Diversity and Inclusion Newsletter
November/December 2020
Volume 2 Issue 2
Guiding Principle of Diversity and Inclusion
The Buford City School System believes in creating and maintaining a safe, caring, and mutually respectful and inclusive environment where all students, staff, and families are valued for their diverse cultural heritages.
Did You Know?
Students enrolled in
Buford City Schools represent
5 of the 7 continents!
North America
South America
On November 17 International Students Day Recognized throughout the district
Buford Middle School
Video Editing Club
Students Charolette Pichardo, new to BMS, with the collaboration of Alexandra Dumitru on the music, created a special video for International Students Day.
Together, these young ladies speak three different languages.
Andre Choi, Elizabeth Choi, and Joshua Kim worked together to create the green screen.
Dr. Susan Nabors (Media Specialist) is the club sponsor.
BHS International Students
An Quoc Tran
I moved here from Vietnam about 4 years ago. We came over for the many opportunities that would be available so that we could financially grow more than we would have been able to. We still have traditions that we take part in such as Lunar New Year, but the thing I miss most is my grandfather’s spring rolls. The spring rolls here are nothing like they should be like.
Zara C.
My mom is from Turkey. We visit there as a family very often. I love the views because it is so open and full of nature. Turkey is much less industrialized than America, which makes it easier to be able to walk to where you want to go. We celebrate Bayram, which is a holiday where we show our respect for our elders. We kiss their hand in exchange for gifts like money or candy. There is another holiday that we celebrate for the children. On this holiday there are many dances and performances. It is overall a very fun day where we get to celebrate life. My parents met in Barcelona and then they moved to America.
Isaac Melber
I am a 9th grader at Buford High School. I am from Ethiopia and lived there for 4 years in an orphanage. I moved to the United States in 2010 because I was adopted. My first food once I was adopted was a banana. In Ethiopia, a banana is considered a dessert. Therefore, this memory of eating the banana holds a special place in my heart and is now one of my favorite foods. While I was sad I didn’t get to continue playing soccer with my friends at the orphanage, the McDonald’s I ordered once I got to the United States made up for it. I am forever thankful for the Melber family for adopting me and giving me the life I now have.
Josh Lee
I moved to Georgia from Hawaii three months ago. I have lived in Georgia before and we moved back to help my elderly grandparents and to be closer to them. I have lived all over the country. I was born in Minnesota and I moved when I was 5 years old. I have lived in Hawaii, California, Georgia and many other places around the country because my dad is a Specialized Neurologist and he has to move around a lot for different medical schools. I enjoy moving around and getting to live in many new places all the time. 
Emily Nava
My parents are from Mexico. My mom moved in 1997 to America with her mom, my grandmother. She moved to America to find a better life. My dad moved in 2000 by himself to also make a better life for himself. My parents met in Texas six years after my mother moved to America and then I was born. They later moved to Georgia where we all live now. We don’t really celebrate Mexican holidays, but we eat a lot of Mexican foods. My favorite food that my family makes is called Mole de Panza, or ‘Soup of Cow’. I have never been to Mexico, but one day I hope to go to Mexico so I can experience the traditions firsthand.
International Show and Tell
Ms. Taylor's 7th grade Social Studies
Buford Middle School
Miguel shared some spicy candy with his classmates who were brave enough to try it.
Michael is proud to be from the USA.
Kertchie is from Haiti. Her show and tell included banana soda.
Jaylen's chocolate candy was a big hit with the class!
Carter shared the story of his grandfather owning farm land in Elberton, GA.
Karen shared pieces of Spanish candy with her classmates.
Stefanie was proud to share her family's tradition of making tortilla blankets.
BSA family proud of South African and Portuguese heritage
FAMILY is very important in both our South African and Portuguese heritage. So we take being together and supporting each other seriously. Our faith also plays a very important part in our lives.
De Jesus Family
The De Jesus family has been in the school district for 5 years now.
They immigrated from South Africa to the USA 5 years ago. Both set of grandparents are Portuguese so they have a mixed culture of South African and Portuguese. 

We basically celebrate all the same holidays as Americans, but we really do love Christmas. Our Portuguese heritage is one that enjoys celebrations especially with food, which plays an integral part in our culture. We really enjoy eating together, intentionally eating at least one meal together every day. 

We enjoy playing games as well as movie nights. Because of our South African heritage we also love the outdoors and nature.
Buford Elementary School students dressed in traditional clothing and made flags representing their families' native countries
Mrs. Gilmore and Mrs. Hogle used literature, movement and art to teach students about the Legend of the Poinsettia
Buford's very own Christmas tree family!
The Thompsons
Perhaps you've been to the Thompson tree farm in Lawrenceville. The Thompsons often joke that they live and breathe Christmas starting November 1st! If the kids aren’t at school you can pretty much guarantee they are helping out on the farm. Some of the other traditions that they have are going to the Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, riding the Pink Pig at Lenox, seeing Santa at Rhodes Hall, looking at the Christmas lights at Lake Lanier Islands, and going to services at their church, Saint Mary and Saint Martha of Bethany. 

The Thompsons have a commitment to diversity and view it as an integral part of their parenting. Both Moseby and Natalie are adopted and bring different races and religions with them from their birth families. They have many dolls with different skin colors, read books that feature a variety of skin tones and cultures, attend a diverse church and have a diverse friend group that looks differently and/or speaks differently than them. They take their children to doctors, dentists, specialists, barbers, etc that are ethnically and culturally diverse. They talk about diversity often and participate in the Black Lives Matter movement and MLK Day celebrations. It is their hope that by showcasing a range of skin colors and cultures to their children that they will grow up feeling everyone is equal and will leave this world a better place than they found it. 
When they aren’t bringing in Christmas cheer you can find them out on their boat, playing with their Bernese Mountain Dog, Goose, traveling, and the boys (not the girls) love camping—especially with Moseby’s Boy Scouts troop.
Community Diversity and Inclusion
Council Members
We have very strong family ties and traditions
such as hiking at national parks; family movie night with extra butter on the popcorn
and sitting down for dinner together especially on wings night.
Dr. Rogers Ha
We have been a part of BCS since August of 2016.

Christmas is our favorite holiday. We start December off by letting the kids take turns opening some form of advent calendar each day of the month. The whole family helps decorate the house and tree. We add 1 new family ornament each year. We invite, Charlie, our Elf on the Shelf to help us celebrate the days leading up to the most wonderful day of the year. Each family member gets to open one gift of choice per person on Christmas Eve. The rest of the presents are ripped into shreds when they are opened on Christmas Day.

We love to celebrate Lunar or Chinese New Year: this event usually takes place annually late January or early February. Families gather to celebrate the new year by enjoying delicious foods such as fish, dumplings, spring rolls and tangyuan (sweet rice balls). We shoot fireworks and exchange red envelopes with money for good luck.
Windy and Tyson Locke
We moved to the City of Buford in 2016 and have been a part of the school district since Tyson started kindergarten in 2017. 
We love Christmas and one of our favorite traditions is thinking of new ways to bless others during the holiday season each year. 
As a multiracial family we have found that it feels natural for us to enjoy many multicultural friendships as well. We celebrate our diversity in the way that we live, holding foremost the idea that love knows no language, race or skin color. 
Tyson and I enjoy adventuring together, meeting new people and discovering new places far from home. 
Employee Highlights
Paul and I have been married over two years. We enjoy attending church, sporting events, road trips, spending time with one another, family and friends. 
Angelica McKinley
Student Resource Officer
I am Angelica McKinley, one of your BCS School Resource Officers. I have been in law enforcement for eight years. Prior to my law enforcement career, I obtained my undergraduate degree from Alabama State University and a Master's degree from Troy University. I am an Atlanta native. 

As a former Gwinnett County police officer, I worked uniform patrol and as a Special Victims Detective, specializing in cases that mainly affected women, children, and the elderly/disabled. My father, who has been in law enforcement for 25 years in Atlanta, inspired my passion to pursue a career in the same field.

Being an SRO has been very rewarding. I enjoy interacting with the students and being a positive link between the community and law enforcement. At times, students have confided in me about how they feel about the police and things that can be done to change some people’s views of law enforcement. I also enjoy supporting the students as they positively contribute to the school system through academics, athletics and the arts.

Presenting different topics to the students is what I enjoy most about being an SRO. Last year I had the opportunity to present a Body Image class to the girls at the Senior Academy. At BMS, I assisted the counselors in presenting the Speak Up Be Safe curriculum with the students. I also had the opportunity to present a lesson on Juvenile Justice to the 8th grade Social Studies classes. 

Overall, I have enjoyed my time working in the Buford City School system and I look forward to getting to know more of the students and families that I serve. 
Flora Contreras
Student Information Services Coordinator
Hello everyone!

My name is Flora Contreras and I have been a part of the school district since 1998 and have enjoyed serving our students and staff alongside my Buford family for 22 years.

My Family Tradition:
A tradition that we celebrate every year during Easter is cracking 'cascarones ' on each other's heads. Cascarone's are hollowed-out chicken eggs filled with confetti.

My Family's Culture:
We celebrate birthdays with piñatas. Piñatas are containers traditionally made of paper-mache, filled with candy, and then broken during the celebration. Each family member takes a turn using a stick while blindfolded and swings at the pinata, attempting to break it and get as much candy as possible.
Family Fun:
One of our family pastimes that we really enjoy is playing board games. Our favorite games are Monopoly and Chess. We have so much fun during our family chess tournament.
Mrs. Robin Riegelhaupt has been with BCS for 23 years. She serves many of our students and families throughout the district.
Robin Riegelhaupt
School Psychologist
During this time of year, Robin and her family celebrate Hanukkah, the holiday that commemorates the rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E. Since the Hebrew word "Chanukah" means dedication, Robin and her family celebrate by getting together to exchange gifts and share a holiday meal which may include latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (deep-fried donuts). This is a special time of togetherness and rededication to family.

When you think of Hanukkah, the menorah, dreidel, and chocolate coins usually come to mind.
So what do these items symbolize?
*Menorah-holds 9 candles, one for each night of Chanukah. The helper candle is used to light the other candles. Chanukah lasts for 8 days because of the miracle that occurred in Jerusalem. Oil was found during the rededication of the Temple. It was enough oil to last one day but it miraculously lasted 8 days which was the time needed to be able to make more oil. 
*Dreidel-a spinning top with 4 sides labeled with Hebrew letters. Jewish children play with dreidels during this special time.
*Chocolate coins or Gelt-used as part of the dreidel game.
BMS and BHS Counseling Interns
BMS Welcomed Counseling Intern Ms. Danyale White from
Clark Atlanta University
Ms. Danyale White is from Mobile, AL. She graduated from John L. Leflore Magnet High School in 2012. In 2016, earned a Bachelors of Science in Rehab Counseling from Alabama State University. She is on track to graduate with a Master of Arts degree in School Counseling from Clark Atlanta University in May 2021! 
Ms. White is passionate about:
  • Advocacy
  • Counseling
  • Community Engagement
  • Community Improvement
Danyale says, "My experience here has been great so far! Everyone has made me feel so welcomed. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work with such knowledgeable and dedicated counselors.
Buford City Schools are one of a kind!
BHS Welcomed Counseling Intern Mrs. Natalie Downs from
Albany State University
I previously worked at Georgia Gwinnett College, in the Financial Aid office; which placed me in the position to advocate for students Federal Aid and assist them in completing their FAFSA, monitoring their Loan usage, Satisfactory Academic Progress, process Dual Enrollment applications, HOPE Transient students, as well as other institutional scholarships in addition to State Aid. I took pride in being the student’s all-knowing Financial Aid guru; it was my pleasure to help these students work towards their dream.

Why counseling? Throughout my work experience, volunteer CASA, Juvenile detention, Higher Education, there is a clear common denominator and that is advocacy. See, I do not consider myself to be a “counselor” but rather an advocate. After reviewing my desire to help and see others achieve/overcome I know it was my heart's utmost desire to advocate and support others. Each position I have held involved the role of advocating for youth-this realization inspired me to peruse a career change to school counseling.

It is not my desire to change a student, but rather to eliminate the barriers that exist in a student’s life that may limit their success, potential, or the desires they have for their life. It is my hope for students to find strength and confidence within themselves and that my knowledge and experiences will be useful in eliminating barriers to make a difference.

My experience with interning at BHS was nothing short of remarkable. I am so appreciative and grateful for the BHS counseling department. The BHS counseling department adjusted their schedules and allowed me to counsel seven students on a regular basis to ensure I received a realistic experience. I learned so much and I am excited to one day fill the role of school counselor.
We would love to
hear from you!
If you would like to provide feedback on the D&I Newsletter, please feel free to do so!