN 8TH STATE PLAYOFFS

FEBRUARY 25TH CHRISTIAN HERITAGE @HOME 4PM MARCH 2 @ADAIRSVILLE 4PM SONORAVILLE HIGH SCHOOL MARCH 4TH @DALTON 4PM 2021 VARSITY BASEBALL SCHEDULE ND

DATE OPPONENT MARCH 9TH @LAFAYETTTE 4PM SITE TIME APRIL 16 MURRAY* HOME 5:55 11TH RINGGOLD @HOME 4PM APRIL 20 MARCH MURRAY* AWAY 5:55 APRIL 12-13 22 TH GRANGER COAHULLA CREEK* TENNIS TOURNAMENT AWAY 5:55 MARCH INVITATIONAL TBD APRIL 23 COAHULLA CREEK* HOME 5:55 MARCH 15TH @NORTH MURRAY 4PM *6AAA Region Games MARCH 16TH MURRAY @HOME 4PM MARCH 18TH COAHULLA CREEK @ HOME 4PM MARCH 23RD @ LFO 4PM MARCH 25TH @ROCKMART 4PM MARCH 30TH @CHEROKEE HIGH SCHOOL 4PM APRIL 13-15TH REGION TOURNAMENT @ LAKESHORE PARK APRIL 20- MAY 8TH STATE PLAYOFFS TBD


Sonoarville One Act Sweeney Todd Cast Photo Courtesy of Sonoraville High School

One Act Wrap Up By Trace Vaughn On Saturday, January 30th, the Phoenix Theatre participants traveled to Ringgold High School for the Region 6-AAA One Act competition. After a long day of fantastic performances, SHS was awarded Region Runner-up out of the seven schools in the highly talented and competitive region. Julia Stanley and Eli Hibberts received All-Star Cast awards for their roles in our production of “Sweeney Todd,” and Stephanie Chavez, Emily Cook, and Macey Dyer received the award for “Best Lighting.” Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Brookshire said, “We are incredibly proud of this special group of students for their hard work they have put in this season. Due to

the nature of this school year and the continuous effects of COVID-19, we were uncertain at times if this production and competition would actually happen, so it was a wonderful reward to see everything come to fruition and for these talented kids’ efforts to be acknowledged!” -----------------------------------------------------Trace Vaughn, a former three-sport athlete at Mercer University, has been coaching for 37 years at the youth league, middle school, high school and collegiate levels. He has taught for Gordon County Schools since 2001 and is also an award-winning author.

Cast of Sweeney Todd with their trophy Photo by Mark Waters

Lighting Crew with their award for best lighting Photo Courtesy of Sonoraville Theatre

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The Dramatic Duo of Hibberts and Stanley by Trace Vaughn To the avant-garde Eli Hibberts and Julia Stanley, all the world is a stage. This dynamic, dramatic duo helped establish a new standard of excellence for the Sonoraville High School drama department. The pair led the SHS One Act to an unprecedented adjudication of a runner-up finish in region competition. They also garnered All-Star Cast accolades for their individual performances. Hibberts has lived in the Sonoraville community his entire life. He started at Belwood Elementary, then moved to Sonoraville Elementary when it opened. “Music has always been a part of my life,” said Hibbert, “so the transition to drama was incredibly easy for me. After taking piano lessons and music classes, along with theatre intensives, during elementary school, I was introduced to theatre in middle school. It was a way for me to do what I think I do best: sing and perform.” He became a part of the SHS drama department during his eighthgrade year. Hibberts has high praise for the work of the program leaders during his tenure: “From the beginning, I have seen the true family my director, Hannah Nelson, has cultivated with help of fellow directors and acting coaches, Ashley Brookshire and Mark Waters, along with our wonderful choreographer and SHS alumnus, Zachary Waters. The theatre department has birthed the Valedictorian or Salutatorian for many of the previous graduating classes. It is evident in that our program creates young adults who are well-rounded and ready to enter the world after graduating.” Hibberts is heavily involved at Sonoraville. He is student body president, class of 2021 salutatorian, as well as president of Thespian Troupe #7786 at Sonoraville. He serves as an editing intern at the Gordon Gazette, a local e-newspaper for Gordon County. This year, he was named as a council member on State Superintendent Richard Woods’ Student Advisory Council. As if that weren’t enough, he owns his own business, Elijah’s, which is a bakery and custom cake shop. “For the past four years, I have made thousands of cakes and been a part of so many people’s special days including birthdays, weddings, and other events,” said Hibberts. “My grandmother, Wanda Hibberts who I call Nana, has had the biggest impact on my life. From a young age, we were always in the kitchen together or at the piano singing together. She has taught me so much, and Nana brings me so much inspiration in all of my passions.”  Stanley has also lived in Gordon County her whole life. “I grew up in the house my parents had built after they got married. I still live in that house today.” She did not think drama was suited for her at first. “I saw the middle school kids go through the process of rehearsing and performing,” Stanley remembered. “I thought I was a little too shy for that! In the 7th grade, a friend suggested I audition for the spring musical that year. It still seemed a little out of my comfort zone, but I decided to try. We performed Into the Woods Jr. with me as the narrator! It wasn’t a super glamorous role, but I soon realized this was the place where I fit, and ever since then I’ve been performing in every show I could be a part of.” Stanley is equally impressed with what the leadership and students have accomplished; “I think the SHS drama department is set apart from other high school drama departments because we focus all our energy on telling a story with respect and authenticity,” said Stanley. “Mrs. Hannah Nelson has always taught us to uphold the story out of everything else. Yes, we sing and dance, but I think the reason we do it all is to share a message with our audience. It might also be because we care so much for each other. Mrs. Nelson feels it’s very important for us to support each other, not only as performers, but more like a family. They are absolutely my family.” “I’d like to think the most interesting thing about me is my sense of humor,” Stanley offered. “I love to laugh and make people laugh.” Asked about the biggest influence in her life, Stanley answered, “I would say my dad because he may be a little biased, but he’s always believed in me no

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Elijah and Julia together in Sweeney Todd Photo by Jamie Chrisholm

matter what. He’s one of the few people that really understand me and I know I can count on him to be there for me.” The 2020-2021 One Act Play was titled Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and the musical details the life of Sweeney Todd, a talented barber, and his mission to reunite with his family after being wrongfully shipped away to a prison colony and how this mission soon changes to him seeking revenge on the people and society who have ripped his family away from him.  The second-place finish is the highest Sonoraville High School has ever placed at One Act competition. “In all this time, we have been yearning for a trophy and recognition for our hard work and dedication,” Hibberts proclaimed, “…yet in a region as competitive and challenging as ours, I am extremely pleased with a second-place finish.” Hibberts and Stanley received the All-Star Cast awards for their roles as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett, respectively. Similar to an All-Star team in a sports tournament, the All-Star Cast awards traditionally recognize members of a show who excelled in their roles in the production.  Hibberts offered words of praise for his mentor and advice for upcoming students: “This past year, I have grown extremely close to my friend and mentor, Ashley Brookshire. Brookshire, as I call her, has continuously pushed me to be my best while also providing trusted counsel for me with any problems I may encounter. She is a true friend, and I am so thankful for her and her wisdom. For all upcoming freshmen and underclassmen who will soon be choosing career paths and paving a way for themselves, I say this: do not let your life be dictated by others. If you do what you feel most led to do, you can only succeed. Please do not waste these precious four years by pleasing others and setting aside your own ambitions and goals to focus on what you are told to do by others. Do what you wish to do, not what is expected of you, and you will flourish.” “Placing second in this year’s One Act competition really meant the world to me,” Stanley added. “The trophy we brought home truly represents all of the hard work we put into the show. It was a big achievement for our drama department, and I was so lucky to be a part of it. I’m going to miss performing like this. I hope to always have the memories of my school and my drama department because it means everything to me. I love and appreciate everyone who was involved with this show. I also want to encourage younger students to participate. I don’t want any underclassmen to ever underestimate themselves.” -----------------------------------------------------Trace Vaughn, a former three-sport athlete at Mercer University, has been coaching for 37 years at the youth league, middle school, high school and collegiate levels. He has taught for Gordon County Schools since 2001 and is also an award-winning author.


Macy ready for a game Photo Courtesy of Macy

Macy with a shot to the goal - Photo courtesy of Macy

Stellar Striker By: Jenna Palazzolo As the most widely recognized sport in the world, soccer has a vast and passionate community of players, fans, and supporters that stay involved in the game. During a soccer game, each of the 11 players on the field play an important role in the success of the team, but one of the most recognizable of all of the positions is the striker, or forward position. This player’s purpose is purely to score goals, making them vital to the game. Since these players traditionally act as captains of soccer teams, they play double duty as leaders and playmakers. Especially at the high school level, strikers must have a great knowledge of the game to lead their teammates since many underclassmen are much less experienced and knowledgeable. Without these players, the game wouldn’t be the same, and soccer teams would be incomplete in a number of ways. Macy Defoor is a senior soccer player at Sonoraville High School, and for the past 12 years, she has dedicated every second of her free time to furthering her understanding of the game and improving her skills on the field. Soccer is the only sport Macy has ever played, so her dedication is clearly evident to coaches, spectators, and teammates. While natural talent has played a role in her success thus far, Macy’s tenacity and willingness to stick with the game all these years has ushered her through any adversity she may have faced and made her the remarkable player she is today. Macy began playing soccer at 6 years old after her father sparked her interest in the sport from a young age. Macy comments, “My dad played soccer in high school, so he knows what he’s talking about,” and he taught her everything she now knows about the game. Macy’s father has been a massive inspiration to Macy throughout her years of playing. He has constantly pushed her to improve and has always supported her efforts even, and especially, while she made the difficult transition between recreation league soccer and competitive high school soccer.

As expected, high school sports are much more rigorous than recreation sports due to the athletes’ higher skill levels and better understanding of the activity. So, when an athlete makes this transition, they can often get disheartened by the sudden competitiveness and difficulty. Before entering high school, Macy debated with herself to ensure she was ready and willing to stick with the sport, commenting, “There have always been times when struggles or drama with the team pop up, and you just want to give up. That was just an obstacle that I had to get over, just deciding whether or not I wanted to stick with it in high school.” Ultimately, Macy decided that leaving the sport behind would leave a void in how she spent her free time. “It’s really a mental thing. If you don’t have an extracurricular activity, it’s very hard.” Macy explains that a lifestyle of going to school and going straight home afterward would be very mundane for her, and, “that’s really what pushed me to keep going with soccer.” Macy tried out for the team freshman year and has continued to play ever since. After joining the Sonoraville High School varsity soccer team, Macy continued to face several obstacles, including controlling her aggression and staying level headed. Soccer is a very competitive contact sport, and one must keep their cool to avoid getting red-carded, which is being ejected from the game after committing any serious foul play. However, the most difficult hindrance that Macy faced was much less physical and much more mental: consistency. In her 12 years playing, Macy has had a total of 3 coaches at the high school level, and each coach has had a completely different coaching style, meaning Macy has had to explain the team’s dynamic to each respective coach. “It felt like I was on my own at some points, but there was always a group of girls that played together, and that really helped,” commented Macy on the constantly changing leadership, “we could show the coach what kind of team we were.” Macy has essentially had to act as both a team leader and a coach during the transitional period between coaches, memorizing APRIL 2021 |

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Macy with a shot to the goal Photo Courtesy of Macy

Macy dribbling the ball up field Photo courtesy of Macy

positions and explaining formations to both younger players and the new coach. Coaches took note of her initiative and ensured it was properly commended. Because of her incredible leadership skills, Macy has been awarded the title of team captain for three years throughout her soccer career, 8th grade, junior year, and senior year. This title only goes to the most admirable and exemplary players, and these individuals must show leadership on and off of the field. Macy knows this adds pressure to how she presents herself, saying, “A lot of people try to look up to you, and you just want to be a good role model for them… You want to show them what it means to be a captain and show people how to play the sport. It’s just a lot of pressure.” Macy expresses that this is both her favorite and least favorite thing about being a captain, explaining, “Yes, it’s pressure, but you can also show people how to be kind to others. It’s not just about the sport, rather how to treat other people.” Macy is the perfect role model for these younger athletes to look up to, as her generous and inviting attitude mixes well with her authority and control of the game. Macy’s vast knowledge of the game has assisted her in becoming such a great role model, and her extensive time with the sport has created that knowledge. In the end, Macy’s time in rec league as a child impacted how she plays the sport and interacts with her teammates. Macy reflects on that time, saying, “Rec league you just kick the ball around, and you have fun with your friends. High school, there’s a lot more pressure.” Macy found that many high school athletes impose this pressure upon themselves in hopes of furthering their athletic career beyond high school. “High school is when people are trying to go places for sports, and if you are an athlete, you want to do the absolute best you can for colleges that are looking out for you.” Macy hasn’t yet decided if she will expand her soccer career in college, but she plans to further her academic career at Georgia Highlands College in Rome, Georgia. She hopes to become a dental hygienist and has already begun preparing for this field by taking several dual enrollment classes. Due to the increased rigor of dual enrollment classes, Macy has had to focus on managing her time well. “It’s not really an option with dual enrollment. You have to make your own schedule and stick to that. With work and soccer, it’s definitely harder to

find time to do school work.” While managing her time has been difficult to master, Macy has excelled in it, and her 3.8 GPA shows that. This season, Macy Defoor will finish out her high school career as one of the most recognizable players on the field: the captain, the playmaker, the striker. Her efforts thus far have put her in this leadership position, and this will be her time to shine and use everything she has learned for the betterment of the program as she completes her last high school season. Whether she plays in the future or not is yet to be decided, but one thing is for certain: Macy Defoor will leave a lasting legacy on the Sonoraville High School soccer program. Out of 11 players on the field, Macy has stood out as a leader her entire career, and this season will be no different. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jenna Palazzolo is a senior at Sonoraville High School. She is a competition, football, and basketball cheerleader and has played golf for the past three years.

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debt@romequiltrepair.com


Prayers &Support

ACCOUNT SET UP AT NGNB FOR CONNOR LUKE HAYES: An account has been set up at North Georgia National Bank for those wishing to make donations to the CONNOR LUKE HAYES FIGHT FUND, to raise money for 4-year-old Connor Luke Hayes, who was just last week diagnosed with High Risk Neuroblastoma. Connor Luke, who is in Pre-K at Sonoraville Elementary School, is the son of Sonoraville Lady Phoenix Softball and writer for NWGA Rising Stars Coach Chad Hayes and Brandi Hayes, who teaches 9th Grade Literature and Composition, along with Yearbook and Journalism, at Sonoraville High School. The Hayes family is rounded out by Bentley, Connor Luke’s older brother. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering, Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that develops in the sympathetic nervous system, a network of nerves that carries messages from the brain throughout the body. About 700 children are diagnosed every year in the United States. Connor Luke will have a long treatment plan, at least 18 months, consisting of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, radiation and more. The family said that they are overwhelmed and feeling a lot of different emotions at this time, but can feel the love and prayers the community has showered them with over the last couple of weeks and covets additional prayers in the weeks and months ahead. Anyone wishing to donate to help the family with the burden of medical payments and loss of income from missed time at work can do so by donating to the Connor Luke Hayes Fight Fund at North Georgia National Bank. The bank has three convenient locations in Calhoun: 350 West Belmont Drive near Walmart; 100 Red Bud Road at College Street; and in downtown Calhoun at 406 Court Street across from the post office. In addition, donations can be dropped off to Jennifer Hayes at Sonoraville High School on Fairmount Highway, or Barbara Waters at Aliyah Personnel, located at 355 Richardson Road SE, Suite 7.

Please if you can donate , but also Prayers and any other support is welcome . APRIL 2021 |

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ICE VS. HEAT ~ How do you know which one to use? By Jenn Stock, DPT with Advance Rehabilitation A question that gets asked frequently is whether to use heat or ice. Here are some general guidelines to help in many scenarios. If you have certain conditions such as fibromyalgia, Reflex Sympathetic Disorder (RSD) or rheumatoid arthritis, your sensory pathways are affected and don’t fall into the typical response patterns. ICE:  Ice is typically used to treat acute injuries or injuries that have recently happened (within the last 48 hours).  Ice will help minimize the swelling, reduce blood flow into the tissues, and help with pain control.  Ice can also be used for chronic conditions like overuse injuries to help control inflammation.

HEAT:  Heat is typically used to help relax or loosen tissues.  Heat will bring more blood flow to the area.  Heat is usually used in conditions that are more chronic. This helps stimulate blood flow to the area.  Heat, when needed, is used before activity assisting more blood flow to help loosen and relax the muscles.

For more important information about icing and heating check with your local Athletic Trainer or Physical Therapist. www. AdvanceRehab.com to find a location near you.

SHARE YOUR PHOTOS WITH US FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A GOODIE BAG FROM NW GA RISING STARS @NWGA.Rising.Stars @NWGA_RisingStars

www.advancerehab.com

Visit us at

ADAIRSVILLE (770) 773-9315

JASPER (706) 692-9080

CALHOUN (706) 625-0662

SUMMERVILLE (706) 857-6366

CEDARTOWN (770) 749-0250

ROCKMART (678) 757-1899

CHATSWORTH (706) 695-9699

ROME (706) 235-2727

Call us today! Advance Rehabilitation is a Physical Therapy Practice specializing in Orthopaedic, Back Pain/Injuries and Athletic Injuries.

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NWGA Rising Stars Magazine is absolutely wonderful. The magazine does a phenomenal job at covering our school, as well as our community. NWGA Rising Stars provides pertinent information for all athletics and supports the goal of student athleticism by promoting success of students both in and out of the classroom. I appreciate that every month there are uplifting and heartwarming stories that truly show the greatness of our community. Additionally, it is heartwarming to see the outpouring of love NWGA Stars has shown our family and the support they have for #CLstrong. The support for Chad, Brandi, Bentley, and Connor Luke has been amazing. This is a community magazine making a difference in our communities. - Jennifer L. Hayes Principal, Sonoraville High School

“Rising Stars is an awesome outlet to highlight the athletic achievements of today’s youth. The writers do a great job of shining a spotlight on athletes who might not receive recognition otherwise.As a coach, I am grateful for the opportunity to brag about my players and let the community know about Adairsville athletics.” - Kailey Vaugh Martin Head Volleyball Coach Adairsville High School

“The staff of Calhoun and Gordon County Fellowship of Christian Athletes appreciates the work done to make this publication available to our communities. The Christian faith has been transforming hearts and lives in the Ridge and Valley of northwest Georgia dating back to days of the missionary stations among the Cherokee people at Spring Place, New Echota and Oothcalooga. Missionary movements took root here when roads were no more than footpaths, when ferries and fords connected our communities. It is a pleasure to participate in this tradition of community connectedness and to play some small part in bringing God’s Good News to offices, athletic fields and homes in this section of the state and beyond. We thank all the folk, south of the Conasauga and north of the Etowah, who make publications like this a reality for our people.” - Noah Hunt FCA Ambassador for Gordon County

“NorthWest Georgia Rising Stars Magazine is an excellent opportunity to showcase the student-athletes and teams in the local areas. It allows for the community another way to stay informed about the schools and athletes.” - Derrick Broom Boys Basketball Coach Gordon Central High School.

“NWGA Rising Stars Magazine is wonderful. They do an exceptional job covering local talents of our student athletes. It is great having someone cover and showcase success stories from one generation to another in achieving success.” -Coach Diane Smith - Calhoun HS Softball Head Coach

NWGA Rising Stars Magazine has been a blessing to our community and local schools in our area! The magazine has lots of information for every season and spotlights our student athletes on the field accomplishments, as well as in the classroom. The appearance and content is amazing, filled with color pictures of great quality. I personally have enjoyed reading each magazine and look forward for more to come. -Colman Roberts Head Softball and Golf Coach at Woodland High School.

“We are thrilled each month to find new stories promoting the athletes and teams here at Cass and throughout our area. Brian and his staff do a fantastic job of highlighting the kids and coaches in our community who are doing amazing things. I look forward to getting every issue, and appreciate the advertisers and writers who make it a top-notch publication!” -Coach Sean Glaze- Case HS Boys Basketball Head Coach

“I appreciate the NWGA Rising Stars Magazine spotlighting our athletes and area teams. The information provided is important and the magazine itself is awesome. Great quality and plenty of photos and facts about the teams and players. We are fortunate to have this publication to celebrate and showcase all the sports teams in NW Georgia.” -Cindy Moore Girls Basketball Coach Cartersville High School.

The NWGA Rising Stars Magazine has been a breath of fresh air for the printed word in our communities. I respect the equity and inclusiveness the publication represents. Their staff is friendly and supportive. Above all, they are shining a bright light on all our youth and that’s an important contribution to life here in our area. - Dr. Kim Watters, director of the Gordon Central Performing Arts at Gordon Central High School.

The NW Georgia Rising Stars Magazine is a great asset to student athletes in our area. This magazine has done a tremendous job giving recognition to well deserving individuals who are dedicated to improving themselves and their teams. We are fortunate to have this magazine! -Mike Tobin Head Boys Basketball Coach Cartersville High School.

“FCA Bartow is stoked to be able to partner with Northwest Ga Rising Stars Magazine to celebrate and highlight athletes in our community. With all of the negativity out there, it’s uplifting and refreshing to open the magazine and be reminded of the good things that are happening. It’s a great reminder to stay focused on our youth. As parents, teachers, coaches, church leaders, and business leaders, we are reminded that there is a generation of young athletes RISING UP to be the voice of our future. Let’s continue to support them and encourage them!” - Sherry Spinks Director of FCA for Bartow and Polk Counties.

“I appreciate NWGA Rising Stars and their coverage of our local athletes. One of my favorite parts of the magazine is how there are feature stories about individual students. Our student athletes work extremely hard, so it is important that they get the recognition they deserve. So much of what our students do are behind the scenes, so the stories that this magazine shares lets the community get a deeper appreciation and understanding of just how hard our athletes work on the court, in the classroom, and in the community.” -Nic Hann Head Volley Ball Coach at Calhoun High School.

The North West Georgia Rising Stars Magazine has been wonderful for athletes, coaches and parents in our area. It is a great tool to assist the community in staying up to date on what is going on with the local teams. Not even to mention how excited athletes get when they are featured. Imagine being 16 and seeing your face on the cover of a magazine! Our athletes will be able to hold on to these forever and will be able to share those memories with future generations. The Rising Stars magazine is great!” -Taylor Weeks Washington Head Softball Coach Cass High School.

Rising Stars has been such a great spotlight for our Lady Tiger softball program. They do a great job reaching out via email and phone to coaches and players to gather information for each piece with plenty of time to get the information they need. The articles are wonderful and shine a great light on our players. We look forward to each issue to read about all of our Tigers and the surrounding area teams/players to stay up to date on our Athletic programs. -Amanda Nelson Head Girls Softball Coach Adairsville High School.

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ADVERTISER INDEX ACWORTH BOOKSTORE.............................................. 52 ADVANCED REHAB..................................................... 48 ADAM DORTCH PHOTOGRAPHY............................... 37 BARTOW AGAINST DRUGS....................................... 27 BLOOD ASSURANCE.................................................... 16 CARTERSVILLE CHAMBER....................................... 15 CANVAS CRAZE........................................................... 35 CASS GOLF TOURNAMENT....................................... 19 DAY'S CHEVROLET........................................................6 FIELDS OF FAITH....................................................... 28 FOUNTAINS OF CALHOUN........................................ 33 GEORGIA HIGHLANDS COLLEGE............................... 22 GODBEE PHOTOGRAPHY............................................. 30 KOBE STEAKHOUSE.................................................... 13 HAZE DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION...................... 39 HDR REAL ESTATE................................................... 17 IMAGE SOURCE............................................................ 10 MOZZAFLATOMORE PHOTOGRAPHY.........................9 MODERN IMAGE.......................................................... 10 NORTHWEST ROOFING.............................................. 37 PETTIT CREEK FARMS............................................ 18 PINTAGE ANTIQUES.................................................. 38 REACH MOVEMENT STUDIO.................................... 26 ROME QUILT................................................................ 46 SOUTHLAND LAWN CARE...........................................4 ST ANGELO'S................................................................ 13 STAR PRINTING......................................................... 21 TACOS AND SUBS....................................................... 11 TARASCO'S.................................................................... 23 THE JOINT................................................................... 14 TOYO TIRES................................................................. 17 VEIN SPECIALISTS.................................................... 17 WARRIOR PRIDE GOLF TOURNAMENT................. 41


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