Competition awards include
cash prize, scholarship
A Carrollton High School senior continues to be recognized for her artistic talents, with her latest awards including a first place honor and Best in Show, presented at the Hughston Foundation Art Gala Nov. 10.
CHS art teacher Jake Richardson said Hailey Jackson is the most talented student he has taught in his 17 years of teaching, noting her continued accolades are also a result of her insightful creativity and attention to detail.
“I am so appreciative of her hard work and willingness to put her artwork out there,” said Richardson. “Hailey's future is bright in the visual arts and beyond.”
The Hughston Foundation competition, supporting the renowned Houston Clinic in Columbus, “unmasks the exciting world of art and science,” according to its website. This competition is familiar to Hailey, who picked up a second place honor last year.
This year’s awards include a cash prize of $1,500 for earning first place at the high school level and a $1,000 scholarship to Columbus State University. For her Best in Show honor, her painting will be displayed at the Bo Bartlett Center in Columbus in December.
Carrollton High School RaLin Academy students took top honors at the Northwest Georgia Region Associated General Contractors of Georgia Skills Challenge on Nov. 10.
Romnal DeLeon-Hernandez took the first-place title in the carpentry category. Jocelyn Hernandez won first place for print reading, and Joseph Sales got second place in the masonry category. CHS students were up against 15 other schools and scored the highest amount of points, making them the champions of the competition. Students also showed strongly at the Metro-Atlanta AGC Skills Challenge last month.
Chris Stone, construction instructor and RA-LIN representative for CHS, helped prepare students for the competition.
“I am so proud of our kids for competing and succeeding at a high level at competitions like this,” he said.
The RaLin Academy is the only one of its kind in the state which features a unique arrangement between a general contractor and a school system. The program began a few years ago after a conversation between Carrollton City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Albertus and Ben Garrett, president of RA-LIN, concerning the need to develop trade skills locally in the future workforce.
“While most students at CHS attend some form of college, there are still students who graduate and enter the workforce right after high school,” Albertus said. “This internship is helping expand the potential of all our graduates. We are grateful to RaLin for their partnership in helping make this program a reality.”
The program is a multi-year pathway where students learn and practice trade skills like print reading, carpentry, masonry, steel fabrication, and field engineering principles while also incorporating standards set by the Georgia Department of Education to satisfy Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathway requirements.
Elizabeth Sanders, CHS CTAE director, said through the RA-LIN Academy, students are exposed to field site opportunities, working at RaLin each day to grow first-hand knowledge about construction situations that cannot efficiently be conducted in a traditional classroom setting.
“I am very thankful for the expertise that Mr. Stone has in such a broad range of skills,” she said.
Sanders also noted that the partnership between RaLin and the district is a beneficial one.
“I am so proud of the RaLin Academy students for their success at the AGC Challenge,” said Sanders. “As a spectator at the competitions, I can’t help but be proud of the skills our students are obtaining that will help them in life. Our students and school are better because of this program. We are always looking for businesses and industries to partner with for the betterment of our students and community as a whole.”
Dr. Mark Albertus and the Trojan descendants of Wyvis and Tommie Cooke, integration pioneers of the CHS faculty, pose with the plaque honoring the history makers. The family is already three generations deep in Trojan tradition, including CHS sophomore Christian Kelley, far right, who is a Trojan football player. From left are Wyvetta Cooke Kelley (’70), Robert Kelley (’06), Rene Kelley (’91), Alfreda Cooke Brown (’73), John Kelley (’13), Cynthia Kelley (’95), Joseph Kelley (’93), Yolanda Hicks Kelley (wife of Joseph Kelley) (’96), Dr. Mark Albertus, and Christian Kelley (’25).
CHS pioneers of integration have strong Trojan legacy
Family members with deep Trojan roots that reach into the time of segregation returned to their alma mater to see in person a tribute to the patriarch and matriarch responsible for their journey down the road of gold and black.
Dr. Mark Albertus, superintendent of Carrollton City Schools, met the extended Cooke family at Carrollton High School Monday where a plaque honoring two of CHS's pioneers of integration is displayed in a historical case in the school's lobby. Wyvis M. Cooke was the second black administrator at CHS, serving for 13 years, and his wife, Tommie B. Cooke, was one of the first black teachers at the CHS who remained a fixture at the school until her retirement.
The plaque is placed in a section of the historical display case dedicated to the 1960s. While the acknowledgment of segregation and integration were already included, the story of the Cookes added the faces and names of one family's transitional journey toward integration – thanks to the diligence of one of their daughters, Alfreda Cooke Brown.
"I am grateful Mrs. Brown reached out to me to bring their story to my attention," said Albertus. "Learning of their impact during an important time in public school history not only honors this family, but broadly represents all families who made similar sacrifices."
Carver High School, also in Carrollton, was the segregated school for black middle and high school students before integration. Although Carver officially closed following the 1968-1969 school year, many Carver students and faculty members transferred to Carrollton High School before full integration was implemented, some starting as early as 1965. In this list was Mrs. Cooke, an algebra teacher, who transferred with her two daughters, Brown and Wyvetta Kelley.
"My mother brought us along when she came in 1967," said Brown. "I started school at Carrollton Junior High and my sister at CHS. I can say, for myself, my experience was a positive one since Day One. I always felt welcomed and supported."
Brown's sister Wyvetta transferred her sophomore year and is featured in another display dedicated to the Carver High student experience. According to the display, 12 students transferred to Carrollton High School in 1965, 15 transferred in 1966, 16 transferred in 1967, and 23 in 1968. Included in that historical account are two current CHS staff members – Barbara Dothard, CHS band secretary, and Sylvester O'Neal, CHS events coordinator.
On Monday, three generations of Trojans and babies in the wings came to see the new plaque. After visiting with the superintendent and catching up with other family members and friends, Brown rallied the descendants off to the side and implored them to pay attention to their legacy, honor it, and make sure no one forgets.
"I reached out to Dr. Albertus because I wanted to have my parents' legacy preserved," Brown said to the new generation. "I was afraid that after my sister and I were gone, it would be lost. I am grateful that Dr. Albertus honored my request. It is now up to you, and future generations, to make sure it is never forgotten. It is a legacy to be proud of."