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Montgomery Student Spotlights September 2022

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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!
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Success Unlimited Academy Fine Arts Department Shines Again

Success Unlimited Academy Fine Arts Department Shines Again

Jaylan Nelson, Success Unlimited Academy Class of 2022, was honored at a reception held by The Society of Arts and Crafts (SACS) on August 13, 2022 as one of eight merit award winners for the 2022 Student Photography Competition and Exhibition. His photograph entitled “Blue Trees” was also selected as the program art for the exhibition. Jaylan has two additional
photographs on exhibit as well, a companion piece, “Gray Trees,” and “My Shoes.”

Other SUA students whose work is on exhibit are Cody Burns, Ivanka Laughlin, Kendrick Moore and Morgan Stanford. SUA art teacher, Barbara Grimes remarked that the submissions from her students received “many oohs and aahs.” The art work of these and other talented students is on display until August 31 at SACS Gallery located at 529 S. Perry Street, Suite 14, from 12:00 – 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Congratulations to all!

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SUA Faculty and Staff Kickoff School Year with Workshop

SUA Faculty and Staff Kickoff School Year with Workshop

Faculty and staff kicked off the new school year with their annual professional development workshop on August 8th and 9th. Susan Alred, Headmaster, shared the new school year theme, “ What a Wonderful World,” challenging and encouraging everyone to embrace Psalm 104:24, “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it
all, with wisdom at your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.”

The two day workshop included sessions and open discussion of school-wide goals, school data, along with activities and upcoming school events. Challenge goals were shared emphasizing academics, fine arts, athletics, and spiritual growth.

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Saint James School’s Students Participate in Alabama Girls State and Boys State

Saint James School rising seniors Clint Shores and Anna Dickey recently participated in the sessions of the American Legion Auxiliary’s Alabama Girls and Boys State programs.

During Anna’s week serving as the school’s delegate, Anna learned about all levels of state government, was elected Girls State Senate Secretary of State, was inspired by female leaders in our community, and made friendships that will last a lifetime.

Anna stated, “Walking into Girls State, I had no idea how just one week with girls that I didn’t know from places I hadn’t even heard of could have such a profound impact on me. Girls State is a program designed to teach young women the importance of our government and how we can be involved and shape the future, but the real impact of Girls State is the connections you make and the friends you carry with you for the rest of your life. The talented, hardworking, kind women that I had the honor to get to know and interact with during that one week completely changed the course of my life by allowing me to see other girls like me that dreamed big and wanted to use their gifts to continue to enrich our state. I am truly grateful that I got the opportunity to represent Saint James at this incredible statewide program, and I am proud to be a part of the Alabama Girls State family.”

During his week of the program, Clint ran for office, participated in various campaigns, learned about the many facets of government, and formed friendships with students from all over Alabama. Clint talked about his experience saying, “Boys State was a great experience for me as I learned a lot about how our government is operated. Getting to run for a state office was also extremely enjoyable and fulfilling as I wanted to try something new. Learning about law was also highly informative and interesting, and I now consider it as something I may want to pursue as a career.”

Saint James School sends representatives to Girls State and Boys State each summer. These students enjoy the experience and learn lessons which will often impact their futures.

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Saint James School Athletes Featured In 2022 All-Metro Teams

Saint James School is proud of its student-athletes who were named as part of the Montgomery Advertiser’s 2022 All-Metro sports teams.

Two Saint James athletes were named as Player of the Year for his/her sport. Sophomore Katie Brightwell was named Player of the Year for girls soccer. Katie plays at the striker position and helped Saint James make the Final Four for the first time since 2003. Katie and the Trojans defeated in-town rival Montgomery Academy to make it to the Final Four. Additionally, sophomore wrestler Logan Hartson was named as Player of the Year for wrestling. Logan was state champion in his weight class of 120 lbs. He also helped his team reach the semifinals in the duals competition.

For the All-Metro Teams, a number of other athletes were named. In girls soccer, sophomore Hannah McCain and senior McKenzie Turner were named to the First Team. Sophomore Hope McCain made Second Team.

In wrestling, freshman Braylen Corley, senior Clayton Craft, and sophomore Owen Penney were named as part of the First Team. For the Second Team, senior Granger Hicks, freshman Pruitt Conner, and sophomore Jake Huff were named.

In softball, seniors Cam Greene and Maddox Boyd were announced as part of the Second Team. In baseball senior Foster Rasmussen was announced as part of the Second Team.

Toba Rios was named as part of the All-Metro Team in boys tennis. For Track and Field, senior Lucas Huckabee and junior Connor Owens were named as part of the boys All-Metro team.

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Taylor Smith Wins 2022 National American Miss Alabama Title

Taylor Smith Wins 2022 National American Miss Alabama Title scaled

Miss Taylor Smith, daughter of Quin Smith, who is a magnet student and cheerleader at Johnnie Carr Middle School has earned a prestigious title of the 2022 National American Miss Alabama at the state pageant held July 8, 2022.

She will be attending the National Pageant held in Orlando, Florida during Thanksgiving week, representing the great state of Alabama, where she will have the opportunity to win her share of over $100,000,000 in cash and prizes!

The National American Miss Pageants are dedicated to celebrating America’s greatness and encouraging its future leaders. Each year, the National American Miss Pageants awards 1.5 Million dollars in cash, scholarships, and prizes to recognize and assist the development of young women nationwide. National American Miss has added the ultimate door prize to Nationals 2022. Each girl that qualifies for the national pageant has a chance to win a new 2022 Ford Mustang Convertible. For more details visit www.namiss.com/car. National American Miss is dedicated to developing the success of young women across our nation with a program that is designed to be age-appropriate and family-oriented. Pageants are held in each state for girls ages four to eighteen in five different age divisions

The National American Miss Pageants are for “Today’s Girl” and “Tomorrow’s Leaders.” The pageant program is based on inner beauty, as well as poise, presentation, and offers an “All American Spirit” of fun for family and friends. Emphasis is placed on the importance of gaining self-confidence, learning new skills, learning good attitudes about competition, and setting and achieving personal goals. The pageant seeks to recognize the accomplishments of each girl while encouraging her to set goals for the future!

Miss Taylor Smith’s activities include cheerleading, track & field, drawing, T-shirt design, and digital creating

Her sponsors for the pageant were East Montgomery Pediatrics LLC, Mom, Jaylen, S. Campbell, family & friends.

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Saint James High School Students Visit Camp Butter & Egg

Saint James School ninth graders and their senior Peer Leaders spent the day on Friday, August 19 working on team building and leadership skills at Camp Butter & Egg. The Saint James Peer Leader program is a program for students entering ninth grade which pairs them by advisory group with senior leaders who have been trained as mentors for the entering freshmen. The program is an important way for the freshmen to learn from the seniors about lessons and strategies for a successful high school experience.

Even though the rain sent some of the activities indoors, the ninth graders and their Peer Leaders enjoyed a day of getting to know each other and working together. Activities included zip-lining, team-building activities, canoeing, and games.

The Peer Leaders will continue to meet with and guide the freshmen throughout the first semester as they transition into high school. The Peer Leader Program is managed by the Saint James high school Guidance Counselors Office. Camp Butter & Egg is located in Troy, Alabama.

Pictured: Siblings Jack (9th grade) and Sophie (Senior) Caradori are ready for the ziplining adventure at Camp Butter & Egg. Freshmen Peyton Middleton and Keira Thompson try to work the ball through the maze into the hole with the help of Peer Leader Selina Sun.

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Saint James School Summer Fun

Saint James School’s campus was not a quiet place during the summer months. Camps for children of the River Region were held all summer long.

STJ Sports Camps, offered by the various coaches, worked on skills for the various sports. Camps were divided by age groups. These camps were a great way to learn new skills or keep skills sharp.

For girls, Saint James offered camps for basketball May 31-June 3; soccer June 14-16; softball June 20-23; volleyball July 5-7; and cheer July 25-27.

For boys, camps offered were baseball June 6-9; basketball June 13-16; wrestling June 20-22; and football July 25-27.

Also offered was Camp STJ which offered childcare and lots of fun!

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Saint James Students Participate in Bridge Builders of Alabama Summer Conferences

Saint James Students Participate in Bridge Builders of Alabama Summer Conferences

Bridge Builders of Alabama continues its youth leadership conferences despite lingering covid adaptations. During the week of June 13-15, Junior Conference was held, and Senior Conference happened on June 20-22. Students from public schools, private schools, home schools, and parochial schools learned leadership skills and communication skills which will enable them to learn to value each other’s differences and work as a team.

Moving forward into the school year, the students will be responsible for required hours of community service offered through the year. The students will get to choose from a number of non-profits that need help in the River Region. Covid restrictions had made this part of the program difficult to fulfill during the past year and a half. Bridge Builders Executive Director Ellen Farmer is excited to see this important element of the program happening again. She states, “I am very excited for our students to have the opportunity to fully get involved with the community service opportunities we offer. These opportunities are the backbone of our program and provide fun and exciting learning opportunities for the students to continue to build new skills, new attitudes, and to explore new behaviors that began during Conference.” It is hoped that other important parts of the program including being on a local college campus with overnight stays will be allowed next summer.

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SUA Teacher Honored for Contributions in Education

SUA Teacher Honored for Contributions in Education

Success Unlimited Academy is pleased to share that Connie Dacus, an SUA faculty member was honored recently as a “Phenomenal Woman of Alabama” for her exemplary service and outstanding contributions in education. This award was presented by the Tuskegee United Women’s League on August 6, 2022 at its inaugural program. We are blessed to have her as part of the SUA family.
Pictured left to right: Susan Alred – SUA Headmaster, Ms. Dacus, Pam Watson-SUA Faculty Member, and Julie Beard – SUA Activities Director.

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BTW Alumnae Named Graduation Marshal

BTW Alumnae Named Graduation Marshal

Alexandra Toney, 2018 graduate of Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, was selected as the College of Architecture, Design and Construction’s (CADC) graduation marshal for Auburn University’s 2022 summer commencement, which was held August 5th. While at Auburn, Alexandra served as Assistant Director of Community Relations for the Black Student Union Organization, Secretary for the Environmental Design Student Organization and CADC Student Ambassador. She received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design with the highest distinction.

Assistant Professor Kelly Homan said Toney was a joy to teach. “Alexandra is a thoughtful and dedicated student whose work consistently reaches or exceeds expectations, “Homan stated. “She will no doubt excel in graduate school as she has in our Environmental Design program.”  Alexandra has been awarded a three-year financial fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture at Washington University – St. Louis, Missouri.

Alexandra’s parents, Sydney Toney and Zandra Yelder Toney, are proud of her accomplishments. Alexandra is appreciative of all the love and support from her family, friends, and professors. She is proud to be a product of the Montgomery Public Schools System!

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Trinity Kindergarteners Meet Their Senior Buddies

Trinity Kindergarteners Meet Their Senior Buddies

A favorite Trinity Tradition is when seniors get to meet their kindergarten buddies! Throughout the year the seniors and their kindergarten buddies get to do so many fun events together.

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Trinity’s Tug is Back

Trinitys Tug is Back

The Tug is back… a favorite event for middle and high school students at Trinity School. The reigning champs, The Blue Team, pulled off another victory!

The Red team fought hard but the Blue Team has the bragging rights until next year!

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First Day Fun at Trinity

First Day Fun at Trinity

Third grade girls at Trinity School were so excited to see each other on the first day of school!

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Dalraida Elementary Opens STEM Innovation Lab

Dalraida Elementary Opens STEM Innovation Lab

MPS is preparing students for the future with Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. One of the schools where that is apparent is Dalraida Elementary, which has opened the River Region’s first STEM Innovation Lab.

The lab includes two classrooms, one for kindergarten through second grade and one for third through fifth grade. It will allow students to explore cutting-edge concepts through fun, hands-on activities.

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Macon East First Graders Already Enjoying Art Class

Macon East First Graders Already Enjoying Art Class

Macon East Academy first graders love Mrs. Summer Kyser’s art class! They created portfolio covers with their names on them and are so proud!

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Forest Avenue Magnet Recognizes Its Very Own Rising Golf Star

Forest Avenue Magnet Recognizes Its Very Own Rising Golf Star

Forest Avenue Academic Magnet fourth-grader Noah Cortner won first place at the U.S. Kids Golf Fall Tour 2021.  Thanks to his stellar performance and high placement, he has been able to travel from state to state and now internationally. Noah traveled to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, to compete in the U.S. Kids Golf Canadian Invitational.

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Families Are All Smiles on Trinity’s First Day of School

Families Are All Smiles on Trinitys First Day of School

The McLemore family on the first day of school at Trinity.

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MPS, Blount Elementary Recognized in D.C. for Military Partnerships

MPS Blount Elementary recognized in D.C. for military partnerships

The Military Child Education Coalition has recognized Montgomery Public Schools and Blount Elementary for their outstanding military partnerships.

At the MCEC Global Summit in Washington, D.C., MPS was presented with the Partnership of Excellence Award for its partnership with Maxwell Air Force Base. Blount Elementary also received special recognition for being a Purple Star School, a designation that means it is particularly accommodating to military families.

Lizzette Ussery, education specialist in charge of English as a Second Language (ESL), and Blount Elementary Principal Ty Harrell were there to receive these awards and recognitions.

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MacMillan International Academy Holds “Signing Day” for Kindergartners

MacMillan International Academy held a “Signing Day” for students to find out who their new kindergarten teacher was. The event was set up similar to the NBA Draft. It included draft music, food and two special guests: Brewbaker Technology Magnet High cheerleader Katelyn Glass, who is an alumna of MacMillan, and former Auburn University quarterback Jeremy Johnson.

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First Friday at Alabama Christian Academy

Every year the ACA faculty and staff get together to put together a “First Friday” fun day for our upper school students. They get to have a shortened academic day to be able to eat together at a cookout hosted by the faculty and staff and then play games, fellowship and end the day with setting goals for each of their classes and an assembly to discuss them with the whole student body.  It was a successful day, and we are so excited about what this year will bring!

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First Day Assembly at Trinity

First Day Assembly at Trinity

These kindergarten cuties, Wyatt and Weldon, loved going to the Assembly on the first day of school at Trinity.

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ACA Welcomes Back Its Students in Style

ACA Welcomes Back Its Students in Style

We were so excited to welcome back all our students to school in style! We wanted to make sure we brightened their day first thing! These students came back with such excitement and are ready to have a great year!

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ACA Set to Play on Faulkner University’s Field

ACA Set to Play on Faulkner Universitys Field

ACA is excited to announce another partnership with Faulkner University. ACA Varsity Football will play its 2022 home games at Billy D. Hilyer Stadium! This move immediately puts ACA Football as the premier home field in the Montgomery area! This is going to be a great experience for our players, and we are excited about another partnership with Faulkner. We are ready for a great football season and the excitement that comes with playing on a college football field.

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ACA’s Mandy Gregory Travels with Drum Corps International

ACAs Mandy Gregory Travels with Drum Corps International

Mandy Gregory was chosen to travel with the Drum Corps International group, Southwind.  She spent two months this summer traveling and performing among the top bands in the nation! We are so proud of Mandy and how she represented ACA so well.

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Talent Education & Arts Christian Academy: Making an Impact

TEA Christian Academy Makes an Impact

As a part of T.E.A. Christian Academy’s routine, each day begins with students reciting the Student Creed which states, “I have a purpose for being on this earth… I have plans to help make a difference in the world; therefore my life all starts with me.” There is no better feeling than when one realizes the impact they have made in the lives of so many people.

Some of the impacts T.E.A. takes pride in include being available for our students and conducting on-going assessments to include having parents, students, and teacher intervention meetings in an effort to make certain our students don’t fall behind. Additionally, T.E.A.’s curriculum includes opportunities for students to succeed academically, creatively, and socially. Along with formative and summative assessments, T.E.A. implements blended, hybrid, asynchronous, and synchronous learning platforms.

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MA Sophomore Raises Funds to Provide School Scholarships

MA Sophomore Raises Funds to Provide School Scholarships

Montgomery Academy sophomore Mary Elizabeth Cole took it upon herself to raise funds to provide scholarships to eight members of the Valiant Cross class of 2022. Cole reached out to friends and family to raise money for eight total scholarships: one for $2000, one for $1500, and six for $1000 each for a total of $9500 raised and awarded. The scholarships are meant to aid the students as they take the next step in their lives whether that be college, the military, or whatever vocation they have chosen. MA is proud of your work and your giving heart, Mary Elizabeth!

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MA Upper School Students Enjoy Engineering Camp

Rising 7th through 12th graders who participated in Montgomery Academy’s Introduction to Engineering camp this summer got plenty of in-lab engineering time as well as road trips to hear from practicing engineers and learn about the different engineering disciplines at the Montgomery Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants and SABIC Chemical Manufacturing Company. The week was capped off with a visit to Auburn University’s Ginn College of Engineering for a day-long tour of their incredible facilities and world-class programs. The camp was led by Dinah McLemore.

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Seniors From MA Attend Legislative Day 2022

Seniors From MA Attend Legislative Day 2022

The Alabama Bankers Association invited high school students from across the state to take part in Legislative Day 2022 to learn about the legislative process and meet their elected officials. Montgomery Academy seniors Coleman Bell, Bae Corley, Forrest Dockery, Bobby Eskridge, and Tom Main were part of this selected group of students. They had the opportunity to visit the House chamber, learn how bills become law, and took part in a mock vote. They also toured the Capitol building and had a luncheon with legislators from the House and Senate Banking Committees.

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Talent Education & Arts Christian Academy: Eagles Takes Flight

TEA Christian Academy Social Emotional Learning

Dr. Maggie McElroy-Washington, the founder and principal of T.E.A. Christian Academy Inc., a private Christian School which was founded in 2010, says they are ready for the challenge again! T.E.A. Academy, Inc. is back in the learning mode, and the eagles have taken flight to continue to soar to higher heights in learning. It doesn’t matter where students are in their learning, as long as they have the mindset to learn and work hard to accomplish the tasks at hand and are equipped with the tools which includes the teachers who are passionate about teaching.

No matter what school looks like, or how focused the teachers may be when reopening for a new school year, the most important factor should start with social-emotional learning—not academics. T.E.A. Has implemented the SEL framework into our weekly curriculum with standards that emphasizes learning and growth—providing a more positive outcome for students.

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Montgomery Academy Seniors Experience Boys State at Troy University

Montgomery Academy Seniors Experience Boys State at Troy University

Earlier this summer, Montgomery Academy seniors Carlyle Chandler and Brett Westhauser participated in the annual Boys State experience at Troy University. Carlyle was involved in the Legislative branch of the program and was elected as the Parliamentarian of the House of Representatives; Brett’s focus at Boys State was the military program. Both Brett and Carlyle had a fantastic experience, meeting & connecting with new people from around the state.

Alabama Boys State is one of the highest honors granted to Alabama students. Students from across the state are chosen based on their demonstration of leadership, hard work, strong morals, and motivation in school and community activities. At Boys State, student delegates will find the opportunity to build new friendships, participate in a mock government, and hear from and meet a diverse array of Alabama leaders such as Congressmen, state elected officials, business leaders, and civic leaders.  Thank you to Brett and Carlyle for representing Montgomery Academy so well!

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MA Students Participate in Mock Trial Competition

MA Students Participate in Mock Trial Competition

A team of five Montgomery Academy Upper School students spent the first week of August in Minneapolis, MN, participating in a mock trial competition at St. Paul’s beautiful Capitol Complex. The group placed fourth in the nation. The YMCA’s National Judicial Conference attendees placed first in the regional competition and third in the state competition last fall and received a bid to attend NJC at the conclusion of Alabama YMCA’s Youth Judicial statewide mock trial event. Seniors Holden Habermacher, Charlie Hill, Claire Moore, and Laura Stanton Strickler traveled with sophomore John Alford. The group was tasked with learning both the plaintiff and defense sides of a fictional case where a high-performing high school track athlete died after illegal steroid use. Alford and Moore were witnesses on each side of the case. Habermacher initially prepared to be an attorney in the event but stepped into the third witness role at the last minute when team member Katie Brown was delayed during travel. Strickler and Hill were attorneys and absorbed Habermacher’s attorney role. The Mock Trial team is coached by Stephanie Hill and intends to compete together again and MA looks forward to hosting Alabama YMCA’s Youth Judicial regional competition this fall. Congratulations to these Eagles on their outstanding work and placement!

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