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​May 2017 Headlines

Congratulations, Graduates! 
The Class of 2017 graduated on Thursday, May 25 at the Cobb Energy Centre. Each year, the school bestows three special awards to outstanding seniors. Congratulations to: 

  • Atlanta Journal & Constitution Cup:  Troi Young (pictured above, left)
    The AJC Cup recipient displays not only academic promise but also demonstrates initiative, enthusiasm, energy, and strong leadership skills. The AJC Cup winner is an exemplary student who serves as a positive role model. 
  • Faculty Cup: Elijah Jenkins (pictured above, center)
    The Faculty Cup recipient is well-rounded, excelling in scholarship as well as extracurricular pursuits. The Faculty Cup goes to a young person whose positive behavior, extra effort,​ and “can do” attitude is emblematic of what is right with today’s youth.
  • Principal's Cup:  David Taylor (pictured above​, right)
    The Principal's Cup goes to the senior who best exemplifies the spirit of Riverwood. Basic criteria include academic scholarship, extracurricular depth, and demonstrated leadership. Most importantly, the recipient of this award has a history of mutual respect for those of other races, cultures, and beliefs.

Horn Awarded Inaugural Scholarship to Attend UNCS
Class of 2017 valedictorian Katie Horn was awarded the inaugural Eve Marie Carson Carolina Way Scholarship for study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She will attend UNC this fall where she will also join the UNC Scholars Program. 

​UNC established the Eve Marie Carson Carolina Way Scholarship in memory of Eve Marie Carson ’08, UNC student body president and Morehead-Cain Scholar. According to the guidelines, the scholarship is for the one student who embodies several of the characteristics that defined Eve’s life: academic excellence, observable optimism and enthusiasm, and a proclivity to connect and engage diverse people. During the interviewing process for the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, the Morehead-Cain Foundation nominated Horn for the new Eve Marie Carson Carolina Way Scholarship and she is honored to receive this prestigious award.​

Fulton County Schools Senior Spotlight:  Rebecca Langfelder
Congratulations to Becca Langfelder (Class of 2017) for being selected by Fulton County Schools as the Raider Star Senior.


Raider Seniors Honored at Atlanta Zoo Event

Fulton County invited standout seniors Linsey Cohen (salutatorian, second from left), Jeremy Colton (STAR student, far right), Katie Horn (valedictorian, third from left), and Becca Langfelder (Fulton Schools Star student, far left) to a reception at Zoo​ Atlanta on Wednesday, May 10. The Fulton County Scholars event, only in its second year, included the Class of 2017 valedictorians, salutatorians, and STAR Students of both Fulton County and Atlanta public schools. The County hosted the students for dinner and added a ​special animal encounter to the evening. 

Culinary Arts Students Cater Sandy Springs Education Force VIP Breakfast
Nine students, under the leadership of Chef Elissa Oliver, arrived at school before dawn Tuesday, May 9th to prepare for the Sandy Springs Education Force (SSEF) annual VIP breakfast. During the morning event off campus at the Williams-Payne Home in Sandy Springs, the students met the Sandy Springs Mayor, the Fulton County School Superintendent, and other dignitaries. They fed more than 145 people and earned many compliments for their hard work and delicious meal.

Head Counselor Sally Page Named "Supervisor of the Year"

Congratulations to Head Counselor Sally Page for being named the 2016-17 Supervisor of the Year by the Fulton School Counselors Association (FSCA). The FSCA presents three awards each year:  Counselor of the Year, Supervisor of the Year, and Advocate of the Year. The FSCA honored Page at the FSCA Annual Awards banquet Tuesday evening, May 9 at the Colon​nade Restaurant.

2017 Valedictorian and Salutatorian Announced
Congratulations to Katie Horn, Valedictorian, and Linsey Cohen, Salutatorian. Graduation 2017 is at 3pm on Thursday, May 25, at the Cobb Energy Centre.

Valedictorian Katie Horn (pictured left) will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall. She received the inaugural Eve Marie Carson Carolina Way Scholarship​ and will join the UNC Scholars Program. Horn is an IB Diploma Candidate pursuing Higher Levels in chemistry, literature, and m​athematics. Horn is a member of the National Honor Society and President of the Science National Honor Society. She also belongs to the FBLA, the National Spanish Honor Society, t​he Beta Club, the Interact Club, and the Science Olympiad team. Horn ​tutored local elementary school students in science and served as a peer tutor in both AP World History and IB Economics. A four-year member of the Lady Raiders Cross Country team, Horn also played Girls Lacrosse as a freshman. In addition to her school activities, Horn has been very active in Girl Scouts and Venture Scouts; she earned her Gold Award in 2015.​

Salutatorian Linsey Cohen (pictured right) will attend the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University in the fall. She intends to double major in Cognitive Studies and Child Development, with plans to attend law school and ultimately pursue a career in education policy.​ Cohen is an IB diploma candidate pursuing Higher Levels in chemistry, psychology, and literature. She has been actively involved in numerous clubs and organizations including Beta Club, Student Ambassadors, Student Government, National Honor Society (Secretary), and the Science National Honor Society (Co-President). Cohen has been a peer tutor in various subject areas.​ Cohen partnered with Lake Forest Elementary's STEM Club to provide meaningful educational opportunities in science for both high school volunteers and elementary students. In the larger community, she was selected to serve in Youth Leadership Sandy Springs, the Creating Connected Communities Leadership Training Program, and the Atlanta Jewish Teen Foundation philanthropy board. 

Peek Receives Princeton Prize in Race Relations
Congratulations to Senior Natalie Peek for receiving the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, an awards program for high school students doing exceptional volunteer work to advance the cause of race relations. Peek received $1,000 cash and an expense-paid trip to Princeton University for a race symposium for winning the prize. Also this spring, and related to the Princeton Prize, Peek earned her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Peek received the Princeton Prize in Race Relations based on her volunteer project, titled “March On,” which she did in the process of earning her Girl Scout Gold Award. “March On” arose out of her alarm over the lack of awareness of the past and present struggles with African-American civil rights, and current threats to voting rights. She researched the Implicit Association Test, a computer-based survey that shows, regardless of the race of the test-taker, most people have a positive association with white faces and a negative association with black faces. She learned that those subconscious biases will persist, except when people are exposed to more black history and learn about stereotypes in society.

Determined to help address the situation, Peek set out to continue to increase racial awareness at school, her church, and the community. For the school, she collected a set of 36 copies of the John Lewis graphic novel about civil rights titled March: Book One. Peek worked with social studies and language arts faculty to incorporate the graphic novel into an interdisciplinary lesson plan which included both 9th grade literature as well as social studies classes. The productive discussions at school inspired her to broaden her reach to the larger community.

Using her Girl Scout Gold Award project as a vehicle, Peek expanded the discussion to 1st and 2nd graders at her church, the Optimists Club, the Rotary Club, and the Horizons Day Camp. The feedback she received confirmed the positive impact of her work: students who had never known of the civil rights struggles were enlightened, and adults who did not speak about "race issues" became more open and engaging on the topic. During the scope of her year-long project, more than 180 students and 150 adults benefited from her activities. In addition, the inclusive lesson plans she helped write will become a continuing part of the school's curriculum, reaching an estimated 200-300 students each year.

Peek received her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest and most prestigious award that Girl Scouts can earn, on February 26, 2017.  She has been a member of Troop 25408 since she started as a Daisy and Brownie at High Point Elementary. Peek embodies the attributes of Gold Award recipients as she has made a positive mark on her community and a lasting impact on the lives of others.​

April 2017​ Headlines​​​​​

Raider Photographers Collaborate with Tri-Cities Peers
Raider photography students, under the leadership of art teacher Lana Ensmann, participated in a joint project with Tri-Cities High School to explore breaking negative stereotypes. During the "Stereotype Smackdown," developed by Atlanta Celebrates Photography, both schools took photos of their surroundings and everyday lives to share with each other. The students created photo essays and presented them​ at the High Museum of Arts Sunday afternoon, April 28.

Fulton County Schools Volunteer Recognition
Whether it is a recurring commitment or a one-time project, the school is grateful to everyone who volunteers. It is difficult to single out one person from the many who contribute so much to the school; however, the school district asks each school to name one person each year for the Fulton County Schools annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon. Congratulations to parent volunteer Sarrah Elmi-Williams for being selected as the Riverwood 2017 Volunteer of the Year. Elmi-Williams is a fixture in the school front office. She helps answer phones, buzz in visitors, direct people to where they need to go throughout the building, provide general clerical support, ​and much more. 

Balser & Jones Win Scholarships to Washington, D.C. Summer Workshops
Congratulations to Juniors Dori Balser and Destynee Jones for winning “Future Leaders of America” scholarships from the Fulton County Law Week Committee. Balser and Jones will spend a week this summer at a Washington Workshop Seminar.​

They went through an extensive application and interview process for the scholarships, and were competing with outstanding high school students from across Metro Atlanta. The scholarships cover round-trip airfare, tuition, room and board, and all expenses associated with the Washington Workshop Congressional Seminar. Montlick & Associates is sponsoring Jones’ scholarship; Malone Law is sponsoring Balser’s. They received their awards at the annual Fulton County Law Week Ceremony on April 27, 2017 at the Fulton County Government Center Assembly Hall.

​The 2017 summer workshop offers a unique experience to study American government and history with 10-12th grade students from across the country. During their week in Washington, D.C., Balser and Jones will attend meetings of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court, and will become acquainted with other governmental offices and institutions. They will also attend an event at the historic Dumbarton house, national headquarters of The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.​​

Eagle Scout Projects Enhance School

Congratulations and thank you to brothers Christian Terrell and Ethan Terrell for earning their Eagle Scout badges and for directing their projects to enhance the school. The brothers are members of Troop 463 at Sandy Springs United Methodist Church and had their Court of Honor in April 2017.

Junior Christian Terrell's service project is visible in the front of the school (below left). He organized his fellow scouts to replace the long wooden bridge and restore the walking trail and water feature in the Memorial Gardens. The fully self-funded and completely volunteer project required an estimated 335 hours to complete.  ​

Sophomore Ethan Terrell's service project is currently in the band room (below right). He designed and built from scratch a beautiful mahogany trophy case to display the band program's many awards. The trophy case​ will move to the new building once the music program's new space is ready. The fully self-funded and completely volunteer project required an estimated 177 hours to complete.​

Raider Community Service Club Travels to Nicaragua
During Spring Break 2017, 21 students from the Community Service Club traveled to Nicaragua. They spent their days, along with teachers and chaperones, interacting and helping students and delivering needed supplies to the area. The group stayed at and worked with El Ayudante, an organization created to assist​ the children and families in and around the city of Leon. Each morning, the Raiders provided snacks and played with students at various primary schools. In the afternoons, they delivered water filters to families that do not have access to clean water and provided food bags with basic items which will last the families for many weeks. Through the course of their stay, they assisted more than 40 families. 

The students gained a great perspective of how others live outside of the United States and gained much appreciation for everything they have. Said Shamona Harrell, counselor and trip chaperone, “There is a quote that states, ‘Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.’ Based on what our students gave, they are in for a huge return for their hard work. It was such a joy to watch each and every one of them give a little piece of their heart to the kids of Leon.”

Laura Taylor, Math Teacher and one of the trip co-organizers, added, “The best part of this experience for me was seeing these students come together, despite their different cultures, religions, and race, to work toward a greater good. The students poured out their hearts every day for the people of Nicaragua and it was a magical thing to see.”  

The cost for transportation, housing, and meals were funded through various successful fundraisers including the inaugural “Riverwood Runs for a Reason 5K” and donations from family and friends. The Community Service Club also collected supplies from the Raider community and were able to transport four large suitcases full of school supplies, clothing, and toys to Leon. The Riverwood Foundation funded the costs for the teachers to organize and chaperone the trip.  

Martha Ross, one of the students on the trip, remarked “Spending a week in Nicaragua taught me to appreciate what we have and how a little help can go a long way. It was a great experience and I hope that we have the opportunity to serve next year." The Community Service Club intends to continue helping families in Nicaragua for years to come and is already making plans to return to the same area during Spring Break 2018. 

Raiders Sending Two Students to 2017 Governor's Honors
Congratulations to Hal Olsen (Communicative Arts) and Max Seidel (Engineering) for being selected to attend the prestigious Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) this summer. ​

The 2017 GHP will be held on the campus of Berry College in Rome, Georgia. The Governor’s Honors Program is a four-week, summer residential program for gifted and talented high school students in the state of Georgia. The instructional program provides enriching and challenging educational opportunities for intellectually gifted and artistically talented high school students. Those attending GHP are nominated by teachers and then must pass two rigorous interviews and/or auditions. Less than 1% of Georgia’s high school students qualify for this honor.

Raider Debaters 8th & 15th in Nation​
Juniors Saya Abney and Julia Dias represented the Raider Debate Team at the 2017 National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) National Championships over spring break. Hosted by Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, April 8-11, the National Championships drew 84 teams from 17 states. Dias and Abney competed in the Policy Debate division. Of the 150 Policy division debaters, Dias received the 8th Speaker Award and Abney received the 15th Speaker Award. Both Abney and Dias were 3-3 in the preliminary rounds. Even though they missed advancing to the elimination rounds, their high individual speaker points reflect how well they presented their arguments. Of the teams from the state of Georgia, the Raiders finished third behind Westminster (the champions) and Marist. Laura Guill and Marjorie Bernard-Evans are the Raider Debate team faculty sponsors. Advising the team are coaches Gershom Chan and Tommy Jordan, members of the University of West Georgia Debate Team.

Junior Artist Wins Best in Show; Six Students Selected for Dogwood Art Festival
Congratulations to Junior Clara Bensimon for winning Best in Show at the Atlanta High School Art Exhibition. Her drawing "Elephant" will be on display at the 81st Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park from Friday, April 7 through Sunday, April 9, 2017. In addition to Bensimon's piece, five other Raiders have items in the exhibit. Visitors can vote for the "People's Choice" Award, so please look for these other entries​. Congratulations to all of these artists: 

• Michael Kraft, Photography
• Kaitlynn Rodriguez, Photography
• Mary Crawford Esslinger, Drawing
• Ellie Addington, Painting
• Sonya Reznikova, Painting
• Clara Bensimon, Drawing (awarded Best in Show)​ 

​​Thomas Garrett Named Assistant Principal of the Year

Congratulations to Thomas Garrett for being named the Central Learning Community (CLC) Assistant Principal of the Year. 

The Fulton County Schools CLC schools include each of the elementary, middle, and high schools within the Riverwood, North Springs, McClarin, and Tri-Cities attendance zones.

Garrett is now in the competition to be the district-wide Assistant Principal of the Year.

​March 2017​ Headlines​​​​

Raiders Win Second Place at Georgia SkillsUSA Conference
Congratulations to Hunter Gordon (left) and Jonathan Orr (right) for winning Second Place in Audio Radio Production at the 2017 SkillsUSA State Conference. This year’s SkillsUSA State Leadership Conference was from March 25-27, at the Georgia International Convention Center. The topic of their prize winning newscast was the Canadian Oil Sands Pipeline. Gordon and Orr had to create a three-minute newscast, complete with a 15-second commercial, sound effects, and music. Their highly technical segment also had to include interviews with three people: a knowledgeable source, an average citizen, and a student. Dr. J.C. Futrell is the Raider SkillsUSA Chapter Advisor.​

Mike Santoro Named State ​Class 5-A Athletic Director of the Year
Congratulations to Raider Athletic Director and Varsity Baseball Head Coach Mike Santoro for receiving the Georgia Athletic Directors' Association (GADA) 2017 Class AAAAA Athletic Director of the Year award. He was chosen from the eight Class AAAAA Region AD's of the year. The GADA presented Santoro with the award at their annual conference in Savannah at the end of March.  

Santoro was voted the Region 6-AAAAA 2017 AD of the year by his peers. The Region 6-AAAAA schools are Banneker, Carver (Atlanta), Decatur, Grady, Jackson (Atlanta), Lithia Springs, North Springs, and Riverwood. At this time, he serves as the region secretary and oversees the region tournaments and day-to-day operations of the region.learn more

Career Tech Student Field Trip to Gwinnett Technical College
Right before spring break, 22 Career Tech students took a field trip to Gwinnett Technical College and looked at the Automotive, Nursing, Construction, Dental Assisting, and other programs. Thanks to a PTSA mini-grant, CTI instructors Sandy Gosch and Kim Jordan were able to arrange the visit. Highlights included the state of the art nursing lab with remote-controlled robotic patients and the Mercedes-Benz Auto lab.

Fall 2016 Honor Roll & Principal's List Recognitions March 29 & 30, 2017
Fall 2016 Honor Roll students achieved a cumulative average between 90-94.9; they were honored during the school day Wednesday, March 29. Principal’s List students earned a cumulative grade point average of 95 or higher; they were​ honored during the school day Thursday, March 30​. Congratulations to these outstanding scholars for a successful semester and for their demonstrated commitment to academic excellence.   

                 Fall Semester 2017 Honor Roll & Principal's List​​

Destination Imagination Wins 1st Place in State Engineering Challenge
Congratulations to the Raider Destination Imagination team, named “4-mula,” for winning 1st Place in the 2017 State Engineering Challenge. The State competition took place at Lanier High School Saturday, March 25. At the event, students tackled two types of challenges: Team Challenges and Instant Challenges. The state win qualifies the team​ to advance to the Global Finals in Knoxville, May 24-27.​

Destination Imagination is a new club on campus this year and is under the direction of faculty sponsor Karlyn Mueller-Hill. The five dedicated “4-mula” members are all juniors: Srujani Das, Jackie Martinez, Rosa Moctezuma, Adileni Moldanado, and Tate Poole. They meet at least weekly to prepare for events. ​Mueller-Hill commented “Listening to them practice for the competition is exciting. It’s awe-inspiring that kids so young are so engaged and excited about an extracurricular project.”

Flying Club News:  Two More Students Soar

Congratulations to Ciann Foster (pictured right) and Griffin Daniel (pictured left) on making their first flights in a Cessna 172. Both students trained 15 weeks to prepare for their aeronautical experience this spring. Foster flew front seat on a discovery flight from Gwinnett to Winder with faculty sponsor and Certified Flight Instructor Alan Sohmer sharing the cockpit. Daniel took the helm for the return trip and flew from Winder Airport, up and around Lake Lanier, and landed safely back at the Gwinnett Airport. 

Raider Flying Club sponsor and Math teacher Sohmer remarked, “Both students flew very well and will have these memories for a lifetime.” Sohmer began the Club in 2008 and he ​estimates that over the course of the past nine years​ more than 50 Raiders have been able to experience the joy of flying a small airplane over north Georgia.​​

Raiders Qualify for Nationals at State FBLA Conference
Nine Raiders attended the 2017 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Conference at the Classic Center in Athens. Workshops and competitions with other outstanding high school students from across the state took place non-stop during the March 12-14 event. Congratulations to the two Raiders, Luca Maddale​ni (below left) and Chandler McCleskey (below right), who qualified to advance to the National FBLA Conference this summer in Anaheim, California. Maddaleni won first place in the Introduction to Information Technology division; McCleskey won fourth place in the Public Speaking competition. Paula Chesser and Michelle Finley are the FBLA chapter advisors. 


Artists Win National Scholastic Awards
The Raiders are proud to announce nine winning entries in the 2016-17 national Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition. Lilly Blumenthal won a Gold Key award for her photograph “Natural Beauties“ and an Honorable Mention for her photograph “Yearning for Youth.” Emma Horwitz won a Silver Key for her painting “A Little Piece of Heaven” (pictured right). Honorable Mentions went to Ellie Addington (Sculpture), Nicholas Boatwright (Painting), Kelsie Constable (Painting),  Emma Horwitz (Painting), Angie Jaimes (Photography), Natalie Neal (Painting), and Kangdi Yu (Printmaking).

The Scholastic Awards program invites teens to apply in various categories of art and writing for their chance to earn scholarships, and to have their works exhibited and published. Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the most prestigious recognition and scholarship program for creative teens. This year, students across America submitted nearly 320,000 original works. For more information on Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, visit Scho​lastic Art & Writing Awards

Raiders Attend UGA Bulldog Debates
The Raiders sent teams to both Varsity and Novice competitions at the March 10-11 Bulldog Debates in Athens. 

​Congratulations to the Varsity team for their Quarterfinal finish against 30 teams from four states. Saya Abney and Julia Dias faced some of the top teams in the nation and received 13th and 18th Speaker awards, respectively. The Varsity travels to Utah in April for the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) 2017 National Championship.

In the Novice division, Ricardo Ruiz partnered with Luke Powell and Neha Devineni paired with Blake Jones for their final tournament of the year. The novice teams did well in the preliminary rounds, earning 3-3 and 2-4 records.​

Students Visit 9/11 Museum and Memorial in New York City
Band students visited the 9/11 Museum and Memorial during their visit to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall. This video is a reflection from the students on their visit to the museum. Thank you to the PTSA for the mini grant to support the visit to the museum:  


Raider Band Performs at Carnegie Hall

The Raider Wind Ensemble graced the stage at Carnegie Hall on Sunday evening, March 5, 2017. The 50 students, led by Director of Bands Carlos Rodriguez, performed at The National Band and Orchestra Festival on the famed Ronald O. Perelman Stage in the Isaac Stern Auditorium. Guest conductor Darby Stanton led the students in their first piece, "Allied Honor," a march composed by Karl King. Rodriguez conducted "Kaddish" by Francis McBeth, which is based on the chant found in the Jewish prayer service. The Wind Ensemble’s finale was "Arabesque" by Samuel Hazo, which is a stunning piece that includes delicate soloistic writing and full-blown ensemble passages with rapid-fire tutti rhythms and frenzied percussion.

Band Director Rodriguez commented, “It was tremendous honor for the Riverwood Band to be invited to perform at Carnegie Hall. This has been a goal that the program has been working toward for the past four years. I am proud of the hard work from all of the current band students and alumni who have spent countless hours rehearsing and preparing for this opportunity. We are very lucky to have support from the Sandy Springs Society, the Riverwood community, and the wonderful band parents who give their time and money to see these musicians succeed.”  Rodriguez, completing his fourth year at RICS, holds a Bachelor of Music Education with a Concentration in Instrumental Music degree from Georgia College and State University.

Special mention goes to Seniors Yoel Alperin (horn) and Hill Belfi (clarinet) who have played under the direction of Rodriguez since he arrived on campus four years ago. These students witnessed the growth and development of the band program during their high school years. The trip to perform in Carnegie Hall was a pinnacle experience for these outstanding student musicians.

Guest conductor Darby Stanton is the Band Director at Ridgeview Charter Middle School. Stanton, who performed in Carnegie Hall as a senior in high school said, “It is one of my most favorite musical memories. It was so gratifying to be able to give the same experience to these students. Being able to see the students’ faces after the performance was worth all of the hours of rehearsal and hard work.” Stanton has been at the middle school for three years and holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Auburn University.

Opened in 1891, Carnegie Hall has been the place where distinctive artists of all stripes have come to make their names in New York City. This tradition of excellence makes Carnegie Hall an essential part New York's cultural fabric and the world’s most famous concert hall.​

Japanese Academic Challenge and Speech Contest Results
Seventeen Raider World Language students participated in the 12th Annual Japan Academic Challenge and the 26th Annual Japanese Speech Contest held at the Mercer University Atlanta Campus in early March. 

The Japan Academic Challenge is a team competition which challenges students' knowledge of Japanese culture such as history, geography, language, and current events. Congratulations to the Level 3 team of Celine Al-Noubani, Michael Arsic, and Ethan Nagley for their first place finish, and to the Level 1 team of Hind Eddouh, Gabriella Koshy, and Jaquellinne Martinez for their second place ribbon. 

The Raiders are proud of Christian Bjerre-Fernandes for his presentation “My Passion” in the Japanese Speech Contest. The speech contest includes both high school and college students presenting memorized presentations entirely in Japanese.

Congratulations to the following students:

Japan Academic Challenge Level 1
Team 1, 2nd Place: Hind Eddouh, Gabriella Koshy, and Jaquellinne Martinez
Team  2: Kyaira Butler-Hite and Francisco Briceno

Japan Academic Challenge Level 2
Team ​1: Kaci Kruglewics, Sharon Lim, and Justin Williams
Team 2: Jayla Beard, Eemil Harkonen, and Madalyn Lieberman

Japan Academic Challenge Level 3, 1st Place: Celine Al-Noubani, Michael Arsic, and Ethan Nagley

Japan Academic Challenge Level​ 4: Evelin Bello-Arellano and Adileni Maldonado​

Varsity Debate State Championship News
Congratulations to the Raider Varsity Debate team for their accomplishments at the 2017 State Championships. 

Held at Marist March 3-5, the Raiders were among 20 teams selected to compete. 

Saya Abney and Julia Dias placed third; the only public school in the top five. Abney also received the 8th Speaker Award.

Choral Groups Earn High Marks at Large Group Performance Evaluation
Congratulations to the Raider Choral groups for their outstanding performances at the Spring 2017 Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE). The Advanced Men’s Chorus, the Intermediate/Advanced Women’s Chorus, and the Riverwood Singers, totaling more than 90 students, traveled to Christian Fellowship Baptist Church on Thursday, March 2 for their biggest and most important performance of the year. Each group sang extremely well and received "Superior" and "Excellent" ratings in all categories. ​

February 2017​ Headlines​​​

$25,000 Seed Fund Awarded for International Study Abroad
The Fulton Education Foundation awarded a $25,000 a Seed Fund grant to Riverwood in February, 2017. The school will use the grant to enable students with demonstrated financial need to participate in the school’s 2017-18 International Study Abroad trips.

The grant will help fund the curriculum and programming costs of language study and homestays for students while abroad. The target population for this project will be students enrolled in Spanish, French, and Japanese language courses to put what they have learned in classes into use while surrounded by native speakers of the language.

"This grant request was received as a direct result of strong collaboration between the Governance Council, the Administration, and the World Language teachers led by department chair, Donna Vargas. It will provide an excellent opportunity for many students to study their world language in its cultural context while working toward our strategic plan goal of increasing International mindedness and citizenship” said Lee Daniel, Chair of the 2016-2017 Governance Council.

Principal Shaw added, “Riverwood is unique in that it is a central part of our mission and vision that our students learn their place in a complex, dynamic, exciting, and interconnected global society. While we do this through instruction and programs such as our IB, MYP, and International Studies Magnet, nothing can take the place of our kids getting the opportunity to see, explore, and serve in communities throughout the globe. The generous grant from the Fulton County Education Foundation literally and figuratively opens doors for our students and helps us accomplish our goals.”

The Seed Fund review team stated that they were impressed with the application and interview and the team “looks forward to seeing the positive impact of your concept on your students and school community.” The Fulton Education Foundation established the Seed Fund in 2013 using $7.8 million appropriated by the Georgia General Assembly. The Fulton Education Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 1986 to strengthen the relationship between Fulton County’s schools and the extended community.  

​​Over the years, Riverwood has used Seed Fund grants to support and expand such programs as AVID (to close the achievement gap), System 44 (to assist students with very poor reading skills), and Credit Recovery (an intensive tutoring program for students within a few points of making a passing grade and needing reinforcement of basic skill before advancing).​

2016-17 Teacher of the Year & Professional of the Year

Congratulations to Mary Schmidt (pictured left) for being named the 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year and to Amy Dyche (pictured right) for being named the 2016-17 Professional of the Year.

​Mary Schmidt

Schmidt is the English as a Second Language (ESOL) Department Chair and teaches ESOL 10th and 11th grades, as well as support classes for ESOL. She grew up in the small town of Watseka, 80 miles south of Chicago, Illinois. She attended Illinois State and was a one-year exchange student to the University of Alabama. Schmidt received her graduate degree from Georgia State University. Her teaching experience includes Africa, France, and Germany, as well as in her home town of Watseka, Illinois. 

Before joining the Raider faculty, she taught ESOL at High Point Elementary. Schmidt was also awarded Teacher of the Year while at Heards Ferry Elementary and advanced as a finalist for Elementary Teacher of the County.  

Schmidt volunteers with her daughter for many causes including the Ronald McDonald House and Cancer walk, the Tim Tebow Foundation’s "Night to Shine," and Shoeboxes for Christmas, part of the Franklin Graham Shoebox Ministry. 

Schmidt said, “I try to give my students skills that will help them to adapt and be successful in the American culture and life in general”  

Her favorite quote is:  “The Best Way to Get Things Done is Begin!”​

Amy Dyche​

Dyche serves as the 504 Coordinator. As the 504 coordinator, she supports the needs of students with an impairment or disability in the school and works to eliminate barriers to educational programs. 

Dyche grew up in Gainesville, Florida and received her B.S. in Sociology from Florida State University. She earned her Ed.S. Counselor in Education from the University of Florida. 

Prior to coming to the Raiders in 2015, Dyche taught a class of Young Three Year Olds for two years at The Kingswood School in Dunwoody. She was a school counselor in Gwinnett County for nine years at the middle school and elementary school levels. 

Dedicated to advocating for students and teachers in any capacity, she said, “I feel lucky to be at such a phenomenal school where teachers care about the whole child.”  

Married with two children ages 8 and 11, Dyche loves to hike, bike, paddle, run, and have fun with her family. ​

Her favorite quote is: “Take care of yourself no matter what it looks like to anybody else!” 


Belfi Wins Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Award
Congratulations to Senior Hill Belfi for winning the Sandy Springs Chapter of the National Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizenship Award. In addition to being judged on her academic performance and school and community involvement, Belfi wrote a compelling essay on this year’s topic: “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It: How do the combined actions of many good citizens keep our nation moving forward?” The DAR Good Citizens Award and Scholarship Contest, created in 1934, is intended to recognize high school seniors who possess the qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools, and communities. ​

Advanced Placement Test Results Earn Honors
The Georgia Department of Education named Riverwood an AP STEM school, an AP Humanities School, and an AP Access and Support School based on the Spring 2016 Advanced Placement scores. Congratulations to the students and teachers for their hard work.

The STEM award recognizes schools with achievement in AP Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics courses. An AP STEM school has students testing in at least two AP Math and two AP Science courses. 

An AP Humanities School has students testing in all of the following AP courses: at least one English/Language Arts course, two social science courses, one fine arts course, and one world language course.

An AP Access and Support School has at least 30 percent of their AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African American and/or Hispanic, and 30 percent of all AP exams earning scores of three or higher.

Georgia Department of Education "Beating the Odds" Award
The Georgia Department of Education (DOE) named Riverwood a "Beating the Odds" school. The "Beats The Odds" analysis measures schools against those with similar backgrounds to see whether they performed better than statistically expected on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI)  
  "learn more about "Beating the Odds"

Junior Wins Rotary Scholarship for Year-long Study Abroad
Congratulations to Elise Flanagan (11th grade, Japanese 4 Honors) for winning a Rotary Youth Exchange Scholarship. The award of more than $24,000 will enable Flanagan to study at a Japanese high school for one year. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs, Flanagan will have a connection to a host Rotary Club in Japan, will hone her language skills, discover another culture, and become a global citizen.

Flanagan began studying Japanese in 6th grade and is an officer of the Raider's Japanese Honor Society. Said Flanagan, “The application process is fairly lengthy and fairly competitive, and includes an essay letter from students and parents, secondary school report and reference, transcript, and an in-person interview, among other components.” In class with three native speakers this year, she added “they have been very helpful to me in learning Japanese.”  Flanagan, currently a Junior, will be graduating from high school this summer. She is taking concurrent online classes during this school year and will take two additional online classes once the regular school year finishes. Flanagan departs in August 2017 to begin her year in Japan.

The Youth Exchange Program is new to Georgia this year and is part of the Florida Rotary Youth Exchange Program. The Rotary is sending almost 85 students to study abroad in over 35 countries. Exchanges for students 15 to 19 years old are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries.  ​​

​Science Olympiad at Kennesaw State University Saturday, February 25, 2017
The Raiders sent 12 students to the 2017 regional Science Olympiad on Saturday, February 25. Held at Kennesaw State University, the Olympiad featured 23 teams from the region. Although the Raiders have a very young team, with over half of the members freshmen, and the team did not compete in several events, the Raiders medaled in four events and finished 12th overall. Science Department Chair Jeanne Urban is the faculty sponsor of the Raider team​. ​Congratulations to:

     Ricardo Ruiz & Anais Acree:  Remote Sensing, 2nd Place
     Ricardo Ruiz & Anais Acree:  Dynamic Planet, 4th Place​
     Hayes Miller & Anais Acree:  Disease Detectives, 4th Place
     Gaurav Kunwar & Jeremy Colton:  Wind Power, 4th Place ​

​Beta Club Welcomes New Members
The Raider Chapter of the Beta Club held its annual induction ceremony in the school auditorium on Thursday evening, February 23, 2017. 

Congratulations to the newest Beta Club members: ​Saya Abney, Jessica Ando, David Androsch, Nate Arney, Edgar Aualos Loaeza, Jordan Balkcom, Lizzie Begle, Ryan Belfi, Khyla Bell, ​Yotam Ben-Bassat, Caitlin Bozarth, Mariette Brannan, Elizabeth Brune, Jack Buehner, Taylor Burke, Sara Eve Caruthers, Taisha Cervantes Pineda, Remy Clayman, Sarah Cohen, Dekoa Craft, Srujani Das, Rachel Drakeford, Ashley Echemendia, Lily Edmondson, Naama Erez, Andrew Frinks, Graci Goldstein, Lucy Howard, Samuel Jenkins, Josephine Johnson, Mitchell Kosek, Daisy Leepson, Taylor Lundell, Davia Maghari, Zachary Marzan, Carolyn McDuffie, Gary Mills, Carmen Morales-Mier, Madison Nagley, Rachel Nichols, Dayanna Ochoa, Lauren Omotosho, Sydney Pargman, Celeste Pirle-Cooper, ​​Luke Pollydore, Ella Ponsell, Mahzuza Rahaman, Alexandra Reese, Shreya Rekapall​i, Sarah Rosenbloum, Hayden Rubin, Shahir Sarasiya, Julia Stahlman, Sofie-Ellen Storeva, Christian Sutton, Ansley Sweetin, Joseph Tarab, Ethan Terrell, Brett Thomas, Armani Thompson, Uribe Valverde, Jazmine Williams, and Hannah York.​ (please notify info@riverwoodics.org of any typographical errors)​

Pictured (left to right): David Antonio, Becca Langfelder (Vice President), Hannah Sherrill (President), and Alec Rosner​.  Richard Clayton serves as the faculty sponsor.

Japanese National Honor Society Inducts New Members
The Raider Chapter of the Japanese National Honor Society held its annual induction ceremony in the World Language Department on Thursday evening, February 23, 2017. Congratulations to the seven newest members: Robert Breeser, Salome Castro, Kaci Kruglewicz, Sharon Lim Mariko Malim, Ethan Nagley, and Olivia Smith. The chapter, only in its fourth year on campus, now has 17 members. Senior Christian Bjerre-Fernandes is the club president, Junior Elise Flanagan is the club vice-president, and Azuza Callaway is the faculty sponsor.​

Students Win Summer Study Abroad Scholarships
Congratulations to Sophomore Celine Al-Noubani and Freshman Jordan Allen for winning Jackson Bailey Scholarships to study in Japan this summer. The Jackson Bailey Scholarship Program awarded $2,000 to Al-Noubani (10th grade, Japanese 3H), and $750 to Allen (9th grade, Japanese 1), for a summer immersion in Japan. Allen stated, “I found out that a lot of American composers created some of the best music of their careers after spending time in Japan. These musicians and composers used the influences of Japanese culture while in the country to create something special. I believe that the New Perspectives:Japan experience will give me the same opportunity.”

The Jackson Bailey Scholarship Program provides funds to students through The Laurasian Institution. The Laurasian Institution administers the New Perspectives: Japan (NP:J) study tour project for middle and high school students and teachers. ​

Five Governor's Honors Semifinalists
Congratulations to Skylar Gupta (Communicative Arts), Fernanda Lopes (Visual Arts), Maeve Munson (Visual Arts), Hal Olson (Communicative Arts), and Max Seidel (Engineering) for advancing to the semifinal round of the 2017 Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP). They interviewed at the end of February and will find out in March if they have been selected for this year's GHP. 

GHP is a residential summer program for gifted and talented high school students; this year’s GHP is at Berry College in Rome. While living on campus, students attend classes in the mornings and afternoons in specific areas of study, and participate in a wide variety of social and instructional opportunities every evening. The academic, cultural, and social enrichment provides skills to the rising juniors and seniors to help them become critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.

All-State & District Honor Band News​
Congratulations to the following students who made it through the first round of auditions for All-State Band: 

             Yoel Alperin (Horn)
             Robert Breeser (Horn)
             Drew Kaplan (Trombone)
             Arthur Miltner (Trombone)
             Ella Morgen (Horn)
             Kari Traylor (Horn)
NOTES:  Kaplan and Morgen made the cut as Freshman.  Alperin, Breezer, and Miltner (pictured right) ​also made the District V Honor Band, which performed at North Springs High School on February 4th. Further congratulations go to Arthur Miltner who passed the next audition phase to qualify for All-State Band. The All-State Band, organized by the Georgia Music Educators Association, will hold their All-State Band event in Athens March 2-4, 2017.  This is Miltner’s second year to qualify for All-State Band.

Pop-up Black History Month Museum
Tuesday, February 14
Students and school visitors experienced a visiting African museum on Valentine's Day. The African Art Gallery Walk displayed a museum-quality collection of textiles, masks, ceremonial figures, & fine art.

Fulton County 2017 Regional Science & Engineering Fair Results: 
Sophomore Wins Entry to International Science Fair​
Sponsored by Fulton County Schools and held on the Westlake High School campus Saturday, February 11, the Raiders sent five projects to the annual competition.

Sophomore Max Seidel won a First Place ribbon and earned an automatic advancement to both the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair and the International Science and Engineering Fair. Seidel is the first Raider to earn an automatic advancement to the international competition and he will take his project to the International Science Fair in Los Angeles in May.

The purpose of Seidel’s winning experiment, “3D Printed Myoelectric Prosthesis Without TMR Surgery,” was to examine a more accessible and less invasive solution to today’s current prostheses procedures. The cost of a prosthetic arm can range anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000. The prosthetic developed in his experiment cost an average of $300 to $500 with the help of additive manufacturing techniques, otherwise known as 3D printing technology. Seidel’s project not only created a prosthetic arm, but also refined the 3-D printer which produced the arm itself. 

“Max’s award-winning project is unique because he produced a prosthetic arm and perfected the technology to make it. His enthusiasm for science and engineering is contagious,” said Raider Science teacher Patti Lawrimore.​

Three other Raiders competed at the County Science Fair:  Joey Fleming and Adam Moulem advanced to the State fair after placing 2nd for their project “Carbon Fiber vs. PLA Plastic: Comparing Quadcopter Frame Materials.” Michelle Stanek earned a 2nd place for her project “Corroding Away.”​

2017 Georgia Thespian Conference (ThesCon)
Thanks to the teacher and parent chaperones, 14 Raiders were able to attend the 2017 Georgia Thespian Conference (ThesCon). Ellie Addington, Chip Carter, Harris ​Cohen, Jamie Collins, Lyndsi Fisher, Olivia Gunthert, Megan Holley, Lucy Howard, Celine Lagrange, Lillian Oelkers, Eliza Paprin, Natalie Peek, Caroline Price, and Joe Virgin participated in weekend of theatre from the inside-out. Held in downtown Columbus February 9-11, more than 5,000 students from all over the state converged for a full slate of workshops, performances, and even college auditions. This year's workshops ranged from “British Accents”  and “West African Dance” to “Stage Combat.” Additionally, Senior Olivia Gunthert and Junior Harris Cohen participated in the Individual Events Adjudication, performing a musical number from “Spring Awakening.” Sponsored by the Georgia Thespians, a chapter of the Education Theatre Association, ThesCon encourages, promotes, advocates and celebrates theatre excellence in schools and communities.​ (Photo credit:  Megan Holley Photography)

Raiders Host Big Questions Debate Saturday, February 11, 2017
The Raider Debate team hosted a Big Questions Debate tackling the topic "Does Science ​Leave Room for Free Will?" More than 50 students competed, most of whom had never debated, and they went through three rounds on both sides of the issue​. The day-long event exposed students to a semi-formal debate format while allowing them to engage in intellectual discourse and practice their public speaking skills. 

The event was a very successful fundraiser for the Raider Debate team​, too. By hosting the debate, the team became eligible for a John Templeton Foundation grant. Between the grant and the registration fees ($10/student), the team raised over $2,000 in much needed funds. 

Congratulations to the top three teams:

          Champions: Julie Mittelstedt & Haley Gruensfelder
          2nd Place: Shreya Rekapalli & Julia Stahlman
          ​3rd Place: Celine Al-Noubani & Michelle Stanek

2017 STAR Student and Teacher Announced
Congratulations to 2017 STAR Student and Teacher:  Senior Jeremy Colton and Ms. Rama Balachandran. 

To obtain the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR), high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT taken through the November test date of their senior year and be in the top ten percent, or top ten students, of their class based on grade point average. The STAR program honors Georgia's outstanding high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. 

Colton plans to major in mechanical engineering. Already holding an acceptance from the Georgia Institute of Technology, he has MIT, Vanderbilt, the University of Pennsylvania, and Carnegie Mellon in his top college choices. Colton intends to study applied engineering in either global development or economics.  

Colton’s STAR teacher is Science faculty member Rama Balachandran (affectionately known by all as “Ms. Bala”). Colton said, “I picked Ms. Bala as my STAR teacher because I've really enjoyed how she brings physics to life in the classroom. Instead of just lecturing, she uses physical examples that create an interactive learning environment that engages me in the subject.”

Colton has an impressive list of honors and achievements. In addition to achieving the highest SAT score amongst his classmates, Colton holds the remarkable distinction of also earning a perfect score (36) on the ACT. He is a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist, a Presidential Scholars Program candidate, is an AP Scholar with Honor, and received the Georgia Certificate of Merit. A member of the Principal’s Honor Roll for four years, he also received academic achievement awards in AP Calculus, AP Physics and Pre-Calculus. Colton won the Renssalaer Polytechnic​ Institute Medal for Excellence in math and science. 

Colton is an avid Frisbee player and founded Riverwood’s Ultimate Frisbee club, serves as Vice President of the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, is a member of the Beta Club, the National Honor Society, and the Science Honor Society. He performed research at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Mechanical Engineering and medaled at the Science Olympiad Atlanta Regional Finals in 2016. Colton volunteers as a teaching assistant at Ahavath Achim Synagogue religious school, and as counselor at Marcus Jewish Community Center (MJCC). He enjoys tutoring other students in math and science courses.

Ms. Bala, a member of the Raider​ Science Faculty for 13 years, teaches all levels of Physics, including AP and IB physics. She also serves as the Chair of the Talented and Gifted program. 2017 marks the second year in a row Ms. Bala has been selected as the STAR teacher. Ms. Bala said, “It is a great honor and privilege to be recognized by the STAR student. Recognition by students is a great motivation for teachers to continue to strive to deliver their best in the classroom.”  Ms. Bala has been Colton’s teacher for two years and said, “While Jeremy’s intellectual abilities are evident from his stellar academic performances, I am also fortunate to have observed his maturity of thought and reasoning, his ability to not get carried away by successes, and above all his trustworthiness and dependability as a lab aide and a peer tutor.”

Both will be honored at a breakfast by the Midtown Rotary Club this spring at the annual PAGE Foundation STAR Banquet.​

January 2017​ Headlines​​

1st & 2nd Place Awards at Fulton County Tech Fair
Congratulations to Hal Olson (pictured below left) for his 1st Place ribbon and to Jose Olea-Vanancio for his 2nd Place ribbon at the 16th Annual Fulton County Technology Competition. Held at Centennial High School on January 28, 2017, the Tech Fair had almost 500 entries from 388 Audio Video Technology and Film students spanning 15 categories.

Olson entered the 11th-12th grade Animation category, which requires an original design with, as the name implies, the primary purpose to allow the motion of objects. With his 1st place win, he automatically advances to the State-level competition in March. This is his third 1st place win at the Tech fair.

Olea-Vanancio (pictured below ​right) competed in the 11th-12th grade Digital Photography division. Entries must be a computer-created original project using original student photographs. 

Chinese Language Students Attend Cooking School
World Language teacher Shih-Ping Harper took 27 of her Chinese Level 1 through Level 4 students to Fan’s Cooking School in Alpharetta in January. In addition to​ learning how to make traditional Chinese dumplings, the busy afternoon included an authentic Chinese tea ceremony as well as experimenting with calligraphy and food carving.



Raider FBLA Excels at Region Conference
The Raider chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competed at the 2017 Region 9 Leadership Conference. Held at Alpharetta High School on January 24, 2017, several Raiders claimed top honors and qualified to participate at the upcoming State competition. The Georgia 2017 State Leadership Conference is March 12-14 in Athens. Paula Chesser and Michel​le Finley are the FBLA chapter advisors.

Congratulations to the following students:

Public Speaking 1

* Chandler McCleskey, 1st place (advances to state)

Intro to Information Technology

* Luca Maddaleni, 4th place (advances to state)
* John Allen, 14th place (advances to state)

Entrepreneurship 3rd place

* David Anthony

* Asmir Lalani

Business Ethics 5th place

* Shreya Rekapalli

* Nate Arney

Laws Named Coca-Cola Scholar Semifinalist
Senior Kendall Laws (Class of 2017) is a semifinalist in the 2017 class of the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. Laws is one of approximately 1,900 high school seniors in the running for 150 college scholarships worth $20,000 each. Criteria include academic excellence, leadership, and service demonstrated in school and community activities.

Laws is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate and is also a National Merit semifinalist. She is president of both the Raider National Business Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society) chapters. In her Junior and Senior years, Laws played on the Lady Raiders Golf Team.  

2017 All-State Chorus News
Two Freshmen Raiders passed the first, and most difficult, round of auditions for the 2017 All-State Chorus. These young men went through a rigorous audition process which included music theory, challenging sight reading examples, performing prepared solos, and scales. Congratulations and best wishes to Sam Cooney and James Jackson​.

Second Round Auditions will take place in January 2017. Students making it past the second round will perform at the 2017 GMEA (Georgia Music Educators Association) All-State Chorus Festival in Athens the weekend of February 23-25.

Novice Debaters Bring Home Medals
Congratulations to the Raider Novice Debaters for a great afternoon competing in the Alpharetta Treasure Hunt Tournament on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Under the coaching of Varsity debate captains Saya Abney and Julia Dias, the novice team of Neha Devineni and Blake Jones took first place, while Ricardo Ruiz and Luke Powell finished third. In Speaker Awards, Devineni was second, Jones third, Ruiz fifth, and Powell was tenth. Xavier McGhee and Briggs Dorian-Lawrence also competed. Marjorie Bernard-Evans and Laura Guill are the Raider Debate​ faculty sponsors.

UGA Chooses Six Raider Musicians for 2017 JanFest 
The University of Georgia January High School Band Festival (“JanFest”) is a four-day event for high school band musicians. Congratulations to Yoel Alperin (Horn), Haley Gruensfelder (Clarinet), Aidan Jones (Percussion), Arthur Miltner (Trombone), Sage Patterson (Clarinet), and Kari Traylor (Horn) for being chosen to participate.​ These outstanding musicians will join 1000 attendees, representing 130 schools from across the state, in Athens January 19-22 for the 67th annual JanFest. Special recognition goes to Senior Yoel Alperin for being chosen for a fourth consecutive year, to Arthur Miltner for his third consecutive year, and to Haley Gruensfelder for her second consecutive year.​ 

Pictured left to right: Arthur Miltner, Aidan Jones, Haley Gruensfelder, Yoel Alperin. Not pictured: Sage Patterson and Kari Traylor​


Raiders Induct New National Honor Society Members
The Raider chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) inducted forty-four new members on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. NHS students seek to promote service, leadership, scholarship, and character. Congratulations to the following inductees:​  Saya Abney, Ellen Addington, Molly Antebi, Shelby Arrigo, Dori Balser, Joshua Bennafield, Whit Blass, Kelsie Constable, Anna Davis, Samaria Driver, Megan Echols, Morgan Finch, Elise Flanagan, Abigail Flores, Rebecca Greenberg, Camille Grout, Destynee Jones, Julia Grace Jones, Lauren Keen, Sydney Koeneman, Olivia Koenig, Alexandra Lipsky, Fernanda Lopes, Isis Mayfield, Arthur Miltner, Brenna Munson, Maeve Munson, Mariana Nunez, Mark Olson, Lesly Organista, Pouya Pak, Caroline Price, Sonya Reznikova, Julia Rosenthal, Lily Schneider, Ben Segal, Julia Smith, Christopher Sprung, Rachel Staley, Ansley Tolbert, Arly Yagoda, Sophie Yagoda, Atara Zibitt, and Juliana Zitron.​ Justin Evans and Laura Taylor are the faculty advisors.

Varsity Debate Medals at Samford University Tournament
Juniors Saya Abney and Julia Dias represented the Raiders at the 2017 Bishop Guild Debates in Birmingham, Alabama. Hosted by Samford University, this year’s competiti​on welcomed 84 high school teams from five states for three days beginning Friday, January 13. Congratulations to Abney and Dias for their semifinalists finish. 

Laura Guill and Marjorie Bernard-Evans are the Raider Debate faculty sponsors.

Senior Valliani named Posse Scholar; will attend The George Washington University
Congratulations to Senior Inara Valliani (Raider Class of 2017) for being selected as a 2016 Posse Scholar. Vallani, an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate, will enter the freshman class at The George Washington University in fall 2017. Valliani was one of 60 students honored at a ceremony at the Fox Theatre on January 6, 2017.​

Started in 1989, Posse is one of the most comprehensive and renowned college access and youth leadership development programs in the United States. The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. The Foundation extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students. The Foundation’s partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships. For more information on the Posse scholarship and the Posse Foundation visit PosseFoundation.org

Reporter Newspapers Selects Senior Kunwar for "20 Under 20"

Local newspaper selects Senior Gau​rav Kunwar (Raider Class of 2017) to their second annual group of "20 Under 20" honorees. The Reporter Newspaper asked public and private schools, service organizations, and members of the general public to nominate students who are younger than 20 and who have been active volunteers in their communities. These special young people are doing much to change the world for the better​.                    

Read the January 6, 2017 article

December​ ​2016 Headlines​​

Dr. Peoples Named Assistant Principal of the Quarter

Congratulations to Dr. Gladys Peoples for being named by the Fulton County Schools Assistant Principal Association as one of their AP's of the Quarter.  

Pictured from Left to Right Camille Christopher, Dr. Peoples (center), and Amy Lemons.

Senior Alex West Awarded Presidential Scholarship
Congratulations to Senior Alex West (Raider Class of 2017) for receiving a Georgia College and State University Presidential Scholarship. The Presidential Scholarship Competition (PSC) brought approximately 60 students to the Milledgeville campus in December for a full day of faculty interviews, interaction with current students, and undergraduate classroom experiences. The PSC selected four students to receive a Presidential scholarship this year. 

Will Brown, Georgia College & State University Associate Director of Regional Recruitment (pictured right), visited Riverwood in mid-December to present the Presidential Scholarship to West. 
​ Visit GCSU.edu for more information on the Presidential Scholarship Competition​ 

Culinary Arts Students Cater Superintendent's December Luncheon
Congratulations to the Raider Culinary Arts students and Chef Elissa Oliver for successfully catering the Fulton County Schools Superintendent's December 14th luncheon. Held at the Central Office, the students prepared and served a full buffet meal for 500 guests. Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Edu​cation) was on hand to film the luncheon and produced a short (just over two minutes) video for their GPB Spotlight series.


Science Fair Winners:  Five Projects Advance to County Competition
Congratulations to the first, second, and third place winners at the December 1, 2016 school Scie​nce Fair. The five first place projects advance to the Fulton County competition in January: 

First Place and advancing to the County competition:

Celine Al-Noubani and Katherine Hernandez: “Eye Exercises and Dietary Additions and Their Effect on Nearsighted Vision”

Michelle Stanek: “Corroding Away”

Nadia Abdulridha and Sofie Stroeva: “Silver Neutralization of E. Coli”

Adam Mualem and Joey Fleming: “Carbon Fiber vs. PLA plastic: Comparing Quadcopter Frame Materials”

Max Seidel: “Myoelectric Prosthesis Without the Need for TMR Surgery”

Second Place winners: Yuki Ando, Joshua Blanchar, Mariko Malm, Noah Quay, Shreya Rekapalli, Anahla Sparks, Ethan Terrell, and Ethan Wells.

Third Place winners: Mitchell Davidson, Dan Devlin, Samantha Johnson, Trevor Kosloski, Lauren Lockhart, Ella Morgen, Alexandra Reese, and Robbie Winn​.

No​vember​ ​2016 Headlines

Culinary Arts Sets Pie Sales Record

Culinary Arts students sold holiday pies again this fall and more than doubled their sales over last year. Thanks to the community’s support, sales of the student-made pumpkin, chocolate, and apple crumb pies skyrocketed from 154 in 2015 to over 400 this fall.

Chef Elissa Oliver joined the Raider faculty four years ago and began the wildly successful holiday pie fundraiser three years ago. Not only does every student in the Culinary Arts program contribute to the pie baking process, but each student will benefit from the new equipment and programs the profits will fund. The Culinary Arts program currently has approximately 190 students in grades 9-12.​

A Cappella Group Announced

Congratulations to the students selected for the 2016-17 A Cappella group: Chip Carter, Harris Cohen, Sam Cooney, Cecieilia DeBoer, Maggie Daniel, Megan Echols, Rebecca Eisenstein, Sophia Galvani, Jesse Gibbons, Skylar Gupta, James Jackson, Josh Lerner, Lillian Oelkers, Grant Reeder, Michelle Stanek, Andrew Ungashick, Joe Virgin, Virginia Warren, and Atara Zibbit.​

Raiders Named to Fulton County Honor Band & Orchestra
Congratulations to the eight Raider musicians named to the 2016-17 Fulton County High School Honor Band and Honor Orchestra. These students performed in concert with other outstanding musicians from across the county at Centennial High School Wednesday, November 16:  Jordan Allen (percussion), Yoel Alperin (French Horn), Sophie Galiano (flute), Haley Gruensfelder​, Aidan Jones (percussion), Hal Olson (Timpani), Zack Slutzky (percussion), and Gianna Vaz​quez (cello).

Model UN attends Georgia State University Conference
The Model UN team participated in Georgia State University’s Model United Nations Conference on Monday, November 14 and Tuesday, November 15, 2016. The Raiders represented India and Bulgaria. Congratulations to Hayes Miller and Atara Zibitt for winning the Outstanding Position Paper award for the World Health Organization committee representing India. In addition to Miller and Zibitt, the following students also attended:  Nadia Abdulridha, Shelby Arroyo, Chris Bauguss, Christian Bjerre-Fernandes, America Betancourt, Keshaun Jannah, Alexia Lambert, Alex Lipsky, Austin Miller, Natalie Peek, Shahir Sarasiya, Danielle Stewart, Jacob Vayle, and Julian Zitron. Josh Williams is the faculty sponsor. The conference addressed a wide range of issues involving the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. A few of the conference topics included: Developing and Implementing Sustainable Solutions to Providing Clean Water, Increasing Sustainable Tourism, and ​Reducing Child Marriages and the Usage of Child Soldiers in Conflict areas.​

Culinary Arts Students Support the Sandy Springs Education Force
Raiders Culinary Arts students, under the guidance of Chef Elissa Oliver, arrived very, very early Saturday morning, November 12 for the 3rd Annual Sandy Springs Education Force "Footprints to the Future" Race. Earlier in the week, students prepared healthy "No Bake Energy Bites" to bring to the race. The healthy no egg, no milk, no gluten, no bake treats were a big hit, with nothing but crumbs left behind at the end of the morning.​

Debate Attends 2016 Peach State Classic
The Raider Debate Team traveled to Carrollton for the November 11-12 Peach State Classic Tournament. Following the preliminary rounds, the team of Juniors Saya Abney and Julia Dias were 5-0, the only undefeated team. Unfortunately, they suffered a close loss in the quarterfinal round to end their winning streak. Congratulations for a great run to the quarterfinals and also to Abney for placing 8th Speaker in the individual awards.​

Two 2nd Place Winners at Chinese Language Competition
​Congratulations to Freshman Jill Olson and Junior Hal Olson for winning second place ribbons at the 2016 Jiangsu Cup. Jill Olson won 2nd place in the Level 2 group while Hal Olson placed 2nd in the Level 4 group. Emory University hosted the Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest for High School Students in the Southern States on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The second annual Chinese language competition was open to high school students currently enrolled in a Chinese as a second language class at a public, private, or charter school in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, or South Carolina.  ​

2016-17 Reflections North Fulton Winners Announced
Congratulations to the students with winning entries in this year's Reflections contest. Of the 20 school level winners which advanced to the North Fulton contest, six will advance to the state competition. Two additional students earned​ Honorable Mentions and will not advance beyond the North Fulton level.

9th grade - Kamar Skeete, Honorable Mention
11th grade - Shereen Ragheb, Winner
12th grade - Anndersyn Cochran & Riyana Nabaa, Winner

11th grade - James Prentice, Winner

11th grade - Hal Olson, Winner

Visual Art:
9th grade - Hayes Miller, Honorable Mention

12th grade - Anndersyn Cochran​, Winner

Raider Marching Band, Drumline, & Drum Majors Win Awards
Congratulations to the Marching Band for their award-winning performances at the 12th Annual White Columns Invitational competition. Held on Saturday, November 5 at Milton High School, the Raider Marching Band won 2nd place in their classification; the Drumline and Drum Majors won 1st place in their classification. ​The ratings, using the Olympic style judging format, were:  Percussion, Color Guard, and Band - Excellent; Drum Major - Superior.

Raider Debate Success at Sequoyah Autumn Arguments
Congratulations to the Raider Debate team for their accomplishments at the 2016 Sequoyah High School Autumn Argument Tournament. Held November 5, the Raiders competed in both the Varsity and Novice divisions. Juniors Saya Abney and Julia Dias were semi-finalists in the Varsity division. Abney won 1st Speaker; Dias won 3rd Speaker. Their wins qualified them to compete at the Varsity State Championships in March. In the Novice division, Freshman Neha Devineni placed as 6th Speaker.​

Counseling Center Earns National Certification: Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) School
The Raiders are proud to announce their designation as an American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) school. This is a prestigious accomplishment and represents several years of hard work, an in-depth application process, and a collaborative school-wide effort. Only three other schools in Fulton County Schools hold RAMP certification:  Centennial, Northview, and Roswell. RAMP schools, numbering over 600 nationwide, are aligned with the criteria in the ASCA National Model, are committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program, and provide an exemplary educational environment. The ASCA will honor the Raiders in July 2017 at the ASCA annual conference in Denver.​

Beta Club Hosts Faculty and Staff Tailgate
The Raider Beta Club hosted a tailgate for all faculty, staff, and their families prior to the home football game Friday, November 4. The students set up on the practice field, prepared hot dogs and hamburgers, and provided all of the fixin's for a successful cookout. Having the Raiders win the football game made the evening even better.

Culinary Arts Students Harvest Vegetables & Prepare 3-Course Meal
Raider Culinary Arts students traveled to Roswell in early November to tour the Whole Foods Corporate office and the Whole Kids Educational Farm​. As the students saw first-hand how the farm works, they also discussed sustainability, and harvested seasonal vegetables. The fall vegetables picked included eggplant, kale, arugula, radishes, zucchini, mustard greens, and assorted lettuces. 

At the conclusion of the visit, the students cooked a three-course meal in the on-site kitchen. They assembled a large salad and prepared salad dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, and maple syrup. They also made eggplant and zucchini lasagna with Bison meat, heirloom tomatoes, and goat cheese. A dessert of date and cocoa nib cake finished off the feast.

The Whole Kids Foundation Educational Farm’s mission is to provide experiential learning about food through an outdoor learning environment. The farm supports the local Roswell community and provides a space for learning about, growing, cooking and eating fresh, healthy, organic food.

AVID Students Tour AT&T Facility
The 10th and 11th grade ​AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) classes toured the AT&T Drive Studio on November 3, 2016. Located near Georgia Tech, the Drive Studio is AT&T’s res​earch and development facility where they conduct trials on new ways to connect everything, including automobiles, to each other via the web. Referred to as the “Internet of Things,” the incubator explores some of the very latest technology which companies around the world are using, or are planning to use.​ The Riverwood Foundation underwrites AVID, a college-readiness program designed to increase school-wide learning and performance.

Foundation Fund​s "World to Table” Experience
Thanks to​ generous support from the Riverwood Foundation, Raider culinary arts students gathered foodstuffs from around the world (on Buford Highway) and deliciously rose to the challenge of preparing international recipes.​

Twenty students, under the direction of Culinary Arts teacher Elissa Oliver, visited the Buford Highway Farmers Market on Thursday, November 3. After traveling less than ten miles from campus, the students entered a vast global market. In addition to exploring the overwhelming array of food offerings, the students watched a Thai spring roll cooking demonstration. The students shopped and then ​returned to the Raider kitchens to prepare a variety of cuisines. Some of the dishes they tackled were chicken pot stickers, Mongolian beef, fresh red snapper fish tacos, crab rangoon, and several desserts.​​

Dia de los Muertos 2016
The Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) is sponsoring a Dia de los Muertos display in the atrium Monday, October 31 and Tuesday, November 1. The Day of the Dead -- which coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls' Day -- is a Mexican remembrance of loved ones and a celebration of their lives. In 2010, OLAS hosted the first offrenda at school with club members on hand to explainin its significance. After five successful years, students, parents, faculty, and staff now anticipate the annual event and participate by bringing symbolic mementoes and photographs to fill the table in the atrium. Maria Shuford is the OLAS Faculty Sponsor.​

2016-17 Reflections School Winners Announced
Congratulations to the students with winning entries in this year's Reflections contest. With more participants than in previous years, the Raiders are proud to be sending 20 entri​es to the North Fulton competition. The PTSA is proud of all the students who chose to take part in the contest and appreciates the judges who volunteered their time to evaluate the entries.

9th grade – Kamar Skeete
11th grade – Shereen Ragheb
12th grade – Anndersyn Cochran & Riyana Nabaa

Visual Arts:
9th grade – Hayes Miller & William Johnson
10th grade – two entries by Mahogoni Bracey
11th grade – Ellen Addington & Brenna Munson
12th grade – Erika Bartolanzo

9th grade – Hayes Miller & Princess Adomakoh
10th grade – Jonathan Orr & Jonah Mills
11th grade – two entries by Saya Abney
12th grade – Anndersyn Chochran

Music Composition:
11th grade – Hal Olson

Film Production:
11th grade – James Prentice

October​ 2016 Headlines

Spring 2016 Honor Roll and Principal’s List Announced
Honor Roll students achieved a cumulative average between 90-94.9; Principal’s List students earned a cumulative grade point average of 95 or higher. Congratulations to these outstanding scholars for a successful semester and for their demonstrated commitment to academic excellence.  
2016 Spring Honor Roll and P​rincipal's List

Art Students Enter Scarecrow Contest

Members of the Raider National Art Honor Society (NAHS) chapter designed and created a scarecrow for the annual Atlanta Botanical Gardens contest. This year's entry pays tribute to a few of the celebrities who recently passed away: David Bowie, Prince, Gene Wilder, and Alan Rickman. The Scarecrows in the Garden event features more than 100 spooky, creative scarecrows handcrafted by businesses, individuals, schools, and organizations scattered throughout the gardens. The display ends Sunday, October 30, 2016. Learn more at AtlantaBG.org

Raider Debate Varsity Co-Champions at Columbus
Congratulations to the Raider Debate team for their outstanding success at the Blue Devils Debate Tournament hosted by Columbus High School on Saturday, October 22. Juniors Saya Abney and Julia Dias were the Varsity Co-champions. Individually, Abney won First Speaker and Dias won Second Speaker.  Also debating at the tournament were novice team members Briggs Dorian-Lawrence, Luke Powell, Blake Jones, and Xavier McGhee.​

Raider SkillsUSA Chapter Meets Lt. Gov. Cagle at Georgia Kick-Off Event
The Raider SkillsUSA Chapter joined hundreds of other chapters from across the state at the 2016 SkillsUSA Georgia Champions Rally. Held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry on October 7, this year’s attendees were treated to a surprise visit from Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle. Cagle addressed the group and expressed his commitment to their efforts, and his continued support for technical and career trade courses. Dr. Futrell, along with each chapter advisor, received a copy of the Lt. Governor’s book, “Education Unleashed,” which presents a comprehensive vision to transform the way that public schools educate our students.

The Raider SkillsUSA has approximately 40 members and is part of the State and National organization. SkillsUSA serves teachers and high ​school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled, and service occupations, including health occupations, and for further education in select areas. The organization strives to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders, and responsible American citizens. SkillsUSA improves the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical, and professional skills training. 

Rialto Youth Jazz Combos Select Eight Raiders
Congratulations to the following musicians selected through audition to join the Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra (RYJO) and Band:

Jazz Orchestra - Freshmen (Class of 2020, right)
Coleman Alvarez, Trumpet
Simon Coffsky, Trumpet
Lilya Cooper, Alto Sax
Drew Kaplan, Bass
Jayden Richardson, Drums
Ryan Stoddard, Alto Sax

Jazz Band - Juniors (Class of 2018, below)
Robert Breeser – Rialto Jazz Band, Trumpet
Arthur Miltner – Rialto Jazz Band, Trombone

The Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra (RYJO), formed by Dr. Gordon Vernick in June 2010, exposes students to the full spectrum of jazz music and education. Selected through audition, the students hail from all over metro Atlanta. RYJO students receive outstanding instruction in jazz performance, jazz history, and jazz improvisation, and perform both historically significant and challenging music. Each jazz combo receives supervision and instruction from Georgia State University Jazz faculty.​​

Junior Chosen for Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra

Congratulations to Junior Tate Poole (Class of 2018) for being chosen to join the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO). Tate, a cello player, competed against gifted and talented musicians from across the state to secure a spot in the largest youth orchestra program in the southeast. The GYSO, founded in 2006, inspires young musicians to discover their full potential through creativity and performance.


Raiders Have Two REACH Scholars
Congratulations to Freshman Leslie Tornez-Cruz (Class of 2020) and Sophomore Janelle Tenorio (Class of 2019) for being chosen as REACH Scholars. REACH Georgia selects eligible students who have strong grades, good behavior, and maintain good attendance to receive a college scholarship. In addition to maintaining high grades, excellent behavior, and attendance, REACH students meet regularly with a mentor and academic coach to keep them on track for high school graduation.  

9th grader Tornez-Cruz (pictured left) stated that school is very important to her and that everyone should have a chance for an education. “School has helped me very much ​and without it I would not be successful in life.” She enjoys spending time with family and friends, aspires to attend the University of Georgia, and is interested in business and law. “My parents are very helpful and have told me to never give up on my dreams.”  

10th grader Janelle Tenorio (pictured right) is interested in Orchestra and Engineering. She states she is a hands-on person and always wanted to learn how to code. She is a member of the Robo Raiders (Robotics Club) and plans to take AP and IB courses in her remaining two years of high school. Upon graduation, Tenorio hopes to study in either the School of Computer Science or the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. 

In an effort to raise high school graduation rates, REACH Georgia gives support to the selected REACH Scholars beyond guaranteeing financial scholarships. REACH Scholars receive academic and social support to ensure they graduate from high-school, as well as earn a college degree or certificate. Each scholar who completes all program requirements is able to receive up to $2,500 per year for up to four years to be used toward the cost of attendance at a two- or four-year Georgia REACH eligible institution.

Junior Selected for Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble​
Congratulations to Junior Elise Flanagan (Class of 2018) for being selected to the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble (MAYWE). Flanagan, a trumpet player, joins an elite group of metro Atlanta high school wind and percussion players under the direction of Mr. David W. Vandewalker, Coordinator of Performing Arts for the Fulton County School district. The seventy five ensemble students will collaborate frequently with faculty artists from Georgia State University as well as members of other local professional orchestras.

Raiders Invited to Play​ Carnegie Hall, Spring 2017

The Raider Band received an invitation to play in the Spring 2017 National Band and Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall. Using a recording of the May 2016 spring school concert as an audition tape, the prestigious festival extended an invitation to perform in New York City's famed Carnegie Hall. “For a musician, performing on stage at Carnegie Hall represents arriving at place where few musicians can," said Band Director Carlos Rodriguez.  “With the tremendous growth and success that our band program has had in just four years, I feel that this is a huge accomplishment for our program, school, and community.”​

Fulton County Schools Features Raider Band in October 2016 Video Blog
The October 2016 "Fulton in Five" has a nice segment about the Carnegie Hall invitation at the 3:42 mark.


National Merit Semifinalists Announced
Congratulations to Seniors Kendall Laws and Jeremy Colton for being selected as semifinalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship program.

Based on their outstanding scores on the PSAT taken during their Junior year, Laws and Colton join an elite group of approximately 16,000 high school seniors from across the country. As semifinalists, the students now must fulfill several requirements in order to advance to the finalist round. They must have a record of high academic performance, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test performance. Additionally, the semifinalists will complete a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about his or her participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Raiders Win 2nd Place at Art Throwdown
Congratulations to the Raider artists who participated in the Art Throwdown on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Held at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the 17-member Raider team competed against seven other teams in a variety of categories​​. The Raiders finished in 2nd Place on the day. Congratulations to the following students:

Collaborative Sculpture
1st Place-Laisa Bollo, Rubi Perez and Javier Rameriz

Vine Video
1st Place-Brenna Munson
2nd Place-Hunter Gordon & Nick Boatwright 

Landscape Painting
3rd Place-Fernanda Lopes Sume-I

Brush Painting
3rd Place-Reina Abernathy

3rd Place-Wes Mills & Itzya Villaba

3rd Place-Laisa Bollo, Ruby Perez & Javier Rameriz 

Botanical IllustrationRF
4th Place-Kangdi Yu

Raiders Attend Chattahoochee Cougar Classic Debate Tournament
The Raider Debate Team participated in their first competition of the year the weekend of Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1 at Chattahoochee High School. They attended the 2016 Cougar Classic Tournament and had some promising success.

Congratulations to the Freshman team of Neha Devineni and Andaiye Gibson for making it to Octafinals (Top 16 teams out of 60) in the Novice Division. Congratulations, also, to Neha Devineni for placing as 4th Novice Speaker out of 120 entrants.

​​September​ 2016 Headlines

Successful Joint College Fair
The Counseling Centers of Riverwood and North Springs high schools hosted their first joint College Fair on September 28 at Ridgeview Middle School. Over 60 public and private universities, colleges, and technical schools participated in the event. It was open to parents and students from Riverwood and North Springs, as well as Ridgeview and Sandy Springs middle schools. Evening workshops addressed College Essay Writing, Tips for the College Bound 9th and 10th Grader, Financial Aid, and Scholarships. Breakout sessions were also held for Latino students and their parents.

This inaugural joint event was well attended and enabled students to speak with local and leading national universities and colleges. Schools represented included Yale, Princeton, and Northwestern, and four of the top 20 HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges & Universities. In response to increased demand, the high schools opened the event to middle school students and their parents.

Hiking Club September Outing

The Raider Hiking Club had its first outing of the year in September and covered just over 3.5 miles on Indian Trail. The club currently has around twenty members and invites interested students to join them on future hikes. The club, in its second year, plans to schedule at least five more hikes this year. 

​Monitor the Daily An​nouncements for upcoming events or contact Faculty Sponsor Jackie Carson for more information.

National Arts Honors Society Participates in BeltLine Lantern Parade 
Members of the Raiders' National Art Honors Society (NAHS) participated in the Seventh Annual Art on the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern parade on Saturday, September 10. The lantern parade dates to 2009 and follows a two mile route on the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine beginning near Inman Park and ending in Piedmont Park. This is the second year the Raider chapter of the NAHS created lanterns and walked in the parade. The group of 22 enjoyed the outing and was delighted to see a large number of their peers along the route. 

The National Arts Honor Society recognizes students with both talent and an interest in art, helping them attain their highest potential in all forms, and raise awareness of art education throughout the school and community. Although the Raider NAHS chapter started just three years ago, it has grown to 45 members. Dana Munson and Lana Ensmann are the faculty sponsors.  

Students Attempt to Escape the Bus
The morning of September 8, 2016 began with the arrival of the Escape Bus from the iSchool Initiative to the practice field. During the day, over 100 students and staff took on the challenge to “Escape the Bus” in 30 minutes or less. This unique program challenges students to find clues hidden inside the mobile classroom on wheels. Participants are encouraged to work as a team to go through the stations to unlock clues and solve the problem in order to “Escape the Bus.”   

In the process of finding clues, participants learn about new technology to use in the classroom, the importance of student voice, and the history of the iSchool Initiative. The iSchool Initiative helps schools embrace technology and create a positive culture of lifelong learning. While only about 15% of all participants find every clue, the rate of learning and fun along the way was very close to 100%. 

Mrs. Balachandran (Physics) and Mrs. Taylor (Math) worked together to bring the Escape bus to campus. Partially funded by a PTSA mini-grant, the cross-curriculum exercise captured the imaginations of students and faculty alike. A post experience survey indicated that most students found the activity a fun, challenging, and a collaborative experience calling for critical thinking and team building. ​Mrs. Balanchandran, who also serves as the Talented and Gifted Department Chair said, “It was an eye opener as to what learning in the future would look like for both students and teachers with emphasis on developing key problem solving skills and out of the box thinking.”


Construction Topping Out Ceremony
Turner Construction contractors, workers, school faculty and staff, and even members of the student body, gathered for a topping out ceremony Thursday, September 1. They watched the final beam slowly rise above the three-story building and settle into its place of honor overlooking the dusty construction site.

In the week leading up to the ceremony, the specially selected structural steel beam, painted white, occupied a table in the school’s media center. Students, faculty, and staff made their way to the library to sign the beam. Members of the Turner Construction project team also added their signatures. The beam carries more than 1,500 signatures, a time-capsule of sorts of the Raider community.

The Topping Out Ceremony is a major construction milestone, with the white beam representing a successful new beginning. Another construction tradition is having an evergreen tree lashed to the beam. The tree symbolizes unity and strength through tough and challenging times. 

Speaking at the ceremony were Turner Project Manager Lance Painter, Turner Safety Manage​r Ayesha Spencer, Fulton County School Systems Senior Project Manager Chad Word, Principal Dr. Robert Shaw, Senior Class President Benny Soran, and Robert Sussenbach of CGLS Architects.  

The Phase 1 project is an addition of an 115,000 sq. ft. three-story classroom wing, 26 instructional units, and counseling and administration offices. Phase I included the relocation of the baseball field to make room for the building. The estimated Phase I completion date is July 28, 2017. Funding for the project is coming from SPLOST IV, which was approved by voters in November 2011.

AP Environment & Earth Systems Class Adds Hydroponic Tank​
Thanks to two PTSA mini-grants, AP Environment and Earth Systems teacher Patti Lawrimore is able to continue her quest to explore and examine means to bring sustainable agriculture to the urban environment. Not only does she get to live her passion, she is able to engage her students in the process.  

Lawrimore’s quest began during the 2015-2016 school year with the purchase of a 55-gallon tank for her classroom, funded by a PTSA mini-grant. Her students grew trout in the tank and released the live fish into the Chattahoochee River. This year, the students converted the tank to an Aquaponic system - a system that grow plants organically using fish waste to feed young plants, while the roots of the plants feed the fish. This completely organic system produces food without soil and uses 80% less water than traditional systems.  

A 2016-2017 mini-grant funded the addition of a hydroponic tank to the classroom, an inorganic system where synthetic fertilizers are added to the water to feed the plants. This system cycles water across the plant roots, but fertilizer provides the food for the plants. The water use is the same as with the aquaponic system with little or low impact on the soil. 

Having both the aquaponic and hydroponic tanks in the classroom enables the​ students to compare the value of the indoor inorganic and inorganic systems while identifying some of the environmental impacts. Topics for comparison to a traditional outside garden include water use, land space, and soil quality.

Lawrimore stated “I am so grateful to the PTSA for these grants and the kids love the program.”  The PTSA Mini-Grant program considers proposals from teachers each semester to fund special projects and extraordinary classroom needs.  During the 2015-16 school year, the PTSA provided more than $30,000 directly to classrooms through the mini-grant process. 

Raiders Contribute to Baton Rouge Flood Relief
The Raiders rallied to provide assistance to families in Baton Rouge recovering from historic flooding. Mr. Dejohn Williams, Riverwood's Cafeteria manager, is a Baton Rouge native and has extensive friends and family living in the region. In response to his request, the Raiders collected bottled water, diapers, toiletries, soap, baby food and toys. Thanks to the generous donations of the Raider community and to the organizing efforts of Heather Ingram, student club coordinator, several sacks of supplies made it to Louisiana Labor Day Weekend. 

Foundation Receives $9,000 Sandy Springs Society Grant
The Sandy Springs Society continues its generous support of the Raiders with a $9,000 grant to the Foundation. As part of the Society’s 2016 Philanthropic Donations, the grant funds AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination), a primary program of the Foundation. AVID is a disciplined classroom structure designed to prepare students that are traditionally underrepresented in higher education for success in high school, college, and career. Students are selected for the program based on an application and interview process. The grant from the Sandy Springs Society will help fund tutors, college field trips, and teacher training for the AVID program.


August 2016 Headlines

Raider Aces ACT
Congratulations to Senior Jeremy Colton who scored a perfect score of 36 on the ACT (American College Testing) exam. Colton sat for the exam in February 2016 and, based on the most recent data, is one of less than 1% of all tested students in the nation to achieve a perfect score. Colton advises his fellow students planning to take the ACT to prepare by taking as many practice tests as possible. Of the 223 Raiders taking the ACT last year, the composite score was 22.9, which is ​above the Georgia (21.1) and National (20.8) average. 

Youth Leadership Sandy Springs Inducts 12 Raiders
Congratulations to the latest group of Raiders to join Youth Leadership Sandy Springs:  Nate Arney, Ryan Belfi, Jack Buehner, Graci Goldstein, Ethan Hunt, Olivia Koenig, Jack Kurlander, Elaina Levy, JP Lutz, ​Jacky Martinez-Dominguez, Julie Mittelstedt, and Michelle Stanek. These twelve join 24 studen​ts from seven other area schools to form the Sixth Youth Leadership Sandy Springs class. 

​The 2016-17 class will spend the year in leadership training and civic engagement programs. They began their adventures with an opening retreat on Outward Bound’s ropes course and will participate in a cell phone scavenger hunt in September. Throughout the year, they will meet with city leaders at city hall, conduct a mock trial, get a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement, go to jail, explore the Chattahoochee River and city parks, meet with developers and city planners to redevelop the city center, and work at non-profits. Already the group is investigating the needs of the community to determine a joint service project.  ​

Sandy Springs Society Awards $6,000 Grant to Band and Orchestra Boosters​
The Sandy Springs Society generously funded a grant request to benefit the Band and Orchestra Boosters (BOB). The grant, announced in the summer of 2016, provides specialized music instruction for band and orchestra students, as well as the purchase of a wireless microphone system. The grant will provide much needed support to the growing music program at RICS.

BOB supports over 250 Orchestra and Band students through service, advocacy, and financial aid.  BOB provides funding for scholarships, competitions, transportation, banquets, awards, Senior Recognition, and feeding hungry musicians.

Directors Carlos Rodriguez (Band) and Jovan DeShong (Orchestra) are leading a music program which is growing by leaps and bounds. With an enrollment of over 200 students in the band and 60 in the orchestra, this is an exciting year to be a Raider musician. As recently as three years ago, fewer than 100 students participated in band and orchestra classes. In addition to the doubling of scheduled band and orchestra classes offered, the marching band has experienced spectacular growth. This year’s marching band numbers more than 50 musicians, up from six a few short years ago.

The band has seven sections:  flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, low brass, and percussion. The orchestra has four sections:  violin, viola, cello, and bass.  As the band and orchestra program continues to grow, it is challenging to deliver the much-needed individualized attention to each instrument section. The Sandy Springs Society’s grant will enable specialized instruction to all students as many are not able to afford private instruction. Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. DeShong source instructions from high school music educators, college professors, and members of symphony orchestras. 

In addition to daily participation during the school day, extracurricular groups include the Jazz Band & Combo, the Raider Marching Band, a Percussion Ensemble, and a Quartet.  These groups perform during the year at school concerts and community events. The wireless microphone will help raise the professionalism of each musical production and will add to the audience’s musical enjoyment of the performances.

Deb Olson, BOB Parent Volunteer and Sandy Springs resident, worked with Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. DeShong to submit the grant to Sandy Springs Society.  “Our directors collaborate and partner with other directors opening access to a lot of talent. ​Our directors just need the opportunity to bring them to Riverwood.”

July 2016 Headlines

Student Co-Authors Journal of Applied Physics Article
Rising Senior Kenzie Fisher (Class of 2017) co-authored a paper entitled "Effect of top electrode material on radiation-induced degradation of ferroelectric thin film structures," which appeared in the July 11, 2016 edition of the Journal of Applied Physics (Vol.120, Issue 2) read article.  

​Fisher completed an internship in Materials Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology during the summer of 2014 and 2015, following her sophomore and junior years. She did research and created Ferroelectric PZT thin films and performed tests on other thin films created by the Army Research Lab. A thin film is a layer of material ranging from fractions of a nanometer (monolayer) to several micrometers in thickness. Thin films play an important role in the development and study of materials with new and unique properties.  Because of her data collection work as an intern, Fisher receives credit as a co-author on the paper. 

Fisher’s high school science fair project on PZT thin films made it to the 2015-16 State Level Science Fair in Georgia and earned fourth level honors. Fisher continues her interest in Materials Science and credits the professor under which she worked at Georgia Tech, Dr. Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb, as most influential in her choice of study. She plans to major in Materials Science and this experience has boosted her confidence in being a successful female engineer.  Not surprisingly, her top college choice is Georgia Tech.  

FCCLA Wins Silver in San Diego
Congratulations to Senior Lizbeth Zamora (Class of 2017, pictured right) and Octavious Wright (Class of 2016, pictured left) for winning silver medals at the July 2016 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference in San Diego. Chef Elissa Oliver (pictured center) accompanied the two Raiders to the west coast as they showcased their award-winning Snowball Food Truck business concept. 

The Raider FCCLA chapter employed a variety of successful fundraising activities to cover the costs of attending the national conference. Throughout the spring, the chapter catered several large events including Principal's Luncheons for Dr. Shaw, PTSA luncheons, a Senior Breakfast, and a Sandy Springs Education Force (SSEF) meeting. The end of the year Bake Sale was especially popular with their fellow students.  

The National conference allowed FCCLA members from across the country to network with fellow members, attend workshops and leadership sessions, and compete in various events. 


Hasbrouck Attends Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders
Senior Maysa Hasbrouck (Class of 2017) attended the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Summer 2016 Congress. Joined by students from across the country, she spent three days immersed in an impressive schedule of activities. She heard Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science Winners, as well as deans from top tech universities.  Hasbrouck said that her time with fellow teen science prodigies inspired her and she enjoyed learning about cutting-edge advances and the future of science and technology.

“Attending The National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Congress was truly a life changing experience. Featuring a litany of speakers ranging from seventeen year-olds (like me) to some with much more wisdom and experience, the convention targeted students who are driven with aspirations to succeed in life and change the world.”

Her favorite speaker was Sean Stephenson. Stephenson is an American therapist, self-help author, and motivational speaker. Because he was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, Stephenson stands three feet tall, has fragile bones, and must use a wheelchair.  “He reminded me that there was an entire world outside of personal success. His perseverance despite his physical challenges told me that quitting is never an option, and that everyone can contribute to the betterment of the world in a unique way," said Hasbrouck.

Other speakers included Sylvester James Gates, Jr., Ph.D., a recipient of the National Medal of Science for Physical Science, John C. Mather, Ph.D., winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics, and Amy Hess, executive Assistant Director of the FBI's Science and Technology Branch.

The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who are passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). The purpose of the conference is to honor, inspire, motivate, and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be scientists and technologists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, a plan, and resources to help them reach their goal. Delegates earn nominations based upon their academic excellence, leadership potential, and commitment to entering the field of either science or technology.For more information about the Congress, visit Scitechleaders.com 

Raiders Attend National Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Conference
Sierra Tulloch and Jasmine Sillas, members of the Raider FBLA chapter and May 2016 graduates, attended the National Leadership Conference this summer. Based on their First Place finish in the Management and Decision-making competition at the State level earlier in the year, they qualified as delegates to the National Conference. Held June 29-July 3 in Atlanta, the conference attracted more than 12,500 of America’s best and brightest high school students.​ Tulloch and Sillas connected with top future business leaders, took advantage of the more than 65 business and business-related competitive events, enhanced their business skills, and expanded their networks. 

The annual conference is part of a comprehensive national competitive program sponsored by FBLA that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. Indeed, students competed for the opportunity to win more than $179,000 in cash awards. For many students, the FBLA competitive events are the capstone activity of their academic careers. 

June 2016 Headlines

Students and Teachers in Spain June 2016
Seven students and two teachers traveled to Sevilla and Granada in June. View their trip through their blog RiverwoodSpain.we​ebly.com  and social media: 
Twitter (@RiverwoodSp​) and​ Instagram (RiverwoodSpain). 
​ The trip hashtags are‪#‎Riverwooddoand‪#‎gnomeo‬. Look for glimpses of Gnomeo, the Raider mascot gnome, throughout the trip photo journals, too.    

Generally, the students attended structured classes each morning and, after lunch, experienced Spanish culture through various group activities throughout the city. The students lived in private homes for most of the trip and benefited from full language immersion during their home stays. In addition to student fundraising during the school year, which netted around $200/student, the Riverwood Foundation generously contributed funds toward the trip.

Congratulations to Amelia Holley for being selected by Fulton County Schools as the Raider Star Senior. 



May 2016 Headlines

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Two Raiders win Positive Athlete of the Year Awards
The 2015-16 school year marks the second year of Riverwood's participation in the Positive Athlete Georgia program. Positive Athlete Georgia hosted an awards ceremony for all of the North Fulton award winners on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.Congratulations to the two Raider student athletes named 2016 Positive Athletes of the Year:  Junior Gaurav Kunwar (Tennis), and Senior Octavious Wright (Swim/Dive).​    ​


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