The Cherokee County Educational Foundation’s inaugural “Celebration of Education” Gala on March 14 benefiting the Cherokee County School District netted $50,000 and honored outstanding teachers, students, partners, volunteers and alumni.
The black-tie optional event at the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Conference Center in Canton, co-hosted by CCEF and presenting sponsor Northside Hospital-Cherokee, was attended by more than 350 guests and included dinner, awards, a silent auction and the “CCSD’s Got Talent” high school student talent show.
Foundation Board Members Amanda Arnold, Vice President for Credit Union of Georgia, and Debbie Rabjohn, River Ridge High School PTSA President, served as Gala Committee Co-Chairs.
“We greatly appreciate the community’s support of our inaugural Gala, which will assist the Foundation in its mission of supporting the School District through grants for schools, teachers and students,” Mrs. Arnold said. “The night was a wonderful celebration, and we look forward to many annual Galas to come.”
The “CCSD’s Got Talent” grand prize winner, River Ridge High School’s B’Acapella group (Matt Ainsley, Tolu Babalola, Josh Butler, Brent Flynn, Jesse Huskey, Megan Lerner, Saxon Olson, Camden Pruitt, Ricky Rudolph, Nate Sahlberg and Rachel Woods) won a $1,000 grant for the school; and the runner-up, Sequoyah High School’s duo of Amanda Roark and Alan Stein, won a $500 grant. Each of the schools received an honorarium for participating in the competition.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo was honored as the event’s Honorary Chair, and other special guests included the CCSD Teacher of the Year, Media Specialist of the Year, Counselor of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
The Gala launched a new, major award to be presented annually by the Foundation: the Alumni of the Year Award, which will honor at least one CCSD high school alumnus and one alumna each year for outstanding professional and civic contributions.
The inaugural Alumni of the Year Award recipients were Judge Marion T. Pope Jr., who served as Chief Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge and as a member of the House of Representatives among many other accomplishments; and Janice Prather, a lifetime educator whose career included serving as an Assistant Superintendent and Principal for the School District among other roles and is the immediate past president of the Retired Educators Association.
Foundation Board President William “Billy” G. Hasty Jr. presented both with plaques featuring medallions made by Creekview High School’s art department, and both were applauded with standing ovations. For the 2016 and subsequent Alumni of the Year Award presentations, the Foundation Board will accept nominations from the community.
Mr. Hasty during the Gala also announced another new project being undertaken by the Foundation: the establishment of a Cherokee County Educators Hall of Fame. Nominations for the first class will be accepted from the community in the coming year, with Mrs. Prather to be included in the inaugural group.
The evening included many special recognitions of educators and students including the cocktail hour music provided by Teasley Middle School students, the selection of Creekland Middle School teacher John Carter for master of ceremonies and the centerpieces created by Cherokee High School agriculture teacher Sarah Scarborough and her students. The Foundation presented grants to all of these schools as honorariums of appreciation for their participation.
The Gala was made possible due an impressive list of sponsors that joined presenting sponsor, Northside Hospital-Cherokee, in supporting CCEF:
Bryant’s Quality Painting
Cobb EMC Foundation
Aramark Education Management
Credit Union of Georgia
Hasty Pope LLP
Original Mattress Factory
Seasonal Designs Landscaping
Honor Roll Sponsors
Brown & Brown Insurance
Center Cut Catering
Goshen Valley Foundation
LGE Credit Union
Manley Spangler Smith Architects, P.C.
Blackwell & Son Advisors
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Nova Engineering and Environmental
Path & Post - Becky Babcock
State Senator Brandon Beach
Think Through Math
The Travel Store Inc.
Womack Lewis Smith
Woodstock Physical Therapy
The Foundation (CCEF) is a nonprofit, charitable organization with a mission of supporting students and staff of the School District by promoting teaching and learning and celebrating achievements. The Foundation seeks funding and resources to enrich schools in areas not fully funded in the regular school program.
All money raised by CCEF through the Gala and its other fundraisers is returned to the School District and its students, teachers and schools through donations, grant opportunities and other support. Since its establishment in 2012, CCEF has awarded more than $45,000 in grants to students, teachers and schools.
PHOTO 1: Cherokee County Educational Foundation ‘Celebration of Education’ Gala Co-Chairs Amanda Arnold, left, and Debbie Rabjohn, second from left, congratulate River Ridge High School’s B’Acapella group for winning the “CCSD’s Got Talent” high school student talent show held as part of the inaugural event on March 14 at the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Conference Center. As first-place winners, the school received a $1,000 grant from the Foundation and a trophy.
PHOTO 2: Foundation Board President William ‘Billy’ G. Hasty Jr. presents an Alumni of the Year Awards to Janice Prather.
PHOTO 3: Foundation Board President William ‘Billy’ G. Hasty Jr. presents an Alumni of the Year Awards to Judge Marion T. Pope Jr.
PHOTO 4: Foundation Board President William ‘Billy’ G. Hasty Jr., second from left, and Gala Co-Chairwoman Amanda Arnold thank Gala presenting sponsor Northside Hospital-Cherokee during the program with a plaque featuring a medallion crafted by Creekview High School’s art department. The plaque was accepted by NH-C executives including CEO Billy Hayes, left, and Dr. Matthew Simmons, right, of Northside Cherokee Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Mr. Hayes also serves as Vice President of the Foundation’s Board.
PHOTO 5: Sequoyah High School’s duo of Amanda Roark and Alan Stein was named runner-up in the ‘CCSD’s Got Talent’ competition and won a $500 grant from the Foundation for their school.
PHOTO 6: Brady Payne and McKenzie Miklitsch of Cherokee High School perform 'Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better' during the talent show.
PHOTO 7: Creekview High School was represented in the competition by Paul DiCicco, who played 'Rhapsody in Blue.'
PHOTO 8: Etowah High School’s Sydney Wakeford and Jacob Kirk perform 'Legally Blonde' during the show.
PHOTO 9: Woodstock High School was represented by the band, The Fourshores: Alec Caslow, Logan Cornelison, Jake Davidson and Brett Sidney, which performed an original song.
PHOTO 10: Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo served as Honorary Chair of the event.