Local News Articles

Early Voting for Smithville Municipal Election Begins Next Wednesday

May 25, 2011
Dwayne Page
Gayla Hendrix
Shawn Jacobs
Cordell Walker
Danny Washer
Aaron Meeks
W.J. (Dub) White

Early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election begins one week from today.

The early voting period will be from June 1st-16th in the basement courtroom of the courthouse from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays; and from 9:00 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.

The city election day is Tuesday, June 21st. Three aldermen will be elected, each to serve a two year term beginning July 1st.

Candidates are incumbents Shawn Jacobs, Aaron Meeks, and W.J. (Dub) White and challengers Gayla Hendrix, Cordell Walker, and Danny Washer.

Voters may now apply for absentee ballots for the Smithville Municipal election through June 14th.

According to Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, the requirements for absentee voting are as follows:

Absentee Voting by Mail

To vote by mail, a registered voter must fall under one of the following categories:

1.The voter will be outside the county of registration during the early voting period and all day on election day;

2.The voter or the voter's spouse is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county of registration;

3.The voter's licensed physician has filed a statement with the county election commission stating that, in the physician's judgment, the voter is medically unable to vote in person. The statement must be filed not less than five (5) days before the election and signed under the penalty
of perjury. The statement must be notarized;

4.The voter resides in a licensed facility providing relatively permanent domiciliary care, other than a penal institution, outside the voter's county of residence;

5.The voter will be unable to vote in person due to service as a juror for a federal or state court;

6.The voter is sixty-five (65) years of age or older;

7.The voter has a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place;

8.The voter is hospitalized, ill, or physically disabled and because of such condition, cannot vote in person;

9.The voter is a caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled;

10.The voter is a candidate for office in the election;

11.The voter serves as an election day official or as a member or employee of the election commission;

12.The voter's observance of a religious holiday prevents him or her from voting in person during the early voting period and on election day;

13.The voter possesses a valid commercial driver license and certifies that he or she will be working outside the state or county of registration during the early voting period and all day on election day. The request should contain the CDL number;

14.The voter is a member of the military or is an overseas citizen.

Requesting a Ballot

A registered voter may request a by-mail ballot by sending a written request to the DeKalb County Election Commission. The request must have the voter's signature. The request may be mailed or faxed to the county election commission office. Upon receipt of the request, the local
election commission will mail an application for ballot to the voter. The application must be mailed back to the election commission and a ballot will be mailed to the voter. However, if the voter wants to expedite the application process, the voter may place the following information in the request for ballot:

1.The name of the registered voter;

2.The address of the voter's residence;

3.The voter's social security number;

4.The address to mail the ballot outside the county (this applies only when the reason for voting by mail involves that the voter will be outside of the county during early voting and on election day);

5.The election the voter wishes to participate in. If the election involves a primary, the political party in which the voter wishes to participate;

6.The reason the voter wishes to vote absentee; and

7.The voter's signature. (If the voter is unable to sign his/her name, contact the Election Commission office for details.)

A request that contains this information will be treated and processed as an application for ballot, and a ballot will be mailed to the voter.

A registered voter may request an application for by-mail ballot no earlier than ninety (90) days before the election and no later than seven

(7) days before the election. In order to be counted the ballot must be received by election day.

The ballot must be returned by mail and not hand delivered.

Tigers Beat Polk County 5-3 in State Tournament at Murfreesboro

May 24, 2011
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Tigers (EARLIER PHOTO)

The DeKalb County Tigers won their opening state tournament game Tuesday night, beating Polk County 5 to 3 in Murfreesboro.

The game was played at Blackman High School. With the win the Tigers will advance in the winners bracket to play Lexington Wednesday at approximately 12:30 p.m. at Blackman High School. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

DeKalb County scored five runs on five hits and made no errors in the game. Polk County scored three runs on nine hits and made one error.

The Tigers scored three runs in the first inning and two runs in the fourth inning. Polk County scored two runs in the first and one run in the fifth inning.

Shane Salley, the winning pitcher, went seven innings and gave up three earned runs on nine hits. He struck out two and walked four.

Destry Wiggins- triple and 2 RBI
Shane Salley- 2 singles and an RBI
Hunter Graham-double
Matt Giles-single

Ford Sentenced to Eleven Years and Six Months

May 24, 2011
Dwayne Page
Timothy Wade Ford
Timothy Riley
Joseph Daniel Richardson
Kenny W. Dyal, Jr.
Brian Thomason

40 year old Timothy Wade Ford of Brush Creek was sentenced Friday in DeKalb County Criminal Court, one month after being convicted of initiating a process for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Judge David Patterson sentenced Ford to eleven years and six months following a hearing.

Ford, who stood trial in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Wednesday, April 20th, is one of three people accused of cooking meth at the swimming hole on Dry Creek at Dowelltown in May 2010.

In addition to the prison term, Ford must pay a $15,000 fine imposed by the jury of seven women and five men who found him guilty.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Greg Strong and Phillip Hatch. Ford was represented by local attorney Jim Judkins.

Ford and two co-defendants, 35 year old Terry Wayne Daniels of Alexandria and 24 year old Lydia R. Judkins of Smithville were all arrested in this case on Friday, May 21, 2010

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department received a call that day of a possible meth lab in operation at the swimming hole at Dry Creek. Deputies Jeremy Taylor and Steven Barrett responded to the scene and found a pick up truck, but there was no one inside. Shortly after their arrival, the officers heard something in the tall weeds about one hundred feet from the truck and went to investigate. There, they found Daniels and Lydia Judkins engaging in sexual activity. From another location nearby, the officers also heard the sound of glass clinking together. When officer Taylor went to check it out, he found Ford kneeling in tall weeds surrounded by meth lab components including a 2 liter bottle, tubing, drain cleaner, gloves, cold packs, jars that contained 2 layered liquids, coleman fuel, funnels, alcohol, electrical tape, and other items. It appeared that Ford was preparing to cook some methamphetamine, according to Sheriff Patrick Ray.

Ford, Daniels, and Lydia Judkins were all placed under arrest at the scene and a search of Daniels' truck yielded more items commonly used in the manufacture of meth. After arriving at the jail, officers found in Ford's pants pocket a bag that contained a powdery substance believed to be ephedrine.

Sheriff Ray and deputies Taylor and Barrett testified for the prosecution during the trial. Ford testified in his own defense, denying that the meth lab belonged to him. Ford claims that he, Daniels, and Judkins drove to the swimming hole that day in Daniels pickup truck. Inside the truck were the meth lab components. According to Ford, after arriving at the swimming hole, Daniels and Lydia Judkins got out of the truck and left him alone. Fearing that he might be caught with the incriminating materials, Ford claims he removed those items from the truck and was placing them in the weeds, when officers arrived and discovered him.

Neither Daniels or Lydia Judkins were called to testify in the case.

In February, Lydia Judkins pleaded guilty to initiation of the manufacture of meth. She received an eight year sentence, all suspended to probation, supervised by community corrections. She was given credit for time served and fined $2,000. Judkins was given jail credit from October 10th, 2010 to February 7th.

The case against Daniels, also charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine, remains pending in court.

50 year old Timothy Riley pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence in each case on probation.. The sentences are to run concurrent with each other and concurrent with a Warren County probation case against him. Riley was given credit for 611 days of jail time served from September 15, 2009 to May 20, 2011.

30 year old Joseph Daniel Richardson of Church Street, Liberty pleaded guilty by information to one count of aggravated burglary and one count of theft over $10,000. He received a three year sentence in each case, all suspended to supervised probation except for 180 days to serve. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other and concurrent with a violation of probation case against him. He was given jail credit from April 5th to May 20th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, April 4th, Richardson allegedly entered a residence on Dry Creek Road with the intent to commit a theft. Richardson apparently made entry by pushing on the locked back door with his shoulder. Items taken were twenty five dollar gold pieces on a chain, two and a half dollar gold pieces on a chain, five dollar gold pieces on a chain, approximately one hundred fifty pieces of miscellaneous items, a medicine organizer, and a quilt. All items were valued at $15,070 dollars.

24 year old Kenny W. Dyal, Jr., who pleaded guilty to five charges of burglary in March, received an eight year sentence to serve one year after a hearing on Friday.

38 year old Amy G. Odell pleaded guilty to initiation of the manufacture of methamphetamine. She received a six year sentence, suspended to 216 days of jail time served. She will be on community corrections for the balance of the sentence.

23 year old Brian Thomason pleaded guilty to six counts of auto burglary and received a total sentence of eight years. In each of the six counts, Thomason received a two year term. Four of the sentences will run consecutive or back to back for a total of eight years. The other two cases will run concurrent or together with each other, concurrent with the eight year term, and concurrent with a violation of probation against him. Thomason must make restitution in amounts to be determined. He was also given jail credit from December 1st to May 20th.

Thomason was charged in connection with a rash of Smithville car burglaries in November.

Detective Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE after Thomason's arrest in December that these crimes occurred on Whaley and Cill Street.

According to Detective Holmes, Thomason is believed to have broken into and stolen items from vehicles parked at homes on 420 Whaley Street, 407 Whaley Street, 613 Cill Street, 620 Cill Street, and 701 Cill Street. The break-ins are believed to have occurred during the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 23rd before daylight. The residents at all these addresses called police to report the break-ins and thefts later that morning after making the discoveries.

20 year old Ray Underwood pleaded guilty to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine. He received a two year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation except for time served. The sentence is to run concurrent with a Warren County case against him. Underwood was given jail credit from December 28th to May 20th.

21 year old Jeremy Shelton pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule II controlled substance with intent to sell. He received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. He was given credit for 109 days of time served. The sentence is to run consecutive to a violation of probation against him.

23 year old Coty McCormick pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule VI controlled substance. He received a two year sentence, all suspended to probation and he was fined $2,000. The sentence is to run concurrent with another case against him. McCormick has already completed eleven months of probation from November 18th, 2009 to October 15th, 2010. He still has one year left on probation.

53 year old James Thomen pleaded guilty by information to reckless driving and received a six month sentence on supervised probation. He was fined $350.

26 year old Ellissa Howard pleaded guilty by information to reckless driving and received six month sentence on good behavior probation. However if she returns to DeKalb County her probation must be supervised.

42 year old Donna Estes pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation. She was fined $150. The sentence is to run concurrent with state probation against her to be supervised by the Tennessee Board of Pardons and Parole.

35 year old Sharon Skinner pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to time served. She was given jail credit of seven months.

28 year old Tommy Parsley pleaded guilty to evading arrest and received a two year sentence, all suspended to time served. The case is to run concurrent with three other cases against him. He was given jail credit from November 8, 2010 to May 20th.

25 year old Stephen Pugh pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a revoked license. Pugh received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in the paraphernalia case, all suspended to supervised probation. He was fined $150 in that case. Pugh received a six month sentence in the driving on revoked license case, all suspended to supervised probation. The two sentences will run concurrent with each other. Pugh will lose his drivers license for a period of time, as per the Tennessee Department of Safety regulations. He was given fifteen days of jail credit.

Owens Charged with Coming to Court Intoxicated

May 24, 2011
Dwayne Page
Tyrone Dewayne Owens
Travis Mark Melton
Jerry Donald Cantrell
Fred T. Dowell
Rhonda Brewer

A 35 year old man was arrested for public intoxication Friday after he allegedly showed up for court under the influence.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that Tyrone Dewayne Owens of Shady Drive, Smithville was scheduled to appear before Criminal Court Judge David Patterson in another case when a deputy noticed him enter the courtroom very unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred. Owens also passed out and was drooling from his mouth. Owens was placed under arrest. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on this charge June 2nd.

Meanwhile, in another case, two men were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after allegedly admitting to smoking marijuana in the presence of a seventeen year old female.

Sheriff Ray reports that 18 year old Travis Mark Melton of Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta and 21 year old Jerry Donald Cantrell of Adcock Cemetery Road, Smithville will be in court on the charges June 9th. Melton is also charged with driving under the influence. The arrests were made after a traffic stop by a county deputy on Highway 70 last Monday, May 16th. According to Sheriff Ray, Melton was operating a motor vehicle under the influence. He could be seen swerving and he almost rear ended another automobile. The officer pulled him over and detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle as he approached. Melton had slurred speech and he submitted to and performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. Melton also submitted to a blood test. Both Melton and Cantrell, a passenger in the vehicle, admitted to smoking marijuana in the presence of a seventeen year old girl, who was also a passenger in the automobile. Bond for Cantrell is $1,000 and $2,500 for Melton.

33 year old Aron Dwayne Ponder of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown was issued a citation on Monday, May 16th for criminal trespassing and littering after Sheriff Ray saw Ponder walk behind the jail and throw down a bag which was found to be a six ounce bag of tobacco. His court date is June 1st.

54 year old Fred T. Dowell of Smith Road, Smithville was issued a citation for failing to give immediate notice of an accident and leaving the scene of an accident. Dowell is also charged with filing a false report. Dowell's bond is set at $2,500 and his court date is June 9th. Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, May 12th, Dowell was operating a vehicle on Highway 70 east when he lost control, resulting in an accident. He drove the car to the VFW parking lot where he parked it and left the scene. The deputy, who investigated the accident, later spoke to Dowell who stated that he and a friend had previously borrowed the vehicle from the local Ford dealership, but had returned it, apparently leaving the impression that he was not involved in the accident with the car. The officer learned that Dowell, in fact, had not returned the car, but instead was driving it when it wrecked. A witness saw him walking away from the vehicle after the crash. A computer check revealed that Dowell's drivers license were revoked.

William J. Goodman of Steeple Chase Drive, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 2nd. Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, May 18 the sheriff's department received a call to check out a suspicious person at DeKalb Market. After arriving, the officer spoke with Goodman who had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Goodman left his vehicle parked crossways of a handicapped parking spot. The automobile also had a tire missing on the front. Goodman was arrested because he was a danger to himself and others. As he was being unloaded at the sally port of the jail, Goodman made an unsuccessful attempt to run past an officer.

45 year old Rhonda Faye Brewer of Swoape Road, McMinnville is charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court on June 9th. Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, May 19 Brewer reported to the jail on a violation of probation. Upon a pat down search, a coffee filter was found in her bra by the correctional officers. When the filter was unfolded, officers found that it contained methamphetamine.

50 year old Sammy Gene Taylor of Winter Drive, Dowelltown is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 2nd. Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, May 19 the Sheriff's Department received a call about a man lying beside of the road on Winter Drive. Upon arrival, the officer found Taylor passed out beside the road. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he could not sit or stand without assistance. He was carried to jail.

40 year old Michael Glen Thomas of West Main Street, Dowelltown is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $2,000 and he will be in court on June 9th. Sheriff Ray reports that on Friday, May 20 Thomas was operating a vehicle on Highway 70 when he was stopped for crossing over into the turning lane several times. Thomas had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. Thomas performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks and submitted to a blood test.

29 year old Jarred Wayne Newell of Rock Hill, South Carolina is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 2nd. According to Sheriff Ray, on Friday, May 20 an officer saw Newell get out of the back seat of a vehicle at DeKalb Market. Newell was very unsteady on his feet. Newell had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he needed assistance to walk. He had been warned earlier in the evening by another officer to stay out of public view.

Eagle Scout Wesley Burchfield Honored by County Commission

May 23, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster, Wesley Burchfield, and his parents Penny and Kevin Burchfield

Eagle Scout Wesley Burchfield of Troop 347 was honored by the DeKalb County Commission Monday night.

The commission adopted a resolution paying tribute to Burchfield and declared that May 23,2011 be officially named "Eagle Scout, Wesley Burchfield Day".

The resolution states that "Whereas, the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor wish to express their pride, respect, and appreciation to members of our community who so capably fulfill requirements and duties to reach lofty goals and levels of achievement.

Whereas, Wesley Burchfield has broad and diverse achievements. He has distinguished himself as a student, an athlete, and a community leader. We wish to bestow our honor tonight for all those goals, but especially for the years of work with the Boys Scouts.

Whereas, only a select few Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Award. This award is the pinnacle sought by many and earned by few.

Whereas, the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor wish to thank Wesley Burchfield, his family, and other scouts who helped him and his leaders for the honors they have brought to themselves and DeKalb County."

Burchfield enjoys camping, hiking, and canoeing.

He has been involved in Scouts since he was in First Grade.

He has earned 37 Merit Badges

For his Eagle Project, he sanded and refinished over 750 chairs for the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree.

Burchfield is a 2011 graduate of DCHS. He will be attending Tennessee Tech in the fall.

Soccer is his favorite sport. He played soccer for DCHS and made the First Team All District this year.

K-9 Banshee to Retire from Service

May 23, 2011
Dwayne Page
K-9 Banshee with Officer Patrick Britain

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted a resolution honoring K-9 Banshee, the Sheriff's Department's drug detecting dog, who is retiring from service due to her age.

Banshee and her handler, Officer Patrick Britain were present for the meeting along with Sheriff Patrick Ray.

The resolution states that "Whereas, the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor wish to express our appreciation for the years of service K-9 Officer Banshee has devoted to DeKalb County.

Whereas, Officer Banshee has aided in the search for narcotics such as meth, marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. Her efforts have helped locate other substances and affect arrests of many individuals who might have otherwise gone undetected.

Whereas, Officer Banshee is also a good-will ambassador for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. She is a favorite of students when she attend events at schools.

Whereas, retirement is an earned reward for Banshee's service to our community.

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the DeKalb County Commission that K-9 Officer Banshee be retired and allowed to live her retirement with her human K-9 partner, Patrick Britain.

Be if further resolved that this accomplishment be spread across the records of this meeting and preserved on a lasting part of our appreciation to K-9 Office Banshee".

TDOT Releases Update on Hurricane Bridge Rehab Project

May 23, 2011
Dwayne Page
Until further notice, only one lane of traffic will be maintained on the bridge
Platforms being installed to prepare for work under the bridge

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has released an update on the progress of the rehabilitation of Hurricane Bridge.

According to TDOT, The contractor has temporarily shifted traffic using portable barrier rail and temporary striping to the south side of the bridge and continues installation of work platforms to prepare for work under the bridge.

The current weight posting of 10 tons for two-axle vehicles and 18 tons for vehicles with three or more axles will remain in effect. Until further notice, only one lane of traffic will be maintained on the bridge and controlled by a temporary signal for the safety of the traveling public. This will allow for work adjacent to the north side of the bridge to begin in earnest. Further temporary lane closures may be implemented on an "as needed" basis to mobilize equipment and materials for sandblasting, painting, structural steel repairs, and concrete deck removal and replacement. Flaggers will assist with traffic control.

TDOT awarded the bid to OCCI Incorporated of Fulton, Missouri at $26.9 million. The estimated project completion date is October 2013.

Reeder Gets Three Year Sentence for Vehicular Homicide

May 23, 2011
Dwayne Page
Dwayne Allen Reeder

A 31 year old DeKalb County man has been sentenced for vehicular homicide in an SUV crash at Dowelltown in December, 2009 that claimed the life of Troy Edward Bain.

Dwayne Allen Reeder, on Friday, May 20, pleaded guilty in DeKalb County Criminal Court to vehicular homicide and received a three year sentence to serve at least 30% as a range one offender. He was given 116 days of jail credit from August 13th, 2010 to December 6th, 2010.

According to information released at the time by Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Reeder, 39 year old Walter Redmon, 27 year old Courtney Paris and 41 year old Troy Edward Bain were traveling east on Highway 70 in a 1997 Ford Expedition. Reeder was operating the vehicle when he apparently fell asleep. The SUV went off the left side of the road and embankment. The vehicle overturned and plunged almost straight down to the creek below.

Among those responding were members of the DeKalb County Fire Department Extrication and Rescue Team, the Liberty Fire Station, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, DeKalb EMS, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Reeder, Redmon, and Paris were injured and transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Bain died in the crash. According to Lieutenant Maynard, Bain and Redmon, back seat passengers, were ejected. They were not wearing their seatbelts. Reeder and Paris, in the front seat, were apparently wearing their seatbelts.

The indictment alleged that on or about December 22nd, 2009, Dwayne Reeder did kill Troy Edward Bain, by the operation of an automobile, the killing of Bain being the proximate result of Dwayne Reeder's conduct which created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person, constituting the offense of Vehicular Homicide.

State Tournament for DeKalb County Tigers Begins Tuesday

May 23, 2011
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tiger baseball team will play Polk County on Tuesday, May 24 in their state tournament opener, at approximately 7:00 p.m. at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro. It is the second game of the session. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

Should they win, the Tigers would play the winner of the Lexington-Christ Academy of Knoxville (CAK) game on Wednesday, May 25 at approximately 1:00 p.m. at Blackman.

A loss on Tuesday would put the Tigers into an elimination game on Wednesday, May 25 at 10:00 a.m. at Blackman.

The complete tournament bracket is available at http://www.tssaa.org/2010Champions/StateBaseball/ClassAA/State.htm.

Campbell and Duke Receive White Rose Awards, Burchfield Gets Citizenship Honor

May 20, 2011
Dwayne Page
Britney Campbell Receives White Rose Award from Principal Kathy Hendrix
Ethan Duke Receives White Rose Award from Principal Kathy Hendrix
Wesley Burchfield Receives Citizenship Award from Prinicipal Kathy Hendrix
Britney Campbell Receives Valedictorian Award
Martha Webb Receives Salutatorian Award

Spirits soared for the Class of 2011 Friday evening as the graduates of DCHS bid farewell to the school and each other, closing this chapter of their lives and preparing to embark on new adventures.

Each of the graduates filed onto the high school football field for the commencement to the playing of "Pomp and Circumstance" by the DCHS band as hundreds of friends and family members looked on. The DCHS Honors Chorus performed "A Whole New World" from "Aladdin" by Alan Menken.

DCHS Honors Chorus Performing at Graduation from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition during the program. This year's White Rose Awards went to Ethan Duke and Britney Campbell while the Citizenship Award was presented to Wesley Burchfield.

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 honors students were also recognized during the program.

DCHS Graduates receiving their diplomas from dwayne page on Vimeo.
A total of 160 students received diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby as their names were called by Principal Kathy Hendrix.

The guest speaker was Jonathan Fontanez, who is the Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12 in the school system.

Graduates Celebrate!!!! from dwayne page on Vimeo.
In her address to the Class, Valedictorian Britney Campbell urged her fellow classmates to keep their eyes on the future. "As each one of us crosses this stage tonight and goes into the world as a high school graduate, we cannot take our eyes off of the future. A very wise chemistry teacher told me this year, "if you're going to be a tree, be the biggest, leafiest tree that stands in the way of everything". I hope each of you take that statement to heart as I did. We have made many accomplishments to this date, and there is no doubt that we will make even more. Among us might be the next doctor to discover a treatment for cancer, the next political leader of our country, or even the next astronaut to make it to the moon. For those who believe that this is the end of the journey, you are wrong. Although this high school journey is ending, an entirely new and even more exciting journey awaits us," said Campbell.

"No one knows exactly where we will go in the future, or how we will get there. As we make our winding maps throughout life, may our paths cross from time to time and may you have success in everything you do. No mater what profession you choose, where you live, or who you choose to spend the rest of your life with, put everything you have into what you are doing and you will receive just as much in return. As you go out into the world, just remember, "Wherever you go, go with your heart," concluded Campbell

Class President Tyler Seymour, in his remarks, quoted Dr. Seuss in saying " You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the one who'll decide where to go," said Seymour.

"We have developed many long-lasting friendships and our high school years will always be a big part of us. Freshmen year, we prayed for this day to be here, and we are finally here. This will be the last time that we will be gathered as the senior class of DCHS. Thirteen years ago we began our journey, a journey in which we overcame obstacles, created friendships, and obtained memories that we will take everywhere we go in life. Class of 2011, I wish you the best of luck in what the future holds for you. Never forget the memories we have created, and the many friendships developed," said Seymour.

Jonathon Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, in his commencement address, admonished the graduates to "Seize the day". "There is a phrase that was originally used in an ancient Latin poem penned by Horace. The phrase is "Carpe Diem" which has been widely translated in modern times as "Seize the day!" There are many interpretations as well as misconceptions about this popular phrase; however, for our conversation this evening I want us to focus on this phrase in the context of making each moment in life count," said Fontanez.

"More specifically, I want us to wrap our minds around the notion of making the most out of each opportunity that comes our way. It has often been my experience in life, and I would dare say the experience of many in this audience tonight, that as life comes at us it is inevitable that opportunity often accompanies it. With each passing stride we take in life we are presented with opportunity. Some opportunities are greater than others and some opportunities we are given are . . . well . . . not so great. But, never-the-less as each opportunity knocks on the door of our life our destiny is forged by what we decide to do with those opportunities," said Fontanez

"Life, with all of its greatness, and wonder, and responsibility, many times presents us with the chance to choose a direction, a pathway if you will, that has the potential to forever altar the course of our future."

"There are no cookie cutter people! We are all different and what worked for one person may not necessarily work for another. I am not suggesting that we should not utilize the wisdom of those who have gone before us; in fact, I believe that it is critical for us to study the ways of and learn from our predecessors. I am saying; however, that we must be rational enough to understand and realize that each person has to eventually find their own way through life and the opportunities it affords to us. The Bible packages this thought in Philippians 2:12 by telling us to: ". . . work out your own salvation ," said Fontanez

"I want to leave you with this final thought; Carpe Diem. Graduates, I challenge you to "seize the day" and to take each opportunity as it comes with wisdom and with prayer and with thought. Let the wisdom that is found in your experience as well as the experience of others be your guide, but in doing so don't let anyone shove you off the trail of life. Stand on your own two feet and be the person that God made you to be! Choose to soar on wings like the eagles, high and free, able to decide what opportunities you will choose. Remember you are not like a chicken that was designed to be stuck on the ground. Soar high and free and seize the day! Congratulations," conducted Fontanez.

Lori Myrick, Guidance Counselor, recognized the Honor students. Those earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 are: Britney Campbell, Valedictorian 4.0; Martha Webb, Salutatorian 4.0, Nicholas Hale 4.0, Tia Menix 4.0, Olivia Norton 4.0, Heather Owens 4.0, Camry White 4.0, Clark Adcock, Lauren Adcock, Tyler Caldwell, Logan Clark, Stephanie Davis, Ethan Duke, Christina Hughes, Weston Rhody, Tyler Seymour, Justin Turner, Zackary Vantrease, and Quincie Winchester

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Jessica Alderman, Elicia Cantrell, Justin Elmore, Katie Frazier, Randall Hansard, Cole Hawker, Rachel Hendrixson, Nioakah Johnson, Tyler Kent, Samantha Lewis, Brittany Malone, and Kristin Mick.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Brandon Adcock, Alesha Bass, Keeli Bullard, Wesley Burchfield, Tiffanie Burrage, Jessica Cantrell, Alisha Chapman, Kelly Cubbins, Kylie Dildine, Brady Evans, Dalton Fish, Makenzi Gibson, Kayla Hershman, Jessica Hodges, Whitney Houk, Amanda Hughes, Kayla Judkins, Tarren Kyle, Candance Lester, Mercedes Luna, Justin Moore, Shelby Mulloy, Taylor Poss, and Vickey Vickers.

The program began with Invocation by graduate Wesley Burchfield and ended with a benediction by graduate Ethan Duke, both of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) organization .

Members of the DCHS Class of 2011 receiving diplomas Friday night are:

Jarrett Adams, Brandon Adcock, Clark Adcock, Lauren Adcock, Matthew Adcock, Katelyn Agee, Jessica Alderman, Azalia Arroyo

Caleb Bain, Dalton Bandy, Alesha Bass, Taylor Baumgard, Jessica Billings, Cody Boner, Keri Bowman, Justin Bragg, Natonda Bratcher, Rod Brock, Dillion Brown, Keeli Bullard, Wesley Burchfield, Brandon Burke, Tiffanie Burrage,

Brittany Cade, Tyler Caldwell, Alexander Campbell, Britney Campbell, Chase Cantrell, Elicia Cantrell, Jessica Cantrell, Kaycee Cantrell, Matthew Cantrell, Perri Carter, Alisha Chapman, Logan Clark, Bradley Colburn, Fernanda Cortes, John Counts, Erica Cox, Jacob Cripps, Matthew Crowe, Kelly Cubbins, Josie Culwell, Jacob Cunningham,

Stephanie Davis, Kylie Dildine, Kathy Duggin, Ethan Duke, Natasha Durocher, Cassandra Dyer,

Whitney Easterwood, Justin Elmore, Jason Ervin, Brady Evans,

Keith Ferrell, Makayla Ferrell, Dalton Fish, Justin France, Jonathan Frazee, Dustin Frazier, Katie Frazier, Crystelle Furnival,

Makenzi Gibson, Matthew Giles, Billy Golden, Bobby Goodwin, Christian Greco,

Caleb Haggard, Nicholas Hale, Quentin Hale, Randall Hansard, Cole Hawker, Rachel Hendrixson, Kayla Hershman, Tyler Hicks, Jessica Hodges, Dane Holeton, Whitney Houk, Amanda Hughes, Christina Hughes, Kelley Hunt,

Felicia Ingram,

Christopher Johnson, Nioakah Johnson, Kayla Judkins, Kathryn Julien,

Tyler Kent, Kevin Kijanski, Bryan Kilgore, Jessica Knox, Tarren Kyle,

Keith Lafreniere, Jody Lattimore, Cameron Lester, Candace Lester, Samantha Lewis, Mercedes Luna,

Brittany Malone, Arianna Matthews, Shelby Maynard, Amanda McCardell, Charles McCutcheon, Brady McGhee, Tia Menix, Kayla Merriman, Kristin Mick, Justin Moore, Autumn Morris, Shelby Mulloy,

Shelly Newby, Blake Nichols, Karissa Nolton, Olivia Norton,

Heather Owens,

Heather Page, Kerry Page, Luke Partridge, Martin Perez, Cody Poss, Taylor Poss,

Ethan Ray, Jordan Reeder, Weston Rhody, Kevin Richards, Jennifer Rivera, Jesus Rivera, Ana Rodriguez-Cortes, Ciara Roehner, Dylan Roller, Allen Roysden,

Shane Salley, Tyler Seymour, Kristen Smartt, Brittany Smith, Sara Smith, Zachery Smoot, Chawn Snell, Skyler Songer, Sarah Stevens, Taylor Summers,

Joshua Taylor, Ryan Taylor, Alison Thomas, Devin Thomas, Takeshia Thomason, Hailey Thweatt, Janeth Torres, Nathan Turner, Justin Turner,

Zackary Vantrease, Trenton Vickers, Vickey Vickers,

McCullough Wallace, Martha Webb, Camry White, Michael Whitefield, II, Destry Wiggins, Quncie Winchester,

Mitch Young, and Tiffanie Youngblood


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