Cougar Call

Volume I, Issue VIII

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PAC's K5 Valentine's Display

History of Valentine's Day

The history of Valentine’s Day is somewhat of a mystery. It has been labeled of late as a “Hallmark Holiday” by cynics who feel February 14th is a ploy for commercial profit. According to legends, Saint Valentine started the tradition of wooing your significant other. While he may have set the precedent, who decided love was worthy of a worldwide holiday?

The tradition dates back to the fifth century when the Romans celebrated Lupercalia, a pagan festival held in the middle of February. The ritual was dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture, Faunus, and to the Roman founders, Romulus and Remus, for the sake of fertility in the coming year. Legend states that all the unmarried women in a city would fill an urn with their names. The young bachelors would select a name with whom to be coupled. Often, those paired would be married.

When Christianity grew in popularity, Lupercalia was considered “un-Christian.” Near the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius announced that February 14th would be Valentine’s Day. There are different Saint Valentines recognized by the Catholic Church. Each one was martyred, so it is unclear which of the three the day was dedicated.

One legend affirms that Valentine was a priest in third century Rome, during Emperor Claudius II’s reign. Emperor Claudius II determined that single men made better soldiers than married men, so then forbade any marriage of young men. Valentine disagreed and took action. He went against the Emperor’s orders and married young couples in secret. Emperor Claudius II soon discovered his illegal actions and sentenced Valentine to death.

Another tale proposes Valentine attempted to help Christians escape Roman prisons. For this, he was killed. One story states that, while imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with the jailor’s daughter. Before his death, he supposedly wrote her a love letter signed with the now-classic “From your Valentine.” Slowly, these legends took hold and, in the thirteen hundreds, gave February 14th its Romantic twist.

While the stories may differ, the outcome is the same. Today, we have a holiday filled with couples celebrating each other with cards, flowers, chocolates, and romantic dinners. Today, over eight-billion Sweetheart candies are sold throughout the year. Around 448 million dollars are spent on candy the week before Valentine’s Day. About 58 million pounds of chocolate candy is bought during the week of Valentine’s Day. Roughly 150 million Valentine’s Day cards and gifts are sent each year. We’ll never know which Valentine is responsible for Valentine’s Day, but don’t you love the chocolates and flowers?

By: Sarah Holland

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PIEDMONT ACADEMY 2014 REGION 1AA CHAMPIONS and GISA AA STATE RUNNER-UP


Piedmont Academy held their banquet for their football team and cheerleaders on Thursday, January 15, 2015. The athletes, their families, and friends had a tremendous amount of pride after a successful season of ten victories and two loses. The event was held at the school’s gymnasium after a covered-dish supper.

Athletic Director Jeff Beggs welcomed everyone to the event and sophomore football player, Chris McClain gave the invocation. Cheerleading Coaches Tonya Coe and Helen Harmon introduced their squad giving recognition to the squad’s scholar athlete, junior Summer Collins as well as giving numerous compliments regarding each squad member. The two coaches also said their goodbyes to the cheerleading squad seniors, Tracie Harris, Parker Kelly, JaDe’ Padgett, and Dana Wright. Other members of the cheer sideline and competition squad included Alicia Peek, Bridgette Phillips, Alex Stanton, Grace Roberts, Emma Kate Edmonds, Ivy English, Railey Holloway, Taylor Patterson, Caitlyn Young, Meg Collins, Sydney Davis, and Ryn Smith.

Coach Wes Tanner thanked all involved in the program for their various duties and the many volunteer hours given unselfishly by each one. This was followed by a recap of each game played during the season and special memories regarding each game. He then introduced his team giving each member sincere and kind compliments. Unlike years past, individual awards were not issued other than the scholar athlete award which was presented to junior Chris Cain. The four athletic managers for the football team were introduced and thanked. They included Cheyenne Galloway, Mikayla Rigsby, Matti Smith, Morgan Spivey and ball boys Dylan Coe and Trent Coots.

Coach Tanner recognized GISA All-Region members, Zach Beggs, Mack Brady, Hunter Burson, Payden Cantera, Chris Cain, Jeremiah Dave, Gaven Edge, Wyatt Galloway, Clay Kirkpatrick, Hunter Knox, Hank Strickland, and Chase Young. GISA AA All-State members included Chris Cain, Jeremiah Dave, Gaven Edge, Hunter Knox, Chase Young.

Seniors Payden Cantera, Chase Young, and Hunter Burson participated in the GISA AA All-Star ballgame held at Mercer University in Macon and Coach Wes Tanner coached the west team. Other honors included “Macon Telegraph Middle Georgia” to Payden Cantera and Hunter Knox.

A photographic video of the season, prepared by Traci Brady with photographs produced by Charlie Cannon, Judy Nelson, Traci Brady, and Christy Prosser, was viewed and enjoyed by the audience. All participants in the program received from the athletic department a participation certificate, individual and player stats, letter jacket patches, and some received their letter jacket.

Coach Tanner was also recognized by Athletic Director Jeff Beggs by being selected by GISA AA member schools as “AA Coach of the Year” for football season 2014.

Scholar Athletes

These individuals took their talents way beyond the field on game day. They had their game faces on on the field and in the classroom. Coaches always take time to honor these students. These students are the true "student" athlete. Chris Cain was the 2014 Football Scholar Athlete; Summer Collins was the Cheerleader Scholar Athlete.
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Scholars Summer Collins and Christopher Cain

Coaches Wes Tanner, Tonya Coe, and Helen Harmon

"Into the Woods"

Middle school students, parents, and teachers recently enjoyed a private viewing of a Broadway classic, Into the Woods at Carmike Cinema in Conyers. The movie/musical was produced primarily for the teenage audience to teach character development. Students were able to evaluate both the good and bad choices of fairy tale characters and the consequences, both beneficial and destructive, as a result. Through song and dialogue, various characters taught valuable life lessons.

Through Little Red Riding Hood, students learned the importance of staying on the “right path” and avoiding the “wolves” in life that cause people to stray. Through Cinderella, students learned to be careful what they pursue in life, as even Prince Charming can sometimes not have one's best interest at heart. In the character of Jack from the legendary beanstalk story, the lesson was that sometimes the most important things in life are not found in material comforts but rather from family or just the simple things in life. Students are participating this week in class discussions about other lessons stressed and responding to their own specific challenges through writing.

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PAC Wrestling

The Wresting team has had a good start this year according to Coach Alvin Hawkes. “Overall I believe that the wrestling team is doing well. As the season continues to progress we will have to work on our fundamentals to get better. From day one to now I know that we have gotten better and will continue to do that.” said Coach Hawkes. The 3 wrestlers with the best records are Ben Davis who is 9-1, Payden Cantera who is 9-2, and Ian Boyd who is 8-3. Logan Connor has a record of 4-5. Nolan Cleary has a record of 5-4.The wrestling team had the most team points at the home match against LCA, Gatewood, JMA, and Windsor. At the Region meet, Ben Davis placed 1st place in his weight class, Corbin Burrell, Nolan Cleary, and Ian Boyd all places 2nd place in their weight classes. Tanner Coppock placed 3rd in his weight class and Payden Cantera placed 4th in his weight class. The State Wrestling meet will be this Saturday.

Livestock

Kade Mitcham, an eighth grade student at Piedmont Academy and member of the school’s FFA program, competed in the livestock show at Jasper County High School on January 29th. He placed first in showmanship with his pig.

While showing his beef cows in the West Georgia Livestock show on Saturday February 7, he place first in showmanship, first in class with one of his other heifers and second in class with another one of his heifers. He was selected as the commercial grand champion at the end of his day in Carrollton, Georgia.

The school’s FFA chapter is sponsored by faculty member Cameron Vaughn. Kade is the son of Keith and Sandi Mitcham of Oxford.

Elementary Basketball

Elementary basketball season has begun, and the coaches are feeling hopeful. Overall, the sport will be influential in future activities and a blast for everyone involved. According to Coach Wilson, “Elementary basketball is an opportunity for them to be introduced to the game. It’s good to introduce kids at a young age to the game and its fundamentals. It’s a chance for some young students to be introduced to a game they might not have played too much prior or know much about. I look at elementary basketball as an opportunity to help create a successful and consistent program at the varsity level. I think the game and open gym aspect of elementary basketball is very important because of the competition and the opportunity for the kids to stay and work on the things which we worked on earlier that day.”

With the help of April Allen in PE twice a week and Kirstie Lewis on Saturdays, the students are greatly improving in the fundamentals of basketball. Coach Wilson expressed his gratitude for the support given to help elementary basketball succeed.

Coach Wilson added, “I’ve also been helped by a lot of the varsity players on Saturday and I think that is a great statement about the quality of student-athlete we have here at Piedmont. The younger kids love interacting with the high school aged student and I think this interaction is beneficial for both in that the younger kids are given attention by students they look up to and the older kids are put in a position to exercise their leadership and maturity that many adults often question whether they have those or not. I think it’s more than apparent that our varsity athletes have plenty of leadership and maturity and it speaks volumes to the work the entire staff does across the school.”

By: Sarah Holland

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Reading Bowl

Piedmont Academy's elementary Reading Bowl Team competed in the regional Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl at Warner Robbins High School on February 7, 2015.

There were seventeen titles for the elementary students from the Georgia Book Awards. The teams were challenged to read most of the books on their assigned list. During the event, teams were asked literal questions about the book. The team with the most points won the match.

Reading team coordinator and coach Traci Brady noted, “All teams received a participation trophy and the elementary team did very well and will be more competitive next year. This was some of the team member’s first experience. They will know more what to expect next year. I am proud of them for reading so many of the books on the list.” Other elementary schools participating included Mattie Wells, Dames Ferry, Putnam, Montgomery County, KB Sutton, Hubbard, Midway, and Eagle Ridge.

Elementary team members were Maggie Johnston, Katie Mathews, Haiden Crews, Savannah Stanton, Harris Brady and Riley Reed. They were coached by Traci Brady.

After reading the books on their grade level, some of team members were asked which book they liked the best. Harris Brady found Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur her favorite book; Katie Mathews enjoyed Serafina’s Promise by AnnE. Burg; Maggie Johnston, The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine; Savannah Stanton, True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt; Haiden Crews, Chomp by Carl Hiaassen and Riley Reed liked The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen.

Titles on the booklist excluding the titles above included elementary/middle school: The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson, The Cheshire Cheese Cat : a Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Deedy, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library byChris Grabenstein, Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle; M ichael Vey: the Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul, Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Rump: the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff, Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, and Ungifted by Gordon Korman.

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Morgan Tillman's Scholarship Signing

On February 2nd, Morgan Tillman, daughter of Tom and Nita Tillman of Monticello, signed a softball scholarship with Georgia Military College in Milledgeville. The ceremony started off with a prayer from Coach Wes Tanner, and then Coach Daniel Funt proceeded to tell Morgan’s softball history at Piedmont Academy. The signing was attended by family, faculty and staff, friends, and the 2014 softball team.

In her senior year, Morgan earned GISA All-State, GISA All-Region, and Macon Telegraph’s All Middle Georgia. Overall, she won 82 high school games, made three final four appearances, and obtained multiple championships with her travel softball teams. She is active in her church, and is a member of FFA, FCA, National Honor Society, and Beta Club. Coach Funt mentioned that, “she was a tremendous leader in the outfield,” and, “Morgan has earned this scholarship through hard work and dedication in everything she does. She is a prime example of the benefits of strength and conditioning and has improved her skills every year. I have had the opportunity to coach Morgan since the 6th grade. GMC is lucky to have her and her Piedmont Academy family is extremely proud of her many accomplishments.”

Upon signing the scholarship, Morgan thanked her parents and coaches. “First and foremost, I want to thank my parents for all they have done for me, for sending me to such a wonderful school, and sacrificing so many things just so I would be able to play the sport I love. I also would like to express my sincere gratitude to my coaches who have helped me accomplish this honor. I have learned many things about softball and everyday life in general. They taught me how to give 110% and always be the best that I can be. They believed great things would come from my hard work even when I doubted myself at times. I am truly blessed to have coaches that care so much about me and my future. I would also like to thank GMC’s Coaches Wise and Mayhue for taking the time to recognize me and giving me this chance. Finally, I want to thank my teammates. Without ‘my girls’ there to encourage me, pick me up, and push me to play as hard as I could, I would not be the player that I am today. My teammates have impacted my life in a way words cannot describe. I will be forever grateful to them and all the people at Piedmont Academy who have supported me along the way. I cannot wait to begin the next chapter of my life from a Cougar to a Bulldog and I thank God every day for this wonderful opportunity.”

By: Sarah Holland

Basketball Takes on Region

Piedmont Academy’s basketball teams have gained major support from the students, faculty, and parents. With the support of the Piedmont Academy students, the student section has decided to have themes for the rest of the home games. The FFA has sponsored a half court shoot out during the half-times of the boy’s games; the people that make a half-court shot would receive a $5 gift card for Dairy Queen or a Sub Way. The “shootout” is a way to involve the fans, students, kids, and other schools we play in the games. Our famous “Banana Man” (Hunter Knox) made a half-court shot in his banana suit and the video has gone viral! Piedmont Academy will soon be known from the “Banana Man”!

Although the girls season has not gone as well as they hoped, the varsity girls are continuing to improve. With the region games beginning after the first of the year, the varsity girls fell to Briarwood on January 16th, 38-49. On January 20th, the girls faced Brentwood Academy, and fell to them 19-47. The theme of the night was “pajama night” where all of the students wore their pajamas and brought their pillows, unfortunately the Lady Cougars were in need of a “wake-up call.” The game was a very rough and physical game and the ladies didn’t play like they are capable of playing. The girls faced the Monsignor Donovan Rams January 23rd, and lost 17-46. The first half was very competitive and the girls held the team to a minimum number of points, but after the half the Piedmont girls were unable to catch up on scoring. On the flip side, on January 27th the girls defeated Windsor Academy with the score of 46-39. Amelia Dodson had an outstanding game. She scored 25 points, had 24 rebounds, 8 blocks and drew 2 charges. Hopefully this game was a turning point for the girls’ season. February 3rd, the girls faced Mon Don once again and were defeated 51-31. The game was a tight game at the half, but again, couldn’t hold up until the end of the game. February 6th, the girls lost a tough game in the last couple minutes of play. The girls were tied with the Lady Bucs 25-25 at the half, and continued playing excellent ball in the second half. The final score to the game was 38-29. Although it was a tough loss, it definitely was a step up in the season. On February 10th, the girls were defeated by Brentwood, 63-22, the girls were not on their game, did not play as a team, and their shots were not falling. The team hopes for more wins, and to get better for the region tournament in leading to state!

The boys, on the other hand, have had a pretty successful season. The varsity boys have had a record of 3 wins and 4 losses in region. The boys defeated the Briarwood Bucs 64-55 for a good start in the second half of the season. On “Pajama night”, January 20th, the boys also beat Brentwood Academy 66-49. The game was another tough one, but the boys pulled out a great win. January 23rd, the boys were defeated by Mon Don 41-73. The boys played a hard game, but were not able to even out the scoreboard. The next game on January 27th was against Windsor. The boys were defeated 103-61. Coach Wilson told the guys to slow the game down, they wouldn’t. Wilson knew that the boys wouldn’t be able to run with them, but the boys thought other-wise. Once again, the boys played Monsignor Donovan on February 3rd. The boys fell to the Rams with the score of 77-52. a reason for their loss was because the boys had gotten rattled late in the game when they were only down by 9 points, and Mon Don remained calm. The boys didn’t take care of the basketball, and wouldn’t run their offense. With their problems aside the team looks forward to facing Mon Don in the region tournament and is hoping for a win. The boys defeated Briarwood Academy 54-45. The game was an exciting game, and Christopher Cain said “It was great getting another region win, I am just really glad that our bench is really comfy!” On February 10th, the boys lost to Brentwood 53-50, our boys were ahead at the half, but the Brentwood guys slowly bought up. The boys went into overtime and the Brentwood guys made a basket with the addition of a free throw.

February 13th will be senior night for the girls and the boys, we will have a WHITE OUT and ask for all the support we can get when the seniors play their last home basketball game. Region play-offs will be held February 18-20 and will be held in Sandersville at Brentwood Academy.

State playoffs will be held February 23-28 with the place determining on what seed you are placed at in region.

Thank you for all the support you give the teams!

BY: Haley Tyler