Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County public schools will move to a "Green" status effective Monday, Aug. 24, which means all schools will be open for in-person instruction Mondays through Fridays and will operate in a "traditional manner" with safety protocols.

Superintendent Adam Hathaway said the decision was made after conversations with local health officials and the state Department of Public Health.

He said the county’s COVID-19 situation has "moved in a positive direction. ... the number of positive COVID cases in Tift County continues to remain under 200 during the latest 14-day period. Our positivity rate is currently below 10, and we are also seeing fewer hospitalizations across our health district.”

Hathaway said the Green designation "means all students that have selected face-to-face instruction will be attending school in person Monday through Friday starting next week. All students who selected the full-time online option will not be affected by this change."

Tift County's school year began Aug. 7 under a “Yellow” status, rotating physical classes with some students on a Monday and Wednesday schedule, and others on a Tuesday and Thursday schedule. Days when those students aren’t physically in the classroom, they attend classes online, as they are doing this week.

"Let me be very clear: Our ability to prevent direct exposures will be the key to staying 'Green.' We have worked very hard to create classroom environments that allow for physical distancing even in a Green status. Direct exposure is defined by the Department of Public Health as being six feet or closer to someone for 15 minutes or more with or without a mask," Hathaway said.

"As a community, it is important we continue to take measures that slow the spread of Covid-19. Physical distancing is one of the most important steps we can take in combating the spread. Please continue to encourage your children to wash their hands and wear a mask whenever physical distancing is a challenge."

In its most recent coronavirus weekly update released Friday, the Tift school system reported seven students with a positive COVID-19 status out of 7,751 students. A total of 13 students were quarantined for possible exposure; two employees had tested positive, and two employees were quarantined for possible exposure.
Shirley Frederick poses recently with former students Maggie and Porter Johnson, children of Nathan and Alice Kelley Johnson of Tifton.

Tifton Grapevine
For generations, Shirley Frederick has been teaching young Tifton children, giving them a solid foundation in reading and math.

After beginning her teaching career in 1950 in Brookfield and at Annie Belle Clark Elementary, Frederick eventually moved on to run Mother Goose Kindergarten in Tifton, which she still does today more than 42 years later.

Her dedication to teaching Tifton’s youth, particularly focusing on early childhood reading, has led the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence to launch a campaign to raise the $25,000 needed to create the Shirley Frederick Mother Goose Kindergarten Early Reading Chair.

This will be the 20th Foundation Chair; the Chairs generate grants that allow local teachers to “put their best ideas into practice."

“Since the funding for the programs is provided by interest income generated from the endowments, Mrs. Frederick’s love for teaching a child to read at a young age would be promoted and supported in perpetuity,” said Mike Brumby, the foundation’s executive director.

A committee of Alice Kelley Johnson, Jeanine Dorminey Webster and Andrea Milton have been working to get the project launched. Frederick has taught hundreds of Tifton children through the years, and many of them and their families remain in touch with her.

Her students have gone on to be class presidents, valedictorians, STAR students and successful business people. In 2018, a group of local graduating high school seniors, in their caps and gowns, even visited their former kindergarten teacher on graduation day to thank her for her inspiration.

Surrounded by children on a recent afternoon, Frederick noted, “I’ve taught some of their fathers and mothers – and, perhaps, even some grandparents."

Frederick has run the Mother Goose Kindergarten out of her Tifton home since 1978. Her classes each year have numbered up to 18 or 20 four- and five-year-olds. She believes strongly in the phonetic approach to teaching reading. Her young students have been known to enjoy learning to read so much that they have given up their recess time in order to continue reading.

“I do individualized teaching,” Frederick told the Tifton Grapevine. “I take them where they are and help then grow."

The University of Georgia graduate was born in Indiana and grew up in Waycross. She came to Tifton after college with her husband more than 70 years ago. She has been teaching ever since, except for 10 years when she decided to stay home to raise her three children.

Frederick said she plans to “decide by Labor Day” if this is the year she retires. “But (the pandemic) may make the decision for me,” she added.

To contribute to the Shirley Frederick Mother Goose Early Reading Chair endowment project, send a check to the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence, P.O. Box 714, Tifton, GA 31793 (and note that it’s for the Shirley Frederick Chair), or email mbrumby@friendlycity.net, or call 229-382-7515.
Tifton Grapevine
If you watched the opening of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on Monday night, you saw a virtual children’s choir with members from all U.S. states and territories singing the National Anthem; representing Georgia was Fiona Casimiro, 11, of Tifton.

The “Choir Across America” was formed, rehearsed and recorded virtually in a partnership between the DNC and Commonwealth Youthchoir. Before her family moved to Tifton during summer 2019, Fiona was a member of New Jersey's Garden State Girlchoir, part of the Commonwealth Youthchoir.

Its director asked Fiona to participate on behalf of the Peach State.

"It was a true honor to represent my new home state of Georgia, and it is so great to be singing again with kids from all over the country," Fiona told the Tifton Grapevine. "I love how singing unites us all."

The rehearsals were done online via Zoom during four days. About 57 kids, representing all states and territories, joined alumni of various Commonwealth choirs, sister organizations and musical staff to total about 80 people on the Zoom sessions.

During rehearsals, the singers were divided into virtual breakout rooms based on their singing part. Fiona is a soprano 2.

"We recorded her portion of the virtual recording in our master bathroom, as it has the best acoustics in the house," said her mother Christy Casimiro.

Fiona’s mother homeschools her, and she plans to attend seventh grade at "CHESS" – Christian Home Education and Social Society, held at TyTy Baptist Church.

The family moved to Tifton when Fiona’s father, Mathew Casimiro, began duties at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College as an assistant professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, where he is teaching genetics and biology this semester.
“Miss Survivor” on Victory Drive, sponsored by the Mallory Ward School of Dance, is the latest edition to the “Dawgs of Tifton” – bulldog statues supporting the University of Georgia Tifton campus.
"Miss Survivor," the 13th member of the University of Georgia Tifton campus' "Dawg family," has found a home on Victory Drive. The bulldog statue, supporting the UGA Tifton campus, is sponsored by Mallory Ward School of Dance.

Each UGA Dawg statue is named and sponsored by a local business or organization, which gets to personalize the statue. They have become popular sites for photographs around town.

The project is an ongoing initiative of the UGA Tifton Agribusiness Club and Collegiate FFA.

To find the location of all the Dawgs in Tifton, Click Here!
Dr. Vanessa Lane of ABAC displays a red-phased eastern screech owl to the ABAC student chapter of The Wildlife Society in this file photo. Enrollment in the college's Natural Resource Management program hit an all-time high this semester.
A record number of students have decided on a major in the "great outdoors" at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College when ABAC returned to in-person classes for the fall semester.

ABAC President David Bridges said early numbers showed a record 1,371 students majoring in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Of that number, an all-time high of 273 students chose Natural Resource Management which features programs in forestry, wildlife, and conservation law enforcement. ABAC’s overall enrollment is nearly 4,000 students.

“Believe it or not, it might have something to do with the pandemic,” Bridges said. “Like many people in America today, some of our students are choosing careers that take them away from big cities. Because of the coronavirus and its effect on highly populated areas, that could be what we are seeing."
Area organizations are distributing free milk and food to needy families and individuals on Friday and Saturday.

This Friday, Aug. 21, beginning at 9 a.m. at Tifton Mall, the Salvation Army will distribute gallons of milk, sponsored by Borden dairy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Distribution will be in the mall parking lot.

On Saturday, Aug. 22, beginning at 7:30 a.m., Second Harvest of South Georgia food bank will distribute one box of food per household; distribution will be in the parking lot of the Ga. Museum of Agriculture on Whiddon Mill Road. No ID or proof of income is required.

Both distributions are on a first-come, first-served basis until supplies run out.
This dog is on stray hold at the Tift County Animal Shelter; if not reclaimed, the pet will be available for adoption or rescue. Visit the Animal Shelter from 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch's Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055
– AUG. 17, 1905
With a stroke of a pen on Thursday, Aug. 17, 1905, a new county was born in Georgia: Gov. Joseph M. Terrell signed the legislation, passed unanimously by the General Assembly the day before, creating Tift County. The governor "affixed his signature with a handsome gold pen made expressly for the purpose by jeweler J.E. Cochran of Tifton and bearing 'Tift County' on a pearl nameplate," according to news dispatches at the time.
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Tifton Grapevine
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