Request for 8th Graders to march with band denied

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EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – In March 2021, the latest revisions to Board Policy IDE(3) were made for Competitive Interscholastic Activities. This month, Band Director David Wiebers submitted a request to allow a waiver to the policy for the band.

That waiver would allow a small number of students in the 8th grade to march with the high school band. Wiebers told the board that the waiver would help the band as it has had middle schoolers march before. With stated benefits to the students, retention rate, the high school band, and the middle school band, the request would allow the continuation of the practice in spite of the policy.

Policy IDE (3) states,

The Board of Education (“the Board”) hereby adopts this policy regulating competitive interscholastic activities.

1. Each middle and high school principal is responsible for properly supervising and regulating competitive interscholastic activities in his or her school and shall ensure that all staff members adhere to the school system’s athletic guidelines, this policy, and related rules of the State Board of Education. The principal may delegate responsibility for supervising one or more student activities and clubs to a member or members of his or her professional staff, provided such individuals must act under the principal’s direction.

2. A student wishing to participate in interscholastic competitive activities must be enrolled full time in the school that sponsors the competitive activity. (Dual Enrollment students are included in the “enrolled full time” group eligible to compete.)

3. Retention of students for athletic purposes is prohibited by the Gilmer County School System.

4. Each principal of a school covered by this policy is responsible for ensuring and maintaining documentation of adherence to the requirement of this policy.

5. Permission must come from the Superintendent or Superintendent’s designee for a coach to have practice on a non-school day (Ex: snow day).

Because of line 2 in the policy requiring a student to be “enrolled full time in the school that sponsors the competitive activity,” a student of Clear Creek Middle School cannot be allowed to march competitively with the Gilmer High School band.

Wiebers said that middle schoolers who have marched with the high school return to their middle school program with stories and experiences to share, increasing interest in the high school program. It also increases the level of excellence for those students involved as they are introduced to the higher level program earlier than normal. Wiebers said that since only the highest level members of the middle school band are allowed to participate, it keeps the number lower while maintaining quality.

Wiebers said, “I don’t view it as a high school position, I view it as a six through twelfth grade band program.”

Assistant Director Holly Kinsey also spoke during the meeting supporting the request with her own story of when she was in middle school band and was given the opportunity to march with the high school. She spoke about how the experience reinvigorated her desire for band. She said she was bored with band at the time, and it was the gifted program for marching with the high school that gave her a bit of a push to continue.

However, all of this would be in direct violation of the policy due to IDE(3). Thus, the request for a waiver.

Even with participation, students have faced restrictions and extra requirements when participating in high school band as a middle schooler, according to Kinsey. They must be accompanied at all times as Kinsey spoke about busing the students and following in her car to the high school. Additionally, in long or overnight trips, these students must be accompanied by their parent and they would room with the parents in overnight situations.

The board also unanimously approved the policy, as it currently exists, in March, two months ago. Additionally, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs stated in the regular meeting, “I can’t, in good conscience, with the feedback we’ve received, recommend a change to that policy.”

Much of the board agreed as the motion came to approve a waiver from board member Joe Pflueger. A second to the motion never came, meaning the motion died and a waiver was not approved. Thus, eighth grade band members cannot participate in high school band due to the standing Policy IDE (3).

Fire Department called to Gilmer High Gym

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South State, fire

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Parents are receiving messages from Gilmer High School today informing them that the Fire Department had to be called to the school.

Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs

According to those messages, due to smoke coming from the mechanical room in the gym, school officials called the Fire Department to investigate. Immediately removing all students from the facility, they were taken to the Band Practice Field for safety.

According to a statement from Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, no students were harmed and the fire was quite small.

She added that as of 10:30 a.m, the Fire Department has extinguished the fire and cleared the area for students to return.

While authorities are still looking into the situation, preliminary information from the Fire Department said that the fire could have been electrical in nature. However, this was speculative as they were still looking into it. Reports indicate that only minor damage has been caused to the mechanical room of the gym.

Details on GHS lockdown released from Superintendent

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Break-In closings, rally, lockdown

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County High School went under lockdown this morning after a student reported to the principal about possibly sighting a firearm.

According to a statement released by Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, “At approximately 0754 this morning, a student reported to an assistant principal that they saw a gun and ammo in a another student’s book bag.”

Downs went on to say that the Assistant Principal immediately used the Centegix Crisis Alert to place the school on lockdown. Reports began coming in about the lockdown and statements that the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) set up a command center and began searching the facility. According to Gilmer Sheriff Stacy Nicholson, the “best case scenario is that it’s a fluid operation and command is being set up while operations is dealing with the issue.”

Downs said, “GCSO and school officials began investigating, questioning witnesses, and viewing both classroom and hallway cameras.”

Thorough searches of involved students, their belongings, and facilities yielded no weapon. According to Dr. Downs, GCSO cleared the building at 8:51.

Sherriff Nicholson also commented to FYN this morning saying, “This morning, a student reported to faculty of GHS that another student possibly had a gun. The school immediately went on lockdown and law enforcement responded. It was quickly determined by Sheriff’s Office personnel and school officials that the student in question did not have a gun.”

As of now, sources say the lockdown has been lifted, including parents who say they have received a call from the school stating the same.

With less than an hour under lockdown, Gilmer administrators and the Gilmer County Sheriff reported, responded, and cleared the suspected. It is not the first time Gilmer has dealt with a lockdown situation this year as another lockdown in December came after a loud noise “like a gunshot” was reported at the Larry Walker Education Center in December, 2020, and Clear Creek Middle School went on Lockdown after an incident at the bus garage occurred in February, 2020.

School responds to argument with sports coach

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – With social media abuzz and questions coming forth about a recent argument with a Gilmer Athletics Coach at Gilmer High School, FYN has reached out to Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs for comment and answers on the path forward.

Many have already seen the video on Facebook involving the coach and a student resulting in a verbal argument. According to both Dr. Downs and those in the video, the argument arose when a child struck the coaches vehicle at the Larry Walker Center below the high school on Bobcat Trail.

FYN’s current understanding is that this coach told the child that he shouldn’t be hitting his car, that it was a rental, and he could have damaged it. Apparently, the child said that he thought it was his family’s car and left. However, the child’s older brother returned with another person, who was filming when they returned, and began asking the coach what he said to the child. While details are unclear, it appears the argument escalated from there.

Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs did confirm that Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley would be speaking with the coach and that the school is already amidst investigating the incident. She also confirmed that she was in meetings today as the child’s parent reached out to speak, but has scheduled a meeting to speak with her as well.

Downs said, “I am disappointed at any time that one of our staff members has a negative interaction with a student or with a family.”

The school system is pulling videos from the facility and looking into the incident as Dr. Downs said that the school principal would be handling the issue moving forward as a personnel issue. The Larry Walker Center is considered a part of the High School campus.

School responds to argument with sports coach

Featured, Featured Stories, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – With social media abuzz and questions coming forth about a recent argument with a Gilmer Athletics Coach at Gilmer High School, FYN has reached out to Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs for comment and answers on the path forward.

Many have already seen the video on Facebook involving the coach and a student resulting in a verbal argument. According to both Dr. Downs and those in the video, the argument arose when a child struck the coaches vehicle at the Larry Walker Center below the high school on Bobcat Trail.

FYN’s current understanding is that this coach told the child that he shouldn’t be hitting his car, that it was a rental, and he could have damaged it. Apparently, the child said that he thought it was his family’s car and left. However, the child’s older brother returned with another person, who was filming when they returned, and began asking the coach what he said to the child. While details are unclear, it appears the argument escalated from there.

Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs did confirm that Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley would be speaking with the coach and that the school is already amidst investigating the incident. She also confirmed that she was in meetings today as the child’s parent reached out to speak, but has scheduled a meeting to speak with her as well.

Downs said, “I am disappointed at any time that one of our staff members has a negative interaction with a student or with a family.”

The school system is pulling videos from the facility and looking into the incident as Dr. Downs said that the school principal would be handling the issue moving forward as a personnel issue. The Larry Walker Center is considered a part of the High School campus.

Gilmer High School cancels prom in face of resurgent Coronavirus

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County is still finding new information from news of exposures in the Courthouse and offices shutting down, but now, Gilmer High School is responding to the general resurgance of the Coronavirus in Georgia as they officially announce cancelling this year’s prom.

Originally cancelled during the school year as responses and shutdowns were widespread in the spring and the schools were closed, opting for “distance learning” alternatives, the prom was rescheduled in April as Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs announced in a meeting that they would be attempting to hold prom in July to make up for the cancellation.

That date was set for this Friday, July 10, 2020.

Today, the high school released a statement on social media stating that they would be cancelling the make-up day as well. They stated, “We have been in constant communication with local authorities regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and after much discussion and deliberation, we have decided to cancel prom this Friday, July 10. This decision was made with a great amount of information pertaining to potential and confirmed cases in Gilmer County. The cases are on a continual rise due to recent events within the county, and our first, and utmost, concern is, and will always be, the safety of our students and staff.”

In response to being forced to cancel the event, the high school is offering refunds through a linked form that parents and students can use for the school.

The school asks for patience moving forward.

They also commented saying a final decision has not been made at this time regarding graduation. However, they did affirm that a decision would be made in the coming days.

Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-For love of the game

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Recently I’ve started watching the show Friday Night Lights again. Let me just say- this is partially important because I’m not a big TV show person. I don’t have the patience to sit through an hour-long episode nor do I usually have the time to keep up with a series. But I figure with pre-season football kicking in and the fall season quickly approaching, revisiting a show that revolves around high school football is one of the best ways to get me hyped up for what’s to come.

Watching this series has also made me think about a couple of things. For one, why do we as a society rally so much around a sport that’s played by boys no older than 18-years-old? Second, do we put too much pressure on athletes who play the game? And finally, is the hype and the pressure truly worth it?

I think the answer can be summed up pretty easily- yes. And why? For love of the game.

But the love of the game is different for each of us. We’re not all going to attend every single football game or spend thousands of dollars to sit in Sanford every Saturday. We all have our limits, and in my opinion that’s perfectly okay.

Why else would my friend Erin and I bundle up in the freezing cold for playoffs? Because we love football!

I like to say that there’s something about having a team that you love that will get inside of you and never leave. I find it fascinating that there are towns across America like Dillon, Texas that will show up in the thousands to support their Panthers. Coaches and players are local celebrities, and you get your butt in the stands every Friday night just as religiously as a pew on Sunday morning. I came from a high school of nearly 4,000 students and a county of almost one million people, but the same spirit that rallies much smaller towns across the country still pulses through mine.

Yes, oftentimes I’m afraid that means we put too much pressure on the athletes who play the game. In my own personal experience, at the high school level we had so many students that it was nearly impossible to know the daily goings-on at the field house. But it was that age-old cycle of that when we would win, the coaches and players would be praised. One loss and the attitude switched faster than the direction of a twister.

But one of the many great things about this country is we have the freedom of choice in many of our decisions. Even though the athletes and coaches who play these games catch a lot of grief, they still have the choice to walk away. Some do. But for those who don’t? I’d venture to say it’s for love of the game.

When it comes to putting pressure on athletes, especially young ones, I believe the relationship is a two-way street. They should know what they’re doing, but despite all the love we have for the game, we need to understand when enough is enough. I’ve heard the term “daddy ball” thrown around a lot before, and it makes me sad to think that there are parents out there who try to live through their children. It’s important to love and support them, but even more important to let them develop their own love for their game.

Finally, like I mentioned earlier, everyone’s love for the game is different. My Papa Skip, who I probably talk to the most about sports, has a different appreciation for them than I do. I’ll use UGA football as an example. He attended classes at UGA- I never have. He still goes every year to the UGA/Florida game in Jacksonville- I’ve only gone once. He pays each year to have season tickets for the home games- I CERTAINLY don’t do that, although when he doesn’t want them I get first dibs (thanks Papa!)

The point I’m trying to make is while we all may say we love sports, we each love them differently. We each have a certain line we’re willing to cross. But at the same time, come Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or playoffs, we rally behind our team. And we each get our butts in the stands. Why? For love of the game.

Shooting at Dalton High School

News

Dalton, Ga. – The Dalton Police Department is on scene at Dalton High School where shots have been fired.

Dalton Police report that no student was injured by the shooting and all students are out of harm’s way. They also report the subject, a teacher, has been taken into custody.

The subject had barricaded themselves into a classroom earlier today before firing a weapon. Local Police and Georgia State Patrol responded to the initial call. Those reports have come about a student injured during the evacuation, the Dalton Police were adamant that no student was injured by the shooting.

Police are also asking parents to NOT go to Dalton High School as they say, “The area inside the school has been evacuated and there are no students believed to be in the school at this time.”

The evacuated students have been taken to the Northwest Georgia Trade Center where police report parents should go for their children.

Pickens Power Half-Hour, Dragon Talk – Watch Now

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Show airs live every Thursday during season 7:00 – 7:30 pm on @TeamFYNSports Facebook page

10/19/17

Coach Parker sits down with BKP and RJ to discuss last week’s game and the upcoming game against Ridgeland.

10/12/17

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 Coach Parker sits down with BKP and a few players to discuss this past weeks WIN over Southeast Whitfield and the upcoming home game against Northeast Whitfield.

9/21/17

9/14/17

Pickens Head Football Coach Chris Parker joins us to discuss the North Hall game and look ahead to the North Forsyth game!

9/07/2017


Coach Chris Parker breaks down the Pepperell game and looks ahead to the North Hall game.

8/24/2017

 

This week BKP met with Coach Chris Parker and star players of the Pickens County High School Dragons to discuss the beginning of this year’s season!

Fannin Rebel Wrap Up – Watch Now

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Rebels, High School, Fannin, Blue Ridge, coaches, show

 


Show airs live every Wednesday during season 7:00 – 7:30 pm on @TeamFYNSports Facebook page

10/25/2017

Host BKP sits down with Fannin County head coach Jim Pavao and a few of the Fannin Rebels to talk AAA Region 7 football.

10/18/2017


Head Coach Jim Pavao sits down with BKP to discuss last weeks game and this coming week’s Homecoming game against Lumpkin.

10/4/2017

This week we started the show by highlighting a sideline video of the Fannin Rebel players showing their American Pride when they took the field. BKP and Coach Pavao discuss the fight the Rebel boys put up against GAC. They also look ahead to this week’s game against Dawson County.

9/27/2017

Coach Jim Pavao joins us to look back at the North Hall game and look ahead to the game against GACS.

9/20/2017

Coach Jim Pavao joins us to discuss the Andrews game and looks ahead to the North Hall match up this week!

9/13/2017

Fannin Rebels Head Coach Jim Pavao joins us to discuss the Chestatee game and look ahead to the match up against Andrews this Friday!

9/6/2017


Fannin County Head Coach Jim Pavao joins FYNTV to recap the Ringgold game and look ahead to this weeks match up against Chestatee.

8/23/2017

BKP sits down with FCHS Head Coach Jim Pavao and Offensive Coordinator Coach Earls to discuss the season opener against Gilmer. The Fannin Rebels came on strong in this game with a determination to win, and they did just that. The team worked together to put 42 points up on the board. We would like to give a special shout out to Sarah Sosebee the kicker in Friday nights game that put up 6 extra points for the Fannin County Rebels. As always thank you to Circuit World for hosting us for “Rebel Wrap Up.” Also a big thank you to Blue Jeans Pizza for providing a meal for the coaches and players tonight! GO REBELS!

The Pride of North Georgia: Pride of Pickens Band and Fannin County High School Band Unforgettable Trip

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November the 20th, both the Pride of Pickens Band and the Fannin County High School Band traveled to perform in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade.  The two bands came together to perform as one~  THE PRIDE OF NORTH GEORGIA.

Please help show pride in our schools. Share with your friends and family.  Anyone who has ever played in a high school marching band knows the camaraderie of the band family.   Those are bonds these band kids will share in common, even though they attend two different high schools. 

Enjoy a glimpse into the band trip below:

[cincopa AcGAhxtqonGk]

Two of our local bands, Fannin County High School Band and Pride of Pickens Band took the opportunity to travel and perform in Philadelphia, PA.  They also visited New York on this trip.   This trip forged friendships and created memories which will surely remain a distinct experience for these young band members.    FetchYourNews spoke with a Fannin County Band member, Ashley Fields,  and asked her what the trip was like for her.  

Ashley told us, “It was amazing, after going once I feel like I want to go again.  Just because everything’s so huge and there was so much I didn’t see.  But everything I did see was was amazing!”  

   Congratulations to these young men and women we are all proud of them and their excellent performance!  

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