Every month we compile a list of students doing great things across the River Region. We have so many talented students in our area. River Region Parents joins with their families and schools to celebrate their achievements!
LEAD Academy Capital Campaign Kickoff Event
LEAD Academy had a great event to begin its capital fundraising campaign. The night featured a tour of the school, plans for the future, a word from Executive Director, Erik Estill, as well as a debut of the campaign video. The campaign has a fundraising goal of $500,000. This money will be used to support the costs of expanding LEAD. Since LEAD opened in 2019 as the first charter school in Montgomery, it has seen an exponential growth rate. LEAD serves as an innovative alternative to district and private schools.
During the night, Principal Webster and Mr. Shumaker gave a tour of the school showing the community the value of LEAD. From the Pre-K and portable classrooms to the playground, a thorough tour was given to each guest. During the tour, each guest had the opportunity to hear from teachers. They shared their heart for LEAD Academy and each had the opportunity to show off their scholars’ work as well. This offered great insight into what LEAD looks like on a day-to-day basis and the high-quality education it offers.
Investing in education is investing in the future. Serving more families in Montgomery is what LEAD strives to do. Every child deserves a quality education. Help LEAD continue to be a place where scholars succeed and pave the way for scholars today. With determined and dedicated leadership and teachers, this is just the beginning of LEAD Academy.
Saint James Student Will Alexander Scores Well at Speech & Debate Tournament
Montgomery, Alabama Saint James Junior Will Alexander attended his first speech and debate tournament on Saturday, October 22, 2022. He competed at Montgomery Academy’s Lil’ Gumper local area tournament and won 1st place in Informative Speaking and 3rd place in Impromptu Speaking. Will is taught and coached by Lonny Harrison and Adam Osborn.
Christian Education Philosophy at T.E.A.
As a teacher at TEA Christian Academy, Mrs. Sequoya Carter-Caldwell’s
job is to make sure that each child understands how God allows them to be able to gain knowledge as a gift. Furthermore, God wants us to see each other as equals and she personally want children to understand that no matter what their race or challenges they may face, they are all important.
Praying as a class is a priority at TEA Christian Academy. Also, every day before class the students watch a short enjoyable Christian-based clip after which they discuss the clip through questions and answers. They all recite the credo which teaches students how to conduct themselves as Christian school students. After having God to help start the day, they are now ready to tackle anything including those tough lessons!
TEA Christian Academy, Inc. spotlights Sequoya Carter-Caldwell, a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in Speech Pathology. Mrs. Carter-Caldwell is active in her church, loves gardening and natural foods. She is the mother of A’Mya Rose and is married to Mr. Quintero Caldwell. We are blessed to have her as part of the TEA Christian Academy’s Family where she serves as the Early Learning Coordinator.
Bear Honor Choir Attends Music Festival
Bear Exploration Center’s Honor Choir with Music Teacher, Sarah Fell, participated in the AMEA Elementary Music Festival in Birmingham with students from across the state.
Pintlala Elementary Holds 100-year Celebration
Pintlala Elementary celebrated a century of learning with a community celebration on the historic campus.
Attendees included former and current students of the school, county commissioners, school leaders, and more. The celebration included a rundown of the school’s history and a tour of classrooms.
Students were able to get in on the fun as well by dressing as 100-year-olds or people who lived in 1922 and by learning about historical events that happened that year.
Evangel Names 2022 Homecoming Court
Evangel Christian Academy recently presented its homecoming queen and court during the school’s homecoming football game. Miss Jazni Lewis was named ECA’s Homecoming Queen for 2022. Miss Kysha McNeely, ECA’s Homecoming Queen for 2021, returned to crown the reigning queen.
The ninth grade attendant was Miss Trinity Johnson, the tenth grade attendant was Miss Alivia Smith, and the eleventh grade attendant was Miss Arianna Reid. Miss Genesis Nobles was the twelfth grade attendant.
Montgomery Catholic Marching Knights Win Big at October Competitions
Our Marching Knights, led by band directors Alex and Kristine Johnson, won a multitude of awards during the Hewitt Trussville Marching Band Invitational and the Pell City Marching Festival during the month of October.
At the Hewitt Trussville Competition, the Color Guard and Drum Major both received Superior ratings and Percussion received an Excellent score. Overall, the band was Superior and the Drum Major was awarded Best in Class.
At the Pell City Marching Festival, the Marching Knights received Superior ratings in all categories. They were also deemed Best in Class for Drum Major, Percussion, and Band. They received the Ronnie Wright Award for highest scoring band in 1A/2A and the Dennis Diffee Award – Judges Award for the most entertaining band.
The Marching Eagles of ACA Receive Superior Ratings
The ACA Marching Eagles traveled to Brewton, AL, to participate in a band competition. They received a Superior rating at this contest, with our Drumline and drum major, Garrett Davie, who also received a Superior rating. The Marching Eagles work so hard year-round, and we are so proud of them and the hard work that they put in, as well as Ms. Amy Davis, Band Director, puts in.
Trinity School has gone to the dogs… and we LOVE it!
Meet Essie, a Labragolden Doodle that is undergoing socialization training at school! Under the cautious eye of Mrs. Coker, Essie is learning how to adapt to all sorts of people, crowds, and sounds. She has completed obedience trading with Service Dogs of Alabama and is completing stage 2 training at school! Everyone knows and loves Bryce, Coach Cleveland’s service dog who visits classrooms and gives smiles to everyone daily. Now first graders receive a visit from Dogs on Call each Wednesday. These pups and their owners visit the classrooms where students read to them, play with them, and learn about the program.
Macon East Academy Celebrates Homecoming 2022
Macon East celebrated Homecoming the week of September 19 – 23. Events included themed dress up days of America Monday, Tuesday Night Fever, Dress to Unimpress (Tacky Day), Dress Like the First Letter of Your Name, and Spirit Day. The entire school really enjoyed dressing up and showing their school spirit. Other events during the week included a dodgeball tournament, boys volleyball tournament, and a homeroom door decorating contest. The cheerleaders entertained everyone with a fantastic blacklight pep rally Thursday night. The annual upper school tailgate was a time of good food and lots of fun and fellowship. The lower school students enjoyed tailgating as well with pizza, watermelon, and goodies. As the school day ended, everyone gathered in the parking lot for the Homecoming Parade. Each lower school class carried a sign down the parade route. The wee princess, little damsel, and pee wee cheerleaders along with the pee wee football team rode on floats and trailers throwing goodie bags to the crowd. Homecoming attendants threw goodies to the crowd as well from their decorated vehicles. Homecoming Court attendants selected by their classmates were Bentley Graham (7th grade), Megan Hardy (8th grade), Lexi Hagood (9th grade), Alexis Davis & Mattie Pugh (10th grade), Pressley Graham, Lathan Johnson & Jaiden McDowell (11th grade), Mikalah Belser, Hannah Kate Hodges, Madison May, & Lulu Russell (12th grade). At halftime of the football game, Miss Lulu Russell was crowned as the 2022 Homecoming Queen. The Knights played an outstanding game, but Lee-Scott won the battle of the unbeatens 49-7. Gabe Spencer and Deonte Powell led the Knights offensively. Defensively, Dalton Nickles, Zach Brown and Thaddeus McKinney racked up tackles.
Saint James School Holds Dedication Ceremony for New Early Childhood Learning Center
Saint James School held its dedication of the new Early Childhood Learning Center on Sunday, September 25. With Board members, faculty, staff, friends, and family in attendance, the renovated area was dedicated in memory of Nicole McKinney Burton.
Mrs. Burton attended Saint James School from kindergarten until her graduation in 1994. She earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in early childhood education before spending more than 20 years teaching at various Montgomery Public Schools. Her sons are currently students at Saint James School, where they have both attended since Pre-K3.
The ribbon cutting ceremony issued in a new era of Saint James School’s educational offerings. Beginning with a Pre-K2 class for 2022-2023, this new learning environment offers childcare and learning opportunities for the youngest Trojans. Saint James is offering a wonderful curriculum that creates a nurturing classroom environment and establishes a strong foundation for the school’s current Pre-K3 program. Saint James School is honored to further Mrs. Burton’s passion and commitment to early childhood education through the Nicole McKinney Burton Early Learning Center.
Saint James XC Team Holds Inaugural Trojan Trot
On Saturday, September 24, the Saint James School Varsity Cross Country Team held its inaugural Trojan Trot at Shakespeare Park. The event was a huge success with over 160 registered runners and 14 sponsors. Runners included members of the Saint James family as well as the Montgomery community. Divisional first place race winners in each age group were Molly Phillips, Zach Rains, Webb Chastain, Nick Wolf for the 5k; and Joey Barton, Royce Connor, Landon Rust, and Keo Bailey for the 1 mile. This event was such a fun way bring the whole school community out to raise money for the Cross Country program at Saint James.
The event had a number or corporate sponsors, including presenting sponsor Smith-Kastner Wealth Management. Other Montgomery River Region sponsors included AVIS; Montgomery
Multisport; Montgomery Cabinet and Trim; Partners in Pediatrics; State Farm- Jeff Brinson;
Montgomery Vascular Surgeons; Adams Drugs; Russell Marine; Bond, Botes, Shinn &
Donaldson, P.C.; Bloom; The Tipping Point; Costco; and Coca Cola.
Coach Hampton Mitchell and her cross country team plan to make this an annual event.
Trinity Third Graders Visit WSFA
Trinity third graders took a trip to WSFA News station as an extension of their science and social studies classes. They learned about forecasting the weather, how the green screen and other technologies work, and how WSFA serves our community! The students had a blast!!
Montgomery Academy's Coach Gordon Ranked 6th Nationally
On August 23, Montgomery Academy Volleyball Coach Julie Gordon earned her 1,500th career victory, one of only two volleyball coaches in this state and six in the nation. Congratulations to Coach Gordon; we could not be more proud to have you as part of the MA Family!
Saint James School Announces Four Seniors Named National Merit Commended Students
Saint James Seniors Sophie Caradori, Haesoo (Jason) Jeong, A.J. Kavlick, and Preston Phillips have been named a 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student, a prestigious honor awarded to approximately 34,000 students nationwide, from 1,500,000 entrants.
Commended Students are recognized for the exceptional academic promise shown by their outstanding performance on the 2021 PSAT tests. This prestigious national distinction will provide these seniors with new opportunities as they embark on their continued educational experience. Saint James School is proud to recognize and celebrate these incredible students who have been honored in this way! This brings this year’s total of Saint James students recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to ten members of the class of 2023.
A spokesperson for the NMSC stated, “Those being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success. These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”
National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
Macon East Junior Earns 1,000th Career Kill
Junior Sara Cochran became just the fourth member of the 1,000-kill club at Macon East Academy, reaching the milestone during the Knights’ game with Fort Dale Academy. Officials stopped the match to allow head coach Codi Berry to present the outside hitter, who has played on the Knights’ varsity since the seventh grade, with a volleyball signed by the team and coaches. “Sara is an incredible player and we really rely on her to keep the team alive and thriving,” Berry said. “She is a great player and a great teammate. She has done wonders for this program.” Cochran is just the fourth Macon East player to ever achieve the milestone, joining Jesi Garrett (2016), Lexi Brantley (2016) and Madisyn Kennedy (2019).
Johnny Appleseed Day at Macon East
Macon East Academy K5 students enjoyed tasting different varieties of apples and constructed a graph of which kind of apple the most children liked and the least liked apple on Johnny Appleseed’s birthday.
The children in preschool enjoyed a surprise visit from 𝗝𝗼𝗵𝗻𝗻𝘆 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗱. Johnny shared his adventures about taking care of animals in the forest and helping farmers plant apple seedlings. The teachers have many fun days planned with apples this week in preschool.
Montgomery Academy Partners with ALEA
Montgomery Academy recently welcomed Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to campus for a potentially life-saving assembly & presentation to Upper School students about impaired driving and substance abuse. The visit was coordinated with Hal Taylor, who is the current Secretary of Law Enforcement of ALEA. After the indoor presentation on drug abuse & DUI, students made their way outside to take part in the hands-on Fatal Vision activity, allowing participants to experience just how disorienting, dangerous, and potentially fatal driving while impaired can be. Thank you to Secretary Taylor, ALEA, and MA Faculty & Staff who helped to coordinate this crucial time of learning for our students.
Trinity Second Graders Create Grandparents Day Art
Mrs. Govan’s second grade art students at Trinity School created abstract art that was used as the backdrop in a mixed media project for Second Grade Grandparents’ Day. Watercolors, photography and text gave students the opportunity to express themselves through different mediums. Students completed a questionnaire about themselves as part of the project.
Dalraida Elementary Principal Wins Milken Educator Award
Dr. Bryan Cutter was stunned when the assembly he had organized at Dalraida Elementary turned out to be all about him.
Cutter was playing host to State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, Milken Family Foundation representatives and school district leaders, and though he knew someone at Dalraida was receiving the award, he did not know who it would be. The gathered Dalraida students erupted in cheers when it was announced that their principal was the winner.
The Milken Educator Award comes with a $25,000 cash prize. The Milken Family Foundation presents the awards to up to 40 educators nationwide each year. The awards target early- to mid-career educators who have already realized impressive accomplishments.
Cutter is in his second year as principal of Dalraida. Highlights of his tenure include creating a STEM Innovation Lab at the school, the first of its kind in the region.
Six Montgomery Academy Students Inducted into Cum Laude Society
Since 1969, The Montgomery Academy has honored academic excellence by awarding membership in Cum Laude Society to its highest-achieving students. The Montgomery Academy Chapter of the Cum Laude Society was chartered in 1969 and remains as one of only three chapters in the state of Alabama. The Cum Laude Society recognizes academic achievement in secondary schools for the purpose of promoting excellence (arete´), justice (dike´), and honor (time´). The major objective is to recognize the highest levels of academic excellence based on grade-point average and level of academic courses taken.
The number of students chosen for membership in Cum Laude cannot exceed the top 10% of the senior class based on work completed through the junior year, and the top 20% based on work completed in the senior year. In addition to a student’s average for the five core classes and all AP classes, the Cum Laude Faculty Committee also considers the rigor of the student’s academic load and his or her scholarship and intellectual curiosity. Students inducted this fall include Claire Gary, Kareena Singh, Katie Brown, Katherine Sinco, Holden Habermacher, and Elizabeth Ray.
Trinity School has gone to the dogs… and we LOVE it!
The Montgomery Public School System Gifted Specialists recently attended the 2022 AAGC State Gifted Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, and several received several grants along with presenting two workshops for the state gifted teachers.
Awarded Educator Grant for their gifted classes ($1,000): Brittany Watts from Chisholm Elementary School, T.S. Morris Elementary and Wares Ferry Elementary School
Angela Kennedy from Halcyon Elementary School
Misty Trussell from Dalraida Elementary School
This group of ladies also presented at two workshops for their fellow state Gifted Specialists. Tara Gbadamosi from Vaughn Road Elementary and Morningview Elementary School was also a presenter at the conference.
Miss Alyson Thornton is Crowned Queen at ACA
ACA celebrated Homecoming October 14th, 2022. We had a great group of alumni return for food, fun and fellowship. We were happy to see Miss Alyson Thornton be crowned Homecoming Queen alongside her fellow classmates, Miss Rachel Rine and Miss Kelsey Bennett, who were 12th grade representatives. Congratulations to all the following girls who were chosen to represent their grades: 6th grade Miss Adalynn Newkirk, 7th grade Miss Emma Cooley, 8th grade Miss Margaret Walker, 9th grade Miss Audrey Barlow, 10th grade Miss Alyssa Valentine, and 11th grade Miss Mandy Gregory.
ACA Golf Tournament Success
The ACA Athletics Annual Golf Tournament was once again a huge success. We had over 30 teams come in and play an 18-hole, 4-man scramble. The athletic supporters that participate in this event are always such a pleasure to be with and always make for a great and fun day! We are so thankful for all the help that went into this event and as always so thankful for those that support ACA athletics!
MCS Loves Science Experiments
Montgomery Christian School’s vision is to provide an academically challenging education to those with limited school choice. While analyzing their test scores, the administration has hired a science resource teacher, Jacob Neils. With this addition, students are pursuing hands-on learning. The 3rd through 5th grade students have experimented with chlorophyll painting, searched for clues of nature on scavenger hunts, and studied the effects of acid rain.
Montgomery Academy Volleyball Teams win CCC Championship
Montgomery Academy Middle School and JV Volleyball teams are CCC Champions! Both squads won their respective CCC tournaments, and multiple athletes came home with individual special honors. For Middle School, Addison Kitchens and Bennett Britt made All-Tournament, with Rehmat Sidhu named as MVP. On the JV side of things, EG Hines & Amelia Hughes also earned All-Tournament honors, with Morgan Springer bringing home MVP honors.
Trinity Students Study Government Through Field Trip
Mrs. Weeks’ 7th grade Civics class at Trinity School took a field trip to downtown Montgomery to witness the workings of the government right here in our hometown. They were privileged to participate in a bi-annual Naturalization ceremony where more than 20 immigrants became citizens of the United States. The Honorable W. Keith Watkins presided over the moving ceremony in which 3 of our students were asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. The students were also given a special tour of the Supreme Court by Justice Tommy Bryan who took time out of his day to answer questions and give them a VIP tour. They ended the day with a tour of the beautiful Alabama State Capitol. They even enjoyed lunch at the Montgomery Riverfront, celebrated 3 classmate’s birthdays, and had a gorgeous fall day.
Sixty Montgomery Academy Students Named AP Scholars
Sixty Montgomery Academy students have earned the designation of AP Scholar by the College Board in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) Exams. Students took AP Exams in May 2022 after completing challenging college-level courses in the Upper School. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP Exams.
Three students earned AP Capstone Diplomas which are granted to students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing: Forrest Dockery ’23, Holden Habermacher ’23, and Will Ray ’22.
Thirteen students were named AP Scholars with Distinction which is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams: John Marcus Arnett ’22, Chandler Brazil ’22, Katie Brown ’23, Forrest Dockery ’23, Tristan Dumas ’22, Claire Gary ’23, Holden Habermacher ’23, Charlie Hill ’23, Elizabeth Ray ’23, Katherine Sinco ’23, Kareena Singh ’23, Laura Stanton Strickler ’23, and Jeb Tucker ’22.
Thirteen students were named AP Scholars with Honor, which is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams: Mary Weldon Armstrong ’22, Armaan Daryanani ’22, Mattie Freeman ’22, Pierson Hartley ’22, Ted Lee ’23, Thomas Lester ’22, Charles Norris ’23, Will Ray ’22, Emory Roth ’23, Luis Rubio ’24, Sadie Sease ’22, Carson Springer ’23, and Camilla Veale ’22.
Thirty-four students were named AP Scholars, which is granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams: Will Ashworth ’22, Picasso Avezzano ’23, Sarah Kate Barton ’22, Layne Beaver ’24, Emily Rose Benefield ’22, Haley Cox ’22, Fionah Desautels ’23, Norah Desautels ’23, Phipps Fiore ’22, Allie Fitzpatrick ’23, Gaines Freeman ’22, Will Hardin ’24, Isabella Johnson ’24, MaryLee Kelso ’22, Judson Lindsey ’22, Ellery Link ’24, Megan Link ’24, Sophia Link ’24, Cooper Long ’22, Mary Evelyn McLemore ’22, Susannah Miller ’24, Claire Moore ’23, Isabella Navidad ’23, Reese Parker ’22, Cate Peeples ’22, Parker Roth ’22, Clara Ryan ’22, Ellie Stevens ’22, Chelsea Trimble ’22, Brett Westhauser ’23, Killian White ’24, Hudson Whitt ’22, Lukas Yi ’22, and Zoe Zink ’22.
Montgomery Academy Mock Trial Success
On Saturday, October 1, Montgomery Academy’s Mock Trial team hosted the Southern Youth Judicial Regional Competition for teams from Montgomery to Mobile. Fifteen teams competed in the event, including four teams from MA. In competition, students try both sides of a case pertaining to issues that affect high school students. This year’s case is a criminal action involving a fatal injury at a powder puff football game.
Senior Kareena Singh is Chief Justice for the Alabama YMCA Youth in Government (ALYIG) program this year, after winning an election in the fall of 2021. Montgomery Academy’s judges were Chief Justice Kareena Singh (accompanied by senior Bailiff Brett Westhauser), and Claire Gary, who, like Kareena, served as a judge last year. Anna Kate Blissette and Carlyle Chandler also joined the MA Bailiff team this year.
John Alford, Katie Brown, Allie Fitzpatrick, Holden Habermacher, Charlie Hill, and Mere Morrison’s team placed second in the competition.
A second team of several veteran mock trial competitors, including Sarah Kate Ingram, Isabella Johnson, and Killian White, added new participants Ellery Link, Mason Kim, and Mason Stevens. Team 3 included all new competitors Rob Ashworth, Anna Brown, An Wilkes Cavanaugh, Lulu Espy, Andrew Phenix, and Noah Richburg. Team 4 included all new freshmen competitors Virginia Haugabook, Robert Marshall, Davis Philhower, Will Renfroe, David Whisenhunt, and Maggie Whitt. Virginia Haugabook won a Best Attorney award in the competition, while Will Renfroe received a Best Witness award.
All four teams will compete at the State Youth Judicial Competition in November, with the addition of several other students, including freshmen Jackson Brown, Frances Fitzpatrick, and Sailor Vance.
Montgomery Catholic Homecoming 2022
Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School celebrated Homecoming week on October 3-7. During half-time of the varsity football game vs. Bullock Co, Montgomery Catholic Principal Eileen Aaron crowned the 2022 Homecoming Queen and King, Miss Kayleigh Everage and Mr. Will Belsterling.
The 2022 Montgomery Catholic Homecoming Court, pictured from left to right: Junior attendants, Willie Hall and Sydney Hall; Freshman attendants, Ben Castanza and Adeline Gadilhe; Homecoming King and Queen, Will Belsterling and Kayleigh Everage; Senior attendants, Jeremiah Cobb and Leona Sanford; Senior attendants, LJ Green and Andre’e Aiken; and Sophomore attendants Cooper Beesley and Joanna Marlow.
The class of 1972 hosted an Alumni Mass before the festivities began. Following mass we held our Annual Alumni Under the Tent event with a wonderful meal sponsored by The Little Donkey restaurant, 3 Squared Technology Group, Remax Tristar – Ryan Beesley, and Coca Cola.
The week leading up to the Homecoming football game was full of activities and excitement, including themed spirit days, and special events at all campuses. Thursday Night even saw the return of our Homecoming Parade and Powder Puff football game. The week ended with a pep-rally to pump up the school spirit and a shut-out victory over Bullock County, 64-0. A great conclusion to our Homecoming week!
Photo credit: Total Image