story and photos by matt rogers
With summer break winding up soon, school children are probably trying to squeeze every minute of free time they have by lounging inside a cool, air-conditioned house watching cartoons, running through sprinklers on a hot day and catching lightning bugs at night before heading back to the old grind of reading, learning and studying.
Freelance journalist Meg Ferrante has managed to package summertime fun with learning. With her creative writing camp, Camp Quill, fun and learning is a packaged deal.
Meg's focus for the camp was narrative, expository and persuasive writing. In addition, she had a range of activities for the children to complete, like making their own newspaper, learning to write their names in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and finishing different variations of Mad Libs – one of these Mad Lib variations being a knock-off the game “Hot Potato” in that as the "potato" is passed around, each child adds to the story; once the timer goes off, the person left holding the “potato” has to come up with something that brings a huge obstacle to the plot of the story.
What is disguised fun for the children is actually preparing them for the state-required writing test they will have to take in the spring. With each activity Meg had the children complete, she always asked for three reasons to back-up their thoughts.
Why? The writing test requires three supporting paragraphs for each essay.
Meg's love for writing stemmed from an early age. Growing up, she and her friends would go door-to-door delivering their own newspaper they made.
“That got me started in writing,” Meg said. “I've always loved to write.”
What later inspired Meg to create this camp was her own 10-year-old son—he is a good reader, but finds writing “majorly painful.”
By Kathryn Schiliro
On Sunday, Aug. 8 – after more than 22 years – Rev. Jim Ross will take the pulpit of Madison Baptist Church for the last time.
Ross is leaving his position as pastor of the church to take another position, that of Vice President for Advancement and Church Relations for Morningstar Children and Family Services. Based in Brunswick, Ga., with resource centers around the state, Morningstar is a "private, faith-based organization...which supports families and children with severe mental, emotional, and behavioral disabilities," according to a letter Ross sent to church members.
"I felt it was time for a change in this season of life," Ross said.
Morningstar's goal, Ross said, is to keep children with these disabilities in their home and to provide families with the help as well as the coping and practical skills they need to make that possible. In addition, Morningstar also has a foster care program that can take children with severe mental, emotional and behavioral disabilities for periods of time.
Ross will work out of offices in Brunswick and Macon and will be out on the road traveling to churches – primarily Baptist, but other denominations as well – across the state to encourage and facilitate financial support for Morningstar, whether it be through donations, bequests, etc.
"At this stage of life, after 31 years as a pastor, with over 22 of those years at Madison Baptist, I sense a yearning for a fresh beginning, a new chapter in life, vocation, and ministry. As I look toward the future, I believe the time is right to face some new challenges, learn new skills, while still utilizing the experience I have accumulated along the journey," Ross writes, in his letter to church members.
By: Stan DeJarnett
The Morgan County School System's leadership team, school and system administrators have spent June and July compiling data from the just-completed school year, and there is a lot of great news to report.
In many areas we have had the best year in the history of our school system. All our schools reported great academic success with our students, in many areas the greatest success ever. When you look at our results in the context of the state funding and general economic climate, the numbers are even more encouraging.
Although a more detailed report of state test results and a user-friendly Balanced Scorecard will be rolled out at the July 29th Board of Education meeting, Morgan County students, supported by their parents and teachers, recorded the following achievements of note:
Morgan County Primary School
• 96.6 percent of all second graders passed the Reading CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Test), with 48.7 percent scoring in the "exceeds category," the highest possible.
• 95.7 percent of all second graders passed the Math CRCT, with 32.3 percent scoring in the "exceeds" category.
Morgan County Elementary School
• 97.1 percent of all fifth graders passed the Language Arts CRCT.
• 96.3 percent of all third graders passed the Language Arts CRCT.
Morgan County Middle School
• 96.5 percent of all sixth graders passed the Reading CRCT, the highest ever
• This year 25 classrooms at MCMS had ALL students pass the Reading CRCT. Last year, three could make that claim.
• 92.6 percent of all seventh graders passed the Math CRCT, the highest ever.
• 91.8 percent of all seventh graders passed the Science CRCT, with 47.9 percent scoring in the "exceeds" category, the highest ever for both scores.
By Kathryn McBroom
Dekalb Technical College will hold their new student enrollment for the 2010 summer quarter’s GED preparation class on July 13, 14 and 15.
Enrollment begins each day at 9 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. No one will be admitted after 9 a.m. It is a three-day process, and students are required to attend all three days.
Each day’s events will take place at The Creamery, located at 150 East Washington Street in Madison.
Students between the ages of 16 and 19 must also bring a valid picture ID and withdrawal papers from the last school attended.
For more information contact Doreen Arminio at 706 343-5916. For GED testing information call 770 786-9522, extension 3209.
By Matt Rogers l Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
For more photos, see Page 10C.
Family and friends packed the stands. Some fanned themselves because of the heat, others waved to the rest of their party. Conversations fused into one incomprehensible roar, and, all at once, ceased.
Cue the caps and gowns.
The faculty entered the field; at the goal line, teachers lined up to make room for the graduates. Led by junior marshals, the seniors walked past their teachers. Some even exchanged handshakes.
The crowd began cheering, clapping, yelling. “Oh! There she is!"
Friday night, under the lights of Bill Corry Stadium, Morgan County High School graduated 207 seniors.
Superintendent Dr. Stan DeJarnett congratulated the graduating seniors on the accomplishment.
“I couldn't be more proud of the class you've become,” he said. “We know you all earned that diploma.”
Valedictorian Emily DeJarnett related life to music.
“[Music is] nothing without the passion of the performer,” she said. “Music is worthless if there isn't an audience to hear it.”
“We are entering a whole new part of life which is unknown and that can be scary,” salutatorian Elizabeth Rogers said. “We must not be a generation of excuses that does just enough to get by."
While now-graduates had fresh diplomas in hand, Robert Prior performed “Time of the Year” by Better than Ezra, chosen to be the 2010 MCHS graduation song.
The ceremony, the culmination of a 13-year student career, was over and done with in about 75 minutes.
Printed in the June 3, 2010 edition.
By: Beth Johnson; Staff Writer
Photos By: Angelina Bellebuono