Sheriff Patrick Ray has released the annual report of School Resource Officer Keneth Whitehead at DeKalb County High School.
In his report to Sheriff Ray, SRO Whitehead wrote that "It has been a busy year. I have made many arrests. Sometimes we tend to think the worst of our school system because of those arrests. Regardless of the numbers, I feel that the SRO Program is a great asset to the DeKalb County School System. We should not look at only the arrests and evaluate the success or failure of the program, but look at the overall results both good and bad. I have met with many students and dealt with all kinds of problems throughout this school year. I feel that due to this contact, I have helped these students deal with some problems that the school system just does not have time to deal with. I also feel that just my presence at the school does wonders for the student body. I hope that the school system and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department continues to see the importance of the SRO program and what benefits it can obtain from having it," wrote SRO Whitehead.
The end of year SRO Report is as follows:
Offense reports including follow-ups: 4
Misdemeanor Arrests: 44
Drug Arrests: 3
Assists with Patrol Division (Police, Sheriff, or other): 39
Assists with Investigation Division (Police, Sheriff, or other) :48
Assists with Warrants or Petitions: 5
Advisory Sessions with Students (School): 1,024
Advisory Sessions with Students (Family): 17
Advisory Sessions with Students (Law Enforcement): 18
Advisory Sessions with Parents: 344
Advisory Sessions with Teachers or Staff: 489
Conflict Resolution: 21
Classroom Lectures: 36
Called out from Classroom: 4
Special School events attended (Ball Games, etc.):23
Meetings attended (school or community): 9
Court Appearances: 33
Medical Assists: 2
Motorists Assists: 37
Club Meetings: 1
Others (Not Categorized): 356
TOTAL CALLS FOR SERVICE FOR THE MONTH: 2,633
Cigarette Citations: 24
Total Value of Reported Stolen Property: $326
Total Value of Recovered Stolen Property: $211
Theft Arrests: 5
SRO Whitehead, at DCHS is the county's only School Resource Officer. Sheriff Ray has asked the county budget committee to include funding for four more SROs in the 2013-14 budget so that each school in the county will have one.
Early voting begins Wednesday, May 29 for the Smithville Municipal Election.
Three aldermen are to be elected.
Voting will be May 29 through June 13 on the following days and hours:
Mondays: Noon until 5:00 p.m.
Tuesdays: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Wednesdays: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Thursdays: 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Fridays: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. until Noon
Election day is Tuesday June 18. All voting will be done on the first floor of the courthouse.
Candidates for aldermen are incumbents Gayla Hendrix, Shawn Jacobs, and Danny Washer and challengers Aaron Meeks, Josh Miller, and Anthony Scott.
To further protect the integrity of the ballot, all local voters will be asked to turn off or put away their cell phones when entering the polling place.
The DeKalb County Election Commission recently adopted policies relating to activities that are prohibited inside the polling place during early voting and on election day.
“Security and privacy of the voter and the security and privacy of their votes are the overriding concerns of the Election Commission,” said Chairman Walteen Parker. “We felt it was time to update our policies, particularly in light of today’s technology.”
One policy adopted by the commission states that “upon entering the polling place, all voters are to turn off their mobile phones and/or place them securely in a belt clip, pocket or purse. Voters are strictly prohibited from talking or texting on their mobile phone while inside the voting location.”
“Not only is it a distraction, but talking or texting on a phone inside the voting location could be considered voter assistance,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. “There are laws relating to voter assistance and forms to be completed and signed by all parties involved. Someone on the other end of a telephone conversation obviously would not be here to sign the form.”
In addition, Stanley said using a cell phone could be in violation of the state’s “Campaign Free Zone” law.
“Voters using cell phones inside the polling place only raises unnecessary questions,” Stanley continued. “Who is the voter talking to? Are they talking to their spouse about what to pick up at the store on the way home or to a candidate about who to vote for? The later would be a violation of the Campaign Free Zone. ”
Another policy adopted by the Commission relates to actions inside the actual voting booth. The policy states it is “strictly prohibited to photograph, video or by any other method, record a voter’s actual ballot whether on a voting machine or a paper ballot.”
“These two measures go hand-in-hand and are designed to eliminate the possibility of a voter voting, taking a picture of their marked ballot, casting the ballot, then publishing the picture of their marked ballot to the public,” Stanley said.
“The Election Commission has a compelling interest in protecting voters from confusion and undue influence,” Parker added. “We feel like these measures address those issues and we think the public will agree.”
Donny Green, DeKalb/Cannon County FSA County Executive Director, announces that the nomination period for the 2013 Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee Election is underway. The nomination period continues through August 1, 2013.
"I encourage all producers to participate in the county committee election process by nominating candidates by the August 1 deadline," said Green. "We are counting on as much participation as possible, because county committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We have seen a trend in recent years of increased nominations of minority, beginning farmers, and women producers and we hope that will continue."
Committees apply their judgment and knowledge to make decisions on county commodity price-support loan eligibility, establishment of allotments and yields, conservation programs, disaster programs, employment and other farm program-related issues. Nationwide, there are more than 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to five members who are elected by eligible local producers.
To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.
The 2013 Election will be a transitional election for the DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee. As a result, we will have three (3) Local Administrative Areas (LAA's) holding elections this year. Nominees must reside in Local Administrative Area for which they are seeking to be elected. Below are the descriptions of the LAA's that will be conducting elections this year: described as the area that includes:
LAA # 3:
East of Hwy. 56 South beginning at the DeKalb/Warren county line, following Hwy. 56 in a northern direction to the intersection of Highway 56 and Highway 70; south of Highway 70 East to Center Hill Lake; following Center Hill Lake north and northwest to the Caney Fork River thence to the Smith County line; south of the Smith County line and west of the Putnam County line to the White County line; west of the White County line to the Warren County line; north of the Warren County line following the county line back to Highway 56 South at the DeKalb/Warren County line.
LAA # 4:
That portion of Cannon County that lies east of Highway 53 (a state highway that runs south from the DeKalb County line and north from the Coffee County Line).
LAA # 5:
That portion of Cannon County that lies west of Highway 53 (a state highway that runs south from the DeKalb County line and north from the Coffee County Line).
Individuals may nominate themselves, or others, as a candidate. In addition, eligible candidates can be nominated by community-based and other organizations in the county where the election is being held before the close of the nomination period, especially groups representing socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. Nominations and elections are open to all eligible candidates and voters without regard to race, color, religion, nation origin, age, sex, marital status or disability. The nomination form (FSA-669A) is available at USDA Service Centers and online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/elections.
Ballots will be mailed to all eligible voters in LAA's 3, 4, and 5 on November 4, 2013. Completed ballots must be returned, either in person or postmarked, no later December 2, 2013. For more information about FSA county committees, visit the DeKalb/Cannon County USDA Service Center or call 615-597-8225, extension 2.
A man was arrested Sunday after allegedly shooting a neighbor in the buttocks and arm with a bb gun.
51 year old Del Ray Hanna of Old Snow Hill Road, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court June 27.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, May 26, Hannah allegedly shot a victim twice with a bb gun. The victim was shot once in the buttocks and once in the right arm, causing it (arm) to bleed. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.
37 year old David Wayne Dowell of McMinnville is charged with theft of property under $500, vandalism, and burglary. His bond is $4,500 and he will be in court on June 6.
Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, May 16 Dowell allegedly vandalized a lock on a garage and broke into a residence on Echols Heights in Liberty. Upon talking with the owner, it was determined the following items were stolen: a weedeater and string, boat oars, tool box, tools, orange extension cord, and a yellow five gallon gas can all totaling less than $500. After an investigation, it was determined that Dowell had committed the crimes. He was arrested on Saturday, May 18.
28 year old Joshua Cripps of Hodges Road, Smithville is charged with evading arrest. He was also charged with a violation of probation out of General Sessions Court. His bond on the evading arrest charge is $2,500. He has a $250 cash bond on the violation of probation. Cripps will be in court June 6.
Sheriff Ray said that on or about Wednesday, March 27, deputies went to Cripps' home to serve a warrant on him. He was beside a garage when the officers pulled up into the driveway. When he saw the deputies, Cripps ran into the woods. He was subsequently arrested. Cripps' girlfriend told the officers that Cripps had known about the warrant.
28 year old Rhonda Joy Goff of Students Home Road, Smithville is charged with five counts of forgery. Her bond is $25,000 and she will be in court on July 17. Sheriff Ray said that Goff allegedly went to Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard and passed forged checks in the following amounts on these dates: $45 on May 2, $45 on May 3, $30 and $60 on May 14, and $45 on May 15. She allegedly admitted to a detective to having committed the forgeries.
18 year old Robert Wayne Davidson, Jr. of Short Mountain Street, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, May 21 Davidson allegedly took a Kenwood CD player out of a vehicle on Love Colony Road. It was valued under $500. Davidson allegedly admitted to taking the CD player.
23 year old Ivan Perez Guzman of Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, May 24, Guzman, holding a beer, was found walking in the middle of Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway). An officer made contact with him. Guzman was apparently so intoxicated he did not know his name or where he lived. Guzman had previously dialed 911 because he was confused and did not know his whereabouts. Guzman had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. For his safety, Guzman was brought to the jail for booking.
39 year old Tabitha Gay Tidwell of Woodbury Highway, Liberty is charged with driving under the influence. She was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law for refusing to submit to a blood test and for simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance (oxycontin). Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on June 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 25, a deputy responded to a 911 call about a vehicle sitting in the roadway on Woodbury Highway. The officer spotted the vehicle and stopped to check on the welfare of the driver, Tidwell. He found her passed out under the steering wheel. The engine was running. The deputy had trouble waking her up. After she awoke, Tidwell told the officer that she had taken oxycontin earlier in the day and that she still had some of the drugs in her purse. A silver pill container was found. Inside were one and a half oxycontin pills Tidwell was very unsteady on her feet. She submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. Tidwell refused to submit to a blood test. For her safety and that of the public, Tidwell was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.
48 year old Jakob Michael Torsten was arrested on Saturday, May 25 for domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, May 24 Torsten allegedly assaulted his girlfriend on Highland Avenue by striking her in the back and pushing her down. The woman claimed she suffered a cigarette burn on her right arm. Torsten was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. The woman said the reason she did not call for help until the day after the assault was because Torsten was intoxicated.
54 year old Larry Eugene Rhoady of West Greenhill Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for failure to maintain lane of travel and for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 25, Rhoady was operating a vehicle on Highway 70 when he was stopped by an officer for failing to maintain his lane of travel. Rhoady had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Rhoady performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He submitted to a blood test. Rhoady was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. He allegedly admitted to the officer that he had been drinking beer.
34 year old Gregory Wayne Roberts of Midway Road, Smithville and 42 year old Chad Everette Knowles of the Loop, Smithville were arrested Sunday, May 26 after a pursuit from Highway 70 to Old Mill Hill Road.
Roberts is charged with resisting arrest, felony evading arrest, driving under the influence, and a fourth offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $14,000 and he will be in court on June 6. He was also issued citations for violation of the implied consent law and for failure to maintain his lane of travel.
Knowles is charged with driving under the influence by allowance for letting Roberts drive his (Knowles' vehicle). His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 6.
Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 26 an officer tried to pull Roberts over on Highway 70 for failing to maintain his lane of travel. When Roberts refused to stop, the officer initiated his patrol car's emergency equipment and began a pursuit. From Highway 70, Roberts turned onto the Old Snow Hill Road, to New Home Road, and finally to Old Mill Hill Road where he turned onto a driveway and into a front yard. Because he evaded arrest, Roberts was taken out of the vehicle at gunpoint. Roberts made an attempt to put his hands in his pockets, but the officer grabbed his arm and put him on the ground. While on the ground, Roberts continued trying to resist arrest, pushing against the officer. It took two officers to place handcuffs on him. Roberts, who had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person, told the officers he had been drinking. No sobriety tasks were given because Roberts had resisted arrest. He also refused to submit to a blood test. Roberts was in possession of an ID only license. A computer check revealed that his license were suspended. He was taken into custody and brought to the jail for booking.
Knowles admitted to drinking alcohol and said that was the reason he allowed Roberts to drive his automobile. Knowles is an habitual motor offender.
14 year old Jacob Davis Billings of Smithville died Sunday at DeKalb Community Hospital after being involved in a bicycle accident. He had just graduated from the eighth grade at DeKalb West School. He played football for the DeKalb Saints and had made the DCHS Tiger Football Team.
The funeral will be Thursday at 1:00 p.m. at DeKalb Funeral Chapel. Michael Hale will officiate and burial will be in DeKalb Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be Wednesday from noon until 8:00 p.m. and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until the service at 1:00 p.m.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Ammon Billings, Jr.
Survivors include his parents, Trey and Heather Billings of Smithville. Two sisters, Jessica and Tori Billings of Smithville. His maternal grandparents, Eugene and Linda Waggoner of Alexandria. His paternal grandmother, Teresa Billings of Smithville. His maternal great grandmother, Delores Murphy of Liberty. His paternal great grandmother, Willadine Guy of Sparta. Aunts and uncles, Tonya and Kevin Roberts of Alexandria, Scarlett Adcock of Murfreesboro, Tonya Evans of Smithville, Aleisha Fuson of Smithville. Cousins, Brandon, Megan, Zackary, Noah, Emily, Madison, Olivia, and Skylar.
The family asks that donations be made to DeKalb Funeral Chapel to help with funeral expenses, in lieu of flowers. DeKalb Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.
A 14 year old boy was killed while riding a bicycle down Casey's Cove Road Sunday evening after he ran into an oncoming Honda CR-V and was then hit by an F150 pickup truck.
Dead is Jacob Billings.
911 was first notified of the accident at 6:58 p.m.
Trooper Craig Wilkerson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE Sunday night that the boy was riding his bike east on a steep downhill grade, trying to negotiate a curve, when he crossed the double yellow line into oncoming traffic and ran into a westbound 2011 Honda CR-V, driven by 31 year old Sarah Atkinson of Lexington, Kentucky.
After impact, the boy came off the bike and was hit by a 2006 F150, driven by 22 year old Dalton Parker of Murfreesboro, who was traveling west behind Atkinson's vehicle.
The boy, who was not wearing a helmet, reportedly suffered severe head trauma and was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Atkinson had three passengers with her. Parker's brother was riding with him. Neither of them were injured.
Another teenage boy was also reportedly riding his bike down the hill at the time but he was not involved in the crash and wasn't hurt.
The road was closed to traffic from Lighthouse Christian Camp to Hidden Harbour Marina for several hours during the investigation.
Trooper Wilkerson was assisted by THP Sergeant Dan Thweatt, Johnny Farley of the THP Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), and THP Sergeant Randy Crain of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID). Officers of the Sheriff's Department and members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.
No charges have been filed. Trooper Wilkerson said the case will be reviewed by the District Attorney General's Office.
A 38 year old Woodbury man was airlifted after he crashed his car on Highway 83 (New Home Road) Sunday afternoon.
Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Jack Christopher Surguy was driving south on Highway 83 in a 1991 Olds Cutlas when he went off the right side of the road, entered a ditchline, struck a culvert, and then crossed over a driveway. The car came to rest in the ditch on the other side of the driveway.
Surguy was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS and then taken to a helicopter landing zone set up in a field nearby. He was airlifted by Lifeflight and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.
Members of the Sheriff's Office and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.
For the second time in the history of the DWS’s Accelerated Reader program a 5th grade student had the most points.
Christian Trail was tops in reading for the school with 2,502 points. He was presented with the Amanda Mullinax librarian award. Trail also scored the most A.R. points during the last calendar year with 686.6 to win the Danny Parkerson principal’s award. Trail is the son of Heidi Herman and grandson of George and Linda Tripp.
Trail and 8th grader Rosa Payne received a special plaque for reaching the 2,000 point milestone.
Caitlyn Lawrence and Dallas Cook earned more than 1250 points. Breanna Coleman and James Mathis tallied 1,000 A.R. points; Holly Evans, Logan Valentine, Sarah Starnes, A.J. Mofield and Casey Vickers made 800 points; Jaden Johnson, Erica Coleman, Alexis Gammons, Logan Valentine, Peyton Lemons, Nick Staley, Jaimie Alexander, Hannah Evans, Breanna Gibson, Josh Tate, Jayra Plattenburg and Paige Snyder earned 600 points.
Making the 500 point club were Alley Beth Cook, Jathan Willoughby, Trevonte Alexander, Andrea Coleman, Haley Dies, Hope Mofield, Logan Valentine, Addison Oakley, Justin Reynolds, Dillon Sullivan, Emily Roehner, Jasmine Parker, Jesse Smith, Nick Staley, Jaimie Alexander, Lindsey Cooper, William Dowling, Ethan Martin, Josh Tate, Devin Vanatta, Maegan Harris, Wyatt Martin, and Reagan Taylor.
Scoring 400 points were Summer Crook, Nathaniel Crook, Lydia Willoughby, Garrett Hayes, Trevonte Alexander, Jordan Crook, Hope Mofield, Logan Valentine, Elijah Foutch, Jeremy Nabors, Abbey Parchman, Carrigan Chapman, Mark Mace, Jasmine Parker, Jesse Smith, Samantha Street, Jaimie Alexander, Ethan Dies, William Dowling, Chris Hobbs, Makenzie Knowles, Kyleigh White, Kassey Collier, Haleigh Bass, Jacob Billings, Eli England, and Alex Steel.
In the 300 point club were Dawson Bandy, Allison Eastes, Malayna Nokes, Jordan Bailiff, Emma Damron, Grace Griffin, Abigail Lawson, Riley Overstreet, Trevonte Alexander, Kyndal Cox, Elijah Aucoin, Dolton Theriaque, Chelsey Cantrell, Dylan Denson, Peyton Harris, Kirra Smith, Shelby Clayborn, Cedric Cruz, Dakota Fathera, Samantha Haugh, Ashley Reynolds, Caleb Taylor, Noah Byrge, Phillip Coats, Kendall Cryer, Justin Gohs, Zoe Maynard, Harley Sloan, Diego Vazquez, Christian Faulk, Taylor Hale, Jared Marlar, Austin Tomlin, Jaimie Alexander, Emily Glass, Cody Hale, Dusten Sutherland, John Kelly, and Preston Lemons.
In the 200 point club were Aly Griffith, Madison Martin, Bralin Moss, Brett Walker, Jacob Christian, John Ellis, Alonna Christian, Alex Tarango, William Butterbaugh, Hagen Waggoner, Austin Price, Katie Bain, Nick Cothern, Michael Martin, Emma Tate, Hannah VanDyne, Kaileigh Brandon, Lydia Davenport, Sydney Hendrixon, Lacey McMillen, Damien Sullivan, Parker Vantrease, Dylan Dandurand, Jordan Rench, Marquis Bass, Ethan Cantrell, Alaysia Bass, Latravia Cox, Kyrstin Grater, Makenzie Ray, Jayda Smith, William Tate, Dayton Tittel, Kendra Whitehead, Ashley Reynolds, Garrett Driver, Austin Tittle, Kayleigh West, Cassidy Montgomery, Isaiah Cron, and Hunter Robertson.
In the 100 point club were Hailey Redmon, Hannah Redmon, Jackson Vantrease, Alex Antoniak, Noah Evans, Aniston Farler, Aly Griffith, Bonnie Hale, Madison Martin, Desaree Mason, Bralin Moss, Matthew Nokes, Madison Tarpley, Brett Walker, Wesley Wright, Isaac Brown, Jacob Christian, Luke Driver, John Ellis, Abby Gann, Jazmyn Rench, Lane Goss, Emma Martin, Makaela Cron, Iris Farley, Michael Fender, Parker Winfree, Brayden Antoniak, Carter Hale, Jon Lawson, Jaden Baines, Austin Price, Victoria Rodano, Hannah Breedlove, Megan Price, Savannah Atnip, Jaya Tramel, Cody Woodham, Ciara Young, Cody Antoniak, Seth Harris, Derrin Reeder, Jonathan Bradley-Reid, Justus Tramel, Sara Carver, Mariah Mofield, Miguel Quintero, A.J. Gaskill, Destiny Vincent, Austin Winningham, John Biggerstaff, Alanna Woodham, Travis Cheechi, Cristian Ferrell, Brandon O’Neal, Paxton Butler, Damion Dishman, Madison Butler, and Brandon Peoples.
Students who earned 50 A.R. points are Hailey Redmon, Brayden Carter, Jordan Gibbs, Ella Hendrixson, Briella Pennington, Hannah Redmon, Ashley Sosa, Jackson Vantrease, Bristol Redmon, Alex Antoniak, Allena O’Conner, Xavier Parker, Noah Evans, Jackson Gibbs, Bonnie Hale, Desaree Mason, Bralin Moss, Matthew Nokes, Braxton Page, Jarrod Smith, Shelby Starnes, Madison Tarpley, Wesley Wright, Kylie Bain, Isaac Brown, Caleb Dies, Luke Driver, Abby Gann, Will Mathis, Lexie Overstreet, Jazmyn Rench, Faith Tripp, Cameron Bailey, Lane Goss, Jamison Marlar, Joel Rader, Maddison Tate, Elizabeth Vaughn, Makayla Cook, Jacob Wilmoth, Brayden Antoniak, Savannah Chapman, Brice Montgomery, Abigail Pennington, James Pitman, Marissa Clark, Austin Price, Ivanna Reid, Victoria Rodano, Hannah Grisham, Cassie Maxwell, Jordan Boniol, Ethan Tittle, Cody Antoniak, Tyler Atkinson, Alleyona Rader, Jonathan Bradley-Reid, Kenzie Storm, Sara Carver, Brent Early, Cheyenne Maxwell, Austin Winningham, Damion Dishman, Dalton Norrod, and Jesse Houser.
Making the 25 point club were Macy Christian, Autumn Redmon, Hailey Redmon, Brayden Carter, Carson Donnell, Nate Francis, Jordan Gibbs, Zoi Hale, Ella Hendrixson, Adrienne McGhee, Briella Pennington, Hannah Redmon, Austin Sardessai, Ashley Sosa, Jackson Vantrease, Hasten Waggoner, Jocelyn Walters, Hunter Cannon, Riley Fuson, Jaxon Humphrey, Bristol Redmon, Jordan Valentine, Alex Antoniak, Jasmen Chapman, Ethan Curtis, Samuel Ellis, Presley Pinocchiaro, Brianna Labrada, Allena O’Conner, Xavier Parker, Karson Smallwood, Bralin Moss, Caleb Dies, John Iervolino, Hannah West, Rebecca Eastes, Katelyn Fox, Devon Maxwell, Joel Rader, Devin Snyders, Destiny Strickland, Tristan Tarango, Brayden Antoniak, Austin Price, Iyanna Reid, Victoria Rodano, Hannah Grisham, Cassie Maxwell, Sebastian Majano, Cody Antoniak, Tyler Atkinson, Alleyona Rader, Jonathan Reid-Bradley, Kenzie Storm, Cheyenne Maxwell, Austin Winningham, Dylan Atkinson, Jose Beckham, Dalton Norrod, and Jesse Houser.
Caitlyn Lawrence walked away with the most awards at the DeKalb West School 8th grade graduation ceremony on May 21. Lawrence had the highest average from Cynthia Preston’s homeroom in Math, Science, History, Literature, and English. Her peers also chose her for one of the Citizenship awards. From Melanie Molander’s homeroom Hunter Robinson had the highest average in Science, History, and Spelling while Maegan Harris was tops in Math and English and Bailey Redmon had the highest average in Literature. Kayley Caplinger from Preston’s homeroom won the Spelling award.
In addition to Lawrence, other Citizenship Award winners were Alex King and Bailey Redmon from Molander’s class and Alex Steel from Preston’s room. James Mathis was picked for the Georgia Young award, named in honor of the beloved late DWS Cafeteria Manager. Four students didn’t miss a single day of school. Rosa Payne, Jacob Billings, Hunter Robinson, and Caitlyn Lawrence won awards for Perfect Attendance.
Junior Beta Club students were recognized for their service to the school and community. Club President Casey Vickers had 58.75 hours, Bailey Redmon earned 45 hours, Maegan Harris earned 26 hours, Treasurer Madison Butler earned 22.75 hours, Secretary Rosa Payne had 23.25 hours, Vice President Caitlyn Lawrence had 22.25 hours, Paige Snider earned 15 hours, Peyton Frazier served 6.75 hours, Jayra Plattenburg scored 6.25 hours, Kaylee Braswell had 6 hours and Haleigh Bass earned 4.5 hours.
Forty-three students graduated from 8th grade. Students graduating from Molander’s homeroom were Kendra Aucoin, Myranda Bailiff, Zackrey Bass, Madison Butler, Kassey Collier, Maegan Harris, Jesse Houser, John Kelly, Alex King, Preston Lemons, Wyatt Martin, James Mathis, Brandon Peoples, Bailey Redmon, Hunter Robinson, D.J. Shuster, Drake Staten, Donavon Thompson, Casey Vickers, Payton Williams, and Tori Young. Students graduating from Cynthia Preston’s homeroom were Matthew Alderman, Haleigh Bass, Jacob Billings, Kaylee Braswell, Kayley Caplinger, Cody Curtis, Seth Dawson, Makayla Anne Easterwood, Destinie Edge, Eli England, Peyton Frazier, Hailey Glass, Caitlyn Lawrence, Reina Majano, Rosa Payne, Jayra Plattenburg, Brandy Rock, Paige Snyder, Renee Starnes, Alex Steel, Abigail Sutherland, and Reagan Taylor.
DeKalb County Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen was the keynote speaker.
It was a night of joy and celebration Friday evening for the Class of 2013 on the occasion of graduation at DeKalb County High School.
Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to MyKaela Duke and Hunter Collins while the Citizenship Award was presented to Matt Boss.
(CLICK PLAY BUTTON BELOW TO HEAR ENTIRE DCHS GRADUATION PROGRAM)
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The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the class for outstanding achievement and leadership, academics, and other activities. The Citizenship Award is given to the senior who has demonstrated outstanding service, devotion and loyalty to DeKalb County High School. The honor students were also recognized during the program.
The 181 graduates received their diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby as their names were called by Principal Patrick Cripps and Assistant Principal Kathy Bryant.
In his remarks, Valedictorian Taylor Leach talked about the unity of this class. "What if I told you that 1+1 equals 1. Many people say that one is the loneliest number but I'm here to tell you why this statement couldn't be any more inaccurate," said Leach.
"The senior class of 2013 at DeKalb County High School has many individuals with many unique characteristics. However, we have something that I believe no other class is fortunate enough to have. We have a sense of unity," said Leach.
"We all have memories from this place that will last a lifetime. We all have friends that may leave but will never be forgotten. No matter where we go from here, we will always have those to remember, and each memory adds to another to form one giant high school experience," he said
"I just want you to look around at the people sitting in front of, beside, and behind you. This will most likely be the last time you see each and every one of them together. So live it up because the people around you tonight have all combined to make you the one person you are right now. I'm glad that we were all able to work together to form the one and only class of 2013," said Leach.
Matt Boss, Class President, urged his classmates to face their challenges and strive for excellence. "No matter where we go or what we do, there are challenges ahead of us. We need to meet those challenges straight on with an open mind and heart. We must try to excel in everything we do; strive for excellence in every task," said Boss.
"Although it may not be easy to see, every accomplishment you achieve is added to the world's accomplishments. Your individual successes benefit society as a whole because when you succeed, you lighten the burden on your fellow man. When you succeed, you are in a position to give rather than take," he said.
"We may not have the power to inspire the entire world to strive for success, but we do have the power to try to achieve it for ourselves. My challenge to each of you is to do all that you can to reach your full potential. The future is truly in our hands, so let's make the most of it. Congratulations to the graduates of the class of 2013," concluded Boss.
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, guest speaker, admonished the graduates to find their internal and eternal joy in life.
"All of you are searching for the same thing and that's happiness," said Hutto. What really makes us happy? Is it love? Is it money? Having your own way? Having a car or a job or all of the above? There are a number of things that can make you happy. But being happy is an emotion. True happiness comes from within. Not being controlled by your environment or your circumstances. Making the best of what you have and not letting people or situations control your joy. Finding that secret of joy is tough but it can be obtained. And once you have internal joy and eternal joy, you can face any challenge that comes your way," said Hutto,
"As you transfer from school to life the game is going to change a little bit. The difference between school and life is that in school you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life you're given a test that teaches you a lesson. Tonight I ask you to do three things for me on your way to ensuring your internal joy. Believe in yourself. Don't doubt what you can do. Don't let people intimidate you. And don't let what people think about you stop you from doing the right thing. Have no regrets. Don't limit yourself. Don't play it safe. Don't do just what is required. Don't do the minimum. Strive to be the best. Find your purpose in life. I believe there is a master plan for all of us and that plan may change as life moves forward. When you find what your purpose is, you'll know it. I've heard it said, if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. But what really matters and what will take you further than anything is your relationships. Today I challenge you when this graduation is over to find those people who made a difference in your life. Go to them, give them a hug, and tell them that you love them. That's internal joy," he said.
"Eternal joy can only be found in a relationship that will secure your ending. That's to let you know that in the end everything will be okay. That one day you'll be victorious. It's a relationship that will sustain you with peace and joy at the lowest times of your life and at the mountaintops as well. My wish for you is that you have that relationship. It is the most important one that you will ever make," said Hutto.
"Graduates, put your seatbelt on. Life is just beginning. Hold on and best of luck to you," concluded Hutto.
The program featured the processional and recessional by the DCHS Band; Invocation by FCA member Cassandra Lester, music by the DCHS Chorus and Theater; a special performance by the BETA Group; DCHS Guidance Counselor Lori Myrick introduced the honor students; and the Benediction was delivered by FCA member Taylor Leach.