Friday, February 26, 2010

Donation Helps Education Foundation Fund 21st Century Classroom Equipment


Steve Forsyth (right), director of corporate communication for Global Travel, presents the donation for SMART Boards to Rick Lindsey, chairman of the Fayette County Education Foundation, as teacher recipients Mark Henderson and Catherine Douthard look on.

Thanks to a $2,000 donation from Global Aviation Holdings, Inc. in Peachtree City, four teachers are receiving grants from the Fayette County Education Foundation to purchase SMART Boards for their classrooms this spring.

A total of 18 teachers across all grade levels submitted competitive applications earlier this school year for grants to install the interactive learning boards in their rooms. Applicants submitted essays explaining why they wanted the boards, how they would utilize them with their students and sample lesson plans.

The foundation has equipped a total of five classrooms with SMART Boards so far: two elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools. Vickie Anderson, an eighth grade reading and math teacher at Fayette Middle, was the first recipient this past fall.

During the second round of competition, and thanks to the donation from Global Aviation, the foundation awarded four additional grants to Catherine Douthard, fifth grade, Cleveland Elementary; Mark Henderson, math, Starr’s Mill High; Tess Keller, technology, Inman Elementary; and Arthur Walton, math, McIntosh High.

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Fayette Celebrates Exceptional Children’s Week

A celebration of Fayette’s exceptional students will take place March 1-5 in schools throughout the Fayette County Public School System.

The goals of the week are to promote awareness of and interaction with Fayette’s exceptional children, promote community knowledge, understanding and interest, as well as inform students and teachers to the potentialities of exceptional students.

A variety of activities focusing on the theme “Fueling the Road for Success” will take place at all school levels for both students and staff. Participants will learn what it is like to be an exceptional child by participating in activities that will simulate various types of disabilities. The event will also give members of the community an opportunity to evaluate the role they play in the development and support of children with exceptional needs.

A proclamation declaring March 1-5 as Exceptional Children’s Week was presented to the Exceptional Children’s Department during the regular meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education on February 9.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fayette County Schools Receive AP Honors as Participation Rises

Three Fayette County high schools are among 115 throughout the state that have been named Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools by the Georgia Department of Education.

AP classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP classes offer rigorous college-level learning options to students in high school. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit.

Honor schools are selected in three different categories based on the results of the 2009 AP exams. Both Fayette County High and Sandy Creek High are AP Access and Support Schools, meaning the schools had 30 percent of AP test takers that were African-American or Hispanic and at least 30 percent of all AP exams scored a 3 or higher. Starr’s Mill High is an AP Merit School, meaning the school had at least 20 percent of students taking AP exams and at least half of the exams scored a 3 or higher.

Fayette’s high school seniors took a total of 2,051 AP exams with 71 percent scoring a 3 or higher on at least one exam in 2009, that is significantly higher than the national average of 15.9 percent and state average of 17.8 percent. Although the county’s pass rate remained at 71 percent from 2008, the number of test takers jumped by 293.

Additionally, more of Fayette’s African-American and Hispanic students are participating in AP programs. Since 2004, African American participation has grown from 7 percent to 10 percent in 2009. Likewise, Hispanic participation has doubled from 2 percent in 2004 to 4 percent in 2009. This is significant given that the percentage of Hispanic enrollment in the general population was 6 percent in 2009.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Volunteer Work Day at Line Creek Nature Area Rescheduled for Feb 17

Join your friends and neighbors on Saturday February 27th to help improve the trails at Line Creek Nature Area, a popular nature preserve in Fayette County. Southern Conservation Trust is hosting a Volunteer Work Day at Line Creek Nature Center in Peachtree City, off Highway 54 at the Coweta County line. The 70 acre Nature Preserve features a stocked fishing pond and dock, a picnic area, granite outcroppings, and several miles of both easy and challenging trails that allow access to Line Creek.

Volunteers will block eroded trails, clear new trails, and move fallen trees.

“The big snowstorm forced us to re-schedule – we hope lots of folks will come out to help fix the trails at Line Creek.” said Trust Executive Director Abby Jordan. El Reposo Mexican Restaurant in Peachtree City will provide snacks for volunteers.

Southern Conservation Trust is a Fayette County-based conservation nonprofit that owns, manages and protects 1400 acres of farms, forests and environmentally sensitive land in the Southern Crescent. The Trust hosts environmental programs and enhances its preserves with trails, overlooks and re-introduction of native species. As a regional land trust the Trust works with willing landowners to permanently protect open space that benefits the community and can offer tax benefits for the landowner.

The Line Creek Work Day is Saturday February 27th, noon – 4 p.m., weather permitting. Volunteers should bring work gloves and wear hiking shoes. Helpful tools to bring: loppers, garden rake, hatchet or ax, shovel, garden hoe, gas blower, and chain saw.

Volunteers should sign up in advance at 770-486-7774 or email info@sctlandtrust.org. For directions: www.sctlandtrust.org. If weather is questionable, call 770-486-7774 after 9am on Friday February 26th to learn if Work Day will be re-scheduled.
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Near Sweep for Fayette County in Middle School Math Competition

Math students from FayetteCounty's middle schools barely missed sweeping the entire 2010 Regional Middle School Math Contest at Griffin RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency).

The school system had a first place winning team in all three divisions; entirely swept one division, fell one placement short of sweeping another, and brought home all three individual awards. Over 23 middle schools participated.

Here are the results:

Division I (Smaller Schools), Bennett’s Mill Middle placed first; Division II (Medium Schools) Fayette Middle placed first, Flat Rock Middle second, and Whitewater Middle third; Division III (Larger Schools) Rising Starr Middle placed first followed by J.C. Booth Middle in second.

Individual winners were Nathan Hung, J.C. Booth, first place; and Austin Palmer and Vivian Nguyen, both of Rising Starr, taking second and third place, respectively.

The Griffin RESA Middle School Math Contest is a regional competition among middle schools in the Griffin RESA region that includes the school systems of Butts, Fayette, Henry, Lamar, Newton, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

High School American History Essay Winners Announced by DAR

Pictured receiving the award are (l-r) Our Lady of Mercy American History Teacher Rhonda Anderson, Nicole Gagnier and Chairman Phyllis King.

Nicole Gagnier, a junior at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School, was recently named the winner of the American History Essay Contest by the James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.

Kaitlyn Chapman, a junior at Whitewater High School in Fayetteville, was recently announced as the First Runner-up.

The essay was on the subject of Christopher Columbus.

The James Waldrop Chapter DAR is chartered in Fayetteville, GA.

Right / Bottom Photo: Kaitlyn Chapman with proud dad

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Fayette County Musicians Honored with Induction

Two Fayette County School System band faculty members have been inducted into Phi Beta Mu, International Band Master’s Fraternity.

Bill Melton, band director at Whitewater Middle, and Andrew Poor, associate director of bands at Starr’s Mill High, both learned that they had received the honor during the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) State In-Service Conference. The fraternity selects its members based on their service to the profession, overall record of musical excellence and success as a music educator.

“The honor was a pleasant surprise for me, as I am sure it was for Bill, and a significant honor for us both to be selected by our peers for this recognition,” Poor says.

Both Melton and Poor also presented workshops at the GMEA conference. Melton’s clinic was about developing a successful middle school band program; Poor’s focused on topics designed to help educators become more effective adjudicators and apply those skills to their classroom.

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Booth History Teacher Named Georgia SAR Teacher of the Year


The Georgia Society Sons of the American Revolution has selected one of Fayette County's middle school teachers as their 2009-2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

Sue Mullin, a Georgia history teacher and team leader at J.C. Booth Middle, has been selected from a pool of exemplary middle and high school history teachers throughout the state, both public and private, as an example of whose instruction on the Revolutionary War demonstrates educational efforts in the classroom that exceed and excel above current and accepted curriculum requirements. She will receive her award at a special program on April 3 in Atlanta.

As the state winner, Mullin will represent Georgia at the national competition for the Tom & Betty Lawrence American History Teacher Award. The national winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Freedoms Foundation Summer Teacher Graduate Workshop at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The workshop provides a professional education opportunity to an educator who will bring back to the classroom a heightened level of creativity and enthusiasm about the American Revolutionary era.

Last year the Georgia Veterans of Foreign Wars named Mullin the Georgia Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year for middle schools. She is also Booth’s 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Superintendent DeCotis Announces Retirement

Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John DeCotis has announced his retirement from the school system effective July 1, 2010. His current contract will expire on June 30, 2010.
DeCotis has served the school system for 31 years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and county-level administrator.

During his tenure, the Fayette County Public School System has won numerous student, staff and school awards. The school system has also been recognized at the state and national level for its academic achievements.

“I want to thank our current and previous school boards for their support, commitment and vision. I also want to thank our students, staff, parents and community members for their support and efforts over the years,” says DeCotis.

DeCotis has been recognized locally and nationally as an outstanding leader and positive role model for other educators and administrators. His most recent awards and honors include: winner of the 2009 Outstanding Educator Award from the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL); inclusion in the 2008-2009 Honors Edition of the Cambridge Who’s Who Registry; a finalist for the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) 2009 Georgia School Superintendent of the Year award; recipient of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce 2008 Dreambuilder Award for community service; winner of the 2007 GSSA President’s Award for excellence in leadership, community involvement and professional accomplishment; and recipient of the NAACP Community Service Award.

In addition to serving the Fayette County Public School System, DeCotis has been actively involved in many community service activities. Over the years he has served as chairman of the YMCA Board of Directors; member of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Advisory Board; member of the Fayette County Safe Kids Coalition; chairman of the YMCA Aquatics Facility Development Committee; youth leadership chairman of Toastmasters International; member of the Southern Federal Credit Union Board of Directors; member of the Fayette County Board of Health Board of Directors; member of the Fayette Youth Protection Home Board; and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

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Awards Won for Fayette County Students at Regional Literacy Competition

After months of rehearsing and winning school and county-level competitions, students from Robert J. Burch Elementary, Cleveland Elementary, Fayette Middle and Rising Starr Middle brought home awards from the 2010 Griffin RESA Regional Literacy Days Festival.

A total of four students placed in the poetry recitation portion of the festival. They are Ian Smith, second place, Robert J. Burch Elementary, third grade; Connor Tebbe, third place, Cleveland Elementary, fourth grade; Drew Van de Motter, first place, Rising Starr Middle, sixth grade; and Virginia Lambert, first place, Fayette Middle, eighth grade.

In addition to the poetry recitation winners, Olivia Cote’, an eighth grader at Rising Starr Middle, took second place in the ready writing portion of the competition.

The Griffin RESA Regional Literacy Days Festival is a regional competition among elementary and middle schools in the Griffin RESA region which consists of Butts, Fayette, Henry, Lamar, Newton, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties.

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Burch Caught Red-Handed With Over $4,000 to Help Haitian Children

Michayla Best (left center) of Operation Mobilization accepts the check for $4,069 from Marie Wallace (right center) as principal Sharon Walters (right) and assistant principal Toby Black look on.

A goal of raising $500 for the children of Haiti surmounted into over $4,000 in just one week.

The students of Robert J. Burch Elementary opened their hearts and gave their loose change, ice cream money and allowances to help children orphaned by the earthquake in Haiti. The students alone raised over $3,000; teachers and other individuals donated the rest.

For each $1 they gave, the students received a red hand with their name on it showing that they were “Caught Red Handed for Haiti.” More than 3,000 hands were hung on the walls throughout the school.

“We were truly amazed at the generosity of the students. They were giving up ice cream money, looking for loose change at home under cushions, and emptying their piggybanks. We are so proud of what they accomplished,” says Marie Wallace, a first grade teacher who helped organize the school-wide event.

The “Caught Red Handed for Haiti” project stemmed from a first grade faculty presentation. Each grade level at Burch takes a turn presenting a workshop to other teachers during faculty meetings. The first grade teachers had decided to present a clinic on loving the teaching profession and the children at the school in honor of Valentine’s Day.

“Then the earthquake hit and we decided to turn our clinic into a school-wide event that would teach students about compassion and community service. The students really embraced it. Not only have they helped the Haitian children, but they also gained an understanding of the importance of assisting those in need,” says Wallace.

The school donated the money to Operation Mobilization in Tyrone during an assembly on February 5. The international organization has been assisting the Haitians since the earthquake. The money will be used specifically to help Haitian children.

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Special Valentine Baskets Bring Hope and Love

Barbara Anderson from the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church takes the Valentine basket list from Karen Spangler, CARE coordinator for the school system.

Thanks to the generosity of the Fayette community, many students and their families in need were able to have a happier holiday season through donations made to the Fayette County Public School System’s CARE (Children at Risk in Education) program.

Although the holidays are over, the needs of students and their families continue. CARE works all year to help students and their families that are struggling financially by providing assistance with after school care, tutoring, eyeglasses, extra curricular activity fees, clothing and other items and services needed to help children succeed in school.

CARE relies on donations and assistance from the community to help meet the needs of students and their families. For last several years, the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church has provided Valentine Baskets for needy school families.

“We know that everyone hops on board for Thanksgiving and Christmas to help those in need, but what about the rest of the year? Students and their families are in need after the holidays too so we chose Valentine’s Day to keep the assistance going,” says Barbara Anderson who heads up the basket activity at the church.

The baskets include perishable and nonperishable food items as well as small gifts like socks, underwear, toys and books. This year the church is supplying baskets for 30 families.

“We are just so grateful to all of the churches and organizations that want to partner with CARE to help our students throughout the year. We don’t want our families to feel that they have been forgotten now that the holidays are over. We know their struggles continue, and with the help of organizations like the Prince of Peace Lutheran Churh, we will continue to provide assistance where we can,” says Karen Spangler, CARE coordinator for the school system.

Churches, organizations and individuals are invited to work with CARE throughout the year to help the school system’s needy students and families. For more information about CARE or how to get involved, contact Spangler at 770-460-3535, ext. 120.

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Sandy Creek Students Meet French Ambassador

French students at Sandy Creek High had the honor of meeting and talking with French and German ambassadors during a discussion about the growing importance of European-U.S. relations on the campus of Georgia Tech January 28.

A total of 30 students from Stephane Allagnon’s French 3, 4 and 5 classes had the privilege of being among the capacity crowd that got to hear the discussion between His Excellency Ambassador Pierre Vimont of France and His Excellency Ambassador Klaush Scharioth of Germany about the growing need for greater understanding of European-American relations and the expanding reach of the European Union. The students also learned about the world of diplomacy and the lives and duties of two very important diplomats.

Following the two-hour discussion, the students were invited to a semi-private celebration at the Georgia State Capitol where 10 World War II veterans from the Southeast received the French Medal of Honor called La L├ęgion d’ Honneur, the highest recognition awarded by the French government. The students talked to the veterans who shared their experiences and heroic actions that lead to them receiving the honor. They also took advantage of the opportunity to converse with the French ambassador in his native tongue.

“His Excellency congratulated their ability to speak fluent French,” says Allagnon. “We are very grateful to the administration at Sandy Creek and the French Consulate for allowing us to participate in such culturally enriching and relevant events.”

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Fayette 8th Grade Annual Career Fair a Success

LPGA teaching pro Oneda Castillo talks to J.C. Booth Middle students about a career as a professional golfer.

Over 1,800 eighth graders from the county’s five public middle schools had an opportunity to explore future job opportunities during the sixth annual Fayette County Schools Eighth Grade Career Fair.

Students from each school spent an hour at the fair interviewing and talking to professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Careers represented ran the gamut from food service and professional golfing to nursing, aviation and military.

The fair was held at Heritage Christian Church February 4-5 in conjunction with National School Counseling Week. All eighth grade counselors in the school system helped coordinate the event. By organizing one large fair for all eighth graders, the counselors were able to expose students to a wider variety of careers than would be possible with individual school fairs.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Fayette County Student Art Selected for Exhibition in Kennesaw

Casey Mill (left) and Caleb Brown show off their artwork that was accepted into the All State Art Symposium while visual art teacher Pamela Woodworth-Watkins looks on.

Two Fayette County High art students will have their work featured in the All State Art Symposium at Kennesaw State University February 7-27.

Casey Mill and Caleb Brown are among a select group of artists chosen from schools throughout Georgia to exhibit their work and compete for awards. Mill’s work, titled “Look Back,” is a 18 X 24 pen and ink drawing created in response to an investigation into the work of M.C. Escher. “Self Portrait” by Brown is also in ink, but features a technique called stippling (thousands of tiny dots) to create a range of values.

The purpose of the All State Art Symposium, which is open to all high school students, is to provide cultural opportunities, develop advanced studio skills and cultivate aesthetic appreciation in art and design. Awards for the show will be announced February 27.
Both students are under the instruction of Fayette County High visual art teacher Pamela Woodworth-Watkins.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Extended Hours for Kindergarten Registration

The Welcome Center of the Fayette County Public School System is extending hours for kindergarten registration on the third Thursdays and first Saturdays of February and March.
Extended hours for Thursdays, February 18 and March 18, will be 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Extended hours for Saturdays, February 6 and March 6, will be 9 a.m.-noon.

These extended hours are for kindergarten registration only and do not apply to other grade level enrollments. Kindergarten registration is going on now through March 19.

The Welcome Center is located at 205 LaFayette Avenue in Fayetteville. Detailed directions and registration information can be obtained by calling the center, 770-460-3990, ext. 450, or visiting the school system’s website, fcboe.org, and clicking “system departments” on the left-hand side and then the “Welcome Center” link.

Regular hours of operation for the Welcome Center are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. on Fridays. The center closes for lunch on Fridays.

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Fayette County Spelling Bee Winners

Savannah Booker shows off her award as principal Len Patton (left) and English teacher Kathy Franks look on.

Top spellers Savannah Booker, a sixth grader at Rising Starr Middle, and Emily Gomes, an eighth grader at Fayette Middle, emerged as finalists in the 2010 Fayette County Public School System Spelling Bee.

Booker and Gomes advanced to the county competition after winning the spelling bee at their respective schools.



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Weather Emergency Test in Fayette County Now

Fayette County EMA is conducting a county-wide Weather Emergency Test at this time. Please disregard warning sirens.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

DECA Club Dominates Region

Nearly 60 percent of Whitewater High’s DECA Club members who participated in the 2010 regional competition earned placements and the opportunity to advance to the state conference.
Not only did the club have a good showing at the regional event, but the competitors also took home nine first place medals, more than any other school.

Last year 15 DECA members placed in the top four of various events at the regional competition. This year 20 members earned top four placements in different areas and will be moving on to compete at the State Career Development Conference February 25-26 in Atlanta. Competitors demonstrate knowledge of their area by taking tests and role-playing.

Earning first place wins were Taylor Birkhead in Hospitality Services; Andrea Campuzano in Accounting Applications; Katie Cassidy in Travel and Tourism; Sean Curtis in Advertising; Lee Frye in Business Administration; Drew Huelfer in Quick Service Restaurant; Devyn Lee in Job Interview; Ashley Mackorell in Principals of Business Management and Administration; and Erin Mahlbacher in Marketing Management.

Students placing second were Alex Resnak in Entrepreneurship; Jessica Still in General Marketing; and Frances Wilkes in Hospitality Services.

Taking home third place wins were Abi Ahrora in Sports and Entertainment Marketing; Yanna Banks in Buying and Merchandising; Kayla Maxwell in Principals of Marketing; Ariel Neal in Selling; Deanna Solly-Trentman in Business Speech; and Mikayla Stewart in Marketing Decision Making.

Earning fourth place honors were Holly DeBorde in Hospitality Services and Katie Sweatman in Free Enterprise.

The Whitewater DECA Club is in its third year at the school. Krystin Glover is the club’s coach.
DECA is a business marketing, management and entrepreneurship organization that strives to educate its members about general marketing, entrepreneurship and general business strategies and decisions. DECA aims to prepare members for future careers in general marketing and business.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

WWII Heritage Days Returns to Peachtree City

“Remember Pearl Harbor!”, Rosie the Riveter, and Glenn Miller. Experience the sights and sounds of the Greatest Generation when the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing hosts the seventh annual “WWII Heritage Days” April 24-25, 2010. The public history event will be held at The Historical Airpower Facility, Falcon Field, Peachtree City from 9am-4pm both days.

The weekend will again feature vintage aircraft, period vehicles, education displays, guest speakers and demonstrations, including mock battles between reenactors portraying American and Axis troops.

“WWII Heritage Days is a community celebration that will entertain and educate the entire family.” said Jim Buckley, CAF Dixie Wing leader. The community focus has resulted in the program being designated a Peachtree City 50th Anniversary event in 2009.

Why turn a flying museum into a living history classroom? “Our goal is to honor the Greatest Generation, the men and women who won the Second World War.” explained Buckley, who also flies several of the group’s aircraft.

Over 50 World War II veterans have attended the history festival’s opening ceremony each of the last two years.

A weekend highlight is “Keep ‘em Flying”, a WWII-theme hangar dance featuring the Peachtree Jazz Edition and Vintage Vocals, a trio that reprises the unique sound of the Andrews Sisters. Proceeds from the dance benefit historic aircraft preservation and “Education Through Living History”, the group’s WWII history program made available to schools and youth groups free of charge.

Sunday morning will begin with a jeep-top religious service familiar to millions of American servicemen during and since the Second World War.

Participating organizations include the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (reenacted), Kelly’s Zeroes, History Flight, FDR’s Little White House, the Southern Wing of the Airmen Preservation Society, the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum and Atlanta World War II Round Table.

Local civic organizations and schools are also invited to create and display 1940’s exhibits.

“WWII Heritage Days” is an annual program that promotes historic preservation, education and citizenship. The CAF Dixie Wing is a non-profit education organization that relies on donations and fundraisers to restore WWII aircraft and teach WWII history.

Suggested donation for “WWII Heritage Days” is $5 for Adults, Children 13 and under admitted free. The public is also asked to bring a canned food item to be donated to the Fayette Samaritans food pantry. “WWII Heritage Days” will be held rain or shine. Please no pets. Tickets for “Keep ‘em Flying” are $35 before April 19th, $50 at the door. Reserved tables for eight are $300. For more information, please visit WWW.WWIIDAYS.NET or call 678-364-1110.

The Commemorative Air Force is a non-profit organization dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft. Based in Midland, Texas, the organization has over 9,500 members and operates a fleet of over 150 World War II aircraft. www.commemorativeairforce.org

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