MAY 23, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


The School Governance Teams in all of Tift County's public  primary and elementary schools have voted to adopt a school uniform policy for students beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the school system says.

The mandatory school uniforms have provoked scores of comments, both pro and con, on social media.

The schools that have decided to adopt uniforms are: Annie Belle Clark Primary, G.O. Bailey Primary, Len Lastinger Primary, Northside Primary, Charles Spencer Elementary, Matt Wilson Elementary and Omega School

Students in those schools will be required
 to wear solid white, gray or Navy/dark blue collared shirts, and khaki or Navy/dark blue bottoms; jeans will not be allowed. Shorts and skirts  are allowed, but all uniforms must adhere to current dress-code standards relating to length, condition, etc., the school system says.

"The small Tift County "T" logo on shirts is acceptable, and small logo branding on shirts (examples: Lacoste alligator, Nike swoosh, etc.) will be allowed. The use of branding, as well as outer wear, will be monitored during the 2017-18 school year," the school system says.

"Students will be allowed to have special dress-down days in conjunction with teacher casual days. On those days, all staff and students will be required to adhere to current dress-code standards."

The Tift County Pre-K Center will not be affected, but the Pre-K class at Omega School will have to adhere to the uniforms policy because those students are in the same building with grades K-5, the school system says.

Other schools in the system could decide to adopt uniforms in the future, but for the upcoming school year only students below sixth grade are affected.

"Please know that the uniform policy originated from each school, not the central office," the school system notes on Facebook. " Please feel free to read minutes from each school's local governance meeting. It was voted on at the schools."

Since Tift County became a state Charter School System, School Governance Teams have been created to help govern each school. The teams are comprised of the school's principal, parent representatives, business community representatives and school staff representatives.

On the Tift County Public Schools' Facebook page, the school system notes that "We have a clothes closet that will be able to help if a child's family can't afford the uniform. If someone simply chooses not to comply, they will receive the same consequences they do now for violating the dress code."

"This is  ridiculous . Like we can buy all this crap," one person wrote on  Facebook . " So dumb!" wrote another. " This seems like a poorly planned and executed idea to me," another person wrote.

But there are also these comments on the school system's Facebook page: "Loveeeeeeee this. They will be looking sharp." ... "It's way cheaper than me going school shopping for re gular clothes!" And this: "O nce you have them in uniforms, it's great, actually; they know what they are going to wear everyday, plus in the long run it's cheaper than other clothes.


Interim Tifton Fire Chief Bobby Bennett has been named as the new city fire chief,  effective immediately.

Tifton City Manager Pete Pyrzenski made the announcement Monday afternoon. 

"With Bennett's extensive knowledge and experience, he will bring a great deal of operational and technical expertise to the position," according to a press release from the City of Tifton.

Bennett began his career with the Tifton Fire Department as a fireman in 1996. After only one year, he had moved up to engineer and then made the rank of lieutenant in 2001. He was promoted to captain eight years later in 2009 and began serving as the interim chief of the  Tifton  City Fire Department earlier this year upon the retirement of Fire Chief Michael Coleman.

The Tifton Fire Department covers a nine- square-mile area and serves a population of nearly 17,000 The  department delivers a full range of fire protection services including fire prevention and education, fire suppression, dive rescue and recovery, and hazardous  materials response.

There are three fire stations fully staffed throughout the city.


Members of the  Tift County High School Class of 2017 who had attended  Annie Belle Clark Primary School as youngsters walk the primary school's halls one final time as students, getting congratulations from current Annie Belle Clark
students. Tift County  graduation ceremonies are this  Saturday .


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Tift Regional Health System (TRHS) was the regional sponsor of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's breakfast forum in   Tifton  last Tuesday, May 16

The Georgia Chamber, based in Atlanta, has expanded its reach by opening a regional office in  Tifton  on Love Avenue in the former Georgia Power building. The breakfast  was one in a series of sessions to be held throughout South Georgia

Chris Dorman, TRHS president and chief operating officer, provided opening remarks at the event about Tift Regional's commitment to economic development

"A culture of collaboration is crucial in drawing a diverse range of industries to the area," Dorman said. "Tift Regional will continue to serve as a vital community partner for our region."

From left are, front row, Ridley Monk, Seth Bennett, Jadelyn Harris and Trip Irions. In the back row are Kelly Pearson principal; Whitney Ratliff, third grade teacher; Jacey Brooks, second grade teacher; Carolyn Mullis, first grade teacher; and Heather Denham, kindergarten teacher.


Northside Primary School recently honored its Readers of the Year for the Tift County Reading Association (TCRA).

The third-grade winner is Ridley Monk, who is also the third-grade county winner and the TCRA's representative for third-sixth grades for the state reading association. 

In the second grade, Northside's winner is Seth Bennett, who also is the second-grade county winner and is TCRA's representative for K-second grades for the state reading association.

The school's first-grade winner is Jadelyn Harris. Trip I rions is the kindergarten winner as well as being named the kindergarten winner for the county.



The Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence recently awarded Incentive Grants to educators at Tift County High School (TCHS) for approved projects.

In the photo at upper left, TCHS principal Kim Seigler, left, stands with  Lauraleigh Shealy, center, as she accepts a   $3,000 Incentive Grant from Kaylar Howard, the foundation's liaison to the high school. The grant finances t he National Players performance of "The Great Gatsby" and "Calculus: The Musical," made possible by the foundation's Syd Blackmarr Arts Chair endowment and the Virginia TIft Brumby Music Chair endowment.

In the photo at upper right,  Kaylar Howard presents a  $2,000 Incentive Grant to Kimberly Keen for Debate Team scholarships, made possible by the Mikie Wolff Humanities Chair endowment.


Chris Cutts of South Georgia Bank was named the Ambassador of the Month for April at the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce's monthly membership meeting last Thursday. Chamber of Commerce ambassadors attend a variety of Chamber functions throughout the month and points are awarded for their attendance and participation.


Three All-America selections powered the Golden Stallions of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College to third place in the recent National Junior College Athletic Association men's tennis tournament in Plano, Texas.
Yohan Nguyen of ABAC, at left, wins NJCAA men's tennis national championship at No. 2 singles.

Yohan Nguyen from ABAC won the national championship at No. 2 singles when he knocked off Jorge Martinez from Tyler, 6-4, 7-5 in the title match. At No. 5 singles, Eymeric Chevalier lost a 6-4, 6-1 decision to Kentaro Mizushima from ASA Miami inthe championship. 

ABAC's Nguyen, Chevalier and Elvyn Nguyen were selected for All-America status. Elvin Nguyen lost in the No. 1 singles' semifinal and made the No. 1 doubles' semifinal with Chevalier before losing. 

Just prior to leaving for Texas, Chevalier participated in the ABAC spring commencement May 11 and walked out of Gressette Gymnasium with his ABAC diploma.

ASA Miami won the national title with 44 points, followed by Tyler with 43, and ABAC with 35.

"I wasn't quite sure what to expect when we went out there," ABAC Coach Dale White said. "I knew we had the talent to finish in the top three but you never know."

When ABAC made the quarterfinals in every flight, White thought his team might have a chance to win it all.  "We lost a lot of close matches in the quarterfinals," White said. "It was a hard day for us."

The third-place finish matches the way the Golden Stallions wound up in the 2015 national tournament. ABAC finished fourth in 2016. The Stallions have two national titles -- in 1984 and 1999.

From left, Darlene Taylor, Courtney Brinson, Dr. Craig Wentworth and Amy Maison.


The Southern Regional Technical College ( SRTC) Foundation recently received a donation from AT&T, a longtime supporter of technical education.

AT&T Georgia's Courtney Brinson, regional director for external affairs, presented SRTC President Dr. Craig Wentworth and Vice President of Institutional Advancment and Marketing Amy Maison with the donation to the college's foundation.
"AT&T recognizes the importance of technical education to our community and to the work force," said Brinson. "AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Supporting education has been a major focus for AT&T for more than a century, and education is our key philanthropy focus. We are driven to help students succeed in school, in the workplace and in life. We are proud to be able to make this donation to SRTC and commend them for the great job they do in serving this area's educational and career training needs."

The foundation will use the funds to support scholarships that reward students for academic achievement. They will also provide financial support to students who need assistance with tuition, books and other fees. By offering more scholarships for students, the foundation and SRTC hope to improve the job skills, technical training and educational level of local residents.


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