Every month we compile a list of students doing great things across Lee County. We have so many talented students in our area. Aubrun-Opelika Parents joins with their families and schools to celebrate their achievements!
Hands-On Learning at AJHS
During physical science classes, eighth graders at Auburn Junior High School have learned to fly drones as a part of a multi-faceted project. Two years ago, Auburn City Schools collaborated with Draganfly Inc., a leader in the professional drone industry for the past 20 years, to design a cutting-edge drone curriculum for students. The project was spearheaded by AJHS Science Teacher Mr. Nathan Baker and Draganfly’s Lead of Training Programs, Mr. Brock Gooden. The result is a robust program that offers students meaningful and engaging drone and aviation science content. The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, from the history of flight to how to become a licensed drone operator. During the program, Mr. Gooden brought multiple large service drones on-site for students to see and learn about. These drones are utilized for real-world scenarios within industries such as public safety, construction, agriculture, industrial inspections, security, mapping, and surveying. The pilot training element of the program allows students to master the basics of flight and drone control. Today, they put those skills to the test while navigating an obstacle course with their iPad-compatible DJI Tello Drones.
ACS May Board Meeting Recognitions
During the May 2023 ACS Board of Education Meeting, students, employees, and the Board President were honored! Before the official meeting began, several employees were presented with service pins for their 20, 25, and 30 years of service in Auburn City Schools, in addition to celebrating recent retirees. The agenda featured the bittersweet observance of Dr. Bill Hutto’s retirement from serving on the Board, having dedicated the past ten years to making a meaningful impact on ACS with his leadership, expertise, and passion for the school system. Auburn High School’s Dr. Sara Ahnell was recognized for being named the Southern Conference on Language Teaching Alabama Teacher of the Year. Auburn Junior High School’s Mallory Kincaid was recognized for being named the 2023 Assistant Principal of the Year by the Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals. AHS Mass Media was recognized for recent state and national awards, including America’s Best High School Television Station. The Auburn High School Boys and Girls Tennis teams were recognized for their success at the State Tournament, including the girls securing an AHSAA 7A State Championship, their second in three years.
AHS Soccer & Golf Teams Head for State
Auburn High School hosted a send-off for Soccer and Golf teams as they embark on their journey to compete for 2023 AHSAA Class 7A State Championships! The Varsity Girls Soccer team advanced to the Final Four in Huntsville, where they took on the Fairhope Pirates for a chance to play for a State Championship. The girls beat Dothan 4-1 to have this opportunity to secure a Blue Map trophy. The Boys and Girls Golf teams both advanced to the State Championship tournament. Both teams finished 2nd at Sub-State in Mobile, where the boys had a team score of 298 and the girls 239. Connor Jones and Kate Ha had the Auburn High low rounds with scores of 73 and 72, respectively.
Fueling Up on History at J.F. Drake Middle School
DMS hosted the fifth annual Driving Through the Decades car show with 54 vehicles spanning 100 years, ranging from a Model-T Ford to a Mustang Mach-E! The event was a culminating unit for social studies curriculum, and even though a DeLorean was on display, students didn’t need it to time travel. This car show was an opportunity for students to learn about different automobiles and more about the decade in which they were produced, thus becoming an impactful approach to connect with history. Car owners from local clubs participating in this show also enjoyed sharing their knowledge with students during the event. Driving Through the Decades is the brainchild of Social Studies Teacher Beverly Helm and local car enthusiast Tom Spicer, with the goal of offering a visual and tangible way to bring history alive for students.
Character In Action
Lee County Family Court Judge Mike Fellows honored four Auburn City Schools students with the Character in Action (CIA) award! Inman Moore, a sixth grader at J.F. Drake Middle School, was recognized for his empathetic approach toward his desk mate.
“Inman is a fine, respectable young man with a big, caring heart. Inman’s desk mate is one of our ELL students who began the school year with a minimal understanding of English. Inman has been a great help and friend to his desk mate. Inman is always patient, giving help when needed but not making a big deal about it or bringing attention to this student’s struggles. Inman is a bright young man who makes sure that all those around him feel seen and good about themselves. He wrote thoughtful, kind words for affirmation day to each of his homeroom teammates. His positive contributions to the Panther Team at Drake go above and beyond everyday expectations.” – Traci Curry, a Panther Teacher at DMS.
Ethan Sawyer, a fifth grader at Yarbrough Elementary School, was recognized for tutoring his classmates. “Ethan comes to my classroom every morning before school starts to help those struggling in math. Students know they can come early and are comfortable working with Ethan. He has helped one peer move from an “F” in math to a “C” and is always encouraging those students needing a boost of confidence.” – Katie Lindsey, a fifth-grade teacher at YES.
Annie Lang, a Kindergartener at Cary Woods Elementary School, was recognized as a good friend.” Each day, Annie goes above and beyond at school. She is like a mini teacher. Annie has the biggest heart and loves to help others. When a friend is crying, she is the first one there. Not only does she want to help them, but she also wants to understand the problem to help them solve it. For example, we recently had a friend who began crying at the end of center time. While others thought the friend was crying because they were not ready to clean up, Annie held their hand and talked them through what was wrong. It turns out they were sad because they accidentally tore their artwork. Annie showed them how to tape the tear and said that next time, all they have to do is ask someone for help, and they won’t get sad. For a kindergarten student to be able to do this is outstanding! This is only one example, but Annie does things like this almost daily. I am blown away by her commitment to problem-solving, teaching while helping her peers, and her heart for others.” – Meaghan Kimbrell, a Kindergarten Teacher at CWES.
Trip Yordy, a sixth grader at J.F. Drake Middle School, was recognized for his positive attitude.” Trip is a true gentleman. He is courteous, respectful, hard-working, and kind. He excels academically but is so humble and helpful to others. Trip serves as a peer tutor for math. He is always willing to lend a hand. He regularly asks teachers if he can do anything to assist them. Trip also takes the initiative to complete a task or help a fellow student without being asked. He has faced significant loss through the passing of his father and has not only learned to persevere over these last few years, but he has also flourished.” – Jenna Chapman, a Cosmic Cat Teacher at DMS.
Fiesta Day at Cary Woods Elementary
As the 2022-2023 school year came to a close, Cary Woods Elementary School held its end-of-the-year celebration earlier today! Donning bright-colored tie-dye shirts, students in grades K-2 enjoyed playing games, creating crafts, and blowing bubbles outside with their classmates, teachers, and parents. Auburn City Schools congratulates these young students for their progress in the classroom and hope they enjoyed the special treat of “Fiesta Day!”
AHS Makes Coffee with Care
Auburn High School’s Tiger Mochas held its last Friday morning pop-up coffee shop of the 2022-2023 school year. Tiger Mochas was established in 2016 at AHS to teach students with special needs job skills to better prepare them for employment post-graduation, including how to make change, prepare menus, interact with customers, and of course how to make delicious cups of joe, whether it is hot or iced. This initiative began as an avenue to fund travel for the students’ off-campus educational experiences but has blossomed into a staple at Auburn High School, creating a more inclusive culture among students, faculty, and staff. Over the past seven years, Tiger Mochas has also provided coffee-centric beverage services for countless community organizations, events, and special occasions in Auburn!
AHS Students Get Real World Experience this Summer
Auburn Opelika Habitat for Humanity (AOHFH) has partnered with Auburn High School’s Career Tech Program to create internship opportunities this summer for three students through the Work Based-Learning Program (WBL)!
Andrew Faircloth and Lucy Zuniga are social media interns, and Jacob Powell is a construction intern. Andrew is a rising junior, and Lucy is a rising senior. They will manage AOHFH’s social media channels while assisting with grant writing and other related tasks. Jacob is a rising senior, and he will be able to do hands-on residential construction work alongside staff, volunteers, and future homeowners. The Auburn High School Building Construction program, led by Auburn High School Building Construction teacher, Jessica Bowlin, teaches high school students the techniques of framing and building homes each semester. This program gives students experience framing walls, doors, windows, and roof systems. Auburn Opelika Habitat partners with Mrs. Bowlin and her students each year as they use their skills to build the 8×10 storage buildings for each Habitat home. Audrey Marshall, Auburn High School Work-Based Learning (WBL) Coordinator and former Habitat Secretary, partners regularly with Habitat for Humanity through the WBL program, which aims to place certified career and technical education students in specific industry areas, having partnered with numerous businesses locally to help secure hundreds of job placements for students!
AHS Students Receive Scholarships
Auburn High School had the privilege of hosting two more signings at Auburn High School!
• Ja’Keith Carr – Signed with Shelton State Community College to play basketball.
• Davaioun (DV) Williams – Signed with Central Georgia Technical College to play football.
ACS congratulates these young men for committing to further their education while continuing to compete in the sport they love!
Congrats to AHS
Auburn High School has been named a 2023 National Model of Excellence for Most Outstanding SkillsUSA Program! This annual program recognizes the exceptional integration of personal, workplace, and technical skills into SkillsUSA chapter activities. This designation is the highest honor bestowed on chapters by SkillsUSA, which is among the largest student organizations for career and technical education. The focus of Models of Excellence is student-led activation. These students learn and practice the skills that every employer seeks, including leadership, initiative, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, by taking the lead on all SkillsUSA activities. Auburn High’s SkillsUSA chapter consists of five Career Technical Education Programs, including Advertising Design, Information Technology, Television Production, Building Construction, and Precision Machining. The AHS chapter will be evaluated in June at the SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference for top honors!
AHS Golf Wins 2nd Place
The Auburn High School Boys and Girls Golf teams came in second place during the State Championship tournament at Grand National! Will Stelt and Kate Ha were the Low Medalist for AHS, scoring 142 and 143, respectively, over the two rounds of play. ACS congratulates these young men and women for representing AHS so well on and off the links!
Senior Sunrise for AHS Graduates
Auburn High School held a sunrise send-off for graduate candidates in the Class of 2023. With birds chirping and daylight creeping through the trees, this student-led initiative took place in the courtyard at AHS with guest speakers that included words of encouragement from ACS Superintendent Dr. Cristen Herring, Lexie Pegues (AHS Class of 2020) representing the D1 Life Foundation, and Mayor Ron Anders (AHS Class of 1982) as the keynote. They reflected on their experiences in ACS and encouraged students to embrace the now while working toward the future.
OHS Student Signs with Southern Union
Congratulations to OHS Senior MeKhiron Brock on signing a basketball scholarship to Southern Union State Community College!
The Oaks School Visits Columbus
Students from The Oaks School took a field trip to Springer Opera House. The students enjoyed watching a stage production of “The Cat in the Hat”.
J.F. Drake Middle School Receives Showcase Award
J.F. Drake Middle School received a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase Schools Award! Because of the rigor of the evaluation process, this award is both a high aspiration and an exemplary recognition of excellence. Auburn City School is proud to celebrate the outstanding educators at DMS who have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the lives of children. Capturing Kids’ Hearts (CKH) is a premier source of professional development for educators across the country. Through experiential training, expert coaching, a character-based curriculum for students, and personalized support, CKH equips professionals in K-12 education to implement a transformational process focused on fostering student connectedness and growing a relationship-driven culture while improving academic, behavioral, and cultural outcomes.
Northside Intermediate named 2022 CLAS School of Distinction
Opelika City Schools is proud to announce that Northside Intermediate School has been named a 2022 CLAS School of Distinction-District 2. The presentation was made at the CLAS Banner awards luncheon in Prattville, AL. As stated in the CLAS- Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools press release, “The CLAS Banner School program was created in 2001 to recognize schools in Alabama that showcase outstanding programs and service to students. Each school was nominated for this award by their superintendent with 208 school programs nominated statewide. Congratulations to these wonderful Alabama public schools which provide excellent examples of the significant learning opportunities taking place in public education in Alabama. Further, the stakeholders at every school are to be commended for striving for excellence daily,” comments Vic Wilson, Ed.D., executive director of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS).”Pictured receiving the award are: Danielle Rosener-Counselor, Northside Intermediate School, Cindy Poteet-Principal, Northside Intermediate School, Tracie West-State Board of Education member (District 2), and Dr. Farrell Seymore-Superintendent, Opelika City Schools. Congratulations to Northside Intermediate School on a job well done!
Congrats to The Oaks School’s Graduates
These little minds blossomed over this past school year, and their hard work was celebrated at our Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony.
Opelika Middle School Band receives Superior Ratings at OrlandoFest
Opelika Middle School traveled to Orlando, FL to compete in the OrlandoFest competition. OMS Beginning Band, 8th Grade Band, and Percussion Ensemble all received Superior ratings and 1st place in their categories. The Percussion Ensemble received the highest award given of the weekend, the Grand Champion, beating out all bands, choirs, and ensembles in both middle and high school categories that performed. Congratulations also to Lucas Duncan on receiving the Outstanding Soloist Award for his marimba solo in the percussion ensemble performance! We are so proud of the OMS band members and directors!
Dr. Farrell Seymore Receives Alumni Award
Congratulations to Dr. Farrell Seymore on receiving the 2023 Auburn University College of Education Outstanding Alumni Award! Dr. Seymore was presented with the award at a recognition ceremony at Auburn University. Congratulations Dr. Seymore!
Academic Signing Day for OHS
Congratulations to all the OHS Seniors on signing academic and performing arts scholarships. These graduates will attend two and four year colleges and universities. We are so proud of you!
Ann Marie Halverson: Mississippi State University and Keyanna Johnson
Auburn University Montgomery
Lee-Scott Academy Students Create Art Portfolios
In art enrichment, second grade students learned how to create a digital art portfolio. They took pictures of art pieces created throughout the year and uploaded them to their digital portfolio for friends and family to be able to view. Students in grades 2nd – 6th uploaded their own art pieces to a digital portfolio while Mrs. Beard uploaded art for Pre-K through 1st grade students.
OCS Hosts 3rd Annual Art Show
Congrats to all the students whose artworks was featured at the 3rd Annual Opelika City Schools Superintendent’s Art Show. Artwork from students in grades K-12 was showcased.
Opelika City School Congratulates Retirees
Congratulations to the 2022-23 OCS Retirees. The Board of Education honored its retirees with a reception at Jeter Primary School. Pictured (l-r) Tricia Skelton, John Gullatte, Teresa Brackin, Perry Outlaw, Lindie Payne, Mike McKee, Marta Harper, Matthew Kendrick, Lodene Core, and Minnie Douglas. Not pictured-Paula Burch and Tanya Brown. Thank you for your many years of service and dedication to the students of Opelika City Schools!
Lee-Scott Academy Welcomes James Spann
ABC 33/40 Chief Meteorologist James Spann paid a visit to the sixth grade. After a whole year talking and learning about different kinds of weather, hearing his expertise and passion was a very special treat. Madelyn Baker even baked her very own weather cake to welcome Mr. Spann to LSA! Thank you to Mr. James Spann for giving his time and coming each year to educate our students further!
Jeter Primary School Teacher Awarded During Teacher Appreciation Week
The Opelika Chamber presented the winner of our Teacher Appreciation Week “favorite teacher” competition her prize. Ecameron Dowdell is a kindergarten teacher at Jeter Primary School. Those that nominated her said it is because she “sets the kids up for success” and “treats her kids as her own, truly loves them, and wants the best for them”. We are thankful to have educators like Ecameron in our community. Thank you for all you do for OCS.
OHS Senior Receives Baseball Scholarship
Congratulations to OHS Senior Taylor Fields on signing a baseball scholarship to Chattahoochee Valley Community College.
LSA 3rd Graders Learn Math Skills
All year, third graders have been working on their multiplication skills. Their hard work was rewarded with an end of the year ice cream party! The more skills the students mastered, the more toppings they earned for their ice cream. What a sweet, sweet treat for these students!
It's Tea Time for LSA Sophomores
Sophomores had their very own Victorian tea party with Mrs. Byrd, to wrap up what they’ve been learning in English classes. They dressed the part while putting some personal flair on their outfits based on their own interests.
St. Michael Catholic School Had a Field Day
The end-of-the-year was celebrated during the SMCS’s field day. Some sweet memories were shared among our big kids and for the last day of school for our Early Learning Center students. Thank you to Coach Hebb and all the folks who helped make this last week of school so special and fun!
LSA Students Win at Computer Science Competition
The AISA State Computer Science Competition was held at Vaughn Forest Church in Montgomery. Upper School students Davis MacIsaac, Aisha Roughton, and Kimberly Simmons all won awards for their projects in varying categories!
Congratulations to each on such hard work being rewarded!
– Davis MacIsaac: 1st Place, Non-Multimedia
– Aisha Roughton: 1st Place, Computer Graphics
– Kimberly Simmons: 2nd Place, Multimedia
J.F. Drake Middle School Students Write Pen Pals in Africa
J. F. Drake Middle Schoolers in Mrs. Flanagan’s class received some long-awaited mail today…. replies from their pen pals in Africa. The class first wrote to them in September and got replies in December. When they wrote back the second time in January, the students were hopeful for replies before school got out in May. “I have enjoyed Samson as my pen pal. He has taught me so much about his home, and what it is like to live there. Samson has told me about some problems in his home, and what they are doing to solve them. I hope that one day I will get to meet him in person,” explained Madi Grace Weaver, DMS 6th grader.
The African students attend schools sponsored by the William Holden Wildlife Foundation. The WHWF was founded in 1982 by actress Stefanie Powers in memory of her long-time love, actor William Holden. Since it’s opening, the main education center has served nearly 11,000 students annually. The WHWF Education Center offers education programs, lectures, field trips, camping and practical displays of sustainable farming, cooking, composting and bio-energy. Courses are designed to serve both urban and rural communities. The rural outreach program serves 7 locations in remote areas of central Kenya, serving an additional 6,000 students and their families through renovated schools, fully equipped libraries, and visiting lecturers to support government curricula. The students are learning to read and write in English which is why the Pen Pal program was developed. The Drake Students were invited to participate in the pen pal program by Ms. Powers who is a friend of the Media Aide at Drake, Kathy Hughes.
“She called and said she had a favor to ask,” Hughes said, “I presented it to the Language Arts teachers, and they immediately jumped on the opportunity.
SMCS Students Learn About Chickens
Dr. Whitehead, a SMCS parent, brought chicken eggs in an incubator to talk about how chickens are born! “Candling” is the method she uses to check on the growth of the babies. Students were able to watch them hatch (yes, actively catching some in the moment!) and got to hold them before they went back home. Thank you, Dr.
Whitehead, for sharing this beautiful insight into God’s creation!
TCS Graduates 2023
Congratulations to the Senior Class or 2023. Trinity Christian School family is so very proud of your hard work, accomplishments, and plans for your future.
St. Michael Catholic School Hosts Fine Arts Night
It was a great night supporting students that performed in their first Fine Arts Night. As our principal, Mrs. Brooks shared, “participation in the arts builds confidence, it builds problem solving and critical thinking skills, and it allows them to create in a world that is mostly created for them.” We are so proud of their courage in trying new things, like playing ukuleles. We celebrated our teachers tonight, grateful for their planting seeds in our students’ lives. Students were so excited to share their creations with family and friends, and everyone left with hearts overflowing. We are grateful to donors like Mrs. Judkins and Mrs. Leslie Winter, Country Financial, for supporting the art programs at St. Michael Catholic School.
Super Bowl Showdown at LSA
After learning rules and how to play flag football in PE, the top 5th grade team and the top 6th grade team met for a Super Bowl showdown on the track field today! The 6th grade team was victorious in a 29-6 win!
LSA Students Learn About Figurative Language
Students in 4th grade ended their school year in language arts by creating figurative language books on idioms, similes, hyperboles, onomatopoeia, personification, and alliteration.
The students dressed up as an example of figurative language and partnered with 1st grade students to teach them a new skill. First graders even created their own figurative language poster. The day ended with a bunch of 1st grade “smartie” pants after being treated with some Smarties!
Lee-Scott Academy Band Celebrates Year with Banquet
It was a wonderful night at the 2023 LSA Band Banquet celebrating all of the success they have had and reminiscing on fun times from this year. From those just beginning their time in the LSA Band to those departing after 7 years, each was recognized tonight for their hard work and commitment. Thanks to the LSA Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Beginner Band, Mr. Hudson, LSA Dance Team and Mrs. Starr for giving us another incredible year showcasing their talents!
TCS Students Perform Tom Sawyer
Sixth Grade students at Trinity Christian School learned about and read the classic novel, “Tom Sawyer”. Once they completed this novel, they presented the story.