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March 2017 Headlines
Fall 2016 Honor Roll & Principal's List Recognitions March 29 & 30, 2017
Fall 2016 Honor Roll students achieved a cumulative average between 90-94.9; they will be honored during the school day Wednesday, March 29. Principal’s List students earned a cumulative grade point average of 95 or higher; they will be honored during the school day Thursday, March 30. Congratulations to these outstanding scholars for a successful semester and for their demonstrated commitment to academic excellence.
Fall Semester 2017 Honor Roll & Principal's List
Raiders Attend UGA Bulldog Debates
The Raiders sent teams to both Varsity and Novice competitions at the March 10-11 Bulldog Debates in Athens.
Congratulations to the Varsity team for their Quarterfinal finish against 30 teams from four states. Saya Abney and Julia Dias faced some of the top teams in the nation and received 13th and 18th Speaker awards, respectively. The Varsity travels to Utah in April for the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) 2017 National Championship.
In the Novice division, Ricardo Ruiz partnered with Luke Powell and Neha Devineni paired with Blake Jones for their final tournament of the year. The novice teams did well in the preliminary rounds, earning 3-3 and 2-4 records.
Japanese Academic Challenge and Speech Contest Results
Seventeen Raider World Language students participated in the 12th Annual Japan Academic Challenge and the 26th Annual Japanese Speech Contest held at the Mercer University Atlanta Campus in early March.
The Japan Academic Challenge is a team competition which challenges students' knowledge of Japanese culture such as history, geography, language, and current events. Congratulations to the Level 3 team of Celine Al-Noubani, Michael Arsic, and Ethan Nagley for their first place finish, and to the Level 1 team of Hind Eddouh, Gabriella Koshy, and Jaquellinne Martinez for their second place ribbon.
The Raiders are proud of Christian Bjerre-Fernandes for his presentation “My Passion” in the Japanese Speech Contest. The speech contest includes both high school and college students presenting memorized presentations entirely in Japanese.
Congratulations to the following students:
Japan Academic Challenge Level 1
Team 1, 2nd Place: Hind Eddouh, Gabriella Koshy, and Jaquellinne Martinez
Team 2: Kyaira Butler-Hite and Francisco Briceno
Japan Academic Challenge Level 2
Team 1: Kaci Kruglewics, Sharon Lim, and Justin Williams
Team 2: Jayla Beard, Eemil Harkonen, and Madalyn Lieberman
Japan Academic Challenge Level 3, 1st Place: Celine Al-Noubani, Michael Arsic, and Ethan Nagley
Japan Academic Challenge Level 4: Evelin Bello-Arellano and Adileni Maldonado
Varsity Debate State Championship News
Congratulations to the Raider Varsity Debate team for their accomplishments at the 2017 State Championships.
Held at Marist March 3-5, the Raiders were among 20 teams selected to compete.
Saya Abney and Julia Dias placed third; the only public school in the top five. Abney also received the 8th Speaker Award.
Choral Groups Earn High Marks at Large Group Performance Evaluation
to the Raider Choral groups for their outstanding performances at the
Spring 2017 Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Large Group
Performance Evaluation (LGPE). The Advanced Men’s Chorus, the Intermediate/Advanced Women’s Chorus, and the Riverwood Singers, totaling more than 90 students, traveled to Christian Fellowship Baptist Church on Thursday, March 2 for their biggest and most important performance of the year. Each group sang extremely well and received "Superior" and "Excellent" ratings in all categories.
February 2017 Headlines
2016-17 Teacher of the Year & Professional of the Year
Congratulations to Mary Schmidt (pictured left) for being named the 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year and to Amy Dyche (pictured right) for being named the 2016-17 Professional of the Year.
Schmidt is the English as a Second Language (ESOL) Department Chair and teaches ESOL 10th and 11th grades, as well as support classes for ESOL. She grew up in the small town of Watseka, 80 miles south of Chicago, Illinois. She attended Illinois State and was a one-year exchange student to the University of Alabama. Schmidt received her graduate degree from Georgia State University. Her teaching experience includes Africa, France, and Germany, as well as in her home town of Watseka, Illinois.
Before joining the Raider faculty, she taught ESOL at High Point Elementary. Schmidt was also awarded Teacher of the Year while at Heards Ferry Elementary and advanced as a finalist for Elementary Teacher of the County.
Schmidt volunteers with her daughter for many causes including the Ronald McDonald House and Cancer walk, the Tim Tebow Foundation’s "Night to Shine," and Shoeboxes for Christmas, part of the Franklin Graham Shoebox Ministry.
Schmidt said, “I try to give my students skills that will help them to adapt and be successful in the American culture and life in general”
Her favorite quote is: “The Best Way to Get Things Done is Begin!”
Dyche serves as the 504 Coordinator. As the 504 coordinator, she supports the needs of students with an impairment or disability in the school and works to eliminate barriers to educational programs.
Dyche grew up in Gainesville, Florida and received her B.S. in Sociology from Florida State University. She earned her Ed.S. Counselor in Education from the University of Florida.
Prior to coming to the Raiders in 2015, Dyche taught a class of Young Three Year Olds for two years at The Kingswood School in Dunwoody. She was a school counselor in Gwinnett County for nine years at the middle school and elementary school levels.
Dedicated to advocating for students and teachers in any capacity, she said, “I feel lucky to be at such a phenomenal school where teachers care about the whole child.”
Married with two children ages 8 and 11, Dyche loves to hike, bike, paddle, run, and have fun with her family.
Her favorite quote is: “Take care of yourself no matter what it looks like to anybody else!”
Belfi Wins Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Award
Congratulations to Senior Hill Belfi for winning the Sandy Springs Chapter of the National Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizenship Award. In addition to being judged on her academic performance and school and community involvement, Belfi wrote a compelling essay on this year’s topic: “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It: How do the combined actions of many good citizens keep our nation moving forward?” The DAR Good Citizens Award and Scholarship Contest, created in 1934, is intended to recognize high school seniors who possess the qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools, and communities.
Advanced Placement Test Results Earn Honors
The Georgia Department of Education named Riverwood an AP STEM school, an AP Humanities School, and an AP Access and Support School based on the Spring 2016 Advanced Placement scores. Congratulations to the students and teachers for their hard work.
The STEM award recognizes schools with achievement in AP Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics courses. An AP STEM school has students testing in at least two AP Math and two AP Science courses.
An AP Humanities School has students testing in all of the following AP courses: at least one English/Language Arts course, two social science courses, one fine arts course, and one world language course.
An AP Access and Support School has at least 30 percent of their AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African American and/or Hispanic, and 30 percent of all AP exams earning scores of three or higher.
Georgia Department of Education "Beating the Odds" Award
The Georgia Department of Education (DOE) named Riverwood a "Beating the Odds" school. The "Beats The Odds" analysis measures schools against those with similar backgrounds to see whether they performed better than statistically expected on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI)
"learn more about "Beating the Odds"
Junior Wins Rotary Scholarship for Year-long Study Abroad
Congratulations to Elise Flanagan (11th grade, Japanese 4 Honors) for winning a Rotary Youth Exchange Scholarship. The award of more than $24,000 will enable Flanagan to study at a Japanese high school for one year. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs, Flanagan will have a connection to a host Rotary Club in Japan, will hone her language skills, discover another culture, and become a global citizen.
Flanagan began studying Japanese in 6th grade and is an officer of the Raider's Japanese Honor Society. Said Flanagan, “The application process is fairly lengthy and fairly competitive, and includes an essay letter from students and parents, secondary school report and reference, transcript, and an in-person interview, among other components.” In class with three native speakers this year, she added “they have been very helpful to me in learning Japanese.” Flanagan, currently a Junior, will be graduating from high school this summer. She is taking concurrent online classes during this school year and will take two additional online classes once the regular school year finishes. Flanagan departs in August 2017 to begin her year in Japan.
The Youth Exchange Program is new to Georgia this year and is part of the Florida Rotary Youth Exchange Program. The Rotary is sending almost 85 students to study abroad in over 35 countries. Exchanges for students 15 to 19 years old are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries.
Science Olympiad at Kennesaw State University Saturday, February 25, 2017
The Raiders sent 12
students to the 2017 regional Science Olympiad on Saturday, February 25. Held at Kennesaw State University, the Olympiad featured 23 teams from the region. Although the Raiders have a very young team, with over half of the members freshmen, and the team did not compete in several events, the Raiders medaled in four events and finished 12th overall. Science Department Chair Jeanne Urban is the faculty sponsor of the Raider team. Congratulations to:
Ricardo Ruiz & Anais Acree: Remote Sensing, 2nd Place
Ricardo Ruiz & Anais Acree: Dynamic Planet, 4th Place
Hayes Miller & Anais Acree: Disease Detectives, 4th Place
Gaurav Kunwar & Jeremy Colton: Wind Power, 4th Place
Beta Club Welcomes New Members
The Raider Chapter of the Beta Club held its annual induction ceremony in the school auditorium on Thursday evening, February 23, 2017.
Congratulations to the newest Beta Club members: Saya Abney, Jessica Ando, David Androsch, Nate Arney, Edgar Aualos Loaeza, Jordan Balkcom, Lizzie Begle, Ryan Belfi, Yotam Ben-Bassat, Caitlin Bozarth, Mariette Brannan, Elizabeth Brune, Jack Buehner, Taylor Burke, Sara Eve Caruthers, Taisha Cervantes Pineda, Remy Clayman, Sarah Cohen, Dekoa Craft, Srujani Das, Rachel Drakeford, Ashley Echemendia, Lily Edmondson, Naama Erez, Andrew Frinks, Graci Goldstein, Lucy Howard, Samuel Jenkins, Josephine Johnson, Mitchell Kosek, Daisy Leepson, Taylor Lundell, Davia Maghari, Zachary Marzan, Carolyn McDuffie, Gary Mills, Carmen Morales-Mier, Madison Nagley, Rachel Nichols, Dayanna Ochoa, Lauren Omotosho, Sydney Pargman, Celeste Pirle-Cooper, Luke Pollydore, Ella Ponsell, Mahzuza Rahaman, Alexandra Reese, Shreya Rekapalli, Sarah Rosenbloum, Hayden Rubin, Shahir Sarasiya, Julia Stahlman, Sofie-Ellen Storeva, Christian Sutton, Ansley Sweetin, Joseph Tarab, Ethan Terrell, Brett Thomas, Armani Thompson, Uribe Valverde, Jazmine Williams, and Hannah York. (please notify firstname.lastname@example.org of any typographical errors)
Pictured (left to right): David Antonio, Becca Langfelder (Vice President), Hannah Sherrill (President), and Alec Rosner. Richard Clayton serves as the faculty sponsor.
Japanese National Honor Society Inducts New Members
The Raider Chapter of the Japanese National Honor Society held its annual induction ceremony in the World Language Department on Thursday evening, February 23, 2017. Congratulations to the seven newest members: Robert Breeser, Salome Castro, Kaci Kruglewicz, Sharon Lim Mariko Malim, Ethan Nagley, and Olivia Smith. The chapter, only in its fourth year on campus, now has 17 members. Senior Christian Bjerre-Fernandes is the club president, Junior Elise Flanagan is the club vice-president, and Azuza Callaway is the faculty sponsor.
Students Win Summer Study Abroad Scholarships
Congratulations to Sophomore Celine Al-Noubani and Freshman Jordan Allen for winning Jackson Bailey Scholarships to study in Japan this summer. The Jackson Bailey Scholarship Program awarded $2,000 to Al-Noubani (10th grade, Japanese 3H), and $750 to Allen (9th grade, Japanese 1), for a summer immersion in Japan. Allen stated, “I found out that a lot of American composers created some of the best music of their careers after spending time in Japan. These musicians and composers used the influences of Japanese culture while in the country to create something special. I believe that the New Perspectives:Japan experience will give me the same opportunity.”
The Jackson Bailey Scholarship Program provides funds to students through The Laurasian Institution. The Laurasian Institution administers the New Perspectives: Japan (NP:J) study tour project for middle and high school students and teachers.
Five Governor's Honors Semifinalists
Congratulations to Skylar Gupta (Communicative Arts), Fernanda Lopes (Visual Arts), Maeve Munson (Visual Arts), Hal Olson (Communicative Arts), and Max Seidel (Engineering) for advancing to the semifinal round of the 2017 Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP). They interviewed at the end of February and will find out in March if they have been selected for this year's GHP.
GHP is a residential summer program for gifted and talented high school students; this year’s GHP is at Berry College in Rome. While living on campus, students attend classes in the mornings and afternoons in specific areas of study, and participate in a wide variety of social and instructional opportunities every evening. The academic, cultural, and social enrichment provides skills to the rising juniors and seniors to help them become critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.
All-State & District Honor Band News
Congratulations to the following students who made it through the first round of auditions for All-State Band:
Yoel Alperin (Horn)
Robert Breeser (Horn)
Drew Kaplan (Trombone)
Arthur Miltner (Trombone)
Ella Morgen (Horn)
Kari Traylor (Horn)
NOTES: Kaplan and Morgen made the cut as Freshman. Alperin, Breezer, and Miltner (pictured right) also made the District V Honor Band, which performed at North Springs High School on February 4th. Further congratulations go to Arthur Miltner who passed the next audition phase to qualify for All-State Band. The All-State Band, organized by the Georgia Music Educators Association, will hold their All-State Band event in Athens March 2-4, 2017. This is Miltner’s second year to qualify for All-State Band.
Pop-up Black History Month Museum
Tuesday, February 14
Students and school visitors experienced a visiting African museum on Valentine's Day. The African Art Gallery Walk displayed a museum-quality
collection of textiles, masks, ceremonial figures, & fine art.
Fulton County 2017 Regional Science & Engineering Fair Results:
Sophomore Wins Entry to International Science Fair
Sponsored by Fulton County Schools and held on the Westlake High School campus Saturday, February 11, the Raiders sent five projects to the annual competition.
Sophomore Max Seidel won a First Place ribbon and earned an automatic advancement to both the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair and the International Science and Engineering Fair. Seidel is the first Raider to earn an automatic advancement to the international competition and he will take his project to the International Science Fair in Los Angeles in May.
The purpose of Seidel’s winning experiment, “3D Printed Myoelectric Prosthesis Without TMR Surgery,” was to examine a more accessible and less invasive solution to today’s current prostheses procedures. The cost of a prosthetic arm can range anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000. The prosthetic developed in his experiment cost an average of $300 to $500 with the help of additive manufacturing techniques, otherwise known as 3D printing technology. Seidel’s project not only created a prosthetic arm, but also refined the 3-D printer which produced the arm itself.
“Max’s award-winning project is unique because he produced a prosthetic arm and perfected the technology to make it. His enthusiasm for science and engineering is contagious,” said Raider Science teacher Patti Lawrimore.
Three other Raiders competed at the County Science Fair: Joey Fleming and Adam Moulem advanced to the State fair after placing 2nd for their project “Carbon Fiber vs. PLA Plastic: Comparing Quadcopter Frame Materials.” Michelle Stanek earned a 2nd place for her project “Corroding Away.”
2017 Georgia Thespian Conference (ThesCon)
Thanks to the teacher and parent chaperones, 14 Raiders were able to attend the 2017 Georgia Thespian Conference (ThesCon). Ellie Addington, Chip Carter, Harris Cohen, Jamie Collins, Lyndsi Fisher, Olivia Gunthert, Megan Holley, Lucy Howard, Celine Lagrange, Lillian Oelkers, Eliza Paprin, Natalie Peek, Caroline Price, and Joe Virgin participated in weekend of theatre from the inside-out. Held in downtown Columbus February 9-11, more than 5,000 students from all over the state converged for a full slate of workshops, performances, and even college auditions. This year's workshops ranged from “British Accents” and “West African Dance” to “Stage Combat.” Additionally, Senior Olivia Gunthert and Junior Harris Cohen participated in the Individual Events Adjudication, performing a musical number from “Spring Awakening.” Sponsored by the Georgia Thespians, a chapter of the Education Theatre Association, ThesCon encourages, promotes, advocates and celebrates theatre excellence in schools and communities. (Photo credit: Megan Holley Photography)
Raiders Host Big Questions Debate Saturday, February 11, 2017
The Raider Debate team hosted a Big Questions Debate tackling the topic "Does Science Leave Room for Free Will?" More than 50 students competed, most of whom had never debated, and they went through three rounds on both sides of the issue. The day-long event exposed students to a semi-formal debate format while allowing them to engage in intellectual discourse and practice their public speaking skills.
The event was a very successful fundraiser for the Raider Debate team, too. By hosting the debate, the team became eligible for a John Templeton Foundation grant. Between the grant and the registration fees ($10/student), the team raised over $2,000 in much needed funds.
Congratulations to the top three teams:
Champions: Julie Mittelstedt & Haley Gruensfelder
2nd Place: Shreya Rekapalli & Julia Stahlman
3rd Place: Celine Al-Noubani & Michelle Stanek
2017 STAR Student and Teacher Announced
Congratulations to 2017 STAR Student and Teacher: Senior Jeremy Colton and Ms. Rama Balachandran.
To obtain the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR), high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT taken through the November test date of their senior year and be in the top ten percent, or top ten students, of their class based on grade point average. The STAR program honors Georgia's outstanding high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development.
Colton plans to major in mechanical engineering. Already holding an acceptance from the Georgia Institute of Technology, he has MIT, Vanderbilt, the University of Pennsylvania, and Carnegie Mellon in his top college choices. Colton intends to study applied engineering in either global development or economics.
Colton’s STAR teacher is Science faculty member Rama Balachandran (affectionately known by all as “Ms. Bala”). Colton said, “I picked Ms. Bala as my STAR teacher because I've really enjoyed how she brings physics to life in the classroom. Instead of just lecturing, she uses physical examples that create an interactive learning environment that engages me in the subject.”
Colton has an impressive list of honors and achievements. In addition to achieving the highest SAT score amongst his classmates, Colton holds the remarkable distinction of also earning a perfect score (36) on the ACT. He is a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist, a Presidential Scholars Program candidate, is an AP Scholar with Honor, and received the Georgia Certificate of Merit. A member of the Principal’s Honor Roll for four years, he also received academic achievement awards in AP Calculus, AP Physics and Pre-Calculus. Colton won the Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute Medal for Excellence in math and science.
Colton is an avid Frisbee player and founded Riverwood’s Ultimate Frisbee club, serves as Vice President of the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, is a member of the Beta Club, the National Honor Society, and the Science Honor Society. He performed research at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Mechanical Engineering and medaled at the Science Olympiad Atlanta Regional Finals in 2016. Colton volunteers as a teaching assistant at Ahavath Achim Synagogue religious school, and as counselor at Marcus Jewish Community Center (MJCC). He enjoys tutoring other students in math and science courses.
Ms. Bala, a member of the Raider Science Faculty for 13 years, teaches all levels of Physics, including AP and IB physics. She also serves as the Chair of the Talented and Gifted program. 2017 marks the second year in a row Ms. Bala has been selected as the STAR teacher. Ms. Bala said, “It is a great honor and privilege to be recognized by the STAR student. Recognition by students is a great motivation for teachers to continue to strive to deliver their best in the classroom.” Ms. Bala has been Colton’s teacher for two years and said, “While Jeremy’s intellectual abilities are evident from his stellar academic performances, I am also fortunate to have observed his maturity of thought and reasoning, his ability to not get carried away by successes, and above all his trustworthiness and dependability as a lab aide and a peer tutor.”
Both will be honored at a breakfast by the Midtown Rotary Club this spring at the annual PAGE Foundation STAR Banquet.
January 2017 Headlines
1st & 2nd Place Awards at Fulton County Tech Fair
Congratulations to Hal Olson (pictured below left) for his 1st Place ribbon and to Jose Olea-Vanancio for his 2nd Place ribbon at the 16th Annual Fulton County Technology Competition. Held at Centennial High School on January 28, 2017, the Tech Fair had almost 500 entries from 388 Audio Video Technology and Film students spanning 15 categories.
Olson entered the 11th-12th grade Animation category, which requires an original design with, as the name implies, the primary purpose to allow the motion of objects. With his 1st place win, he automatically advances to the State-level competition in March. This is his third 1st place win at the Tech fair.
Olea-Vanancio (pictured below right) competed in the 11th-12th grade Digital Photography division. Entries must be a computer-created original project using original student photographs.
Chinese Language Students Attend Cooking School
World Language teacher Shih-Ping Harper took 27 of her Chinese Level 1 through Level 4 students to Fan’s Cooking School in Alpharetta in January. In addition to learning how to make traditional Chinese dumplings, the busy afternoon included an authentic Chinese tea ceremony as well as experimenting with calligraphy and food carving.
Raider FBLA Excels at Region Conference
The Raider chapter of the Future Business Leaders
of America (FBLA) competed at the 2017 Region 9
Leadership Conference. Held at Alpharetta High School on January 24, 2017, several Raiders claimed top honors and qualified to participate at the upcoming State competition. The Georgia 2017 State Leadership
Conference is March 12-14 in Athens. Paula Chesser and Michele Finley are the FBLA chapter advisors.
Congratulations to the following students:
Public Speaking 1
* Chandler McCleskey, 1st place
(advances to state)
Intro to Information Technology
* Luca Maddaleni, 4th place (advances to
* John Allen, 14th place (advances to state)
Entrepreneurship 3rd place
* David Anthony
* Asmir Lalani
Business Ethics 5th place
* Shreya Rekapalli
* Nate Arney
Laws Named Coca-Cola Scholar Semifinalist
Senior Kendall Laws (Class of 2017) is a semifinalist in the 2017 class of the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. Laws is one of approximately 1,900 high school seniors in the running for 150 college scholarships worth $20,000 each. Criteria include academic excellence, leadership, and service demonstrated in school and community activities.
Laws is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate and is also a National Merit semifinalist. She is president of both the Raider National Business Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society) chapters. In her Junior and Senior years, Laws played on the Lady Raiders Golf Team.
2017 All-State Chorus News
Two Freshmen Raiders passed the first, and most difficult, round of auditions for the 2017 All-State Chorus. These young men went through a rigorous audition process which included music theory, challenging sight reading examples, performing prepared solos, and scales. Congratulations and best wishes to Sam Cooney and James Jackson.
Second Round Auditions will take place in January 2017. Students making it past the second round will perform at the 2017 GMEA (Georgia Music Educators Association) All-State Chorus Festival in Athens the weekend of February 23-25.
Novice Debaters Bring Home Medals
to the Raider Novice Debaters for a great afternoon competing in the Alpharetta Treasure Hunt Tournament on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Under the coaching of Varsity debate captains Saya Abney and Julia Dias, the novice team of Neha Devineni and Blake Jones took first place,
while Ricardo Ruiz and Luke Powell finished third. In Speaker Awards,
Devineni was second, Jones third, Ruiz fifth, and Powell was tenth. Xavier
McGhee and Briggs Dorian-Lawrence also competed. Marjorie Bernard-Evans and Laura Guill are the Raider Debate faculty sponsors.
UGA Chooses Six Raider Musicians for 2017 JanFest
The University of Georgia January High School Band Festival (“JanFest”) is a four-day event for high school band musicians. Congratulations to Yoel Alperin (Horn), Haley Gruensfelder (Clarinet), Aidan Jones (Percussion), Arthur Miltner (Trombone), Sage Patterson (Clarinet), and Kari Traylor (Horn) for being chosen to participate. These outstanding musicians will join 1000 attendees, representing 130 schools from across the state, in Athens January 19-22 for the 67th annual JanFest. Special recognition goes to Senior Yoel Alperin for being chosen for a fourth consecutive year, to Arthur Miltner for his third consecutive year, and to Haley Gruensfelder for her second consecutive year.
Pictured left to right: Arthur Miltner, Aidan Jones, Haley Gruensfelder, Yoel Alperin. Not pictured: Sage Patterson and Kari Traylor
Raiders Induct New National Honor Society Members
The Raider chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) inducted forty-four new members on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. NHS students seek to promote service, leadership, scholarship, and character. Congratulations to the following inductees: Saya Abney, Ellen Addington, Molly Antebi, Shelby Arrigo, Dori Balser, Joshua Bennafield, Whit Blass, Kelsie Constable, Anna Davis, Samaria Driver, Megan Echols, Morgan Finch, Elise Flanagan, Abigail Flores, Rebecca Greenberg, Camille Grout, Destynee Jones, Julia Grace Jones, Lauren Keen, Sydney Koeneman, Olivia Koenig, Alexandra Lipsky, Fernanda Lopes, Isis Mayfield, Arthur Miltner, Brenna Munson, Maeve Munson, Mariana Nunez, Mark Olson, Lesly Organista, Pouya Pak, Caroline Price, Sonya Reznikova, Julia Rosenthal, Lily Schneider, Ben Segal, Julia Smith, Christopher Sprung, Rachel Staley, Ansley Tolbert, Arly Yagoda, Sophie Yagoda, Atara Zibitt, and Juliana Zitron. Justin Evans and Laura Taylor are the faculty advisors.
Debate Medals at Samford University Tournament
Saya Abney and Julia Dias represented the Raiders at the 2017 Bishop
Guild Debates in Birmingham, Alabama. Hosted by Samford University,
this year’s competition welcomed 84 high school teams from five
states for three days beginning Friday, January 13. Congratulations
to Abney and Dias for their semifinalists finish.
Laura Guill and
Marjorie Bernard-Evans are the Raider Debate faculty sponsors.
Senior Valliani named Posse Scholar; will attend The George Washington University
Congratulations to Senior Inara Valliani (Raider Class of 2017) for being selected as a 2016 Posse Scholar. Vallani, an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate, will enter the freshman class at The George Washington University in fall 2017. Valliani was one of 60 students honored at a ceremony at the Fox Theatre on January 6, 2017.
Started in 1989, Posse is one of the most comprehensive and renowned college access and youth leadership development programs in the United States. The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. The Foundation extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students. The Foundation’s partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships. For more information on the Posse scholarship and the Posse Foundation visit PosseFoundation.org
Reporter Newspapers Selects Senior Kunwar for "20 Under 20"
Local newspaper selects Senior Gaurav Kunwar (Raider Class of 2017) to their second annual group of "20 Under 20" honorees. The Reporter Newspaper asked public and private schools, service organizations, and members of the general public to nominate students who are younger than 20 and who have been active volunteers in their communities. These special young people are doing much to change the world for the better. Read the January 6, 2017 article
December 2016 Headlines
Dr. Peoples Named Assistant Principal of the Quarter
Congratulations to Dr. Gladys Peoples for being named by the Fulton County Schools Assistant Principal Association as one of their AP's of the Quarter.
Pictured from Left to Right Camille Christopher, Dr. Peoples (center), and Amy Lemons.
Senior Alex West Awarded Presidential Scholarship
Congratulations to Senior Alex West (Raider Class of 2017) for receiving a Georgia College and State University Presidential Scholarship. The Presidential Scholarship Competition (PSC) brought approximately 60 students to the Milledgeville campus in December for a full day of faculty interviews, interaction with current students, and undergraduate classroom experiences. The PSC selected four students to receive a Presidential scholarship this year.
Will Brown, Georgia College & State University Associate Director of Regional Recruitment (pictured right), visited Riverwood in mid-December to present the Presidential Scholarship to West.
Visit GCSU.edu for more information on the Presidential Scholarship Competition
Culinary Arts Students Cater Superintendent's December Luncheon
Congratulations to the Raider Culinary Arts students and Chef Elissa Oliver for successfully catering the Fulton County Schools
Superintendent's December 14th luncheon. Held at the Central Office, the students prepared and served a full buffet meal for 500 guests. Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Education) was on hand to film the luncheon and produced a short (just over two minutes) video for their GPB Spotlight series.
Science Fair Winners: Five Projects Advance to County Competition
Congratulations to the first, second, and third place winners at the December 1, 2016 school Science Fair. The five first place projects advance to the Fulton County competition in January:
First Place and advancing to the County competition:
Al-Noubani and Katherine Hernandez: “Eye Exercises and Dietary Additions and Their Effect on Nearsighted Vision”
Michelle Stanek: “Corroding Away”
Nadia Abdulridha and Sofie Stroeva: “Silver Neutralization of
Adam Mualem and Joey Fleming: “Carbon Fiber vs. PLA plastic:
Comparing Quadcopter Frame Materials”
Max Seidel: “Myoelectric Prosthesis Without the Need for TMR Surgery”
Second Place winners: Yuki Ando, Joshua Blanchar, Mariko Malm,
Noah Quay, Shreya Rekapalli, Anahla Sparks, Ethan Terrell, and Ethan
Third Place winners: Mitchell Davidson, Dan Devlin, Samantha
Johnson, Trevor Kosloski, Lauren Lockhart, Ella Morgen, Alexandra
Reese, and Robbie Winn.
November 2016 Headlines
Culinary Arts Sets Pie Sales Record
Culinary Arts students sold holiday pies again this fall and more than doubled their sales over last year. Thanks to the community’s support, sales of the student-made pumpkin, chocolate, and apple crumb pies skyrocketed from 154 in 2015 to over 400 this fall.
Chef Elissa Oliver joined the Raider faculty four years ago and began the wildly successful holiday pie fundraiser three years ago. Not only does every student in the Culinary Arts program contribute to the pie baking process, but each student will benefit from the new equipment and programs the profits will fund. The Culinary Arts program currently has approximately 190 students in grades 9-12.
A Cappella Group Announced
Congratulations to the students selected for the 2016-17 A Cappella group: Chip Carter, Harris Cohen, Sam Cooney, Cecieilia DeBoer, Maggie Daniel, Megan Echols, Rebecca Eisenstein, Sophia Galvani, Jesse Gibbons, Skylar Gupta, James Jackson, Josh Lerner, Lillian Oelkers, Grant Reeder, Michelle Stanek, Andrew Ungashick, Joe Virgin, Virginia Warren, and Atara Zibbit.
Raiders Named to Fulton County Honor Band & Orchestra
Congratulations to the eight Raider musicians named to the 2016-17 Fulton County High School Honor Band and Honor Orchestra. These students performed in concert with other outstanding musicians from across the county at Centennial High School Wednesday, November 16: Jordan Allen (percussion), Yoel Alperin (French Horn), Sophie Galiano (flute), Haley Gruensfelder, Aidan Jones (percussion), Hal Olson (Timpani), Zack Slutzky (percussion), and Gianna Vazquez (cello).
Model UN attends Georgia State University Conference
The Model UN team participated in Georgia State University’s
Model United Nations Conference on Monday, November 14 and Tuesday, November 15, 2016. The Raiders represented India and Bulgaria. Congratulations to Hayes Miller and Atara Zibitt for winning the Outstanding Position Paper award for the World Health Organization committee representing India. In addition to Miller and Zibitt, the following students also attended: Nadia Abdulridha, Shelby Arroyo, Chris Bauguss, Christian Bjerre-Fernandes, America Betancourt, Keshaun Jannah, Alexia Lambert, Alex Lipsky, Austin Miller, Natalie Peek, Shahir Sarasiya, Danielle Stewart, Jacob Vayle, and Julian Zitron. Josh Williams is the faculty sponsor. The conference addressed a wide range of issues involving the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. A few of the conference topics included: Developing and Implementing Sustainable Solutions to Providing Clean Water, Increasing Sustainable Tourism, and Reducing Child Marriages and the Usage of Child Soldiers in Conflict areas.
Arts Students Support the Sandy Springs Education Force
Raiders Culinary Arts students, under the guidance of Chef Elissa Oliver, arrived very, very early Saturday morning, November 12 for the 3rd Annual Sandy Springs Education Force "Footprints to the Future" Race. Earlier in the week, students prepared healthy "No Bake Energy Bites" to bring to the race. The healthy no egg,
no milk, no gluten, no bake treats were a big hit, with nothing but crumbs left behind at the end of the morning.
Debate Attends 2016 Peach State Classic
The Raider Debate Team traveled to Carrollton for the November 11-12 Peach State Classic Tournament. Following the preliminary rounds, the team of Juniors Saya Abney and Julia Dias were 5-0, the only undefeated team. Unfortunately, they suffered a close loss in the quarterfinal round to end their winning streak. Congratulations for a great run to the quarterfinals and also to Abney for placing 8th Speaker in the individual awards.
Two 2nd Place Winners at Chinese Language Competition
Congratulations to Freshman Jill Olson and Junior Hal Olson for winning second place ribbons at the 2016 Jiangsu Cup. Jill Olson won 2nd place in the Level 2 group while Hal Olson placed 2nd in the Level 4 group. Emory University hosted the Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest for High School Students in the Southern States on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The second annual Chinese language competition was open to high school students currently enrolled in a Chinese as a second language class at a public, private, or charter school in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, or South Carolina.
2016-17 Reflections North Fulton Winners Announced
Congratulations to the students with winning entries in this year's Reflections contest. Of the 20 school level winners which advanced to the North Fulton contest, six will advance to the state competition. Two additional students earned Honorable Mentions and will not advance beyond the North Fulton level.
9th grade - Kamar Skeete, Honorable Mention
11th grade - Shereen Ragheb, Winner
12th grade - Anndersyn Cochran & Riyana Nabaa, Winner
11th grade - James Prentice, Winner
11th grade - Hal Olson, Winner
9th grade - Hayes Miller, Honorable Mention
12th grade - Anndersyn Cochran, Winner
Raider Marching Band, Drumline, & Drum Majors Win Awards
Congratulations to the Marching Band for their award-winning performances at the 12th Annual White Columns Invitational competition. Held on Saturday, November 5 at Milton High School, the Raider Marching Band won 2nd place in their classification; the Drumline and Drum Majors won 1st place in their classification. The ratings, using the Olympic style judging format, were: Percussion, Color Guard, and Band - Excellent; Drum Major - Superior.
Raider Debate Success at Sequoyah Autumn Arguments
Congratulations to the Raider Debate team for their accomplishments at the 2016 Sequoyah High School Autumn Argument Tournament. Held November 5, the Raiders competed in both the Varsity and Novice divisions. Juniors Saya Abney and Julia Dias were semi-finalists in the Varsity division. Abney won 1st Speaker; Dias won 3rd Speaker. Their wins qualified them to compete at the Varsity State Championships in March. In the Novice division, Freshman Neha Devineni placed as 6th Speaker.
Counseling Center Earns National Certification: Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) School
The Raiders are proud to announce their designation as an American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) school. This is a prestigious accomplishment and represents several years of hard work, an in-depth application process, and a collaborative school-wide effort. Only three other schools in Fulton County Schools hold RAMP certification: Centennial, Northview, and Roswell. RAMP schools, numbering over 600 nationwide, are aligned with the criteria in the ASCA National Model, are committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program, and provide an exemplary educational environment. The ASCA will honor the Raiders in July 2017 at the ASCA annual conference in Denver.
Beta Club Hosts Faculty and Staff Tailgate
The Raider Beta Club hosted a tailgate for all faculty, staff, and their families prior to the home football game Friday, November 4. The students set up on the practice field, prepared hot dogs and hamburgers, and provided all of the fixin's for a successful cookout. Having the Raiders win the football game made the evening even better.
Culinary Arts Students Harvest Vegetables & Prepare 3-Course Meal
Raider Culinary Arts students traveled to Roswell in early November to tour the Whole Foods Corporate office and the Whole Kids Educational Farm. As the students saw first-hand how the farm works, they also discussed sustainability, and harvested seasonal vegetables. The fall vegetables picked included eggplant, kale, arugula, radishes, zucchini, mustard greens, and assorted lettuces.
At the conclusion of the visit, the students cooked a three-course meal in the on-site kitchen. They assembled a large salad and prepared salad dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, and maple syrup. They also made eggplant and zucchini lasagna with Bison meat, heirloom tomatoes, and goat cheese. A dessert of date and cocoa nib cake finished off the feast.
The Whole Kids Foundation Educational Farm’s mission is to provide experiential learning about food through an outdoor learning environment. The farm supports the local Roswell community and provides a space for learning about, growing, cooking and eating fresh, healthy, organic food.
AVID Students Tour AT&T Facility
The 10th and 11th grade AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) classes toured the AT&T Drive Studio on November 3, 2016. Located near Georgia Tech, the Drive
Studio is AT&T’s research and development facility where they
conduct trials on new ways to connect everything, including automobiles,
to each other via the web. Referred to as the “Internet of Things,” the incubator explores some of the very latest technology which companies around
the world are using, or are planning to use. The Riverwood Foundation underwrites AVID, a college-readiness program designed to increase school-wide learning and performance.
Foundation Funds "World to Table” Experience
to generous support from the Riverwood Foundation, Raider
culinary arts students gathered foodstuffs from around
the world (on Buford Highway) and deliciously rose to the challenge
of preparing international recipes.
Twenty students, under the direction of Culinary
Arts teacher Elissa Oliver, visited the Buford Highway Farmers
Market on Thursday, November 3. After traveling less than ten miles from campus, the students entered a vast global market. In addition to exploring the overwhelming array of food offerings, the students watched a Thai spring roll cooking
demonstration. The students shopped and then returned to the Raider
kitchens to prepare a variety of cuisines. Some of the dishes they
tackled were chicken pot stickers, Mongolian beef, fresh red snapper
fish tacos, crab rangoon, and several desserts.
Dia de los Muertos 2016
The Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) is sponsoring a Dia de los Muertos display in the atrium Monday, October 31 and Tuesday, November 1. The Day of the Dead -- which coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls' Day -- is a Mexican remembrance of loved ones and a celebration of their lives. In 2010, OLAS hosted the first offrenda at school with club members on hand to explainin its significance. After five successful years, students, parents, faculty, and staff now anticipate the annual event and participate by bringing symbolic mementoes and photographs to fill the table in the atrium. Maria Shuford is the OLAS Faculty Sponsor.
2016-17 Reflections School Winners Announced
Congratulations to the students with winning entries in this year's Reflections contest. With more participants than in previous years, the Raiders are proud to be sending 20 entries to the North Fulton competition. The PTSA is proud of all the students who chose to take part in the contest and appreciates the judges who volunteered their time to evaluate the entries.
9th grade – Kamar Skeete
11th grade – Shereen Ragheb
12th grade – Anndersyn Cochran & Riyana Nabaa
9th grade – Hayes Miller & William Johnson
10th grade – two entries by Mahogoni Bracey
11th grade – Ellen Addington & Brenna Munson
12th grade – Erika Bartolanzo
9th grade – Hayes Miller & Princess Adomakoh
10th grade – Jonathan Orr & Jonah Mills
11th grade – two entries by Saya Abney
12th grade – Anndersyn Chochran
11th grade – Hal Olson
11th grade – James Prentice
October 2016 Headlines
Spring 2016 Honor Roll and Principal’s List Announced
Honor Roll students achieved a cumulative average between 90-94.9; Principal’s List students earned a cumulative grade point average of 95 or higher. Congratulations to these outstanding scholars for a successful semester and for their demonstrated commitment to academic excellence.
2016 Spring Honor Roll and Principal's List
Art Students Enter Scarecrow Contest
Members of the Raider National Art Honor Society (NAHS) chapter designed and created a scarecrow for the annual Atlanta Botanical Gardens contest. This year's entry pays tribute to a few of the celebrities who recently passed away: David Bowie, Prince, Gene Wilder, and Alan Rickman. The Scarecrows in the Garden event features more than 100 spooky, creative scarecrows handcrafted by businesses, individuals, schools, and organizations scattered throughout the gardens. The display ends Sunday, October 30, 2016. Learn more at AtlantaBG.org
Raider Debate Varsity Co-Champions at Columbus
Congratulations to the Raider Debate team for their outstanding success at the Blue Devils Debate Tournament hosted by Columbus High School on Saturday, October 22. Juniors Saya Abney and Julia Dias were the Varsity Co-champions. Individually, Abney won First Speaker and Dias won Second Speaker. Also debating at the tournament were novice team members Briggs Dorian-Lawrence, Luke Powell, Blake Jones, and Xavier McGhee.
Raider SkillsUSA Chapter Meets Lt. Gov. Cagle at Georgia Kick-Off Event
The Raider SkillsUSA Chapter joined hundreds of other chapters from across the state at the 2016 SkillsUSA Georgia Champions Rally. Held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry on October 7, this year’s attendees were treated to a surprise visit from Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle. Cagle addressed the group and expressed his commitment to their efforts, and his continued support for technical and career trade courses. Dr. Futrell, along with each chapter advisor, received a copy of the Lt. Governor’s book, “Education Unleashed,” which presents a comprehensive vision to transform the way that public schools educate our students.
The Raider SkillsUSA has approximately 40 members and is part of the State and National organization. SkillsUSA serves teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled, and service occupations, including health occupations, and for further education in select areas. The organization strives to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders, and responsible American citizens. SkillsUSA improves the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical, and professional skills training.
Rialto Youth Jazz Combos Select Eight Raiders
Congratulations to the following musicians selected through audition to join the Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra (RYJO) and Band:
Jazz Orchestra - Freshmen (Class of 2020, right)
Coleman Alvarez, Trumpet
Simon Coffsky, Trumpet
Lilya Cooper, Alto Sax
Drew Kaplan, Bass
Jayden Richardson, Drums
Ryan Stoddard, Alto Sax
Jazz Band - Juniors (Class of 2018, below)
Robert Breeser – Rialto Jazz Band, Trumpet
Arthur Miltner – Rialto Jazz Band, Trombone
The Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra (RYJO), formed by Dr. Gordon Vernick in June 2010, exposes students to the full spectrum of jazz music and education. Selected through audition, the students hail from all over metro Atlanta. RYJO students receive outstanding instruction in jazz performance, jazz history, and jazz improvisation, and perform both historically significant and challenging music. Each jazz combo receives supervision and instruction from Georgia State University Jazz faculty.
Junior Chosen for Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra
Congratulations to Junior Tate Poole (Class of 2018) for being chosen to join the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO). Tate, a cello player, competed against gifted and talented musicians from across the state to secure a spot in the largest youth orchestra program in the southeast. The GYSO, founded in 2006, inspires young musicians to discover their full potential through creativity and performance.
Raiders Have Two REACH Scholars
Congratulations to Freshman Leslie Tornez-Cruz (Class of 2020) and Sophomore Janelle Tenorio (Class of 2019) for being chosen as REACH Scholars. REACH Georgia selects eligible students who have strong grades, good behavior, and maintain good attendance to receive a college scholarship. In addition to maintaining high grades, excellent behavior, and attendance, REACH students meet regularly with a mentor and academic coach to keep them on track for high school graduation.
9th grader Tornez-Cruz (pictured left) stated that school is very important to her and that everyone should have a chance for an education. “School has helped me very much and without it I would not be successful in life.” She enjoys spending time with family and friends, aspires to attend the University of Georgia, and is interested in business and law. “My parents are very helpful and have told me to never give up on my dreams.”
10th grader Janelle Tenorio (pictured right) is interested in Orchestra and Engineering. She states she is a hands-on person and always wanted to learn how to code. She is a member of the Robo Raiders (Robotics Club) and plans to take AP and IB courses in her remaining two years of high school. Upon graduation, Tenorio hopes to study in either the School of Computer Science or the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech.
In an effort to raise high school graduation rates, REACH Georgia gives support to the selected REACH Scholars beyond guaranteeing financial scholarships. REACH Scholars receive academic and social support to ensure they graduate from high-school, as well as earn a college degree or certificate. Each scholar who completes all program requirements is able to receive up to $2,500 per year for up to four years to be used toward the cost of attendance at a two- or four-year Georgia REACH eligible institution.
Junior Selected for Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble
Congratulations to Junior Elise Flanagan (Class of 2018) for being selected to the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble (MAYWE). Flanagan, a trumpet player, joins an elite group of metro Atlanta high school wind and percussion players under the direction of Mr. David W. Vandewalker, Coordinator of Performing Arts for the Fulton County School district. The seventy five ensemble students will collaborate frequently with faculty artists from Georgia State University as well as members of other local professional orchestras.
Raiders Invited to Play Carnegie Hall, Spring 2017
The Raider Band received an invitation to play in the Spring 2017 National Band and Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall. Using a recording of the May 2016 spring school concert as an audition tape, the prestigious festival extended an invitation to perform in New York City's famed Carnegie Hall. “For a musician, performing on stage at Carnegie Hall represents arriving at place where few musicians can," said Band Director Carlos Rodriguez. “With the tremendous growth and success that our band program has had in just four years, I feel that this is a huge accomplishment for our program, school, and community.”
Fulton County Schools Features Raider Band in October 2016 Video Blog
The October 2016 "Fulton in Five" has a nice segment about the Carnegie Hall invitation at the 3:42 mark.
National Merit Semifinalists Announced
Congratulations to Seniors Kendall Laws
and Jeremy Colton for being selected as semifinalists in the 2017
National Merit Scholarship program.
Based on their outstanding scores on
the PSAT taken during their Junior year, Laws and Colton join an
elite group of approximately 16,000 high school seniors from across
the country. As semifinalists, the students now must fulfill several
requirements in order to advance to the finalist round. They must
have a record of high academic performance, be endorsed and
recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that
confirm their earlier qualifying test performance. Additionally, the
semifinalists will complete a detailed scholarship application, which
includes the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about
his or her participation and leadership in school and community
Raiders Win 2nd Place at Art Throwdown
Congratulations to the Raider artists who participated in the Art Throwdown on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Held at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the 17-member Raider team competed against seven other teams in a variety of categories. The Raiders finished in 2nd Place on the day. Congratulations to the following students:
1st Place-Laisa Bollo, Rubi Perez and Javier Rameriz
1st Place-Brenna Munson
2nd Place-Hunter Gordon & Nick Boatwright
3rd Place-Fernanda Lopes Sume-I
3rd Place-Reina Abernathy
3rd Place-Wes Mills & Itzya Villaba
3rd Place-Laisa Bollo, Ruby Perez & Javier Rameriz
4th Place-Kangdi Yu
Raiders Attend Chattahoochee Cougar Classic Debate Tournament
The Raider Debate Team participated in their first competition of the year the weekend of Friday,
September 30 and Saturday, October 1 at Chattahoochee High School. They attended the 2016 Cougar Classic Tournament and had some promising success.
Congratulations to the Freshman team of Neha Devineni and Andaiye Gibson for making it to Octafinals (Top 16 teams out of
60) in the Novice Division. Congratulations, also, to Neha Devineni for placing as 4th
Novice Speaker out of 120 entrants.
September 2016 Headlines
Successful Joint College Fair
The Counseling Centers of Riverwood and North Springs high schools hosted their first joint College Fair on September 28 at Ridgeview Middle School. Over 60 public and private universities, colleges, and technical schools participated in the event. It was open to parents and students from Riverwood and North Springs, as well as Ridgeview and Sandy Springs middle schools. Evening workshops addressed College Essay Writing, Tips for the College Bound 9th and 10th Grader, Financial Aid, and Scholarships. Breakout sessions were also held for Latino students and their parents.
This inaugural joint event was well attended and enabled students to speak with local and leading national universities and colleges. Schools represented included Yale, Princeton, and Northwestern, and four of the top 20 HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges & Universities. In response to increased demand, the high schools opened the event to middle school students and their parents.
Hiking Club September Outing
The Raider Hiking Club had its first outing of the year in September and covered just over 3.5 miles on Indian Trail. The club currently has around twenty members and invites interested students to join them on future hikes. The club, in its second year, plans to schedule at least five more hikes this year.
Monitor the Daily Announcements for upcoming events or contact Faculty Sponsor Jackie Carson for more information.
National Arts Honors Society Participates in BeltLine Lantern Parade
Members of the Raiders' National Art Honors Society (NAHS) participated in the Seventh Annual Art on the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern parade on Saturday, September 10. The lantern parade dates to 2009 and follows a two mile route on the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine beginning near Inman Park and ending in Piedmont Park. This is the second year the Raider chapter of the NAHS created lanterns and walked in the parade. The group of 22 enjoyed the outing and was delighted to see a large number of their peers along the route.
The National Arts Honor Society recognizes students with both talent and an interest in art, helping them attain their highest potential in all forms, and raise awareness of art education throughout the school and community. Although the Raider NAHS chapter started just three years ago, it has grown to 45 members. Dana Munson and Lana Ensmann are the faculty sponsors.
Students Attempt to Escape the Bus
The morning of September 8, 2016 began with the arrival of the Escape Bus from the iSchool Initiative to the practice field. During the day, over 100 students and staff took on the challenge to “Escape the Bus” in 30 minutes or less. This unique program challenges students to find clues hidden inside the mobile classroom on wheels. Participants are encouraged to work as a team to go through the stations to unlock clues and solve the problem in order to “Escape the Bus.”
In the process of finding clues, participants learn about new technology to use in the classroom, the importance of student voice, and the history of the iSchool Initiative. The iSchool Initiative helps schools embrace technology and create a positive culture of lifelong learning. While only about 15% of all participants find every clue, the rate of learning and fun along the way was very close to 100%.
Mrs. Balachandran (Physics) and Mrs. Taylor (Math) worked together to bring the Escape bus to campus. Partially funded by a PTSA mini-grant, the cross-curriculum exercise captured the imaginations of students and faculty alike. A post experience survey indicated that most students found the activity a fun, challenging, and a collaborative experience calling for critical thinking and team building. Mrs. Balanchandran, who also serves as the Talented and Gifted Department Chair said, “It was an eye opener as to what learning in the future would look like for both students and teachers with emphasis on developing key problem solving skills and out of the box thinking.”
Construction Topping Out Ceremony
Turner Construction contractors, workers, school faculty and staff, and even members of the student body, gathered for a topping out ceremony Thursday, September 1. They watched the final beam slowly rise above the three-story building and settle into its place of honor overlooking the dusty construction site.
In the week leading up to the ceremony, the specially selected structural steel beam, painted white, occupied a table in the school’s media center. Students, faculty, and staff made their way to the library to sign the beam. Members of the Turner Construction project team also added their signatures. The beam carries more than 1,500 signatures, a time-capsule of sorts of the Raider community.
The Topping Out Ceremony is a major construction milestone, with the white beam representing a successful new beginning. Another construction tradition is having an evergreen tree lashed to the beam. The tree symbolizes unity and strength through tough and challenging times.
Speaking at the ceremony were Turner Project Manager Lance Painter, Turner Safety Manager Ayesha Spencer, Fulton County School Systems Senior Project Manager Chad Word, Principal Dr. Robert Shaw, Senior Class President Benny Soran, and Robert Sussenbach of CGLS Architects.
The Phase 1 project is an addition of an 115,000 sq. ft. three-story classroom wing, 26 instructional units, and counseling and administration offices. Phase I included the relocation of the baseball field to make room for the building. The estimated Phase I completion date is July 28, 2017. Funding for the project is coming from SPLOST IV, which was approved by voters in November 2011.
AP Environment & Earth Systems Class Adds Hydroponic Tank
Thanks to two PTSA mini-grants, AP Environment and Earth Systems teacher Patti Lawrimore is able to continue her quest to explore and examine means to bring sustainable agriculture to the urban environment. Not only does she get to live her passion, she is able to engage her students in the process.
Lawrimore’s quest began during the 2015-2016 school year with the purchase of a 55-gallon tank for her classroom, funded by a PTSA mini-grant. Her students grew trout in the tank and released the live fish into the Chattahoochee River. This year, the students converted the tank to an Aquaponic system - a system that grow plants organically using fish waste to feed young plants, while the roots of the plants feed the fish. This completely organic system produces food without soil and uses 80% less water than traditional systems.
A 2016-2017 mini-grant funded the addition of a hydroponic tank to the classroom, an inorganic system where synthetic fertilizers are added to the water to feed the plants. This system cycles water across the plant roots, but fertilizer provides the food for the plants. The water use is the same as with the aquaponic system with little or low impact on the soil.
Having both the aquaponic and hydroponic tanks in the classroom enables the students to compare the value of the indoor inorganic and inorganic systems while identifying some of the environmental impacts. Topics for comparison to a traditional outside garden include water use, land space, and soil quality.
Lawrimore stated “I am so grateful to the PTSA for these grants and the kids love the program.” The PTSA Mini-Grant program considers proposals from teachers each semester to fund special projects and extraordinary classroom needs. During the 2015-16 school year, the PTSA provided more than $30,000 directly to classrooms through the mini-grant process.
Raiders Contribute to Baton Rouge Flood Relief
The Raiders rallied to provide assistance to families in
Baton Rouge recovering from historic flooding. Mr. Dejohn Williams,
Riverwood's Cafeteria manager, is a Baton Rouge native and has extensive
friends and family living in the region. In response to his request, the
Raiders collected bottled water, diapers, toiletries, soap, baby food and toys. Thanks to the generous donations of the Raider community and to the organizing efforts of Heather Ingram, student club coordinator, several sacks of supplies made it to Louisiana Labor Day Weekend.
Foundation Receives $9,000 Sandy Springs
The Sandy Springs Society continues its generous support of the Raiders with a $9,000 grant to the Foundation. As
part of the Society’s 2016 Philanthropic Donations, the grant funds AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination), a primary
program of the Foundation. AVID is a disciplined classroom structure
designed to prepare students that are traditionally underrepresented
in higher education for success in high school, college, and career.
Students are selected for the program based on an application and
interview process. The grant from the Sandy Springs Society
will help fund tutors, college field trips, and teacher
training for the AVID program.
August 2016 Headlines
Raider Aces ACT
Congratulations to Senior Jeremy Colton who scored a perfect score of 36 on the ACT (American College Testing) exam. Colton sat for the exam in February 2016 and, based on the most recent data, is one of less than 1% of all tested students in the nation to achieve a perfect score. Colton advises his fellow students planning to take the ACT to prepare by taking as many practice tests as possible. Of the 223 Raiders taking the ACT last year, the composite score was 22.9, which is above the Georgia (21.1) and National (20.8) average.
Youth Leadership Sandy Springs Inducts 12 Raiders
Congratulations to the latest group of Raiders to join Youth Leadership Sandy Springs: Nate Arney, Ryan Belfi, Jack Buehner, Graci Goldstein, Ethan Hunt, Olivia Koenig, Jack Kurlander, Elaina Levy, JP Lutz, Jacky Martinez-Dominguez, Julie Mittelstedt, and Michelle Stanek. These twelve join 24 students from seven other area schools to form the Sixth Youth Leadership Sandy Springs class.
The 2016-17 class will spend the year in leadership training and civic engagement programs. They began their adventures with an opening retreat on Outward Bound’s ropes course and will participate in a cell phone scavenger hunt in September. Throughout the year, they will meet with city leaders at city hall, conduct a mock trial, get a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement, go to jail, explore the Chattahoochee River and city parks, meet with developers and city planners to redevelop the city center, and work at non-profits. Already the group is investigating the needs of the community to determine a joint service project.
Sandy Springs Society Awards $6,000 Grant to Band and Orchestra Boosters
The Sandy Springs Society generously funded a grant request to benefit the Band and Orchestra Boosters (BOB). The grant, announced in the summer of 2016, provides specialized music instruction for band and orchestra students, as well as the purchase of a wireless microphone system. The grant will provide much needed support to the growing music program at RICS.
BOB supports over 250 Orchestra and Band students through service, advocacy, and financial aid. BOB provides funding for scholarships, competitions, transportation, banquets, awards, Senior Recognition, and feeding hungry musicians.
Directors Carlos Rodriguez (Band) and Jovan DeShong (Orchestra) are leading a music program which is growing by leaps and bounds. With an enrollment of over 200 students in the band and 60 in the orchestra, this is an exciting year to be a Raider musician. As recently as three years ago, fewer than 100 students participated in band and orchestra classes. In addition to the doubling of scheduled band and orchestra classes offered, the marching band has experienced spectacular growth. This year’s marching band numbers more than 50 musicians, up from six a few short years ago.
The band has seven sections: flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, low brass, and percussion. The orchestra has four sections: violin, viola, cello, and bass. As the band and orchestra program continues to grow, it is challenging to deliver the much-needed individualized attention to each instrument section. The Sandy Springs Society’s grant will enable specialized instruction to all students as many are not able to afford private instruction. Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. DeShong source instructions from high school music educators, college professors, and members of symphony orchestras.
In addition to daily participation during the school day, extracurricular groups include the Jazz Band & Combo, the Raider Marching Band, a Percussion Ensemble, and a Quartet. These groups perform during the year at school concerts and community events. The wireless microphone will help raise the professionalism of each musical production and will add to the audience’s musical enjoyment of the performances.
Deb Olson, BOB Parent Volunteer and Sandy Springs resident, worked with Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. DeShong to submit the grant to Sandy Springs Society. “Our directors collaborate and partner with other directors opening access to a lot of talent. Our directors just need the opportunity to bring them to Riverwood.”
July 2016 Headlines
Student Co-Authors Journal of Applied Physics Article
Rising Senior Kenzie Fisher (Class of 2017) co-authored a paper entitled "Effect of top electrode material on radiation-induced degradation of ferroelectric thin film structures," which appeared in the July 11, 2016 edition of the Journal of Applied Physics (Vol.120, Issue 2) read article.
Fisher completed an internship in Materials Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology during the summer of 2014 and 2015, following her sophomore and junior years. She did research and created Ferroelectric PZT thin films and performed tests on other thin films created by the Army Research Lab. A thin film is a layer of material ranging from fractions of a nanometer (monolayer) to several micrometers in thickness. Thin films play an important role in the development and study of materials with new and unique properties. Because of her data collection work as an intern, Fisher receives credit as a co-author on the paper.
Fisher’s high school science fair project on PZT thin films made it to the 2015-16 State Level Science Fair in Georgia and earned fourth level honors. Fisher continues her interest in Materials Science and credits the professor under which she worked at Georgia Tech, Dr. Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb, as most influential in her choice of study. She plans to major in Materials Science and this experience has boosted her confidence in being a successful female engineer. Not surprisingly, her top college choice is Georgia Tech.
FCCLA Wins Silver in San Diego
Congratulations to Senior Lizbeth Zamora (Class of 2017, pictured right) and Octavious Wright (Class of 2016, pictured left) for winning silver medals at the July 2016 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference in San Diego. Chef Elissa Oliver (pictured center) accompanied the two Raiders to the west coast as they showcased their award-winning Snowball Food Truck business concept.
The Raider FCCLA chapter employed a variety of successful fundraising activities to cover the costs of attending the national conference. Throughout the spring, the chapter catered several large events including Principal's Luncheons for Dr. Shaw, PTSA luncheons, a Senior Breakfast, and a Sandy Springs Education Force (SSEF) meeting. The end of the year Bake Sale was especially popular with their fellow students.
The National conference allowed FCCLA members from across the country to network with fellow members, attend workshops and leadership sessions, and compete in various events. The STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) competition recognizes participants who demonstrate their knowledge of the hospitality, tourism, and recreation industries and an ability to translate their knowledge into a hypothetical or real business.
Hasbrouck Attends Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders
Senior Maysa Hasbrouck (Class of 2017) attended the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Summer 2016 Congress. Joined by students from across the country, she spent three days immersed in an impressive schedule of activities. She heard Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science Winners, as well as deans from top tech universities. Hasbrouck said that her time with fellow teen science prodigies inspired her and she enjoyed learning about cutting-edge advances and the future of science and technology.
“Attending The National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Congress was truly a life changing experience. Featuring a litany of speakers ranging from seventeen year-olds (like me) to some with much more wisdom and experience, the convention targeted students who are driven with aspirations to succeed in life and change the world.”
Her favorite speaker was Sean Stephenson. Stephenson is an American therapist, self-help author, and motivational speaker. Because he was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, Stephenson stands three feet tall, has fragile bones, and must use a wheelchair. “He reminded me that there was an entire world outside of personal success. His perseverance despite his physical challenges told me that quitting is never an option, and that everyone can contribute to the betterment of the world in a unique way," said Hasbrouck.
Other speakers included Sylvester James Gates, Jr., Ph.D., a recipient of the National Medal of Science for Physical Science, John C. Mather, Ph.D., winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics, and Amy Hess, executive Assistant Director of the FBI's Science and Technology Branch.
The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who are passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). The purpose of the conference is to honor, inspire, motivate, and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be scientists and technologists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, a plan, and resources to help them reach their goal. Delegates earn nominations based upon their academic excellence, leadership potential, and commitment to entering the field of either science or technology.For more information about the Congress, visit Scitechleaders.com
Raiders Attend National Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Conference
Sierra Tulloch and Jasmine Sillas, members of the Raider FBLA chapter and May 2016 graduates, attended the National Leadership Conference this summer. Based on their First Place finish in the Management and Decision-making competition at the State level earlier in the year, they qualified as delegates to the National Conference. Held June 29-July 3 in Atlanta, the conference attracted more than 12,500 of America’s best and brightest high school students. Tulloch and Sillas connected with top future business leaders, took advantage of the more than 65 business and business-related competitive events, enhanced their business skills, and expanded their networks.
The annual conference is part of a comprehensive national competitive program sponsored by FBLA that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. Indeed, students competed for the opportunity to win more than $179,000 in cash awards. For many students, the FBLA competitive events are the capstone activity of their academic careers.
June 2016 Headlines
Students and Teachers in Spain June 2016
The trip hashtags are#Riverwooddoand#gnomeo. Look for glimpses of Gnomeo, the Raider mascot gnome, throughout the trip photo journals, too.
Generally, the students attended structured classes each morning and, after lunch, experienced Spanish culture through various group activities throughout the city. The students lived in private homes for most of the trip and benefited from full language immersion during their home stays. In addition to student fundraising during the school year, which netted around $200/student, the Riverwood Foundation generously contributed funds toward the trip.
Congratulations to Amelia Holley for being selected by Fulton County Schools as the Raider Star Senior.
May 2016 Headlines
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2016 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP BOYS SOCCER TEAM
Two Raiders win Positive Athlete of the Year Awards e
The 2015-16 school year marks the second year of Riverwood's
participation in the Positive Athlete Georgia program. Positive Athlete
Georgia hosted an awards ceremony for all of the North Fulton award
winners on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.Congratulations to the two Raider student athletes named 2016 Positive Athletes of the Year: Junior
Gaurav Kunwar (Tennis), and Senior Octavious Wright (Swim/Dive).