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September 2017 Headlines


Balser Wins Woodrow Wilson Community Service Award
Congratulations to Senior Dori Balser (Class of 2018) for winning the Princeton Club of Georgia Woodrow Wilson Community Service Award. Balser will be honored at the Georgia State Capitol in October.

Balser, an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme candidate, is the Student Body Vice President. She is one of onl​y 16 high school students selected to serve on the Youth Board of the United Way of Greater Atlanta. As a Youth Board member, Balser helps plan service projects for Atlanta teens. One such project is the annual "shoebox" project, which collects and distributes shoeboxes filled with basic necessities to homeless women and children in Greater Atlanta.

Balser was the Raiders' 2017 "HOBY Ambassador," representing Riverwood at the Hugh O'Brian Summer Youth Leadership Conference. HOBY ambassadors, selected for their potential to lead others, discover and sharpen leadership skills at the conference, and come face-to-face with current leaders in such fields as government, media, business, and education.

Balser said "Service has always been an important part of my life. I believe that it is our responsibility as humans to be there for other humans in times of need. As teens, we need to value the importance of service and helping other people, because we are the future. One day, our parents and teachers will not be there to help us, so we need to learn how to be there for each other."

The Princeton Club of Georgia established the Woodrow Wilson Community Service Award in 1985. The award honors Atlanta-area high school juniors who, through community involvement and personal initiative, best exemplify the ideals of service and volunteerism espoused by Woodrow Wilson, former President of the United States and of Princeton University. The ideal candidate volunteers out of a passion to improve the community, not to fulfill school requirements or to build a resume, and for whom service is a part of everyday life.

"It is such an honor to receive this award." Balser stated. "I hope this inspires people my age to get involved in service. Not only does it help others tremendously, but I have grown so much as a leader and as a person through my service to others."​


Junior Wins Global Entrepreneurs Competition; Interviewed on NPR
Junior Shreya Rekapalli won first place as part of a five-person team in this summer’s TiE Young Entrepreneurs Global Competition at the University of California, Irvine. Rekapalli and her teammates, representing schools from across the Atlanta metro area, first won a regional competition, qualifying them for the June 2017 global event. Rekaplli and her teammates, Anuj Das (Alpharetta High School), Ananya Ganesh (The Westminster Schools), Alex Gonzalez (Cristo Rey Atlanta), and Anushka Korantana (Northview High School), developed Chill Wipes, an all-natural essential oil-based cooling wipe with sun protection. The wipe, packaged in a compact, economical, and customizable pack, won first place in the Global Competition, as well as the Best Elevator Pitch award. They were the first team ever to win both a special award and the best team award. Notes Rekapalli, “I learned so much from the TYE Program… especially the fact that the entire process of building a product is not easy whatsoever. I loved that we got a sense of the real business world, and what it is really like to be an entrepreneur.” The winning team recently made an appearance on 90.1 WABE fm radio (lis​ten to the 15 minute interview), and were featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Rekapalli, an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme candidate, says her favorite academic subjects are math and history. She is the president of Raider Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter and also takes part in the Model United Nations, Student Government, Beta Club, and the Science National Honor Society. Furthermore, she is a member of Lady Raiders Girls Cross Country and Soccer teams. ​



Community Service Club Collects Hundreds of Solar Eclipse Glasses
The Raider Community Service Club collected more than 500 solar eclipse glasses in September. The glasses will go to Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), a worldwide astronomy community,​ which will distribute them in South America and Asia when eclipses cross those continents in 2019. AWB will provide the donated glasses free of charge to schools and organizations.




August 2017 Headlines


Freshman Wins Seat & Award in Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra
(ASYO)

Congratulations to Freshman Madeline Chen (Class of 2021) for winning a seat in the 2017-18 Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra (ASYO) as harpist. This is her second year playing in the ASYO and she is one of the youngest members of the orchestra. Congratulations also to Chen for winning Honorable Mention in the 2017 ASYO Concerto Competition. 2017-18 marks the 44th Season of the ASYO, and is the first season with new Music Director, Stephen Mulligan. The first performance of the season is the Overture Concert Sunday, November 5, 2017 and the second is the Crescendo Concert Sunday, March 18, 2018.  ​Learn more about the ASYO



Youth Leadership Sandy Springs Inducts Nine Raiders
In August, Youth Leadership Sandy Springs (YLSS) inducted nine Raiderss to the 2017-18 class. Congratulations to Lizzie Frederick, Jessica Keen, Jaren Linowes, Hayes Miller, Ricardo Ruiz, Julia Sibert, Alisa Steele, Spencer Vise, and Charles Woodman for being selected. They 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, and 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 have​ been well-represented in each of the seven YLSS classes.


Raider Band & Orchestra Program Receives $5,000 Grant

With a generous grant from Sandy Springs Society, the Instrumental Music Program purchased new instrumental music folders and music stands. The $5,000 grant enables the ever-growing music program to provide critical equipment. Band Director Carlos Rodriguez instructs over 170 students in the Intermediate, Mastery, and Jazz bands. Additionally, the Raider Marching Band now numbers close to 60 musicians. New to the school, Orchestra Director Jessica Luhrs takes over three curricular string orchestras with approximately 80 students.

Due to increasing participation, the band and orchestra are no longer able to share a rehearsal room. Having new music stands extends the rehearsal space for both groups. The new music folders will raise the professionalism of each production and will allow each student to store their music properly.

Luhrs adds, “I’m excited to give the students these new materials now as we wait for our brand new performing arts wing to be built onto the school. It’s an exciting time for our orchestras, and I look forward to seeing this grow into a program of musical prestige and honor. It’s my goal as a director to create a program that serves the school and community by providing high quality musical performances, so that when my students look back at their time in spent in orchestra, they’re proud to have been a part of it.” The school greatly appreciates the Sandy Springs Society’s continued support of the Instrumental Music Program.​


​July 2017 Headlines


Raiders Return to Spain:  Summer 2017
The Raiders sent thirteen students and two teachers to Spain this summer for a total language and cultural immersion experience. The group spent two weeks in Seville, Spain and surrounding areas as part of the second year of Riverwood’s Spanish language and culture study abroad program. The students lived with local families, attended classes, and participated in cultural activities each day. According to Spanish teacher Lorraine Lynch who led the trip for the second consecutive year, “It was truly an authentic cultural experience, as we lived like locals. Total immersion is the best way to learn a language and to expand your worldview, which is essential to becoming a true global citizen.” The program was offered in conjunction with Centro MundoLengua, a private language school and educational tour operator. Lynch and Donna Vargas, World Language Department Chair, accompanied the rising 10th-12th grade students.

Over the course of twelve days, 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 kayaked on the Guadalquivir river, attended an authentic flamenco show, learned to cook paella, and experienced the traditional Arab baths, which date to the 9th Century. Their visit coincided with Corpus Christi, a very important religious and cultural festival. During the festival, the students enjoyed traditional music, processions, and public displays. As an added treat, they also spent a weekend in Tavira, Portugal. 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.

In support of its international studies and IB curriculum, the school organized several international trips in 2017: a service trip to Nicaragua over Spring Break 2017, and separate trips to Spain, France, and Japan during summer 2017. The school plans to add additional international trips in the future. The 2017 trips received support from the Riverwood Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to support initiatives that enhance the learning experience for students.​


Freshmen Compete at National FBLA Conference in Anaheim, California
Two Raider Freshmen competed in the summer 2017 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Leadership Conference. Congratulations to rising Sophomores (Class of 2020) Luca Maddaleni (pictured left) and Chandler McCleskey (pictured right) for qualifying at the state level to advance to the June 29-July 2 national conference. At the state level, Maddaleni won first place in the Introduction to Information Technology division; McCleskey won fourth place in Public Speaking. The four-day national conference in Anaheim, California, 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. Faculty advisor Paula Chesser accompanied the Raiders to Anaheim. The Raider FBLA chapter looks forward to another strong year under faculty advisors Paula Chesser and Michelle Finley and is already setting their sights on next summer’s 2018 national conference in Baltimore, Maryland.​

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June 2017 Headlines


Raiders Explore Japan for Two Weeks
Japanese language teacher Dr. Azusa Callaway accompanied five students to Japan in June 2017 for a two-week language and culture immersion experience. Japanese language students Jordan Allen, Celine Al-Noubani, Robert Breeser, Holly Hunsaker, Jose Portillo, and Holly Hunsaker flew to Tokyo to start their summer adventure. In Tokyo, they visit​ed museums and palaces, tasted Japanese cuisine, and shopped. One of the most impressive sights was from the top of the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest structure in Japan. While in Tokyo, the students stayed at the National Olympic Youth Center.

The students then traveled to nearby Shizuoka Prefecture to begin their home stay program, attending Inatori High School and experiencing Japanese day-to-day and family life. In addition to attending classes, the students learned about Japanese flower arranging, calligraphy, and martial arts, and volunteered at a preschool. They aided their host families with cooking and other daily routines, and accompanied host “siblings” to classes and activities. After the week-long home stays, they boarded the Shinkansen (“bullet train”) to Kyoto, where they visited temples, shrines, museums, and other sites.

Callaway noted, “In the classroom, I try to provide authentic contexts for my students to practice Japanese skills and increase knowledge of Japanese culture. However, it is difficult for them to connect what they learn in class with Japan since they don't have many occasions to interact with Japanese people in Atlanta. Travelling to Japan is an invaluable opportunity for my students to interact with real people, see real things, and experience daily life. They have acquired a cultural awareness and understanding they cannot get here at home.”

Jordan Allen appreciated the cultural differences he experienced in Japan. “When I got to Japan, I noticed the airport was quieter than those in America. The trip opened my eyes to an entirely new perspective about how people treat each other. I loved the culture so much; I didn’t want to leave.”

The students travelled to Japan with Callaway as part of the Laurasian Institute’s New Perspectives: Japan program. In the past year, Riverwood sponsored student travel to Nicaragua, Spain, France, and Japan. In an effort to continue supporting the school's international studies and IB curriculum, the school is in the process of planning additional international trips for the coming year.​



Miranda Named to All-South Team
Congratulations to Senior Victor Miranda (Class of 2017) for being named to the National Soccer Coaches Association o​f America (NSCAA) 2017 All-South Boys High School Soccer team. Miranda is one of only six Georgia High School Boys Soccer players selected to this year's All-South team. He was a vital member of the Raiders Varsity Boys Soccer team for three years, contributing to a successful streak of post-season tournament appearances. This year, he scored 31 goals and provided five assists in the Raiders' run to the Elite Eight in the State Class AAAAA Tournament. Miranda will attend Brewton-Parker College in southeast Georgia in the fall and continue his soccer career with the Barons.    learn more


Teachers Attend Summer Training in Colorado
Thanks to the Riverwood Foundation for sponsoring eight teachers to attend the Summer 2017 Teach for Excellence (T4E) training in Colorado. Paul Ankerich, Jodi Davis, Laura Guill, Lucia James, Lorena Lupas, Monica Olier Toloza, Jeanne Urban, and Greg Sanchez participated in the Performance Excellence for All Kids (PEAK) summer institute in June and will bring back an arsenal of T4​E tools to improve their classrooms next year.



McQuary Named Georgia Girls Cross Country Positive Athlete of the Year
Congratulations to Senior Madison McQuary (Class of 2017) for winning the State Positive Athlete Award in Girls Cross Country. McQuary, a North Fulton Region Award winner, accepted the State honor from former prof​essional and University of Georgia football player Hines Ward at the June 2017 banquet. 

The 2016-17 school year marks the third year of Riverwood's participation in the Positive Athlete Georgia program. Two Raider student athletes won the 2017 North Atlanta Region Positive Athlete of the Year award in their sports:  Senior Mia Hodges (Girls Tennis), and Senior Madison McQuary (Girls Cross Country).    
learn more​    (photo courtesy of PositiveAthlete Georgia & Rob Saye)​


May 2017 Headlines

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

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


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

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


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

 


Raider Seniors Honored at Atlanta Zoo Event

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



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




Head Counselor Sally Page Named "Supervisor of the Year"

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




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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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









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