Greenbrier Middle School teacher and Columbia County Teacher of the Year Shaun Owen was one of 10 finalists for Georgia Teacher of the Year.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
More than 1,000 seniors from Columbia County's public high schools and one private school were to receive diplomas Saturday. Augusta Preparatory Day School's graduates will march May 29.
Now that the summer break is here, The Columbia County News-Times takes a look back at the events that shaped the 2004-05 school year.
- The Columbia County public school system topped 20,000 in pupil enrollment, setting a record.
- The Columbia County school board created a policy banning anyone on the state's sex offender registry from attending public school, unless a judge orders a school-age sex offender to attend school. In such a circumstance, the offender must attend the county's alternative school. The board also approved a policy requiring accused or convicted offenders of other felonies to face a review board before being allowed back into the school system.
- More than 30 percent of the county's 187 school bus drivers received new routes for the 2004-05 school year. The rerouting was designed to optimize efficiency. Parents objected to allowing one driver to pick up children in all three levels of schooling on the same route, but Superintendent Tommy Price said efficiency overrides the parents' concerns.
- Grovetown and North Columbia elementary schools improved test scores enough to make Adequate Yearly Progress as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. Both schools were removed from the Needs Improvement list. Grovetown Middle School was added to the list for failing to make adequate progress in the pupils-with-disabilities subcategory two years in a row. Other schools on the list included North Harlem Elementary, Euchee Creek Elementary and Harlem Middle.
- Harlem High School got a new principal, Allen Griffin, and a new assistant principal, Carla Shelton.
- Harlem High School's drama department took a two-week trip to England and Scotland to participate in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an annual theatrical celebration.
- The school board enacted a policy requiring middle school pupils to pass three of four core classes - math, science, language arts and social studies - before they are promoted to high school.
- Lea Christine Turner, a 17-year-old senior at Greenbrier High School, was killed in a two-vehicle crash. She was a passenger in a car driven by her 21-year-old fiance, Jason Banning. The wreck occurred Aug. 10; the couple had planned to wed Aug. 15. Lea was the ninth Columbia County teen to die in a car wreck in less than two years.
- The school system's overall SAT score dropped 12 points from the year before, according to figures released by county officials that month. The system's 1,025 score was one point below the national average but surpassed the state's 987 average.
- Candidates for two school board seats held the first of two debates Sept. 13. The debaters included District 2 incumbent Wayne Bridges against Donnie Porter and District 5 candidates Mike Sleeper and LouAnne Grove.
- Students in Harlem High School's ProStart culinary program opened their own restaurant, Bone Appetite, in the school.
- In a school board meeting, Price called comparisons of Columbia County's SAT score to Richmond County's unfair. He told board members that Richmond County school officials regularly deny a code identifying what school a student attends before taking the SAT. Without that code, the college board, which grades the SAT, can't count that student's score against the system. Columbia County doesn't employ the same policy, Price said.
- Greenbrier Middle School teacher Shaun Owen is named the Columbia County school system's teacher of the Year.
- The Columbia County Commission asked school officials to join the steering committee to update the county's growth management plan. School board members agreed to join as a means of helping them plan for future growth and swelling pupil enrollment.
- The school board asked for community input on where to place six pillars and one arch on the soon-to-be-razed Evans Middle School site. The pillars and arch are the last remnants of Evans Consolidated School, which was destroyed by fire in 1955. Suggestions included moving the pillars and arch to Evans High, or to the new Evans Middle site on Hereford Farm Road once it is completed.
- Price was named one of the top 10 superintendents in the state by the Georgia State Superintendents Association.
- Former Lakeside High School Band Booster President Sharon Nichols is charged with stealing $12,000 from the organization.
- The school board approved the purchase of 12 portable classrooms at a cost of more than $200,000 for students of Evans High to use while asbestos is removed from the school's air-conditioning ducts.
- Transportation Director Jim Sharpe resigned. A retired Army colonel, Sharpe was hired earlier in the year to guide the system's transportation department.
- School officials announced they expect pupil enrollment to grow by 2,300 in the next five years.
- The Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack softball team won the state AAAA title.
- A school bus driver knocked over one of the pillars outside Evans Middle School after backing into it while parking.
- In the general election, incumbent school board member Wayne Bridges defeated Donnie Porter to keep his District 2 seat and Mike Sleeper won over LouAnne Grove in the District 5 race.
- Ninety percent of voters approved a referendum to create an at-large elected school board chairman.
- A focus group presented the idea of an early-release program for elementary school to allow teachers more planning time. The board approved further study of the idea.
- Board members approved sending a new 1-cent sales tax referendum to voters in March. School officials said the tax could produce a nearly debt-free system by 2012.
- Controversial former school board member Lee Muns participated in his last board meeting. Muns had announced in July that he would not seek re-election, citing business and family reasons behind his decision.
- Several schools organized fund-raisers to help Asian tsunami victims.
- Regina Buccafusco was elected school board chairwoman for 2005 by fellow board members. Wayne Bridges was elected as vice chairman.
- Mike Sleeper was sworn in as a board member for District 5.
- Board members approved the zoning for a new elementary school on Mullikin Road. The zoning allowed the school to relieve overcrowding at Riverside, Greenbrier and Stevens Creek elementary schools.
- Gov. Sonny Perdue, after a news conference at Doctors Hospital, revealed that he will release $4.6 million in state funding to build a satellite campus of Augusta Technical College in the Horizon South Industrial park across from John Deere Commercial Products.
- Lakeside High School was named a 2005 Georgia School of Excellence. It was the third time the school has received the distinction.
- Greenbrier Middle School teacher Shaun Owen was named a state finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year.
Lewiston Elementary School fourth-grader Ashley Nichols stood next to her art project on display at the school. Ashley was one of several pupils to have their art displayed in a Boston museum.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
- The artwork of Lewiston Elementary School pupils was displayed at a Boston Museum for the National Art Educators Association.
- Public and private schools named their STAR students, which are pupils obtaining the highest SAT scores at their school. Gail Marie Filpus-Luyckx won for Augusta Preparatory Day School, Shivani Gupta for Evans High School, Nakul Shekhawat and Zach Strother for Lakeside High School, Tanya Lynn West for Augusta Christian Schools, Brandon McGuiness for Greenbrier High School, and Mark Hanna for Harlem High School.
- Greenbrier High School junior William Ryan Howell, 17, died in a single-car wreck Feb. 27. Ryan was the 10th Columbia County teen to die in a car wreck in less than two years.
- A high school task force recommended to school officials that the county's next high school should be comprehensive. The group was formed to look into the possibility of creating a magnet school in the county.
- The school board approved the name River Ridge Elementary School for the new school on Mullikin Road in Evans despite protests by some that the school should have the more historical name of Oakey Grove. The board preferred to name a road leading up to the school Oakey Grove Drive to honor a former schoolhouse that operated in the area until 1957.
- Lakeside High School seniors Zach Strother and Nakul Shekhawat were named the 2005 Region Seven Professional Association of Georgia Educators STAR Students.
- Harlem High School baseball coach Jimmie Lewis registered his 500th win.
- Riverside Elementary School fourth-grader Trevor Drulia, 9, won the J. Guyton Thompson Award in the Intermediate division of the 2005 CSRA Regional Science and Engineering Fair grand award.
- The Manufacturers Council of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce announced it would join with the school system to develop programs to improve career/technology offerings in schools.
- Euchee Creek Elementary School won a grant for $35,000 worth of computer and office equipment.
- Public school officials proposed a $133 million budget for the 2005-06 school year.
- Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law a bill creating an at-large elected school board chairman and reducing the voting districts for the school board from five to four.
- The school board toughened punishments for pupil offenders and changes the name of Crossroads Academy to The Columbia County Board of Education Alternative School.
- The school year ended. The next year starts Aug. 3.
- The class of 2005 graduated.
Best and Brightest
The Augusta Chronicle recognizes the 25 outstanding members of the Class of 2005 - the winners of our Best and Brightest Awards.
Lists of graduates
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