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!
Trinity Crowns Homecoming Queen
Trinity Presbyterian School`s 2021 Homecoming Court included from left, 7th-grader Cate Chapman, 8th-grader Marley Sharpless, 9th-graders Sarah Bell McClinton & Peyton Lowe, 10th-grader Mary Blake Pemberton, 11th-grader Ann Presley Stewart, and 12th-graders Elizabeth Ann Stewart, who was crowned queen; Ella Grace Lowe and Kaylee Peevy.
MPS Distributes Supplies
Students at Montgomery Public Schools were excited as they received their school supplies to start the year. MPS provided basic school supplies to all students throughout the district at every level. These were consumable supplies such as paper, pencils, markers, notebooks and crayons.
The distribution of supplies was a way to ease the burden on parents, many of whom have been impacted economically by the pandemic.
Students at BTW are shown after picking up their supplies.
Montgomery Academy Students Hold Supply Drive for Adullam House
Montgomery Academy Lower School students held a school supply donation drive for Adullam House. Cardinal donated 526 teacher supply items, and Navy donated 791 student supply items. Together, the students totaled 1,317 donations!
ACA Preschool Programs Get New Playground
Alabama Christian Academy has started construction on a new K2/K3 playground. This past August was our first year with our K2 program and we knew we would need to add a playground for the children. It was an exciting day for the little ones as they got to watch the excavator start clearing the land.
Pintlala Receives Grant, Help With Campus Cleanup
Pintlala Elementary had a lot of exciting news and activity to start the school year, including a $20,000 Wal-Mart grant. Principal Angela James-Sampson helped secure the grant. The money will be used to help build an outdoor structure for PE classes and other school functions.
Wal-Mart also arranged for employees to help with campus projects, landscaping and beautification during Pintlala’s back -to-school campus cleanup day Aug. 7. In addition, Wal-Mart provided a variety of school supplies and sports equipment for the students.
Montgomery Christian Excels in Math Scores
Montgomery Christian School has excelled in math testing scores despite the roller coaster of the Covid years. Resulting in an improvement of 154% above grade level, our wholistic math curriculum benefits each child’s ability to notably execute math. Working Women’s Home Association generously gave our NeuroNet curriculum supplement. NeuroNet is a research-based learning readiness program designed to help students develop fluency in essential reading, math and handwriting skills. The NeuroNet exercises combine rhythmic movement patterns with basic reading, writing and math skills in order to automate those skills. We also use Singapore Math, given to us by donations annually. Our students’ scores excelled in math comprehension this past year and become higher than ever! For more info about Montgomery Christian School, please visit www.montgomerychristianschool.org
Montgomery Academy Speech & Debate Team Compete in Tournament
The Montgomery Academy Speech & Debate Team traveled to Birmingham for the first tournament of the 2021-2022 season in the annual Vestavia Hills Novice Tournament. A total of 31 new students competed and seven varsity students judged in this one-day in-person, masked tournament. Individual congratulations to John Alford for going undefeated and finishing 3rd in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Adrianne Lin for finishing 2nd in Prose Interpretation.
Montgomery Academy Honors School Code
Honor is found at the core of The Montgomery Academy’s mission statement, as it works to develop leaders committed to honor, scholarship, service and the pursuit of excellence. Our current students hold the same commitment to honorable behavior as the students who have come before them. Lower School students begin with an age-appropriate honor code which grows into a more sophisticated understanding of honor as they move through Middle and Upper Schools. At the beginning of each new year, students in grades 6-12 sign the honor code.
Macon East Hosts Back to School Bash & Silent Auction
Macon East Academy recently held its 3rd Annual Back to School Bash & Silent Auction sponsored by the Macon East PTO. There were bounce houses, a dunk tank, cake walk, face painting, balloons, midway games and prizes, along with a touch-a-truck area. Macon East families enjoyed the BBQ food truck, sno-cones, popcorn and cotton candy as well. A silent auction was also featured that showcased a lot of fantastic donations. This was a great event that welcomed new students and brought everyone together for a fun afternoon. A great big thank you to all the sponsors, donors and volunteers who helped make the event such a success.
ACA 5th-Graders Participate in STARBASE Maxwell
ACA 5th Graders were selected to participate in STARBASE Maxwell, A DoD funded program that engages students in hands-on activities throughout their time on base. Being structured around STEM, the students will get the opportunity to learn basic programming skills, measurements, Newton’s laws of physics and more. Whether they’re making 3D models on the computer, learning how to find a culprit using fingerprints or programming their own robots to traverse across Mars, the students attending STARBASE are fully immersed in the interactive, hands-on education experience.
Trinity Makerspace Allows Creative Outlet
Trinity Presbyterian School students in 7th- and 8th-grade Makerspace class. taught by Stan Milton, designed and built roller coasters out of paper.
Trinity Students Use 3D Printer for Creative Purpose
Third-grade students at Trinity Presbyterian School use a 3D printer to create and design bugs and houses.
Montgomery Catholic Senior Named DYW
Parker Ensminger from Trinity School has been named a Semifinalist in the 2021-22 National Merit Scholarship Program. He will continue in the competition for one of 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring. More than 1.6 million students at more than 22,000 high schools entered the competition. Esminger is one of only 16,000 to be named Semifinalist.
Trinity Junior Scores 1,000th Volleyball Assist
Trinity Presbyterian School’s junior volleyball setter Addison Cherry recently made her 1,000th career assist. The Wildcats matched up with area rival PCA with Cherry sitting 15 assists away from her career milestone. 1,000 was quickly secured at the beginning of the second set!
Montgomery Academy Chemistry Lab Fun
During a recent chemistry lab, Montgomery Academy Upper School students observed six processes using steel wool, both physical and chemical, and recorded any changes in mass. They then drew particle diagrams of each process. After analysis of class data and the diagrams, the Law of Conservation of Mass was derived.
Montgomery Academy Lower School Eagle Talk
The Montgomery Academy Lower School convened for its first Eagle Talk of the year recently. This monthly assembly is devoted to creating a sense of connectedness in our school and introducing the community value of the month. At our August Eagle Talk, students sang and played “Captain’s Coming,” and learned about the August value, which was community.
Dalraida Student Chosen as Newtopia Champion
Dalton Powell in Misty Trussell’s 4th grade QUEST class at Dalraida Elementary School was chosen as the September Newtopia Champion Student. He was selected due to his leadership and excellence in school. He participated in a party at Newtopia where he got to enjoy pizza, play area fun and an award ceremony.
Montgomery Catholic Senior Named DYW
Montgomery Catholic senior Angeles Gonzalez-Ansaldi was named the 2022 Montgomery County Distinguished Young Woman. Distinguished Young Women is the largest & oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. Many participants earn cash scholarships and are eligible for college-granted scholarships from more than 100 colleges & universities.
Angeles will be competing for Montgomery County at the Statewide Distinguished Young Women’s Competition on January 21-22, 2022.
Saint James School Celebrates Homecoming 2021
Saint James senior Kendall Danielle Hardaway, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Hardaway, was crowned Saint James School’s 2021 Homecoming Queen in halftime ceremonies during STJ’s September 17 match-up against Straughn High School.
The Queen’s court included freshman attendant Cameron Hagen, sophomore attendant Reilly Taylor, junior attendant Kiya Jupiter and senior attendants Sydney Eng and Mary Rodgers Prim. Queen’s attendants were senior Chelsea Johnson and senior Caroline Yancy. The crown bearers were Saint James kindergarten girls whose parents are Saint James alumni. The 2021 crown bearers were Lanier Emory Gallops, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael ‘00 (Jennifer Sims) Gallops; Virginia Howell Ray, daughter of Mr. Jacob ‘03 and Mrs. Catherine Steineker ’03 Ray; and Scarlet Dylan Terry, daughter of Mr. Truett ‘06 and Mrs. Alyson Ingram ‘07 Terry.
After a schoolwide homecoming parade, the queen was announced during the afternoon pep rally. The queen and her court were presented during halftime ceremonies at the homecoming football game that evening. Saint James Board of Trustees Chair, Lt. Col. Dex McCain, retired, presented Queen Hardaway with a silver bowl per school tradition, and Head of School Dr. Larry McLemore crowned the 2021 queen with the assistance of the three crown bearers. The Trojans won the night’s game against the Tigers, 43-6.
From left, Saint James School Homecoming Court included freshman attendant Cameron Hagen; junior attendant Kiya Jupiter; senior attendant Mary Rodgers Prim; Queen’s attendant Caroline Yancy; 2021 Queen Kendall Hardaway; Head of School Dr. Larry McLemore; Queen’s attendant Chelsea Johnson; senior attendant Sydney Eng; and sophomore attendant Reilly Taylor.
Montgomery Christian School Leadership Changes
Montgomery Christian School, K-5th grade, continues to flourish. Although Principal Kathi Atkins retired in June this year, her replacement Stephenie Price, a teacher of 27 years in Montgomery Public Schools, Holy Cross and assistant principal of MCS last year, began her tenure as principal. With the growth of Montgomery Christian School, Pamela McLemore has also been hired as the new executive director. She comes to MCS after teaching for 15 years and doing development as a missionary with the International Christian School of Budapest for seven years.
Atkins led the school to its new building in 2017 along with growing the school to 90 students. “Montgomery Christian School will continue to blossom under the new leadership,” she said. “I’m excited to spend more time with my family and develop my role as mentor to the new leaders of MCS.”
Montgomery Christian School is a non-profit elementary school. The mission is to glorify God by providing an academically challenging education in a Christian environment to families with limited school choice. Recent donations from Kiwanis Club of Montgomery and Lions Club of Montgomery helped to provide for our wonderful executive office and teacher workroom. For more info about MCS, visit www.montgomerychristianschool.org.
From left are Pamela McLemore, Kathi Atkins and Stephenie Price.
New AFJROTC Director Takes Helm at Maxwell Air Force Base
Colonel Johnny McGonigal took charge as the director of Air Force Junior Officer Training Corps, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., on July 1. He is the leader of one of the largest, wide-reaching and most diverse organizations in the entire Department of Defense. Air Force JROTC encompasses approximately 125,000 eighth-grade and high school students with roughly 1,900 retired officer and senior non-commissioned officer instructors at about 880 high schools in the United States, Europe and Asia.
McGonigal joined the Air Force in 1989 as an air traffic control apprentice and was commissioned through Air Force Officer Training School in 2000. His career includes various staff and operational Theater Air Control System assignments as an instructor senior director, air weapons officer, mission crew commander, director of operations, and squadron commander. He is also a master air battle manager with more than 2,200 hours in the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System, including more than 500 combat hours and 150 combat support hours.
In his new position, McGonigal directs the headquarters staff and oversees policy implementation for the world’s largest and most comprehensive aerospace science education program.
“Having worked to help develop troubled teens released from a juvenile confinement facility for a year before attending Officer Training School, I feel I understand the importance of building character and citizenship in our nation’s youth,” he said. “Our mission to ‘Develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community’ is vitally important to ensure our next generation is ready for the difficult tasks ahead.”
STJ Senior Earns Eagle Scout Rank
Saint James senior Barr Armistead has earned the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout by the Boy Scouts of America. The rank of Eagle Scout is earned through numerous steps, including the acquisition of 21 Merit Badges, active participation in the community as a Life Scout, the completion of an Eagle Scout project, and submitting to a board of review.
Barr became involved in Cub Scouts in elementary school. His local troop in Butler, Ala., provided him with opportunities to learn skills and participate in activities which interested him. He enjoys learning so scouting was an opportunity to learn many life skills, as well as an opportunity to make new friends. Barr states that a pivotal activity he enjoyed was volunteering at the Indian Heritage Festival in Moundville, Ala. He learned a great deal about a culture different from his own. The hours of work and volunteering that have been required of him were enjoyable because he is always in search of knowledge.
Barr’s Eagle Scout project centered around helping the American Legion chapter in Butler. The meeting hall and existing facilities had a need which he and several of his fellow scouts were able to meet. They built a pavilion for the hall which will allow for more meeting space and other activities. Built from the ground up, the building project was extensive.
Boy Scouts of America provides scouting experiences for youth beginning in elementary school and continuing through high school.
ACA Recognizes AP Scholars
Thirteen students at Alabama Christian Academy have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement Program (AP) Exams.
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program offers students the opportunity to take challenging college-level courses while still in high school, and to receive college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP Exams. About 18 percent of the more than 1.8 million high school students worldwide who took AP exams performed at sufficiently high levels to merit the recognition of AP Scholar.
Students took AP exams in May 2021 after completing challenging college-level courses at their high schools. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on a student’s performance on AP exams.
At Alabama Christian Academy, nine students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with grades of 3 or higher: Diffly Bird, Melissa Collins, Viven Lin, Jalen McDade, Wynter Prempramot, Emmett Sanford, Phillip Strowbridge, Thomas Williams and Abigail Wilson.
Nathaniel Johnson qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning 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.
Three students also qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams: Sarah Johnson, Kaleb Lancaster and Logan Sanford.
Most of the nation’s colleges and universities award credit, advanced placement, or both based on successful performance on the AP Exams. More than 3,800 colleges and universities annually receive AP scores.
ECA Students Enjoy Art
Evangel Christian Academy’s elementary students enjoy weekly art classes. Art teacher LaDonna LeMaster makes each class fun and exciting. The students, who range from 4-year-old Kindergarten to fifth- graders, look forward each week to expressing their artistic talent. LeMaster has introduced the students to the various elements of art and different art mediums. The students also look forward to studying various artists and creating art pieces in their styles.
Saint James School’s Haley Brightwell Named National Merit Commended Student
Saint James senior Haley Brightwell has been named a 2022 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 October 2020 and January 2021 PSAT tests. This prestigious national distinction will provide Brightwell with new opportunities as she embarks on her continued educational experience.
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.
Montgomery Academy Student Named National Merit Semifinalist
Montgomery Academy senior Jeb Tucker was named a Semifinalist in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. This academically talented high school senior will continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. To qualify as a Semifinalist, a student must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
Auburn Partners with Google to Offer Statewide Teacher Training
The East Alabama Regional Inservice Center and Alabama Technology in Motion (ATIM) at Auburn University have announced a collaboration with Google to provide free professional training and certifications to public school K-12 teachers who successfully apply for the program. The partnership will offer virtual courses for Google’s Educator Level 1 Certification, which equips teachers with skills and tools to manage coursework, inspire learning and boost collaboration to improve student outcomes using Google’s digital tools.
“Thanks to Google, we are able to offer this training at no cost, and this unique opportunity can increase teacher effectiveness at using online tools in the classroom—thus improving learning outcomes and saving valuable time,” said Director of East Alabama Regional Inservice Center, Dr. Laura Crowe.
Level 1 Certification areas of study include:
● Latest features of Google Classroom and all applicable tools from Google Workspace
● Workflow efficiency and the creation of paperless classrooms
● Growing data and feedback collection from students and colleagues
● Connecting and collaborating with educators around the globe
● Building students’ digital literacy
“Teachers in Alabama have excelled in the face of incredible challenges this last year,” said Clark Gillespy, an Alabama native and Google’s global head of economic and community development. “It is our hope that this training provides teachers with new tools to make their work easier and even more impactful for the children and communities they serve.”
Publicly employed K-12 teachers interested in participating should apply online. Teachers will be asked to complete a brief application, and then ATIM will select final candidates to participate in the program. Teachers can complete the Google training based on their individual schedules.
Every school district in the state has equal opportunity for teacher participation. Alabama Regional Inservice Centers will support ATIM and Google in facilitating the call for participants, who will be chosen by the Inservice Centers.
More information can be found at https://edu.google.com/teacher-center/certifications/.
STJ Head Football Coach Breaks School Winning Record
Saint James School’s Head Football Coach Jimmy Perry became the winningest coach in school history with his Homecoming game win over Straughn High School on September 17. His 73rd win as the coach at Saint James was a decisive win over the Tigers, 43-6.
Coach Perry joined the Saint James staff as head coach in 2012. His overall record at STJ is 73-34. Prior to Saint James, Perry was head football coach at Lee High School and St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile. He was with the Lee Generals for five seasons beginning in 1995 with a record of 38-24 including a trip to the Class 6A championship game in 1999. In August 2000, he made the move to collegiate football as he served as Auburn’s director of high school relations until 2004. He then spent five years as the director of football relations at Auburn. In 2009, he returned to high school football as the head coach at St. Paul’s where he spent three seasons. In those three seasons, his teams finished with a combined record of 27-8. Coach Perry has served as a head football coach for 18 years, and his team has made it to the playoffs during 17 of those years.
Coach Jimmy Perry is shown with his family celebrating his 73rd Saint James win after he set a school record as the all-time winningest coach at Saint James School.
ACA Kicks Off Senior Buddies for the Year
Alabama Christian Academy has a special tradition where kindergarten students and high school seniors are paired up together for the school year. This wonderful tradition has allowed for senior students to impact and encourage these sweet kindergarteners. They spend the school year doing special activities and making memories that will last a lifetime.This will be a special year for these senior buddies!
Fifty-two students have earned Advanced Placement Scholar Awards 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 2021 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.
Twelve 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: Abby Baird ‘21, Ann Cobern Chapman ‘21, Tristan Dumas ‘22, Brystol Habermacher ‘21, Gradyn Holbrook ‘21, Virginia Hope ‘21, Ellie Kim ‘21, Stewart Miller ‘21. Anna Perry ‘21, Garrett Scott ‘21, Alisha Singh ‘21 and Easton Strickler ‘21.
Eight 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, Chandler Brazil ‘22, Armaan Daryanani ‘22, Mary Virginia Huffaker ‘21, Ben Jordan ‘21, Will Ray ‘22, Leighton Robertson ‘21 and Anaya Thomas ‘21.
Thirty-two students were named AP Scholars, which is granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams: Virginia Anderson ‘21, John Marcus Arnett ‘22, Will Ashworth ‘22, Sarah Kate Barton ‘22, Alex Brewbaker ‘21, Madi Caddell ‘21, Jones Corley ‘21, Sarah Grace Daniels ‘21, Forrest Dockery ‘23, Phipps Fiore ‘22, Gaines Freeman ‘22, Mattie Freeman ‘22, Holden Habermacher ‘23, Pierson Hartley ‘22, Cooper Horn ‘21, Bella Hosein ‘21, Jordan Hosp ‘21, Camp Jernigan ‘21, Thomas Lester ‘22, Cooper Long ‘22, Mary Evelyn McLemore ‘22, Reese Parker ‘22, Brabee Pirnie ‘21, Elizabeth Ray ‘23, Parker Roth ‘22, Sadie Sease ‘22, Maddie Sinco ‘21, James Snead ‘21, Ben Thackston ‘21, Camilla Veale ‘22, Hudson Whitt ‘22 and Lukas Yi ‘22.
Two students received AP Seminar and Research Certification, an honor granted to students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research: Jones Corley ‘21 and Jordan Hosp ‘21.
Five 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: Brystol Habermacher ‘21, Mary Virginia Huffaker ‘21, Ben Jordan ‘21, Maddie Sinco ‘21, and Easton Strickler ‘21.
Above are current seniors who achieved AP Scholar with Honor status. At left are current seniors and juniors who achieved AP Scholar status. Below is Tristan Dumas, current senior who achieved AP Scholar with Distinction status.