McDuffie County Board of Education members and school administrators applauded students for numerous recognitions and awards Tuesday during a planning session.

McDuffie County School System Superintendent Dr. Mychele Rhodes announced that the JumpStart Industry Partnership at Thomson High School was named one of the 2020 Four for the Future award recipients by the University of Georgia and Georgia Trend magazine.

“The Jumpstart program allows high school students completing a career pathway to practice skills alongside a master tradesman in their area of study,” according to the school system’s website.

School board members were told the district would be honored for the community initiative during this year’s Public Service and Outreach Awards Luncheon on April 20 in Athens. The program will also be featured in an upcoming Georgia Trend issue, according to Rhodes. UGA and the magazine spotlight four communities each year which strive to improve their citizen’s quality of life through “public-private and nonprofit collaborations,” according to

JumpStart kicked off last fall, after the high school’s longstanding apprenticeship program underwent a makeover facilitated by the local UGA Archway partnership. The school system collaborated on JumpStart with the business community through the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce.

School administrators also presented the Students of the Month from each school for the month of February: Darby Verner, Jordan Moss, Jada Jones, Tatyana Ivey, Aiden Beall and Korie Schmidt.

Dearing Elementary School students Blakely Dees, Parker Hollimon and Sam Amerson won the Fall 2019 Stock Market Game for Congressional District 10. The students’ simulated portfolio was valued at $110,134.36. They will be honored with other winning teams from across the state at a luncheon on May 6 in Atlanta.

Thomson High School Beta Club members Deven Rolland, Chyra Strong, Miriam Pederson and Cammie O’Neal placed strong at the Georgia Beta Convention last month in Savannah. They will next compete at the National Beta Club Convention in mid-June in Fort Worth, Texas.

School board members and system administrators recognized McDuffie County School System Spelling Bee Champion Jake Bennett and System Spelling Bee Runner-Up Hailey Romans during the planning session. Bennett will represent the school district at the regional spelling bee on Feb. 22 in Putnam County. Fourteen other McDuffie County School System spelling bee contestants in grades fourth through eighth who placed in the top 1 percent included: Varijah Andrews, Jayla Burgess, Hunter Carr, Teyunna Few, James Fowler, Mason Hammond, Emmalee Holliman, Parker Holliman, Demarrion Jackson, Brayden Jenkins, Takias Kendrick, Layla Kitchen, Casey Rogers and Alex Thaxton.

The school board will next meet for a regular meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20. The board will consider numerous action items, including approval of the proposed 2020-21 school calendar, bond bus funds and an alternative fuel grant, and a recommended bid to irrigate athletic fields at the high and middle schools.

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