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May 2019 Headlines

Class of 2019 College Acceptances
Which schools offered admission to the Class of 2019
? The Counseling Center compiles the list based on information provided by students. Please contact the Counseling Center to report additional acceptances or wait-list clearances. 
                 Class of 201​9 College Accep​tan​ces ​list as of 6/1/19



Fulton County Schools Senior Spotlight:  Violetta Filatova
Congratulations to Violetta Filatova​ (Class of 2019) for being selected by Fulton County Schools as the Raider Star Senior.
 



Congratulations to the following Raider Athletes from the Class of 2019 who will be continuing their sports careers in college:

  • Nate Arney, Vassar College, Lacrosse (learn more)
  • Harris Beckley, Wofford College, Baseball (learn more)
  • Sam Bell, The College at Brockport-State University of New York, Football (learn more)
  • Ben Blair, Stetson University, Football (learn more)
  • Summer Brown, Virginia Union University, Softball (learn more
  • Rachel Drakeford, Florida A & M University, Cheerleading (learn more
  • James English, Sewanee: The University of the South, Football (learn more)
  • Aaron Graham, Jacksonville State University, Football (learn more)
  • Allen Grier, Chattanooga State College, Baseball (learn more)
  • Chris Hall, Florida State College Jacksonville, Baseball (learn more)
  • A.J. Harris, Lakeland University, Football  (learn more)
  • Nailah Jenkins, Northeastern University, Volleyball (learn more
  • Sam Jenkins, Sewanee:  The University of the South, Football (learn more)
  • Trinity Kelley, South Carolina State, Soccer (learn more)
  • Phillip Malever, Canisius College, Lacrosse (learn more)
  • Hayden Rubin, University of Georgia, Football (learn more)
  • LaBrauns Stinson, Tuskegee University, Baseball (learn more
  • Brett Thomas, University of South Carolina, Baseball (learn more)
  • Reese White, Coastal Carolina University, Football (learn more
  • Graham Young, LaGrange College, Lacrosse (learn more)


Raiders Cater Huge Community Education Event
The Culinary Arts program sent 21 students to provide a homecooked, catered buffet for over 150 attendees at the Sandy Spring Education Force (SSEF) 2019 VIP Breakfast on Thursday, May 16. As an added bonus, the students saw their leader, Chef Elissa Oliver, director of the Culinary Arts program, receive the SSEF School Program Champion of the Year award. The SSEF presented the award in recognition of Chef Oliver's dedication to providing students with the culinary and life skills to be successful after graduation. Noted Irene Schweiger, SSEF Executive Director, “Chef Oliver and her students always come in smiling and happy. She does something to inspire her kids; this is a jewel of a program.”

The 9th-12th grade culinary arts students who volunteered for the assignment began their day at 5:45am. They prepared a menu that included a sausage, egg, and cheese casserole, shrimp and grits, fresh bacon, orange and cream cheese danish, blueberry muffin tops, and yogurt. Chick-fil-A Sandy Springs, a community partner that employs many Raiders, provided fresh cut fruit. The task was complicated by the fact that the school year was concluding and the Culinary Arts kitchen was packed up for the move to a new, larger facility in the soon-to-be-completed second phase of the new academic building. While this is not the first year the Raiders have catered the VIP Breakfast, Chef Oliver commented: “Planning and mise en place (having all ingredients measured, cut, peeled, etc. before starting cooking) for this event was key. We had to be super-organized ahead of time since it was the last week of school and we were moving.”

Freshman Blake Marotte said the catering opportunity was “pretty hectic, but fun,” adding that he enjoyed participating in this important community event. Sophomore Fernanda Guerrero offered that Chef Oliver and the Culinary Arts program had helped her learn about successful time management, teamwork, and “how important it is to do things right.” The annual VIP Breakfast, held at Heritage Sandy Springs, drew volunteers, educators, and businesspeople from around the community.



PTSA Awards Five Scholarships of $1000 each to Class of 2019
Congratulations to Haley Gruensfelder, Slate Fluker, Celia Soriano, Magda Karina Moreno-Tacuba, and Eldina Paco, recipients of $1,000 College Scholarships from the PTSA. 

The PTSA awarded five $1,000 scholarships to applicants from the Class of 2019 based on academic achievement, leadership ability, motivation, and character, to five well-rounded seniors who demonstrated the ability to succeed in a two-year, four-year, or technical college or university. 




Foundation Funds Career Expo Field Trip
With funding from the Riverwood Foundation, over 30 Raiders attended the 2019 Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) Career Expo held at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park. The group represented a diverse mix of classes:  International Baccalaureate (IB) Business, Foundations of Engineering, and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students, along with English as a Second Language (ESOL) students. They joined nearly 6,000 middle school, high school, and college students at the expo. The convention center was swarming with more than 1,500 industry volunteers and exhibitors ready to share their skills and expertise. Assistant Principal Scott Kent, who serves on the Foundation Board said, “This field trip exposed our students to experiential learning opportunities where they were able to see the application of their class work.”

The Career Expo links thousands of students directly to professionals in the areas of construction, utility contracting, highway contracting, electrical contracting, mechanical contracting, energy, mining, and more.

The group had the opportunity to network with company and industry representatives, to learn more about careers, and to have fun with interactive displays. Of the 17 industry “Worlds” at the convention, students explored industry disciplines such as safety, highway construction, electrical contracting, energy, drywall, tile, roofing, and more.   

Rising senior and AVID/IB Business student Alfredo Hernandez commented, “The career fair expo was a very interesting place that exposed us to new experiences. The expo was amazing because I related my career passion to many of the companies there. I also learned that many things can go together. For example, companies in the mining/geology area also work with engineering and landscaping companies. Each location had different ways to give us the daily experience of what it’s like to work in that field.”

Next year, the 2020 CEFGA CareerExpo is moving to the Georgia World Congress Center to make room for the growing interest in the 15 year old event. Career Tech Department Chair and IB Business teacher Michelle Finley coordinated this year’s field trip and plans to make this an annual event. Finley observed, “The career expo was an outstanding chance for students who might not be interested in college to gain first-hand knowledge of different industries where a substantial income could be earned immediately. We look forward to taking even more students next year."


Sweeting to Attend Summer 2019 HOBY Seminar
Congratulations to rising junior Jada Sweeting (Class of 2021) for being chosen to represent the Raiders at this summer's Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) Seminar. She will join over 200 other HOBY Ambassadors from Northwest Georgia at Oglethorpe University May 31 through June 2, 2019. The ambassadors already demonstrate leadership in their schools and communities, and the HOBY seminar provides a unique leadership training, service-learning, and motivation-building experience. Founded in 1958, HOBY’s mission is to inspire and develop a global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. HOBY ambassadors develop a lifelong dedication to improving the lives of others.


National Art Honor Society Spring 2019 Conference Awards
Members of the Raider National Art Honor Society had an enriching and exciting two days at the 29th Annual National Art Honor Society (NAHS) conference. Held during spring semester 2019 at Georgia State University, ten Raiders participated in an art throwdown, attended a variety of workshops, and glimpsed the possibilities of life as a college art student.

In the Figure Drawing category, Raider artists won first place and third place ribbons. In the puppet performance, the Raiders claimed third place. They enjoyed entering pieces in several other competitions and the students won second place overall. A nice bonus to the second place award was a highly coveted $100 gift certificate to the Dick Blick art supplies store.

The State NAHS Conference, taught by Art Educators, Professors, and Museum Educators from across the state, brings high school artists together for not only for instruction but also for a chance to exhibit their work. Additionally, students had the opportunity to have their portfolios reviewed by Georgia State faculty.


Two Seniors Win Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce Scholarships
Congratulations to Katherine Hernandez and Celia Soriano (Class of 2019) for winning college scholarships from the Sandy Springs Perime​​ter Chamber of Commerce. Hernandez and Soriano each received $1,​000 from the Donna Adams Mahaffey Scholarship Fund. The fund began in 2015 with the goal of inspiring female graduates to attend college. Recipients must fulfill grade and application requirements and show financial need. According to the scholarship committee, “These scholarships instill children with the concept that regardless of their financial situation, they too can receive a higher education."​
(Pictured L to R:  Hernandez, North Springs winner, Mercedes Benz CEO Dietmar Exler, Soriano, North Springs winner)



McCleskey Wins Trip to D.C. Summer Leadership Seminar
Congratulations to rising senior Chandler McCleskey (Class of 2020) for winning a "Future Leaders of America" scholarship from the Fulton County Law Week Committee. He will attend a Washington Workshop Seminar from June 22-28, 2019. McCleskey accepted the award at the annual Fulton County Law Week ceremony on May 1st at the Fulton County Juvenile Court reception hall.

McCleskey went through an extensive application and interview process for the scholarship, competing with outstanding high school students from across Metro Atlanta. The scholarship covers round-trip airfare, tuition, room and board, and all expenses associated with the Washington Workshop Congressional Seminar. This six day program seeks to increase citizen participation in the electoral process while increasing students’ knowledge of contemporary events through informative, on site dialogue sessions with leaders from both the federal government and private sectors. Malone Law is sponsoring McCleskey’s scholarship.

The 2019 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., students 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.


RoboRaiders Wrap Up Successful 2018-19 Year at State
The Robotics Team, also known as the RoboRaiders, capped off their 2018-19 season by qualifying and competing at the state competition. The RoboRaiders participated in the national FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) program which brings together teams of up to 15 members to design, build, program, and operate robots for head-to-head competitions. As students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, they learn the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team.

In December, the RoboRaiders won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for the high quality of their engineering notebook and the innovative design of their robot lifting arm. At the Last Chance Invitational in February, the team won the Design Award for their use of applied physics. Winning the design award clinched a spot in the State competition. The Georgia FTC State Championship, held at Blessed Trinity High School, brought together 42 teams from across the state. The RoboRaiders were proud to place 24th overall.

In addition to the formal competitions, the RoboRaiders were active in community outreach this year. In February, the team visited Heards Ferry Elementary to teach two 5th grade classes about robotics. The elementary students were thrilled to be able to “drive” the RoboRaiders’ robot. The high school students taught about iterative design and what it means for a mechanical system to be autonomous. The RoboRaiders also hosted an interactive booth at the Sandy Springs Education Force’s 9th Annual STEAM Showcase to share their excitement and achievements with other local public schools.

When asked for a wish list for the future, the RoboRaiders would like to have a Rev Robotics Starter Kit. The kit would add needed components for their robots. Another desire is to have an FTC Practice Field which would help them prepare for competitions. Engineering Teacher Julian James is the Faculty Sponsor.


April 2019 Headlines

Four Selected for Governor's Honors
Congratulations to Junior Anais Acree (World Language - French), Sophomore Luke Courts (Music), Junior Hayes Miller (History), and Junior Ricardo Ruiz (Mathematics) for being selected to attend the prestigious 2019 Governor's Honors Program (GHP).

The 2019 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 is designed to provide 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.


The SAIL Program Celebrates Seven Years
The Counseling Department recently hosted a breakfast honoring this year's Seniors Achieving in Life (SAIL) participants. Approximately 40 students, mentors, and staff members attended the April breakfast at the school. The Sandy Springs Education Force (SSEF), a long-time supporter of the SAIL program, funded the event. 

A highlight of the morning was hearing the students announce where they will be attending college. Current SAIL participant, Erick Ramirez, commented, “SAIL had a major impact in my life. I had a goal and it was to fulfill my longtime dream of becoming a construction manager, but what I didn’t know was what steps to take after high school.... I was lost, but thanks to SAIL, I now have a set plan on what I will be doing after high school. I’m proud to say that I will be attending Kennesaw State University and will be studying construction management.”

Now in its seventh year, SAIL had 48 student participants and 30 mentors, an increase in both students and mentors over last year. The majority of the students completed the process and will be attending traditional 2- or 4-year colleges or technical colleges. The effect that SAIL has on students is life-changing. Notes College Counselor Roxie Garber, who developed and oversees the program, “This program runs on love and the kindness of our volunteer mentors. I truly feel that every ounce of effort we all put into it results in tremendous benefits for the students.”

SAIL participants partner with trained adult community volunteers who assist them in the often-daunting process of selecting and applying to colleges and technical schools. The Counseling Center identifies SAIL candidates as those who possess the grades and determination to pursue post-secondary education but who, by the middle of their senior year, have not begun the application process. Mentors work with students on a weekly basis, assisting them in applying for required testing, such as SAT, ACT, or ACCUPLACER. Over the course of the two months, adults guide the students through the process of filling out admissions documents, writing essays, requesting transcripts, completing financial aid documentation, and applying for scholarships. Mentors are volunteers from the community; many are current Riverwood parents, a few are parents of former Riverwood students, but a number are not directly connected to the school.

The Sandy Springs Education Force provides the Riverwood SAIL program with funds to pay the testing and application fees for students for whom those fees present a hardship.



Eagle Scout Project Enhances Raider Baseball Stadium
Sophomore Piero Maddaleni custom built two large picnic benches for Raider Park, the high school’s baseball stadium. He designed and fabricated the 10-foot wooden tables as part of his quest to obtain the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) highest advancement award, the Eagle Scout badge.

Maddaleni initially researched plans for building one extra-large table and offered a number of options to Head Baseball Coach, Trey Henson. However, upon seeing the sizeable amount of space he had for installation, Maddaleni opted to construct two large tables instead. Once he and the team agreed upon a design, he researched building materials, including wood species and synthetic options. Maddaleni then scheduled work days for his team of students, friends, and family who joined him in sanding, staining, and sealing the wood, as well as measuring, cutting, assembling, and delivering the tables to the field. Part of the assignment was to coordinate the project with his BSA Troop 232 adult advisor, Sam Miller, as well as with Coach Henson. Both tables were delivered prior to the start of the spring baseball season.

“When the baseball team reached out to me about their need for picnic tables at the new Baseball Stadium, I felt like it was the perfect project for me,” noted Maddaleni. “I am glad that I was given the opportunity to benefit my school." Adds Coach Henson, “The picnic tables are a great addition to Raider Park. Families enjoy being able to sit at them during games and the players make use of them on a daily basis. We can’t thank Piero enough for his hard work and contribution to Raider Baseball. A project for the school by a student is the best.”

Maddaleni successfully completed the board of review for his Eagle Scout rank on January 8, 2019 and will be recognized at his Court of Honor on May 13, 2019. He is one of only approximately 6 percent of all Boy Scouts who attain the Eagle rank. Each candidate must earn at least 21 merit badges and successfully complete a community, church, or synagogue-related service project to earn his Eagle Scout award.



Mentor of the Month:  April 2019
The Counseling Department spearheads the Mentorship Program, serving students who need academic, personal, and/or social emotional support. Dedicated teachers and staff members serve as mentors, committing their time to supporting students in need. Congratulations to the April Mentor of the Month:  Samantha Greco





March 2019 Headlines


State Science Fair Results
The competition is fierce to make it to the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair (GSEF) and the Raiders proudly sent four projects (seven students) to the 2019 state event. Congratulations to sophomore Viha Umashankar for receiving both the Tellus Future Science Stars Award and the GSEF Best in Category Award for her “Wind Works” project. Fellow 10th graders Alexandra Abbott and Madeline Chen took home Tellus Future Stars Awards as alternates for their project “Going Green 1 Step at a Time.” Also presenting at the 71st annual state-wide fair in Athens were Sacha Sims, Ashley Wang, Macy Medlin Hall, and Summer Sun.

In January, science fair projects filled the Tournament Gym and students anxiously waited to learn if they would advance to the regional competition. Six projects qualified for the Fulton Regional Science & Engineering Fair in February, and of those, four projects advanced to the state competition. Held in the Classic Center in Athens over three days in March, the GSEF is Georgia’s premier forum for students to showcase their original research, compete for awards, and interact with top-level professional scientists.

In addition to qualifying for GSEF, the “Going Green 1 Step at a Time” project earned an invitation to the Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Madeline Chen presented the “Going Green...” results at the Symposium in February at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education. She was one of only 60 students statewide to receive a request to present results of original scientific, engineering, or mathematics research before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers.

The students were supported throughout the process by science teacher and Science Fair coordinator, Lakshmi Anumukonda.



High Achievers at Japanese Academic Challenge and Speech Contest
The Raiders brought home some impressive trophies from the annual Japan Academic Challenge and Japanese Speech Contest in March. Congratulations to Gabby Douglas, Neriah Moore, and Karina Spataru-Toma for winning first place in the Level 1 challenge. In the Category 1 speech contest, Isabella Newstead won third place against ten other high school students as well as ten university students. The speech contest involved writing and memorizing a presentation and delivering it without the benefit of any notes or taking any pauses.

The Raiders sent fourteen students to this year’s competition and Japanese teacher Dr. Azuza Callaway was understandably proud of their accomplishments. Callaway led many afternoon sessions preparing and practicing for the event and accompanied the group to Georgia Tech. The Georgia Association of Teachers of Japanese, the Japan-American Society of Georgia, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, and the Georgia Tech School of Modern Languages organize the annual event.



FBLA 2019 State Conference:  3 Qualify for Nationals
The Raider Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter competed at the State Leadership Conference and emerged with three students qualifying for this summer’s National competition. Congratulations to juniors Chandler McCleskey and Luca Maddaleni, and to sophomore Piero Maddaleni, for their outstanding state results. These young men will travel to San Antonio for the 2019 FBLA National Leadership Conference.

Chandler McCleskey placed 2nd in both Impromptu Speaking and Organizational Leadership; Luca Maddaleni placed 2nd in both Cyber Security and Network Design; Piero Maddaleni placed 4th in Networking Concepts and 6th in Introduction to Digital Technology. As a special note, this marks the third year for both Luca Maddaleni and Chandler McCleskey to qualify for the national conference.

In addition to the three national qualifiers, the Raiders earned several other State FBLA awards. Three students received Business Achievement Awards: Chandler McCleskey won at the America Level, and Carter Rathore and Eashan Sinha won at the Future Leader Level. The Business Achievement Awards recognize levels of leadership achievement, each consisting of business, education, and leadership elements.

Six students placed in the top 10 at the state event:

*Luca Maddaleni placed 2nd in both Cyber Security and Network Design
*Piero Maddaleni placed 4th in Networking Concepts and 6th in Introduction to Digital Technology
*Chandler McCleskey placed 2nd in both Impromptu Speaking and Organizational Leadership
*Carter Rathore and Eashan Sinha placed 6th in E-Business
*Hannah Tourial placed 6th in Introduction to Business Communication.   


2018-19 Teacher of the Year & Professional of the Year
Congratulations to Patti Lawrimore for being named the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year and to Gordon Ellison for being named the 2018-19 Professional of the Year. Faculty and staff nominated and voted for this year’s recipients. Continuing the process introduced last year, the student body voted on the final nominees. The honorees received their awards at a March faculty meeting.​

​Patti Lawrimore joined the Raider faculty in 2015 and serves as the Science Department Chair. She teaches IB Environmental Systems, Environmental Science and Biology, holds a position on the school’s Governance Council, and is a Sponsor of the Environmental Club. She has been working in Fulton County Schools since 1994 with previous stops at Milton and North Springs High schools and a one year stint at St. Benedict’s in Smyrna.


Lawrimore earned a Bachelor of Science focused on the Biological Aspects of Conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She later obtained a Master of Science in Biology Education from the University of North Georgia as well as a Master of Science in Leadership from Kennesaw State University.

In addition to her many school activities, Lawrimore serves on the advisory board for Youth Leadership Sandy Springs and plays tennis at The Riverside Club. Aside from tennis, she enjoys reading, biking, and gardening. She and her husband of 20 years, Todd, have a teen-aged son, William.

Says Lawrimore, “At school, my pride is the garden and the classroom hydroponics tanks. Funded by grants, this brings something I am passionate about to the kids and it makes teaching easy.” Lawrimore’s energy and passion for science shows in all that she does. She spearheaded the new outdoor classroom and garden program, replacing a garden which closed in 2015 due to construction of the school’s new facilities. Recently, she had her students growing plants with seeds from space and led her IB Environmental Science students on a canoe trip at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

The Teacher of the Year receives more than a plaque. The PTSA gave Lawrimore $300 for school supplies, the school granted an additional $400 to fund classroom expenses, and she has an assigned parking space close to the front door for the next school year. Another perk is a stipend from the school to attend a conference of her choice, and a Teacher of the Year ring.   


​Gordon Ellison is the Virtual Lab Coordinator and serves and supports students enrolled in online classes.

The Virtual Lab is open all day and for many hours after school as well as on Saturdays. The lab provides access to higher level courses that are not offered on campus and gives students the opportunity to catch up on credits needed to graduate. One of his major goals is to improve the pass rate and work completion in these classes. Says Ellison, “With the affordable deployment of high speed internet and with every student in Fulton County Schools having access to a tablet and the access to free online classes, the infrastructure is in place to dramatically change how students are taught. From a personal perspective, my goal is to have Riverwood viewed as a leader in the creative utilization of technology to change the face of student instruction.”

A faculty member who nominated Ellison for the award said, “Ellison is always willing to go above and beyond. Kids flock to him and he connects real-world experience with student learning.”


Ellison came to the Raiders in 2016 as a long-term substitute from Tri-Cities High School and then transitioned to a full-time role in the Virtual Lab. He commented, “These tools are the new wave of teaching.” 

Before working in education, Ellison had a career in Systems Engineering and IT consulting with IBM. An Atlanta native, he earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and travel. For more than 30 years, Ellison spends much of each winter officiating college basketball games.

Ellison said, “I am very fortunate to be part of a faculty, staff, and administration led by Mr. Gardner that supports the Virtual Lab. I enjoy working with the students and appreciate being part of the efforts to leverage the technology investment made by Fulton County Schools.”




Sophomore Wins DeKalb Symphony Orchestra Competition
Congratulations to sophomore, Madeline Chen, for her third place finish in the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra's (DSO) third Young Artists Concerto Competition. As a winner, Chen received a cash award as well as a chance to perform with the DSO. She will play Ravel: Introduction & Allegro accompanied by the full orchestra on Tuesday evening, March 26. 

The DSO is delighted to be able to showcase some of Atlanta’s finest young musical talents to the community. “The level of music-making of these gifted young musicians is truly remarkable. Each student is being given the opportunity to perform their piece with orchestra instead of just piano accompaniment.” explains Fyodor Cherniavsky, DSO conductor. He added, “It will be a real treat to see and hear how they rise to the occasion at the concert.”



Stanek is National Merit Scholarship Finalist

Congratulations to senior Michelle Stanek for advancing from semi-finalist to finalist in the National Merit Scholarship competition. Stanek is now in the running to compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, plus over 1,200 corporate scholarships and approximately 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarships.

Stanek, the Class of 2019 Valedictorian, will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall where she plans to study mechanical engineering with a potential focus on pre-medicine



Three Winners at 2018-19 State Reflections Contest

Congratulations to Zoe Osborne, 1st place in 11th grade Film Production; Noa Nieves, 2nd place in 10th grade Literature; and Lucas Daniels, 3rd place in 10th grade Photography, for their State-level Reflections awards. Their entries, which interpreted the theme "Heroes Around Me," advance to the National PTA contest this summer. The Georgia PTA honored Osborne, Nieves, and Daniels at an awards ceremony held at the High Museum of Art on Sunday March 24, 2019. Good luck to these Raiders at the National competition.


Munson Receives National Art Award
Congratulations to art teacher Dana Munson (pictured far left) for winning the 2018 Outstanding National Art Honor Society Sponsor Award. This honor, awarded annually by the National Art Educators Association (NAEA), recognizes outstanding leadership of an NAEA member who sponsors an exceptional National Art Honor Society (NAHS) chapter. In March, Munson attended the 2019 NAEA National Convention in Boston to receive the award. Earlier in the year, the Georgia Art Educators Association also acknowledged Munson's national award. 

The Raider National Art Honor Society has 55 members and actively participates in numerous showcases, projects, and community events. The organization recently designed a mini-house for the Sparkle Sandy Springs 2018 Holiday Event at City Springs. The Society also contributes to the community via social action and fundraising. Their signature fundraiser for the past five years has been the “Team Summer Challenge” to raise funds for children with cancer. 

Munson recognizes that leading an exemplary National Art Honor Society chapter “is really a team effort and isn’t just one person.” She adds, “I am proud to represent everyone involved in NAHS, but I can’t honestly say it is anything unique thing that I did by myself to earn this award. I am truly proud of our NAHS and what we have accomplished over the last seven years, and this award is a validation of all the hard work that each member and sponsor has put into our honor society.”

Founded in 1947, the National Art Education Association is the leading professional membership organization exclusively for visual arts educators.


Raiders Attend Career Tech Intervention Leadership Conference
Earlier this year, freshmen Tse Leccima and Thania Santana attended the Career Tech Intervention/Instruction (CTI) Leadership Conference. The state-level conference, organized by the Georgia CTI program, took place at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel and Conference Center. The two days featured workshops, speakers, and even an Academic Quiz Bowl. The Georgia CTI program assists students with disabilities with their transition through high school to whatever their desired post-high school goal may be -- such as attending college, technical school, or entering the workforce.

Attending with fellow CTI students from across the state, Leccima and Santana learned about transitioning to life after high school. Workshop sessions covered topics such as career exploration, preparing for college or other post-secondary training, resume building, job interview skills, as well as an interactive presentation by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency.

Sandy Gosch, CTI Coordinator, said, “These types of experiences early in high school can have a lasting impact on students like Tse and Thania; they were engaged in every activity. It is very rewarding to see students experience this and walk away with valuable information.” CTI Coordinators provide intervention and supports to students in the CTAE labs and classrooms.

The students shared that the conference opened their eyes to the many resources available to them once they graduate from high school. A highlight of the event was meeting with Paula Policek, the Georgia Department of Education Program Coordinator of CTAE Special Populations. Policek has been instrumental in working with Georgia CTI to promote positive outcomes for students with disabilities. Policek stated, “Facilitating the transition for students with disabilities from high school to positive post-high school placement is a critical priority and promoting the Georgia CTI Program’s ability to assist students land in the right place is a focus of mine.”


Orchestras Earn High Marks at ​Large Group Performance Evaluation

Congratulations to the Raider Orchestras for their outstanding performances at the Spring 2019 Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE)This year's performances were at North Atlanta High School on Thursday, March 14. The Intermediate and Advanced Orchestra earned a "Superior" rating and the Mastery Orchestra earned an "Excellent" rating. 



2019 Valedictorian and Salutatorian Announced
Congratulations to Michelle Stanek, Valedictorian, and Julie Mittelstedt, Salutatorian, members of the Class of 2019 with the highest and second highest cumulative GPAs. Graduation 2019 is at 3pm on Thursday, May 23, at the Cobb Energy Centre.

Valedictorian Michelle Stanek (pictured right) is an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme candidate who plans to major in mechanical engineering with a possible focus on pre-med at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is also the Raider's 2019 STAR Student, a National Merit Finalist, and received the 2018 Harvard Prize Book Award. As National Honor Society (NHS) president, Stanek helped revitalize the NHS system by fostering connections with community non-profits. She is a thespian, with leading roles in two high school productions and involvement with every show at Riverwood for the past four years. Stanek is a member of the Science National Honor Society, the Beta Club, and the Chemistry Club, where she serves as vice-president. She is a tutor for the Raider Writing Center, as well as for AP World History, and she won first place in the “Big Questions Debate” in both 2017 and 2018. Stanek also happens to be a Black Belt in Taekwondo. 

Salutatorian Julie Mittelstedt (pictured left) will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall, where she intends to study nuclear engineering. She is an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme candidate and serves as the student body president. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club (where she serves as president), French National Honor Society, and Science National Honor Society. Mittelstedt was the 2018 recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Book Award, as well as the National Merit High Scorer Award. She is a member of the Raider Colorguard and Winterguard, serving as captain for the past two years. Additionally, she is a member of the Riverwood Singers and volunteers as an AP World tutor.


First Place Honors to Raider Winterguard at Etowah Competition

Congratulations to the Winterguard for winning first place on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at the Southern Association for the Performing Arts (SAPA) competition. The troupe competed at Etowah High School in the Scholastic A division and scored their highest point total so far this season. The Raiders perform a beautiful, and incredibly moving, show which is a tribute to all who suffer from cancer. 




Ponsell Wins DAR Good Citizen Award

Congratulations to senior, Ella Ponsell (Class of 2019), for being selected by the Sandy Springs chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) as the chapter’s 2018-19 Good Citizen. The NSDAR Good Citizen Award and Scholarship Contest, created in 1934, recognizes high school seniors who possess the qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools, and communities. These students demonstrate these qualities to an outstanding degree.

In addition to being judged on academic performance, and school and community involvement, Ponsell wrote a compelling essay on this year’s topic “Our American Heritage and our Responsibility for Preserving It: What new challenges will America face as we move forward into the future?" She also submitted recommendations from two teachers. As a chapter winner, Ponsell now has the opportunity to advance toward a national scholarship.

Ponsell’s many school activities include serving as president of the Raider Community Service Club, as well as co-president of the Blue Crew spirit club. She is a school ambassador, cheerleader, and a member of the cross country and swim and dive teams. She also participates in National Honor Society, Beta Club, and is the recipient of the prestigious Brown Book Award. Notes Ponsell, “It only takes one person to make a difference, and that difference does not have to be large. Winning this award has shown me that while being a good citizen is not about recognition, people are still watching, and my actions will not go unnoticed. It means a lot that I was nominated… and even more that I won.”

The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children. Membership in the National Society is open to any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution.




February 2019 Headlines


Raiders in Super Bowl's "Taste of the NFL"
The Raider Culinary Arts Department sent twenty students, along with Chef Elissa Oliver, to the 2019 “Taste of the NFL” held during Super Bowl weekend. On Saturday, February 2, Taste of the NFL hosted its 28th Annual "Party with a Purpose®" at the Cobb Galleria Centre. The annual strolling food and wine fundraising event brings together exceptional cuisine, celebrities, NFL players and alumni, and more, to help fight hunger in the United States. Party with a Purpose® donated this year’s proceeds to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Headlining the Saturday event was the award-winning TV personality, chef, writer, and teacher, Andrew Zimmerman.

Invited by the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia, the Raider Culinary Arts students were one of only ten local high schools asked to participate in this year’s Taste of the NFL. The Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia is dedicated to providing direct support for the education of hospitality and foodservice students. The Foundation facilitates industry experiences and connecting the classroom with industry professionals and resources.

The students worked amongst 32 top chefs from across the country, including Atlanta’s own Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s Restaurants. In addition to the student helpers, each of the 32 chefs had current or alumni NFL players assigned to their group. On Saturday, the student apprentices worked a 16-hour day prepping and feeding guests. Student Chef Elijah Kirby said, “The Taste of the NFL was a great opportunity and a rare experience for high school culinary students. I enjoyed learning new things from professional chefs from all around the country.”

The 32 chef-led teams created 43 different dishes. Some of the dishes created were treats such as Handmade Basil Cavatelli; Davio's Sausage; Butternut Squash and Lemon Butter and Crisp California Lamb Belly; Heirloom Beans; and an Herb Salad with Pecorino. Rathbun, the Atlanta Falcons Chef, prepared Roasted NY Strip with Truffled Parsnips and Smoked Garlic Jus.

Student Chef Alex Garcia added, “This was an eye opening experience about how much food, time, and thought goes into catering to 2,500 people. This amazing event was very hands-on and also it was nice knowing it was all for a great cause: to kick hunger.”

For the students, the Taste of the NFL encompassed much more than the Saturday event. On the Thursday before the Super Bowl, the culinary arts students helped set up for the event at the Cobb Galleria. Being able to take part in the beginning of the event was a meaningful exposure to logistics, planning, and organization. On Friday, the students toured and volunteered at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the beneficiary of the fundraiser.

Chef Oliver said, “This was a once in a lifetime experience. The Super Bowl being in Atlanta brought so many opportunities for the Riverwood Culinary students.” She added, “I could not be prouder of my students and what they were able to achieve and experience.”


Beta Club Inducts New Members
The Raider Chapter of the National Beta Club held its annual induction ceremony in the school auditorium on Thursday evening, February 23, 2019. Beta Club's mission is to promote the ideals of academic achievement, character, service, and leadership among elementary and secondary school students. The motto is: Let Us Lead by Serving Others.

Congratulations to the newest Beta Club members: ​Allie Abbott, Ben Abrams, Joshua Abrams, Kaleila Abrille, Danielle Barnard, Talia Barras, Tea Barton, Eric Bell, Tess Berman, Nicole Brooks, Alex Burgur, Chloe Capes, Madeline Celestino, Aubrey Charron, Madeline Chen, Morgan Cohen, Lauren Cohn, Rachel Cohn, Henry Collins, Nicolette Ditano, Rebecca Einstein, Anna Fantucci, Rayna Fladell, Matt Fluker, Ben Fox, Sydney Fox, Halli Friedman, Bradley Friedrich, Jonah Glenn, Elizabeth Grant, Raina Grosswald, Haley Gruensfelder, Anna Hellem, Ethan Hunt, Claude Hutto, Sam Kaplan, Alyssya Kosek, Kellen Kruglewicz, Jacqueline Lagunas, Aahil Lalani, Sydney Levitan, Imani Mack, Jaida Marshall, Hayla McClain, Tess McQuary, Macy Medlin-Hall, Riley Mehrman, Jonah Menikoff, Ange Meno Kouam, Elle Mezzio, Ella Morgen, Ana Clare Natal, Sarah Neuberger, Emily Odom, Hana Ozaki, Alex Parlour, Hunter Paulson, Joshua Perkey, Majida Rahaman, Alexander Rash, Carter Rathore, Rain-Marie Robertson, Malaysia Robinson, Sarah Schulhof, Sianne Simmons, Allyssa Simon, Sacha Sims, Maili Skollar, Kyra Solevei, Mariella Stine, Christian Stinson, Lily Stoumen, Hannah Suggs, Isabela Szikman, Bergen Thielen, Alex Tovin, Viha Umashankar, Ashley Wang, Annie Weinstein, Victoria Williams, Robbie Winn, Emily Woody, and Ariana Younger. Richard Clayton serves as the faculty sponsor.


Choral Groups Earn High Marks at Large Group Performance Evaluation
Congratulations to the Raider Choral groups for their outstanding performances at the Spring 2019 Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE). The Advanced Men’s Chorus, the Intermediate Women’s Chorus, and the Riverwood Singers, totaling more than 70 students, traveled to John's Creek United Methodist Church on Thursday, February 21, 2019 for their biggest and most important performance of the year. Each group sang extremely well. ALL groups received superiors from all three judges. For Sight-reading, the Advanced Men's and Intermediate Women's groups received a superior (1). Even though the Riverwood Singers were sight-reading at a harder class level, they received an excellent (2) for their work.


Advanced Placement Test Results Earn Honors
The Georgia Department of Education named Riverwood a 2019 AP STEM school, an AP STEM Achievement School, an AP Humanities School, and an AP Access and Support School based on the Spring 2018 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. 200 High Schools in the State earned the AP Stem designation. 

An AP STEM Achievement School has students testing in at least two AP Math and two AP Science courses and at least 40% of the AP Math and AP Science exams earning scores of 3 or higher. Only 128 High Schools in Georgia earned this designation.

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. The Georgia Department of Education added the AP Humanities category in 2015 and Riverwood has earned this designation every year since it began. In 2019, only 142 high schools in Georgia made the AP Humanities list.

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. Only 64 high schools in Georgia earned this designation in 2019.


Stanek is STAR Student; Gribble is STAR Teacher
Congratulations to Michelle Stanek (Class of 2019) for being named the 2018-19 STAR Student; she chose Social Studies faculty member Daniel Gribble as her STAR teacher. 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.

Stanek is an IB Diploma Candidate with higher level courses in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Literature. She plans to attend Georgia Tech and major in Mechanical Engineering. Stanek interned at Piedmont Hospital shadowing various physicians across several specialties and is now considering a pre-med track at Georgia Tech and eventually attending medical school.

Stanek’s STAR teacher is Social Studies faculty member Daniel Gribble. Stanek said, “I have never met a teacher who cares more about his students than Mr. Gribble. His special brand of tough love and even tougher assignments and the individual, essay-length recommendation letters that he handcrafts are examples of the way his teaching style pushes and supports students. His entertaining lectures and interesting assignments have inspired my classmates and me to explore our curiosity and go beyond what is asked of us. In the three years I’ve had him, he has taught me quite a lot about World History and Theory of Knowledge, but more importantly, I’ve learned lessons I’ll need to succeed inside and outside the classroom.”

Stanek has an impressive list of honors and achievements. She is a National Merit Scholar Finalist and received the Harvard Prize Book Award. A member of the Principal’s Honor Roll for four years, she also received academic achievement awards in IB Math HL, IB Chemistry HL, AP World History, Spanish 3 Honors, and Honors Biology. She was the school’s winner of the annual “Big Questions Debate” in both 2017 and 2018.

Stanek serves as President of the National Honor Society, Vice President of the Chemistry Club, and is a member of both the Science National Honor Society and Beta Club. She tutors students in the Rader Writing Center as well as tutors her peers in AP World History. Not only is she a distinguished scholar, she holds a black-belt in Taekwondo and is an avid thespian. Stanek has been in every school theatre performance at Riverwood, landing lead roles in "Lend Me a Tenor" (Diana) and "You Can’t Take it With You" (Alice).

Says Gribble, ”Michelle represents a rare combination of natural intellect, eclectic curiosity, and personal charisma that make her the modern equivalent of a renaissance woman. Her studies are representative of a keen intellect that embraces deep thinking, that loves satire, and that expresses itself with enough wit to be humorous without being categorically “sassy.” This year, our conversations have oft overflowed into musings on the role of education, the challenges of social change, and even the differences between a teleological basis for decision making and a deontological rational.” Gribble continues, “Michelle is that rare student that is as much at home in her IB Higher Level Math course as she is in her IB Higher Level Literature course. Natural curiosity is as evident in her study of poetry as it is in her study of polyatomic ions. It is as much a part of her joy when listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme” as it is a part of her celebration of life as she works through one of her Taekwondo workouts with a fluidity that is both powerful and graceful. In each and every arena, her curiosity finds an opportunity give purpose and significance to her actions, discourse, and thinking. Michelle has more than personal charisma, she has a sense of panache that enables her to light up the stage in "Crimes of the Heart" or "Pippin," and shine as Alice Sycamore (You Can’t Take it With You). It has been my great privilege to serve as one of Michelle’s teachers, and I look forward to seeing her continued growth and success”

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


MYP Project Touches Uganda
Freshman, Riley Buehner, culminated his International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) Project with a trip to Uganda to hand-deliver 11 suitcases of shoes.

MYP projects encourage students to reflect on their learning and the outcomes of their work – key skills that prepare them for success in further study, the workplace, and the community. The philosophical basis of the MYP fosters the traits of a responsible global citizen through the IB Learner Profile.

Buehner, an Eagle Scout from Troop 370 with St. James United Methodist Church in Sandy Springs, organized a shoe drive for his MYP Project. Through the generosity of St. James Methodist, the Burn Boot Camp Sandy Springs, and friends and family, he collected over 450 pairs of shoes.

Buehner traveled to Uganda during winter break 2018 with four fellow Raiders and Scouts: Senior Jack Buehner, on his third visit to the country, and first-time visitors, freshmen Dominick Bruce, Max Hilsen, and Rob Lindberg.

During the trip, the young men camped with over 70 Ugandan Scouts at Hope Christian School in Lugazi, Uganda. Daily activities included early morning exercises, devotionals led by the Ugandan scouts, shared lessons on Scout Law and Leave No Trace, personal health and hygiene, and tent maintenance and set-up. A highlight of the trip was a visit to the Ugandan Equator.

In addition to learning first-hand what it means to be a global citizen, Buehner and his fellow Raiders had the experience of a lifetime. Buehner’s Ugandan friends were excited and very grateful for the new shoes; each of them received a pair of closed-toed shoes and a pair of sandals. The Community Assistance Center in Sandy Springs received all of the extra donated shoes.

Says Buehner, “My MYP Project and the trip to Uganda extended my knowledge of the struggles that many people face on a daily basis. I realize that not everyone is as lucky as I, and that many often live – and live happily - with very little. The gratitude expressed by the Ugandans for what, to me, was a relatively simple gift, was overwhelming. This project helped show me what friendship means and highlighted that people's beliefs and values are similar, no matter one's socio-economic status or geographic location.”



Stahlman Named to Reporter Newspaper's "20 Under 20"

Pargman earns honorable mention
Congratulations to Senior Julia Stahlman (Class of 2019) for being named one of twenty outstanding high school students in the Metro Atlanta area. The Reporter Newspaper's 11th annual "20 Under 20" feature ​showcased students aged 19 and younger who are committed to community service. 

Congratulations also to Senior Syd Pargman (Class of 2019) for being included in the "runner up" list. Nominations came from teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, siblings, fellow students, and community leaders. 
Read or download the January 1, 2019 edition of The Sandy Springs Reporter​



January 2019 Headlines


Two Honored with All-State Orchestra Selection
Congratulations to Sophomore Madeline Chen (harp) and Freshman Nathaniel Stone for being selected to the 2018-19 All-State Orchestra. They will travel to Athens for two days of workshops and practice, culminating in a performance Saturday, March 2 in the Classic Center. Chen and Stone will play in the full 9th and 10th grade String Orchestra directed by William White.



Eight Receive Prestigious JanFest Invitation
The University of Georgia January High School Band Festival ("JanFest") is a four-day event for high school band musicians. The Raiders are proud to have eight musicians selected to participate in the 69th annual festival. Congratulations to:

Haley Gruensfelder (Clarinet)
Josh Perkey (Clarinet)
Hannah Tourial (Bassoon)
Kanako Kurimari (Bassoon)
Coleman Alvarez (Trumpet)
Thomas Archer (trumpet)
Drew Kaplan (Trombone)
Aidan Jones (Percussion)

These outstanding musicians joined over 1000 attendees, representing 130 schools from across the state, in Athens January 17-20. 




National Honor Society January Induction
The Raider chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) held its annual induction ceremony in the school auditorium on Tuesday evening, January 15, 2019. The NHS is one of the premier organizations recognizing outstanding high school students and selected students show proven dedication to the four pillars of NHS: scholarship, service, leadership, and character.

Congratulations to the 47 new National Honor Society members: Anais Acree, Shira Alperin, Jessica Yuuki Ando, Mallory Arrigo, Tal Ben-Bassat, Samantha Berke, Taylor Burke, Ian Cannell, Chloe Capes, Shayna Coffsky, Sam Cooney, Dekoa Craft, Oliver Davidson, Neha Devineni, Rebecca Eisenstein, Anna Grace Fantucci, Elizabeth Frederick, Morgan Freeman, Lalah Hasbrouck, Eliana Horwitz, Lucy Howard, Gabriela Marie Jones, Samuel Kaplan, Jessica Keen, Kaci Kruglewicz, Josh Lerner, Sharon Lim, Mariko Malm, Chandler McCleskey, Hanna McDaniel, Jahlyn McKie, Rachel Menikoff, Hayes Miller, Ella Morgen, Kristen Mosley, Sarah Neuberger, Jill Olson, Josh Peljovich, Nora Powell, Maggie Regier, Casey Scheele, Caroline Shutley, Julia Sibert, Eashan Sinha, Malcolm Stewart, Ryan Stoddard, and Anh Tran.

Math teacher, Laura Taylor, is the NHS faculty sponsor, and students Sara Eve Caruthers, Sam Johnson, Rachel Nichols, Martha Ross, and Michelle Stanek are this year's officers.


Seven Science Fair Projects Advance to 2019 County Competition
Congratulations to the following students who will travel to the Fulton County Schools 2019 Science Fair at Westlake High School on February 9:

Duncan Link: Removing the Mask
Madeline Chen and Allie Abbott: Going Green One Step at a Time
Sacha Sims & Ashley Wang: Development of Patellofemoral Braces
Renee Al Noubani: Piezoelectric Shoes
Macy Medlin Hall & Summer Sun: Forest Fires
Viha Umashankar: Wind Energy
Noa Bennafield: Biodegradable Sodium Polyacrylate Napkins



PTSA Reflections Contest News:  Six Advance to State
This year's Reflections theme is "Heroes Around Us." Congratulations to the six students who won at the North Fulton Council PTA Reflections competition and are advancing to the next round. The Georgia competition is in March. Good luck to the Raiders at State:
Film Production: Zoe Osborne and Alayna Tobo
Literature: Noa Nieves
Photography: Lucas Daniels
Visual Arts: Diana Harden and Grecia Hernandez


Raider Alumna Writes Book & Shares Story of Depression With Students
Class of 2017 graduate, Anna Shutley, returned to campus on Friday, January 11 to share the story of her struggle with clinical depression and anxiety while in high school. The author of a self-published book, Happy Tuesday, Shutley spoke before a small group of selected students. The fourteen students gathered in the Counseling Center for an intimate and powerful session with the current Wake Forest University student. Shutley shared openly about the insights she gained through counseling, medication, and through writing her book.

“As someone who understands what it feels like to be struggling with an unseen mental illness in high school, and in Riverwood specifically, I felt that the advice I could provide would benefit current high schoolers,” remarked Shutley. “That's the reason why I wrote Happy Tuesday in the first place - to provide a resource that I felt was lacking when I was in high school, from someone who understands.” Happy Tuesday, subtitled A Guide to Coping with Depression and Anxiety as a High School Girl, is a 47-page book filled with advice for dealing with a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, and tips for navigating traditional teen pitfalls like schoolwork, friends, boys, and social media.

Speaking of social media, it was through Riverwood's Facebook page that Head Counselor, Shamona Harrell, saw a re-post of an article about Happy Tuesday from the Wake Forest student-run newspaper. Harrell then invited Shutley to come back to her alma mater to speak to students. “I knew that we had students who would really benefit from hearing from a fellow student. There is a lot of stress and anxiety out there and we want our students to know that they don’t have to deal with it alone.”

The Counseling Center has added many resources, even in the less than two years since Shutley graduated. Students can take advantage of the new, quiet “resource room” to visit when they need to “take a moment.” There, students find sofas, soft lighting, mindful activities, books on dealing with stress and anxiety, fidget toys, and more. Counselors are easily able to monitor and check in with students; Harrell commented that a number of students benefit from the relaxation room each day.

In addition to the new relaxation space, the Counseling Center is offering a variety of other services tailored to meet today's challenges. Small group session topics include stress management, anxiety, and a Freshman girl support group. Notes Harrell, “Counselors are a bridge to connect students to what they need socially and emotionally. We are also the bridge between the student and the resources they and their family need.”

Counselors are trained to assist students in need, but for more complex issues, they have developed a relationship with The Summit Counseling Center. Summit Counseling provides on-site counseling services to students. This school-based program, in partnership with Fulton County Schools, removes the barrier of “access,” enabling students to receive the services they need right on campus. “The fact that Riverwood now has an on-campus therapist and a relaxation room for panic attacks is a HUGE step forward and is filling a great need,” noted Shutley. “I was so excited to hear about those changes.” Harrell acknowledges that students today are dealing with a great deal of anxiety and stress and hopes that they will regard the school’s Counseling Center as a resource. She laments, “Counselors are so much more than schedule fixers and recommendation writers. We are trained to assist students in need.”

“I still have nothing figured out, ever,” Shutley candidly told the students who attended her session. “The main difference now is that I know how to approach my emotions and I have good coping mechanisms.” She added, “Having bad days is inevitable. I encourage you to feel your emotions in order to let them go.” Shutley, a Biology major who plans to become a high school teacher, gave the students her cell phone number, letting them know they should call her if “they ever want to talk things through.”

Happy Tuesday: A Guide to Coping with Depression and Anxiety as a High School Girl, is available in paperback from Amazon.



Samford University 2019 Bishop Guild Debate Results

The Raider Debate and Speech team traveled to Birmingham, Alabama for the Bishop Guild Debate Tournament. Hosted by Samford University January 4-6, the Raiders fielded two teams in Policy Debate: Noel Crenshaw and Ysabella Lopez had a 3-3 run and Blake Jones and Lucas Powell were 2-4. In Public Forum, Neha Devineni and Ricardo Ruiz went all the way to the Semi-Finals. Congratulations to Ruiz for winning 1st Speaker in Public Forum and to Devineni for receiving the 2nd Speaker Award in Public Forum.  



Raiders Hosting Two Foreign Exchange Students
This year, the Raiders are hosting two exchange students, one from Spain and one from Brazil. As an International Baccalaureate Diploma school, the Raiders welcome the opportunity to learn with and from students from around the world.

Henrique Rivelli is from Lima Duarte, Brazil, which is situated in the foothills of the Mantiqueira Mountains, on a Rotary Youth Exchange program. Rivelli, a native Portuguese speaker and a sophomore, is taking a full schedule of classes each semester. Between AP World History, Geometry, Algebra 2, Chemistry, Spanish, Digital Technology and Engineering, and Weight Training, he says his favorite class thus far is Weight Training. Rivelli observed a big difference between people in the United States and in Brazil is that people here “say what they think.” Similar to most teen-aged boys, he enjoys catching up on his sleep, playing video games, and playing basketball in his free time.

Francisco Rodriguez Esteban is from Lugo, small city situated in the Northwest part of Spain, and comes to Atlanta as part of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) program. Esteban, a native Spanish speaker and a junior, is also taking a full schedule of classes which includes AP Spanish, U.S. History, Honors Pre-Calculus, Chemistry, International Affairs, Computer Science, American Literature, and Weight Training. His favorite subject is Math. Esteban comes by his love of math naturally as his mother is a math teacher. He added, “I also like U.S. History because it is interesting.”  In his spare time, he likes to play basketball and tennis. Esteban is very excited about having tried out and earned a spot on the Raider Tennis Team in January. In fact, last year’s Boys Tennis team had a foreign exchange student on the varsity roster, too.

Both students noted that the educational system is very different in Brazil and Spain. In their schools, the classroom belongs to the students; the teachers move from class to class while the students remain in the same room. They both added that lunch is eaten at home with family rather than at school. Said Esteban, “The favorite foods that I have enjoyed in America are wings and barbeque ribs.” He continued, “I have dinner at 6:30pm here, but if you have dinner at 6:30 in Spain it would be crazy. I wanted to study in the US because it is an unforgettable experience and it can only happen one time in your life. I also wanted to come here to study because I will learn a lot of English and it will become my third language.”

Counselor Sally Page, the foreign exchange coordinator, remarked​, “Having exchange students fits perfectly with the ‘International’ focus in our school's name and mission. Giving our students the opportunity to interact with students from other countries enriches their lives and broadens their experiences."



December 2018 Headlines


EXCLUSIVE:  Raider Artists Create Ornaments for State Tree in Washington, D.C.
Nineteen Raiders created ornaments to decorate the State of Georgia's official Christmas tree, which is on display in Washington, D.C. through the end of the year. The six-foot state tree is one of 56 smaller trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree in President’s Park, with each tree representing a U.S. state, territory, or the District of Columbia. Jessica Booth, Fine Arts Education Director at the Georgia Department of Education, selected Riverwood for the honor of decorating this year’s Georgia tree. 

Members of the Raider's National Art Honor Society chapter designed ornaments that best represent Georgia. Allie Abbott, Chloe Capes, Anaya Chennault, Morgan Cohen, Maria Coles, Ari Feingold, Alexis Fernandez-Hernandez, Diana Harden, Elizabeth Hernandez, Grecia Hernandez, Hague Johnson, Riley Mehrman, Liza Miller, Nissa Newman, Sage Patterson, Maggie Regier, Jacob Smith, Sydney Williams, and Christal Woodward learned much about the state through their research. With help from art teachers Dana Munson, Lana Ensmann, and Heather Meyer, the students considered incorporating the official state tree, flower, bird, fish, and insect, as well as other notable symbols and designations of the “Peach State.” 

Notes Ensmann, “When we discovered that Georgia has the second largest film industry in the world, a student insisted on doing a cleverly-named ‘Y’allywood’ themed ornament.” Students were encouraged to select a medium that suited their theme and their talents. Paper maché, paint, sculpture, and even mosaic tile were media of choice. The finished ornaments feature dogwood flowers, Vidalia onions, peaches, white-tailed deer, largemouth bass, honeybees, and the state flag. One is filled with Georgia peanuts.

Junior Chloe Capes marvels, “It’s really exciting to think about my work being displayed in front of so many people. I think it’s so cool that Riverwood was given this unique opportunity to represent the entire state of Georgia.” Maggie Regier, also an 11th grader, adds, “Creating an ornament for the President's Park is such as cool experience! I think it is amazing that my work will be featured there!”


Raider Artists Decorate Sandy Springs Holiday Sparkle House
For the second year in a row, members of the Raider chapter of the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) are making the city brighter by participating in the Sparkle Sandy Springs Holiday Event. 

The Second Annual Sparkle Sandy Springs features 16 six-foot tall wooden houses scattered throughout the City Green, each illuminated with lights. This year's entry, “van Gogh Raider,” is painted in the style of Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” masterpiece. The painted house depicts local Sandy Springs landmark street signs woven into an illuminated night sky and embraced by the branches of a three-dimensional cypress tree.

Notes Dana Munson, NAHS faculty sponsor, “Our biggest challenge was getting the lights to adhere to the inside of the house. We finally had to use a staple gun and back the lights with aluminum foil so they would glow better from the outside. At the kick-off event it was amazing to watch the sun set and see the lights glowing.” Munson directed the painting, while art teacher, Heather Meyer, guided the students in creating the three-dimensional cypress tree and the lighting elements. The Raider NAHS chapter has 55 members, many of whom helped with the project. 

The houses are on display at City Green at City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, through December 31, 2018.


Seven Governor's Honors Semifinalists
Congratulations to Anais Acree (World Language - French), Audrey Charron (Theater), Luke Courts (Music), Chandler McCleskey (Mathematics), Hayes Miller (History), Rain-Marie Robertson (Theater), and Ricardo Ruiz (Mathematics) for advancing to the semifinal round of the 2019 Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) competition.

Following interviews at the end of February, the students will find out in March if they have been selected for this summer'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.


November 2018 Headlines



Job Shadow Experience at Georgia Tech
Junior Luca Maddaleni (Class of 2020) spent a fascinating day shadowing an engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Maddaleni, an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme Candidate, shadowed Chase Johnston, a research engineer with the GTRI Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory (EOSL) for a full day in November for his Directed Study course. The EOSL is a leader in electro-optical and radio frequency signal and information processing, with expertise covering system design, algorithm development, and modeling and simulation for signals across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Maddaleni toured the lab, located in Georgia Tech’s Baker Building, and was able to work side-by-side with Johnston on projects encompassing circuit design, board layout, soldering, signal manipulation with piezoelectric sensors, and energy harvesters. Johnston, who holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in ECE with a focus in Systems and Controls from Georgia Tech said, “It is refreshing to see such an interest in the electrical and computer engineering field at such a young age. The availability of hardware and software to students at the high school level provides an enormous opportunity to develop critically needed skills requisite for advanced technological development. It is impressive to see how quickly bright students like Luca catch on to this information in as little as eight hours.”

Having the opportunity to visit the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory -- to see, to learn, and to experience a “day in the life” of an engineer -- was invaluable to Maddaleni as he considers his education options. His course of study in the IB program includes both higher level Physics and Math and, at this point, he is interested in pursuing a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering. Maddaleni said, “Shadowing Mr. Johnston gave me new insight into the different pathways for electrical or computer engineers, and showed me how research and development works inside a state of the art facility. I am very grateful for Mr. Johnston allowing me to shadow him, and for teaching me many things about what it means to be an engineer.”

The Directed Study course requires not only a job “shadow day,” but also an internship to give students an exposure to a real-life work environment. Following the day at the EOSL, Maddaleni’s desire is to obtain a spot in one of the Georgia Tech research labs for the Spring 2019 semester. All students in the directed study class build a resume, create a cover letter, participate in mock interviews, and go through career exploration exercises. They also practice writing college essays and other activities to prepare them for the “real” world.




Two More Raider Flyers

Congratulations to Lucas Daniels and Jacob Smith for their flights during Thanksgiving break. Both students flew with instructors over Lake Lanier and practiced maneuvers including slow flight, steep turns, and power-off stalls. They also practiced several landings in the traffic pattern at Gwinnett Airport. Not surprisingly, both Daniels and Smith show an interest in an aviation career. The Raider Flying Club, established by faculty member Alan Sohmer in 2008, enters its 11th year having already had more than 50 students experience the joy of flying a small airplane over north Georgia. 



Fall 2018 FBLA State Leadership Conference
The Raider Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter traveled to the 2018 Georgia Fall Leadership Conference in November. Held at the University of Georgia's Classic Center November 8th and 9th, the students attended a dynamic general session and informative leadership training workshops. Members also competed in the always thrilling Battle of the Chapters and one of the world's largest Monopoly Tournaments. In preparation for the upcoming Region Conference next semester, they honed their competition skills in Open Testing. A special bonus was touring the university's beautiful campus. Paula Chesser, Michelle Finley, and Veronica Randolph are the FBLA faculty sponsors.



Balkcom & Pargman:  Wendy's High School Heisman Winners 
Congratulations to Seniors Jordan Balkcom and Syd Pargman for being named the school's 2018 Wendy's High School Heisman Winners for their roles as an outstanding student athletes.

Balkcom is a three-year member of the Varsity Girls Volleyball team, where she holds the position of middle hitter. She is also involved with the Beta Club, the National Honor Society, and the Raider Writing Center.

Pargman is a member of the Varsity Baseball Team, where he is an outfielder. He is active in Beta Club, the Raider Writing Center, and the Spanish Club. He is also a recipient of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations.

The Wendy's High School Heisman Candidate program recognizes seniors who are proven leaders and role models within their school and community. They also must maintain a GPA of 3.0 (B average) or better. Learn more at WendysHighSchoolHeisman.com.


RoboRaiders Place 7th at 1st Competition

Congratulations to the RoboRaiders for a 7th place finish in their first event of the school year. The robotics team sent ten members to the Marist Blue and Gold League FTC Meet the weekend of November 10 and competed in the Gold Division. The RoboRaiders, led by president Max Seidel and vice president Eemil Harkonen, meet every Friday for two hours after school. Engineering faculty member Julian James is the team sponsor. Follow the RoboRaiders on Twitter (@RICSRoboRaiders)



2018-19 Reflections School Winners Announced
The PTSA congratulates this year's Reflections winners who best interpreted the theme "Heroes Around Us." Best wishes to the eight entries which are advancing 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.

Film Production:
Zoe Osborne
Alayna Tobo

Literature: 
Neha Devineni
Noa Nieves

Music Composition:
Austin Smith

Photography: 
Lucas Daniels

Visual Arts:
Diana Harden
Grecia Hernandez



New Mountain Bike Club Competes at 2018 Peach State Championship 
In its first year as an official school club, the Raider Mountain Bike team concluded its inaugural season with a top ten finish at the 2018 Peach State Championships. The Raiders won sixth place out of 21 teams in their division. Senior riders Jack Buehner, Nathan Eads, Ethan Hunt, and Sterling Shepard received special recognition at the race hosted by the Georgia Interscholastic Cycling League at the Dauset Trails Nature Center in Jackson. Held the first weekend of November, the event drew a total of 850 Georgia and South Carolina middle and high school student athletes on 55 teams. 

Congratulations to Raider season leaders Ethan Hunt, who tied for 7th place for varsity boys, Logan Hunt, who placed 6th for sophomore boys, and Chloe Gruensfelder who placed 9th for sophomore girls. Congratulations also to Nathan Eads for winning the NICA Spirit Award for his work and dedication establishing the Raider Mountain Bike Club. The team grew to 16 registered riders this year and looks to add more when the pre-season begins in April 2019. Shane Davis is the faculty sponsor.




Raider Musicians Win Awards at White Columns Invitational November 3, 2018

Congratulations to the Marching Band and Color Guard for their award winning performances at the 14th Annual White Columns Invitational competition. 

Held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Milton High School, the Color Guard and Drum Majors received "Superior" ratings while the Percussion and Marching Band earned "Excellent" ratings. Additionally, the Color Guard won first place in their division.


High School Students Visit from Germany
On Tuesday, October 30, the Raiders welcomed ten students from Nuremberg, Germany as part of a cultural exchange program. The students, ranging in age from 15-18, are participants in a Key Club program at the German-American Institute of Nuremberg. There, they study English language and learn about American culture, business, and education. They came to Atlanta as part of the Global Youth Ambassadors Program (GYAP), an Atlanta-based comprehensive education initiative that targets high school students to become competitive in the global economy through leadership training and international travel. In fact, their visit was indeed a true “exchange” -- three Riverwood students were in Germany this summer through the same program. While in Germany, the Raiders studied the language, explored the culture, and toured businesses while fostering transatlantic relationships. They met many of the students who subsequently came to Atlanta.

Each of the German students, who are in the United States for a total of nine days, spent a full day with a Raider student ambassador. Serving as ambassadors were America Betancourt, Chandler McCleskey, Haley Gruensfelder, Jada Sweeting, Julia Sibert, Lucy Howard, Malcom Stewart, LaBrauns Stinson, Ivan Tlaseca, and Zechiah Weekley. The groups attended classes, lunch, and visited various departments, many of which are unique to the school and to the American school system. Noted German student Bianca Hoffmann, “Riverwood was very different from my school. People are friendlier and more open. You can talk to everybody and teachers are ‘chill’.” Added Jakub Venzke, “Here, there are a lot more opportunities for activities. I really liked the gym, the football field, and the weight training room. We don’t have any of that at our school in Nuremberg.” An unexpected bonus was having the group return to campus Friday night to attend the Varsity Football game with their new friends.

According to Dr. John Eaves, Founder and Director of GYAP who was able to spend part of the day at school, Riverwood was chosen to host the students because of its international education reputation. As Fulton County’s only International Charter Magnet and in celebration of its International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, the school is committed to creating opportunities for students to learn about and experience the global community. 


October 2018 Headlines


Science Students visit Novelis
IB Chemistry and IB Physics classes toured the Novelis research plant in October. Novelis, Inc., the largest producer and recycler of aluminum in the United States, supplies different aluminum alloys to a variety of companies, including Coke, Ford, and Samsung. The students had an inside look at each step in the aluminum alloy production process, as well as the recycling process. 

A fascinating part of the day was the live safety demonstrations in the lab. Students viewed the many ways engineers test pressurized aluminum cans to be able to withstand higher levels of psi from carbonation. As the engineers removed each failsafe, cans exploded, collapsed, and turned inside out, accompanied by a wild spray of soda. The engineers also illustrated the steady growth of the mouth of the can over the years, laughing with students as they theorized a correlation between the widening of the opening and expanding waistlines.

In addition to learning about the many ways manufacturers incorporate aluminum alloys, the students gained an appreciation for the staggering volume of alloys produced annually around the world. With almost 200 billion cans produced each year in this country alone, it was encouraging to learn how easy it is to recycle. Indeed, the group came away with a renewed enthusiasm to always recycle aluminum cans.  




Chemistry Club Wins PTSA Student Mini-grant

Congratulations to the Raider Chemistry Club for being the first recipient of a PTSA student mini-grant. Similar to the successful long-running teacher mini-grant program, the PTSA opened up a formal procedure for student organizations to "pitch" funding requests this year. With their funds, the Chemistry Club organized and produced a Spooky Halloween experience on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Open to all science classes and to all students, the club transformed the Auxiliary Cafeteria into a fun, hands-on lab full of more than 15 cool chemistry-related tricks. Additionally, Sub-Zero provided "spooky" ice cream as an extra-special treat. 


Rekapalli Aces ACT
Congratulations to Shreya Rekapalli for scoring a perfect 36 on the ACT (American College Testing) exam. Rekapalli, Class of 2019, is a candidate for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Her studies include Higher Level Math, Physics, History of the Americas, and Literature, along with AP Psychology and Theory of Knowledge. She serves as a tutor in the Raider Writing Center, and is president of both the Model UN team and the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter. Rekapalli is a member of the Beta Club, the National Honor Society, and the Science National Honor Society. She attended the summer 2018 Governor's Honors Program in social studies, and was selected to go to the Yale Young Global Scholars for the Politics, Law, and Economics session. As a Junior, Rekapalli received The George Washington University Book Award. Rekapalli plans to double major in economics and psychology and has her sights set on Duke University, Dartmouth College, or Cornell University.

Rekapalli commented, “I firmly believe that practice is key. For me, the best thing to do was take practice tests to identify patterns in my mistakes, and then do the appropriate practice to remedy them. It's really all about practice. Leading up to the ACT, I took 10 practice tests.” Of the more than 2 million students taking the ACT in 2017, only .136% achieved a perfect score.



Senior Morales-Mier Wins $500 Scholarship
Congratulations to Senior Carmen Morales-Mier (Class of 2019) for winning the INROADS Visiones Leadership Scholarship. Morales-Mier accepted the $500 award at the INROADS annual Hispanic Heritage event held at the Four Seasons in Atlanta this fall.

Born and raised in Sandy Springs, Morales-Mier is the daughter of two immigrant parents and is the oldest of four children. She is a member of the National Beta Club, serves as a school Ambassador, and plays violin in the school Orchestra. In addition, Morales-Mier is president of the Raider Hispanic Organization Promoting Education (HoPe) chapter. During her free time, she volunteers at Los Ninos Primero and the Sandy Springs Mission, tutoring young children and elementary school students. Since her freshman year, Morales-Mier has already given more than 600 hours of community service.

Morales-Mier is part of the school's Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, a college-readiness program designed to increase school-wide learning and performance for all students, especially those in diverse and underrepresented demographic groups. She has been part of the program throughout high school and will be part of the second AVID graduating class in 2019.

“My older cousin, Rosa recommended me to apply for the AVID program because she said it's an amazing program and will benefit me by preparing me for college. I believe that the best experience that Riverwood has given me is the AVID program” says Morales-Mier. She added, “The AVID program is more than just a program, it's a family. In AVID, we're here for one another and can rely on all of the AVID teachers and students for their support.”  

Coach Buck Jenkins, AVID Coordinator, recommended Morales-Mier to apply for the Visiones 100 Scholarship Leadership Program, which rewards students of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity for their leadership and achievement. Says Morales-Mier, “If it weren't for Coach Jenkins informing me about the scholarship, I would have never applied.” She will use the funds to attend a four-year college and she hopes to pursue a medical school degree. Her long term goal is to become an OB/GYN and continue to support the Sandy Springs Latino community. Myrna Garcia, AVP Strategic Account Management & Business Development and Head of National Hispanic Initiatives at Inroads, said “She represents the best in our youth as we focus on the development and growth of our young community.”


October 2018:  Raiders Welcome New Choral Director
The Raiders are pleased to introduce Laura Leigh Beall, conductor, soprano, and music educator, as the new Choral Director effective the end of October 2018. 

Beall was the Choral Director at Frank N. Osborne Middle School in Gwinnett County from 2015-2018. She led seven choral ensembles and presented four concerts annually. Under her direction, the Osborne choruses consistently earned superior ratings in performance and sight-reading at Large Group Performance Evaluations. Additionally, Beall is currently enjoying her fourth season singing Soprano 1 with the Atlanta Master Chorale. 

Beall holds a Master of Music degree in Conducting from the University of Georgia, where she studied with Daniel Jacob Bara and J.D. Burnett. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Reinhardt University, where she studied conducting with Martha Shaw. When not singing, conducting, or teaching, Beall can be found jogging, cooking, drinking large amounts of coffee, and playing with every puppy she meets. 


Model UN Team at Georgia Tech
The Raider Model UN team competed in the 2018 Georgia Tech Model United Nations (GTMUN) Conference in October. Congratulations to Jack Buehner (United Nations Environment Programme), Madeline Chen (General Assembly Plenary), Haley Gruensfelder (General Assembly 3: Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural), Ethan Hunt (United Nations Environment Programme), Keshaun Jannah (General Assembly 1: Disarmament and International Security), JP Lutz ( General Assembly 6: Legal), Jonah Menikoff (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Elle Mezzio (General Assembly Plenary), Hayes Miller (World Health Organization), Shreya Rekapalli (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), and Mo Zibbitt (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for their work modeling The People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The 11 students tackled topics ranging from developing alternative agricultural production methods to expanding internet access to vulnerable populations.

Faculty Advisor Joshua Williams said, “The students gave up their Columbus Day holiday on Monday to participate at this conference, and they did a fantastic job.” Thanks to a generous grant from the PTSA, Williams was able to travel with the students to the conference. Williams, a member of the faculty for ten years, teaches AP US History, Economics, and International Affairs.

The two-day Georgia Tech Model UN High School Conference took place on Georgia Tech’s campus. Established in 1998, GTMUN provides delegates with unique insight and perspectives into the most complex and pressing global issues faced by world leaders. GTMUN prides itself as being a venue in which the brightest minds in the region come together to learn the significance of diplomacy, to gain new perspectives on global issues, and to gain a meaningful understanding of teamwork, leadership, and collaboration


Stanek is National Merit Semifinalist
Congratulations to Senior Michelle Stanek for being selected as a semifinalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship program.

Based on her outstanding score on the PSAT taken during her Junior year, Stanek joins an elite group of approximately 16,000 high school seniors from across the country. As semifinalist, she now must fulfill several requirements in order to advance to the finalist round. She must have a record of high academic performance, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn an SAT score that confirms her earlier qualifying test performance. Additionally, all semifinalists complete a detailed scholarship application, which includes a self-descriptive essay and information about participation and leadership in school and community activities.



Art Department Goes “Big” with New Printer and Graphic Design Course 
The Art Department is pleased to announce two “big” new additions to its program. The Epson Sure Color P5000 large format photographic printer is now part of the equipment available to art students. Prior to using the printer, students will learn about the management of printing, and especially about how it relates to enlarging photographs. They no longer will need to send their artwork and photographs to outside printers, saving a great deal of time as well as money. According to Department Chair Dana Munson, “Having a large format printer in-house really helps raise the bar for our students.” A grant from Fulton County Schools enabled the department to acquire the printer.

Also new this school year is a Digital Design curriculum. Students, using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, the highest industry standard software, will focus on “real world graphic designs to solve real world problems,” notes Munson. They will work with school organizations and even community entities to develop and then screen-print logos and designs. The goal is to provide students with high-level skills that can lead to potential careers in graphic design. Munson adds, “Learning to skillfully execute in Adobe Illustrator in high school will give these students a measurable leg-up in the field of design.” With 28 students already enrolled this fall, the new, two-year expansion program is obviously filling a void. The Digital Design class is a significant complement to the existing Drawing and Painting, Photography, Ceramics, Sculpture, Jewelry/Metal Craft, and Film courses. Coursework is available at the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) levels, as well.


September 2018 Headlines


Third Annual Joint College Fair
The Counseling Center, in conjuction with North Springs High school, hosted their third annual joint College Night on September 27, 2018 at Ridgeview Charter School. Over 70 public and private universities, colleges, and technical schools participated. Approximately 1,000 parents and students from the two high schools as well as Ridgeview and Sandy Springs middle schools, came to the event.

According to Head Counselor Shamona Harrell, “It is our job as a counseling staff to ensure that students are exposed, educated, and able to engage in the college planning process. We are excited that we can offer College Night as a valuable tool to facilitate that process.” Similar to the past two years, the joint event was well-attended and enabled students to speak with leading national universities and colleges, representatives from over 25 Georgia schools, branches of military institutions, as well as technical schools. 

In addition to visiting the gym full of college representatives, parents and students could choose to attend an array of workshops. The sessions addressed topics such as Tips for Applying to College, Finding Money for College, Financial Aid & Scholarships, Understanding SAT vs ACT, The Road to University for Latinos, HBCU Panel Discussion “Dispelling the Myth,” and College High School 101:  Peer Lessons for the 8th Grade Student. In addition, Raider students Lucy Howard and Syd Pargman, along with Raider Writing Center Sponsor Christy Toledano, presented a College Essay Workshop. Some of the workshops were designed for middle school students and their families, as the counselors recognize that students need to begin the process of preparing for life after high school graduation much earlier than they have in the past. Pictured left (L-R): North Springs Principal Scott Hanson and Riverwood Principal Chuck Gardner


Spring 2018 Honor Roll and Principal’s List Announced

Honor Roll students achieved a cumulative average between 90-94.9 and were recognized during the school day on Wednesday, September 26. Principal’s List students earned a cumulative grade point average of 95 or higher; they were recognized during the school day on Friday, September 28. Congratulations to these outstanding scholars for a successful semester and for their demonstrated commitment to academic excellence.   

                       2018 Spring Semester Honor Roll and Principal's List coming soon




Kaylah Jackson Named Athlete of the Week
Congratulations to Varsity Volleyball Junior Kaylah Jackson for being named the September 26, 2018 Athlete of the Week by The Sandy Springs Neighbor        
Read the article by Sports Editor E. Marcel Pourtout



Raider Writing Center Opens for Business September 20, 2018

The Raider Writing Center opened its doors for the fourth year in September 2018 with peer tutors even more prepared than ever. In addition to the annual fall workshop at Kennesaw State University’s Writing Center attended by the new and returning tutors, a select group also went to a Journalism and Literary Magazine Camp this summer. Accompanied by Language Arts Teacher Christy Toledano, who founded and leads the Raider Writing Center, students Lucy Howard, Maddy Nagley, Tayler Lundell, Ella Ponsell, Hope Talton, Hannah York, Shane Kleber, and Sam Shir spent part of their summer vacation at the University of North Carolina.

Inspired by the summer camp at Chapel Hill, the students set a goal to publish an online newspaper/literature magazine featuring student writing this year. Says Toledano, “We are excited to offer new writing opportunities for all of our Riverwood students.” Toledano plans on offering more workshop sessions this year and will continue to host the ever popular annual poetry slam and many other fun writing activities each month.

Last school year, the Writing Center provided more than 1,300 individual tutoring sessions. The center also offered Wednesday morning workshops in AP World, AP US History, and 10th grade Honors English. With the aim to support all Riverwood students with any writing assignment in any class and to assist with any other writing task, the tutors also help with college essays, letters to the editor, and creative writing. The Center is open every school day during lunch as well as every Wednesday morning before school.  

At this time, the Raider Writing Center is the only one of its kind operating in Fulton County Schools. In addition to the partnership with Kennesaw State University, which hosts the annual fall training sessions, both the Riverwood PTSA and the Riverwood Foundation provide funding to the Writing Center. Realizing the critical need for sustained support, the PTSA added a dedicated line-item to their annual operating budget several years ago. The Foundation provided funding for Toledano to attend the Summer 2018 Journalism and Literary Magazine Camp at UNC Chapel Hill.




New Math Center Opens September 20, 2018

The much-anticipated Raider Math Center debuted on Thursday, September 20. The Center, with 26 student tutors, served over 120 high school students in its first two days. Modeled after the highly successful Raider Writing Center, the Math Center provides visitors with student-directed tutoring in all math subjects --Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calc, Calculus, AP Statistics, SAT/ACT, and IB Math -- as well as in Chemistry and Physics. 

Tutors are 11th and 12th grade students who were selected based upon an application and recommendations from two math teachers. They read “Becoming a Better Math Tutor” by David Moursund and Robert Albrecht, which taught them how to work with peers, use technology as a resource, and how to connect with students. They also toured Georgia State University’s Math Assistance Complex where they participated in tutoring simulations. Notes Math Center Tutor, Senior Elaina Levy, “I knew I wanted to be a math tutor because I enjoy seeing the student’s reaction when they get to the right answer and realize that math isn’t so hard.” The Math Center is open every weekday during lunch and on Wednesday mornings before school.

Math teacher, Laura Taylor, has been planning for the Math Center for almost two years. Her goal, and that of the school administration, has been to decrease the amount of students in math support and to increase the school’s Georgia Milestones scores (a key component of the state’s accountability system). She notes, “We wanted to reach the students during the school day… We wanted to give students a place to come to ask for help in a comfortable, welcoming and focused environment.” 

The Math Center was made possible by support from the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) and the Riverwood Foundation, who purchased supplies, including calculators, and paid for the field trip to Georgia State University. The Math Center joins the Raider Writing Center as another successful student-oriented resource aimed at empowering tutors and tutees. Adds Taylor, “My vision for the Math Center is to provide an opportunity for students who are excellent in math to showcase their skills by being a tutor. In turn, they strengthen their understanding of the subject while providing a safe and comfortable environment for students who may be apprehensive about going to a teacher for help. Our goal is to have 2,000 tutoring sessions by May.” 




Graduation Rate Sets All-time Mark
The Georgia Department of Education released the Class of 2018 graduation rate statistics for the state and Riverwood's graduating class reached an all-time high of 92.2%.Congratulations to the students, the faculty, and the families for this significant achievement. The 92.17% rate represents a 5.2% increase from 2017 and was the highest increase across all Fulton County High Schools. Of special note was the 13.5% graduation rate increase in the Hispanic demographic.

Principal Chuck Gardner said, "I am proud of the team approach that our school is taking to mentor and support students. Additionally, I’m proud of our families, community, and feeder schools that made this happen." 
View or download Mr. Gardner's September 20, 2018 letter  English


Animal Rescue Club Wins Top Fundraising Award
The Raider Chapter of the Animal Rescue Club participated in the 2018 "Strut Your Mutt" walk on Saturday, September 8. More than 20 friends and family members joined the Raider team at Atlantic Station and raised more than $2,000 for the Best Friends Animal Society. As a result, the Raider team won the award for the top "friends and family" fundraising team. Faculty sponsor Kris Hale remarked, "It was so much fun meeting everyone's family, friends, and canine friends, and participating in a giant pack walk. And it was all for a great cause, to put an end to dog and cat homelessness."


August 2018 Headlines


13 Raiders Selected for Youth Leadership Sandy Springs
Congratulations to Christine Cleveland, Oliver Davidson, David Esslinger, Bradley Friedrich, Sasha Frierson, Elizabeth Grant, Sophie Griggs, Grecia Hernandez, Haag Johnson, Lindsey Lewis, Jennifer Ruiz, Katie Sprung, and Owen Woodman for being selected for the 2018-19 Youth Leadership Sandy Springs Class. The 13 inductees join 26 other Sandy Springs area high school students in the year-long program designed to enhance and enrich their understanding of the city. Throughout the year, they will examine the environment, city government, non-profits, law enforcement, as well as business and public safety. Launched by Leadership Sandy Springs in 2011, YLSS is based on Leadership Sandy Springs’ successful 30-year-old program developing community leaders. The Raiders are proud to carry on the tradition of having significant representation in YLSS.


Teachers Attend Summer Training
With generous support from the Riverwood Foundation, four teachers attended the Advanced Summer 2018 Teach for Excellence (T4E) training in Washington State. Lauren Fogarty (ESOL), Laura Taylor (Mathematics), Christy Toledano (Language Arts), and Monica Olier-Toloza (World Language) participated in the Performance Excellence for All Kids (PEAK) summer institute in June. These seasoned teachers completed the advanced level training, having previously attended initial training, and were able to deeply explore the teaching philosophy, “Our Kids Are Worth Whatever It Takes.” The conference supplied them with an arsenal of T4​E tools which will help them make an immediate impact on their classrooms this year, and will, through peer mentoring and training sessions, reach even more classes.

Said Math Teacher Laura Taylor, “There are a plethora of strategies in the TFE-style of teaching, many of which I cannot wait to implement in my classroom this school year. We learned how to take what knowledge we gained from the pervious trainings and apply it in our classrooms in a thoughtful and meaningful way. The four of us plan to meet multiple times throughout the school year to discuss what we have tried, to hold each other accountable, and to collaborate. This training has truly changed how I view teaching and I am so excited for the future of my classroom!”

T4E, a week-long hands-on summer training, helps teachers move their classrooms to a student-centered model that is teacher-led. Teachers become coaches, mentors, and guides to the learning process, and students become more active participants responsible for their learning by working closely with peers. This strategic model creates opportunities to encourage problem-solving and critical thinking, and better prepares students for the independent learning required in higher education.


July 2018 Headlines


Students Live, Study, and Travel in Spain
Fourteen students and two teachers traveled to Spain this summer for a total language and culture immersion experience. The group spent 17 days in Barcelona, Seville, and surrounding areas as part of the third year of Riverwood’s Spanish language and culture study abroad program. The students lived with families and attended a local school in Seville. According to Spanish teacher Lorraine Lynch, who led the trip for the third consecutive year, “Total language and cultural immersion is essential to building global citizens. To fully experience a language and culture as ‘locals’ do offers students a first-person experience which is not possible in the confines of a classroom.” The program was offered in conjunction with Centro MundoLengua, a private language school and educational tour operator. Lynch and International Baccalaureate (IB) teacher and World Language Department Chair, Donna Vargas, accompanied the students, who ranged in age from 10th grade to recent graduates.

Over the course of two weeks, the students attended structured language courses each morning and, after lunch, experienced Spanish culture through various group activities. Highlights included visits to Seville’s cultural treasures such as the Alcazar and the Plaza España. They also travelled to the Spanish cities of Cadiz, Cordoba, and to Barcelona at the end of their trip. In coastal Cadiz, many students took surfing lessons. The group participated in a hands-on paella cooking class in Seville, as well as a Catalan cooking class in Barcelona. In Barcelona, highlights included experiencing some of famed architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces, including La Sagrada Familia. All classes, lessons, and tours were conducted completely in Spanish. Friends and family of the students traveling followed their adventures on social media and via their student-led blog.

According to participant Maeve Munson, “The best part for me was being completely immersed into their life. We were constantly seeing something new for the first time and experiencing an entirely different culture first hand.” Adds junior Oliver Davidson, “I think studying abroad is the most beneficial thing that someone can do to improve their Spanish/foreign language ability and to improve their knowledge of another country’s culture. I would encourage any student who is considering going on the trip to go!”


Summer 2018 Trip to France
Ten students and two teachers traveled to France during the summer of 2018 for a language and culture immersion experience. The group spent two-and-a-half weeks in Paris and Biarritz as part of the second annual French language and study abroad program. The students lived with local families, attended classes, and participated in activities and/or excursions each day. According to French teacher Brett Edeker, who travelled with the students, “A French immersion program like this is important because it helps increase confidence, both in language and character, for students who immerse themselves in a new culture and learn through new experiences.” Holly Fitchette, another French teacher on the faculty, also travelled with the group.

The rising 10th through 12th grade students began their trip in Paris, where they spent three days touring the city and visiting landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. Other highlights were stops at world-famous museums such as the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, as well as experiencing a traditional three-course French meal. After visiting Paris, the students travelled by high-speed train (TGV) to Biarritz, a coastal town in southwest France Basque Country. There they lived with local families and attended a world-famous language immersion school, the Biarritz Language Courses Institute. Students attended classes in the morning and participated in cultural activities each afternoon. They visited the nearby cities of Bayonne and Hendaye and spent a day in San Sebastian, Spain, where they sampled local “tapas” specialties.

Student Carys Barnett offered: “You can take all of the language and history courses you want, but if you really want to learn, traveling and experiencing a culture is the best way you are going to learn about it.” Added trip participant Oscar Ventura, “It was an experience of a lifetime. The people were welcoming and kind, the food was great, and I enjoyed getting to know my host family and making new friends.”


Summer 2018 FBLA National Conference Awards
Three Raiders competed in the 2018 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in July. Congratulations to junior Luca Maddaleni (Class of 2020) for placing 6th in the Help Desk Category and to Class of 2018 graduate David Antonino for placing 4th in the Marketing Team Event. Antonino and junior Chandler McCleskey (Class of 2020) also received the America Award, the highest level recognition for FBLA Business Achievement.

These students qualified for nationals by competing and placing at the March 2018 State Conference. At the state level, Maddaleni placed 1st in Help Desk and 6th in Computer Problem Solving. McCleskey placed 2nd in Sales Presentation and 4th in Introduction to FBLA. Antonino qualified as an alternate by placing in the Top 10 in the Marketing Team event.

The Help Desk and Marketing Team category requires competitors to first complete a timed objective test on the subject matter while the Sales Presentation category requires students give their pitch to a panel of judges. Adding to the excitement of the four day event is the tradition of not learning until 5 o’clock in the morning of the final day of competition the names of the top 15 students to advance in each category. After learning of their advancement, the Georgia students immediately proceeded to a mandatory 5:30am meeting with Georgia FBLA Executive Director Monty Rhodes. Following a day of practice and preparation, the final performance event took place later that same day.

Help Desk is an interactive role-play scenario based on customer service. This event requires competitors to demonstrate an understanding of and ability to provide technical assistance to end users. Marketing is a role-play scenario where a marketing problem is proposed, and a solution is discussed. This event requires team members to demonstrate their knowledge of the fundamental principles of marketing. Sales Presentation presentation requires the effective delivery of a pitch that attempts to persuade someone with a planned sales presentation strategy of a product or service designed to initiate and close a sale.

The America Award is an intensive leadership development program that recognizes FBLA members for achievements in a variety of career-related projects, goals, and programs. High school students create a portfolio of real-world accomplishments and develop their business and leadership skills. The students complete all portfolio requirements prior to the National conference.

Maddaleni and McCleskey are currently International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates; Antonino is in his freshman year at the University of Texas, Austin, studying Business Administration.

The four-day national conference in Baltimore, Maryland, considered the pinnacle of FBLA events, brought together thousands of high school students from across the country (and world) to compete in leadership events, share their successes, and learn new ideas through workshops and exhibits. The Raider FBLA chapter looks forward to another strong year under faculty advisors Paula Chesser, Michelle Finley, and Veronica Randolph and is already setting their sights on next summer’s national conference in San Antonio, Texas. 


May 2018 Headlines​


First AVID Graduating Class

The Raiders adopted the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program​ in August 2014 with a handful of 9th grade students. In May 2018, 27 students received their high school diplomas. Proudly marching across the Cobb Energy Centre stage, wearing their AVID stoles over their graduation gowns, were Luis Alvarado-Petata, Julisa Bautista Flores, Paige Bradshaw, Amarai Brown, Angel Candelas, Denise Cervantes, Jesus Flores, Prince Gaines, Fabain Gomez Salgado, Destine Hardnett,Jose Hernandez, Olivia Lampkin, Crystal Marin Lopez, Jabari Marts, Maria Mendoza, Rosa Moctezuma-Mier, Josseline Nicacio, Xavier Palacios-Santana, Braxton Peoples, Phillia Prior, Georgia Ramos, Brittany Rhodes, Maia Stapleton, Megan Ta, Flor Valle Garcia, Byron Woodard, and Daniela Zepeda Ibarra. 

Of the 27 seniors completing the four-year program in May, all but one have already determined which college they will attend in the fall. The one remaining student is waiting to make a decision. While most are enrolling in-state schools, several are attending out of state institutions:  NYU (1), Huntingdon College (1), and Santa Monica College (1). The in-state distribution is as follows: Georgia State University will receive the most AVID graduates (10), followed by Georgia Gwinnett College (6), the University of West Georgia (3), Kennesaw State University (2), Columbus State University (1), and Young Harris College (1).

Next school year, 138 students across all grade levels will be in Riverwood’s 2018-19 AVID program. The Class of 2019 will have 24 students; the Class of 2020 will have 36; the Class of 2021 will have 35; and the entering Class of 2022 will have 43 students. Furthermore, after the summer 2018 AVID teacher training, half of the entire academic staff will be AVID trained, and will be implementing AVID strategies throughout the school.

Continued funding from the Riverwood Foundation and grants totaling more than $25,000 from The Sandy Springs Society in 2014, 2015, and 2016 provide more than simply teacher training. AVID funding also supports field trips, tutors, and technology in the classrooms. Field trips to Georgia State, UGA, Emory, and Kennesaw State (to name just a few) expose students to post-high school opportunities. Equally important, tutors provide critical academic support and have access to iPads to enhance the tutoring sessions while reinforcing digital literacy.​



Fulton County Schools Senior Spotlight:  Yazmin Tamez-Garcia​
Congratulations to Yazmin Tamez-Garcia​ (Class of 2018) for being selected by Fulton County Schools as the Raider Star Senior.
 

 


Three Raiders Traveling to Germany This Summer with GYAP
Congratulations to Malcolm Stewart, LaBrauns Stinson, and Zechiah Weekley for being chosen to participate in the 2018 Global Youth Ambassador Program (GYAP). GYAP 2018 is traveling to Germany in June and will provide a unique opportunity to foster transatlantic relationships.

GYAP 2018 starts June 1 with a two week leadership academy. Students will receive German language instruction, cultural competence training, and will learn a great deal about German history and current events. Public speaking and workforce preparedness are components of the leadership academy, too. Part of the Peer to Peer Teen Exchange Program is a homestay with local families in Nuremberg. Beginning the week of June 16, the group will be attending high school classes, touring Nuremberg’s cultural sites, and attending an official reception hosted by city officials.

Other major cities on the trip are Munich and Berlin. GYAP partners with a variety of American and German institutions, such as Amerikahaus, Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institute Nuremberg, the Atlanta-Nuremberg Sister City Committee, International Affairs, City of Nuremberg, and Goethe Zentrum Atlanta. As a result, this summer’s itinerary includes site visits to American companies based in Germany.​

Headed up by former Fulton County Chairman John Eaves, GYAP is celebrating its 10th year in providing quality global leadership training to high school students. GYAP is a comprehensive global education initiative which empowers its members to become competitive in the global economy. To be considered for the program, the students must receive a high school counselor’s recommendation, meet GPA requirements, and provide at least two letters of recommendation.​​


Congratulations, Graduates! 
The Class of 2018 graduated on Thursday, May 24 at the Cobb Energy Centre. Each year, the school bestows three special awards to outstanding seniors. Congratulations to: 

  • Atlanta Journal & Constitution Cup:  Josh​ Bennafield (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: Whit Blass (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:  Destynee Jones (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.


Congratulations to the following Raider Athletes from the Class of 2018 who will be continuing their sports careers in college:

  • Griffin Brown, Pensacola State College, Baseball (learn​ more)

  • Paché Caldwell, Florida A&M University, Track (learn more)

  • Elizabeth Goines, Georgia Southern University, Tennis (learn more)

  • Kalia Jones, Agnes Scott College, Volleyball (learn more)

  • Brianna Lang, Coppin State University, Volleyball (learn more)

  • Kaitlyn Lauk, Reinhardt University, Soccer (learn more)

  • Kennedy Lewis, Howard University, Track (learn more)

  • Theresa Riccio, University of Montevallo, Track (learn more)


International Thespian Society Chapter Inducts New Members
The Raider chapter of the International Thespian Society (IST), Troupe 6083, inducted nine new members in May. Congratulations to Lizzie Begle, Tommy Carroll, Sam Cooney, Rebecca Eisenstein, Grace Hirsch, James Jackson, Sha​ne Kleber, Josh Lerner, and Phillia Prior.

The IST Troupe 6083 event, similar to the Academy Awards, featured presenters, envelopes, and acceptance speeches, as well as the induction ceremony of the newest members. The 2017-18 Thespian president was Harris Cohen (Class of 2018); Mary Beth van der Hoek is the chapter faculty sponsor.

The IST, a division of the Educational Theatre Association, is the honor society for high school theatre students. Membership requirements are strict, as each student must complete 100 hours of theatre work – both technical and performance – in addition to their classroom assignments. Fulfilling the requirements is usually a two-year commitment.



Echeverria Receives Inaugural "I Believe in You" Scholarship
Congratulations to Andy Echeverria (Class of 2018) for receiving the inaugural "I Believe in You" $500 college scholarship. He plans to pursue a career in medicine, possibly as a medical assistant or in the nursing field. The scholarship committee selected Echeverria based on his positive attitude, tremendous work ethic, and the potential effect that this scholarship has to make on his life.​

A local family created the inaugural "I Believe in You" scholarship in memory of Scott Selig, an Atlanta native and real estate developer. Selig, who died in 2017 of cancer, was a proponent of helping underserved youth​ and the family commented "Scott truly believed in people and think he'd be proud to know that through this scholarship, he continues to help…one person at a time.”​ The scholarship is for students in the Seniors Achieving in Life (SAIL) program, which pairs graduating seniors with adult community mentors who help them navigate the difficult and often daunting process of applying to a college or technical school. 


Schmidt is One of Ten Georgia STAR ESOL Teachers
Congratulations to faculty member Mary Schmidt's selection by the Georgia Department of Education as a 2018 STAR English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher.

Schmidt is one of only ten teachers statewide to be named a Georgia Department of Education STAR ESOL teacher. Started in 2016, the Star ESOL designation re​cognizes teachers who provide superior ESOL instruction in Georgia. Senior Anh Tran (Raider Class of 2018) nominated Schmidt for the award. Both Tran and Schmidt attended State School Superintendent Richard Wood’s annual “Excellence in Achievement” reception on May 7 where the Georgia Board of Education honored all of the state’s winning students and teachers.

Schmidt has taught English learners for 20 years, 14 of them at Riverwood. She remarked “I am humbled and proud that I can represent Riverwood and Fulton County as a STAR ESOL teacher in Georgia."


High Point Civic Association Awards Two Scholarships
The High Point Civic Association (HPCA) awarded $500 scholarships to two Raider seniors. Congratulations to Xavier Palacios-Santana and Rosa Moctezuma-Mier (Class of 2018) for winning the inaugural scholarships; both will attend Georgia State University in the fall. Palacios-Santana and Moctezuma-Mier went to High Point Elementary School and Ridgeview Charter Middle School -- a designation that was important to the scholarship's designers. This is the first year that the Association is sponsoring this scholarship, which is paid out of the Association's budget. Notes HPCA Treasurer/Secretary Duffy Hickey, "We are so pleased to begin what we hope will be a long time recognition of young adults like Rosa and Xavier for their impressive achievements at our public schools and also in gratitude for the fantastic teachers we have at all three of our public schools. Best wishes to Rosa and Xavier as they continue their education." The High Point Civic Association is a non-profit organization of residents living in the High Point area of Sandy Springs.​


Mittelstedt Wins Fully Funded Trip to Washington, D.C. Seminar
Congratulations to rising senior Julie Mittelstedt (Class of 2019) for receiving a "Future Leaders of America" scholarship from the Fulton County Law Week Committee. She will attend a Washington Workshop Seminar this summer. Mittelstedt ​accepted her award at the annual Fulton County Law Week ceremony on May 1 at the State Bar of Georgia headquarters.

Mittelstedt went through an extensive application and interview process for the scholarship, competing with outstanding​ high school students from across Metro Atlanta. The scholarship covers round-trip airfare, tuition, room and board, and all expenses associated with the Washington Workshop Congressional Seminar. Malone Law is sponsoring Mittelstedt’s scholarship.

The 2018 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., students 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.​


McCleskey Selected to Attend Hugh O'Brian Leadership Seminar
Congratulations rising junior Chandler McCleskey (Class of 2020) for being chosen to represent the Raiders at this summer's Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) Seminar. He will join over 200 other HOBY Ambassadors from Northwest Georgia at Agnes Scott College June 1-3, 2018. The ambassadors already demonstrate leadership in their schools and communities, and the HOBY seminar provides a unique leadership training, service-learning, and motivation-building experience. Founded in 1958, HOBY’s mission is to inspire and develop a global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. HOBY ambassadors develop a lifelong dedication to improving the lives of others.​


Two Seniors Win Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce Scholarships
Congratulations to Alina Cortes and Valeria Atempa (Class of 2018) for winning college scholarships from the Sandy Springs Perime​​ter Chamber of Commerce. Cortes and Atempa each received $1,​000 from the Donna Adams Mahaffey Scholarship Fund. The fund began in 2015 with the goal of inspiring female graduates to attend college. Recipients must fulfill grade and application requirements and show financial need. According to the scholarship committee, “These scholarships instill children with the concept that regardless of their financial situation, they too can receive a higher education."​

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