Hall returning to in-person school on hybrid schedule Jan. 19
Hall County Schools will return to an in-person hybrid schedule beginning Tuesday, Jan. 19, after the school system reported stabilizing COVID-19 numbers and “significantly” decreased student cases, Superintendent Will Schofield announced Thursday morning.
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Members of the Hall County Middle School Honor Band sit for a photo after a rehearsal at Gainesville Middle School. Each year, middle school band directors from Hall County and Gainesville City Schools nominate their best players for the Honor Band. The students rehearse just six hours and perform a concert the following Saturday. Band directors from the participating schools rotate as conductor each year, and this year’s band was conducted by Scott Files of West Hall Middle School. - photo by For The Times

Math whizzes come out on top at state meet

Students from Sardis Elementary School recently took on other students from across the state at MathFest, a competition in Riverdale where students match wits in math skills. And in a specific math competition — MathBating — Sardis students topped the entire state.

This was the Sardis team’s fourth year of competition, and 41 students from the school competed, representing grades first through fifth. The students had been practicing since February, meeting up in practice sessions run by teachers Kim Allen and Marjorie Reed.

Of the 10 first-graders who competed, all were ranked in the top 30 in the state and three received medals for finishing in the top 15: Hailey Cliché, Tanner Wiley and Breigh Ann Smith.

Of the three third-graders, all finished in the top 25 in the state, with Jacob Zirbel finishing second.

For the fourth-graders, four received medals for finishing in the top 15: Jonah Bull, Jordan Jackson, Alexis Salazar and Chris Cruz. Grace Fawcett finished first in the state and competed against the winners in fourth grade from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Alabama, finishing third in the Southeast.

Five fifth-graders finished in the top 30: Maria Marquez, Alyssa Yarck, Cade Dunn, Ivan Martin and Van Hart, who received a medal for finishing in the top 15.

Beginning in second grade, students have the opportunity to compete in MathBating. In this competition, a team of five students is given a problem with seven possible answers. They have to work out the problems and decide which answer is best, then they have to present their answer in front of a panel of judges.

Apparently the judges liked the answers, because Sardis Elementary’s second-grade MathBating team won first in the state. Team members were Jonah Bull, Manuel Conde, Elizabeth Bravo, Jordan Jackson and Abby Zirbel.

Sardis’ fourth grade MathBating team also won first place in the state; team members were Michala Ivy, Kristen Wedegis, Grace Fawcett, Ciera Murphy and Noah Merck.

North Georgia Christian students spell victory

North Georgia Christian School recently hosted the district spelling bee for the Association of Christian Schools International.

Six elementary schools competed for awards in first through fourth grade.

The following North Georgia Christian students placed in the bee:

First grade: Chandler Shope, first

Second grade: Catherine Slack, second

Third grade: Thomas Ivey, first; Annalee Pazol, second; Parker Shope, third

Fourth grade: Ali Auffarth, first; Zach Ginac, second; Joey Jorgensen, third

The Association of Christian Schools International district spelling bee is the highest level of competition for the lower elementary grades.

Gainesville State College recently held its annual honors day to recognize students and faculty members who were nominated for various academic and service awards.

The College also awarded three top honor awards for outstanding students and three top honor awards for faculty/staff.

Stephanie Llanes of Flowery Branch received the Clark Theodore Outstanding Traditional Student Award. Christy Worthington of Gainesville received the Clark Theodore Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award. The Gainesville State College Achievement Award was presented to Cameron McGinty of Flowery Branch.

The Ann Matthews Purdy Outstanding Faculty Members were selected by student nominations and discussions with student groups. Both a full- and a part-time faculty member were honored. Garry Merritt, assistant professor of Spanish, was selected as the outstanding full-time faculty member. Ed Standera, political science instructor, was selected as the part-time faculty member.

The Advising Award was presented to Cathy Whiting, associate professor of biology.




Outstanding Georgia Southern University students were recognized at the annual honors day ceremony held recently in Statesboro. Individual awards were presented to 156 students, and inductees into various honor societies were also recognized.

Following is a list of area students who were recognized:

Jessica Brownlee from Lula received the Em Olivia Bevis Nursing Award, Outstanding Scholar Graduating Senior.

John Pace from Commerce received the Robert J. Focht Memorial Drawing Award.

Courtney Sanford from Ellijay received the Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Award — Freshman.

Patrick Shuler from Gainesville received the Roy F. Powell Creative Writing Award — Fiction.



Two local students were among the 172 students and one faculty member recognized at Reinhardt College’s recent honors day.

Harold Shoffeitt of Gainesville was recognized for his membership in Sigma Beta Delta.

Heath Roper of Gainesville was recognized as a Hugh Peterson Jr. Academic Scholar, awarded to seniors and juniors with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.6 to 3.89. Also noted was his membership in Alpha Chi, a national honor society. Roper was also recently presented with Reinhardt College’s McCamish School of Business Spring 2010 Leadership Award, presented each semester to students who demonstrate leadership in the classroom and who are positive role models.

Reinhardt College is located in Waleska.




Gainesville High School student John Jennings won first place and Best in Show in the Kiwanis state art scholarship competition. Jennings will receive a $2,500 scholarship, in addition to his $2,000 scholarship won in the local Kiwanis art scholarship competition.

GHS student Son Vu won second place in the The American Institute of Architects 2010 High School Student Design Competition, with an award of $1,000. Ryan Meiser won third place with an award of $500.



Chatela Young of Gainesville, who is a senior at Johnson High School, was one of 15 Georgia high school students honored as 2010 Promising Scholars by the Honors Program’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities at the University of Georgia.

This is the sixth year the Promising Scholars Program has invited students to visit campus. The visit included roundtable and panel discussions about academic and research expectations as well as attending the 2010 Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities symposium, where more than 200 UGA undergraduates presented their research projects in late March.




Sonia Zavala of Gainesville has been awarded The Agnes Solution award by Agnes Scott College for the 2010-2011 academic year. Sonia is the daughter of Armando Zavala and Maria Zavala.

Agnes Scott College is located in Decatur.




Brenau University recently celebrated academic and personal achievements during the annual spring honors convocation at Pearce Auditorium on the Gainesville campus.

The university also gave one of its top English awards to a student who has not yet graduated from high school: Katie Dugan of Cumming, a Brenau Academy senior who is enrolled in the prep school’s "early college" program. She is a top student in the university-level biology classes she has been taking and has received an Associate of Arts degree along with her high school diploma.

Following is a list of local students who received awards and citations during the Brenau convocation:

Whitney Cochran, Cumming and Elizabeth Wagner, Jefferson, Baxter-Bryan nominees.

Brigid Hook, Gainesville, Outstanding Business Administration Graduate.

Kristen Reed, Gainesville, Massey Journalism Scholarship.

Amanda Jones, Gainesville, Senior Award for Graphic Design.

Kristie Carlson, Gainesville, Senior Award for Fashion Design.

Will Illg, Cumming, Outstanding Senior Theatre Award.

Beth Tipton, Gainesville, Outstanding Graduate in Humanities.

Andrada Pop, Buford, First-year Writing Award.

Caitlin Kelly, Gainesville, Outstanding Graduating Senior in English.

Brittney Crews, Gainesville, Martha Hatcher Academic Achievement.

Catherine Norton, Gainesville, Carter Estes Award.

Amanda Cleghorne, Cumming, Mary Q. Bear Award.

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