Dragon Digest

Volume 1 Issue 8

Principal's Letters

Dear DeSana Parents & Students,

As of 4:15 this afternoon, our students and staff will be out for the much anticipated and a well-deserved Thanksgiving Break! Students are out of school all next week, the week of November 21st, returning to school on Monday, November 28th. Our DeSana office will be closed all next week.

In case you do not know, I am a lover of quotes! And I like to collect great quotes just about as much as I love to collect rocks (Great combination, right!?! J)! The following two quotes I found not too long ago for a special project that I was working on. They both struck a rich chord with me. And I believe they speak so eloquently to this season of thanksgiving that is upon us and the Holiday season to follow:

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. By William Arthur Ward

We are so often caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the people we meet on the way. Appreciation is a wonderful feeling, don’t overlook it. Author Unknown

I know I have so very much to appreciate and give thanks for in my life! And I believe everyone does. We just sometimes have to stop . . . be still . . . and appreciate the journey we are on, and give thanks for the people we meet along the way and the blessings that have come our way. So no matter what challenges or hurdles you may be facing this time of the year, I encourage you to stop and think of something or someone for which you have to be thankful.

I know I am truly grateful for this fantastic journey I have been on since last spring in opening DeSana, and I am so very thankful for the many, many opportunities that have come with this journey . . . opportunities that have so blessed my life. But what I truly give thanks for the most are all the wonderful and special people I have been so fortunate to get to know and work with on this wonderful journey . . . our delightful young Dragons who make me laugh and make me so proud each day at the Dragon’s Lair . . . our top-notch staff who amaze me each and every day with their wisdom, their love for our students, and their special gifts and talents they use to craft their lessons and provide a wonderful environment for teaching and learning daily . . . and for you, our parents, who have been so helpful and supportive in so many ways from the very start of this journey! There is by far nothing routine about my job, but truly it is an incredible joy each and every day!

On behalf of our entire DeSana staff, here’s wishing each of you a most Happy Thanksgiving . . . a time filled with gatherings of family and friends . . . lots of fabulous times to treasure as wonderful memories in the years to come . . . scrumptious meals . . . and much laughter and fun! Whether you are traveling near of far, we hope you stay safe in your travels! And we do look forward to seeing all of our young Dragons back at The Lair on Monday, November 28th - - - well-rested, rejuvenated, and ready to finish up this first semester in a strong way! Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

With warmest regards,

Terri A. North


November 8, 2016

Dear DeSana Parents & Students,

We are so very blessed to live in a community that is filled with people who value highly the giving of their time and resources to help others in need in this wonderful community. I remember when I first came to work in Forsyth County back in 1997, as the principal at Otwell Middle School, how impressed I was with the generosity in our schools and community. It seemed never-ending, no matter what the cause. I had never quite experienced anything like that before. And to me, that generosity has never stopped; it just seems to grow even more with each passing year.

Here at DeSana, we have built the foundation of our overall program upon the five As - - - Academics (first and foremost, always!), The Arts, Athletics, Activities and Altruistic Endeavors. And it is this last facet of our foundation --- Altruistic Endeavors --- that we are beginning to focus on more and more as we settle into the DeSana way of doing things. For middle schoolers are at the age when the world is opening up so much more to them in many ways, as they become more keenly aware of the world and people outside of their sheltered family or neighborhood. And as they begin to see these areas and endeavors of need, we want to tap into their enthusiasm and wonderful hearts for helping others by providing opportunities for giving to others . . . practicing acts of kindness . . . and showing compassion for those who may be in need.

Forsyth County, and more specifically, Forsyth County Schools, has had a long-standing tradition of taking care of the children in our community during the Holiday Season . . . those children of families whom have fallen on some tough times and are struggling to provide simple gifts to make the holidays special for their families. So here at DeSana, we want to join other schools and organizations in our community and start the holiday tradition of donating to a very worthy cause - - - Holiday House 2016.

Holiday House is a place where struggling parents can shop for gifts for their children for the upcoming holiday season. Schools and groups like DeSana will help provide the toys and gifts for the Holiday House, with a room designated for each age group where parents may shop for their children. So of course we want to help stock in fine fashion the rooms for eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen-year-old young teens! So here is how you and your young Dragon can help support the Holiday House:

Ø 6th Grade will be collecting monetary donations from students that will be used for a shopping trip to Walmart to purchase all kinds of toys and other items fit for a middle schooler, that will then be donated to the Holiday House. Any 6th grade student who makes a donation of any amount will have their name entered in a lottery for a chance to go and put their keen math skills to work in real-life action during the shopping spree at Walmart! Sixth graders may bring in their donation of money to their teacher any day from now until November 29th.

Ø 7th Grade will be collecting toys and small electronics fit for a middle schooler! Seventh graders may bring in their items to their teacher any day from now until December 2nd.

Ø 8th Grade will be collecting toys, small electronics, and/or gift cards fit for a middle schooler! Eighth graders may bring in their items to their teacher any day from now until December 2nd.

Please remember that all items donated should be brand new and in their original boxes or containers. Gift cards should be in amounts of $5, $10, $15, $20 or $25.

It has been quite exciting these first several months of opening DeSana as we have solidly established some wonderful new traditions here that we hope will last a very long time. It is my hope . . . my wish . . . that the simple, but gracious act of our DeSana families and staff donating to Holiday House 2016 will be the first year of another very fine tradition established here, and that it, too, will continue in fine fashion for many years to come during the holiday season. I hope you and your young Dragon will consider making a donation, and help bring some holiday joy and the spirit of the season to those in need in our community!

With warm regards,

Terri A. North


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Clothing drive for a great cause

DeSana PTSA is participating in a clothing donation drive to benefit the Hope House for Domestic Violence. You have a choice of either Wednesday, December 7th or Saturday, December 10th to put your donation out at your house and trucks will be sent out to pick up your donation. DeSana can receive a $5,000 grant if we can muster up 1000 houses to participate in the drive. It is VERY important that we have 100% DeSana family participation. I am sure everyone can find a bag of items around their house to donate. You can ask anyone in the area, they do not have to be in the DeSana district. Put the info on your neighborhood facebook page, ask your parents and friends...anyone! Think about it...if each of our DeSana students gets 5 additional families to participate we could EASILY reach our goal. Also, the drive will take clothing, furniture, blankets, all household items and if you are decorating for Christmas and have decorations you no longer want put that in there too! So, here is how you sign up. Either print out the form attached to this document and turn it in to the PTSA mailbox OR send an email to desanadonations@gmail.com with the following information:

Pick the date: Wednesday, Decemeber 7th or Saturday, December 10th for pick up



phone number

email address

Click here for the form you can submit.

Also, our teachers are in a little competition for a classroom grant. Write your favorite teacher's name on your submission so they can get credit for your house!

Thank you and remember all this money will go into the school!

Let's make 100% DeSana families participation happen!

Dawn Bourg

DeSana PTSA President

charity night at charming charlie's

Please join the DeSana PTSA for a fun night of jewelry shopping at Charming Charlie's at The Collection! The DeSana Charity Shopping night will be on Thursday, December 1st from 4-8 pm. This is an open house event; you can drop in at any time during the 4-8 pm time slot. It is the perfect time to purchase all of your Christmas baubles and New Year's accessories! Charming Charlie's will donate up to 20% of the proceeds from the night to the PTSA. Just go to the register during that time and say you are with DeSana and you will get a wristband, shop till you drop, and then checkout. Super easy and fun!

Book Fair Volunteers needed

DeSana Middle School is excited to announce it's inaugural Book Fair! It will be held Monday, December 12th through Friday, December 16th from 8:00 am til 4:00 pm in the media center. In order to make this event a success we will need several volunteers to cover 2 hour shifts in the media center. Please consider volunteering and sign up using the link if you are able. We appreciate your assistance in making this a wonderful engaging experience for our kids!


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ANNOUNCING DRAGON ACADEMY - - - A New Opportunity for Additional Learning & Assessment Time For Students!

Dragon Academy is a new opportunity we will begin offering students for completing, taking or re-taking formative and/or summative assessments (i.e. unit tests, projects, essays, quizzes. etc.). Dragon Academy will happen most Fridays --- at least two times a month --- from 4:15 – 6:30, beginning Friday, December 3rd, with teachers and an administrator supervising each session. It is a fantastic opportunity for students to drastically improve both their learning and their grades. Students will be invited by their teachers . . . or they may invite themselves . . . to attend Dragon Academy if they are missing work or need to re-take an assessment to show better mastery of the standards or complete a project. Although students will have a little over two hours to complete their work, once they complete all that they came to accomplish, students will be able to call their parent to come pick them up. Snacks and drinks will be sold for a very reasonable cost so students may focus on their work, not on their gurgling stomachs! School supplies will be available for students to use to complete their work, as needed.

Please mark your calendars now for these Dragon Academy dates for the rest of the school year:

December 2, 9, 16

January 20, 27

February 10, 24

March 3, 17, 31

April 21, 28

May 5, 12, 19

social studies fair

Forsyth County Schools is sponsoring a Social Studies Fair - - - similar to Science Fair, but with Social Studies topics! Participating students will research a social studies topic of interest to them, write a research paper, and complete a trifold board presentation. This year’s Forsyth County Social Studies Fair will be held on Wednesday, December 7 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at the Forsyth County Board of Education, 1120 Dahlonega Highway, Cumming, GA 30040. Click HERE to register for the fair. The deadline for students to register their projects for the Fair is Wednesday, November 22 at midnight. Projects need to be complete by the day of the fair. Information regarding fair requirements can be found at the Georgia Council for the Social Studies website. Students and parents may find the following links helpful in understanding project requirements.

GCSS Social Studies Fair Guide

2016 Score Sheet

technology fair

The Forsyth County Technology Fair registration is now open! The Tech Fair will be at Whitlow Elementary School on Saturday January 21st and registration is NOW OPEN!

Registration Information:

Registration opens November 14st and closes January 10th.

All students in grades 3-12 who are schooled within Forsyth County may participate in the Tech Fair. This includes all public, private and home schooled students. Grade level divisions are as follows:

  • Grades 3-4
  • Grades 5-6
  • Grades 7-8
  • Grades 9-10
  • Grades 11-12
  • Note: Multimedia category divisions are 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

You may have up to 2 people on a team but teams and individuals will compete against each other within each grade grouping.

More information about registration: http://techfair.forsyth.k12.ga.us/reg.html

Great news!! DeSana has paid $200 which will cover the registration fee for as many students as want to participate so our first year can be a great one at the Forsyth Tech Fair!


3D modeling

Animated Graphic Design

Case Modifications

Digital Photography

Digital Video Production

Game Design



Mobile Apps

Multimedia Applications

Non-Animated Graphic Design

Non-Multimedia Applications

Project Programming


Technology Literacy Challenge

Web 2.0 Application

More information about the categories and the rubrics for each category can be found by clicking the links above. You may also , visit http://gatechfair.org/categories

All Tech Fair information can be found at our web site: http://techfair.forsyth.k12.ga.us

Calling all orators!!!!!!

DeSana Middle School’s first Oratorical meeting will be held on November 30, 2016 in Room 1133 at 8:20 AM.

If you love to speak, this is an opportunity for you to share your passion! This year the topic is “What the World Gains from Optimism”. Interpret this in any way that you choose, and if you want to present your ideas, go see Ms. Pelletier so she can help to prepare you for the competition. The first round will be narrowing down our five boys and girls to compete at the school level. The school winners will then move to the county level in March. It is very exciting and very competitive!


The You Be The Chemist Challenge ® is an interactive academic contest that focuses on learning chemistry concepts and uses the thrill of competition to excite grade 5–8 students about science. The Challenge was created by the Chemical Educational Foundation ® (CEF), a national non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing and encouraging the science education of our youth. Participating schools and students have an opportunity to compete in local & state competitions, and receive national recognition, scholarships, and prizes.

It is time to begin preparing for the first ever DeSana Middle School You be the Chemist Qualifier. If you are interested in taking the qualifying exam, please see Mrs. Strader in the 8th grade hallway, room 2207, or email her at jstrader@forsyth.k12.ga.us. The qualifier will be given on January 27th in the morning before school. Study materials can be found online at the following link.


Students at any grade level may participate, but you must contact Mrs. Strader before the qualifier to receive a pass. The top 10 participants will then go on to compete at the Atlanta Metro Local Challenge that will be held on March 11 at 10AM, located at the Georgia Aquarium.

There are no costs or fees to enter the challenge.

If interested, please contact Mrs. Strader before December 21st about your interest.

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Lady Dragons News

7th Grade Girls Basketball:

The first ever basketball game at DeSana was played Tuesday night. Hallie M. scored the first points for the Dragons and the leadership of team captains Ava L. and Carinne T. showed as the whole team fought hard for the whole game. Thursday’s game was just as hard fought as Tuesday’s game. The girls were at home again and played at a high intensity building on their success from Tuesday night. The Dragons were led with great passion under the basket by Kayla A., Amy A. and Nivi G.. There was a great showing of fan support from students, teachers and parents at both games. The girls would love to see everyone at a home game as their season continues after Thanksgiving Break.

8th Grade Girls Basketball:

Tuesday night the 8th Grade Lady Dragons capped off the opening night of basketball at DeSana. Lupita M. scored the first points for the girls and the effort from all ten girls was strong throughout the whole game. Team captains Ruthie A. and Jordan H. displayed great leadership in unifying the team and having them work together during the course of the game. Thursday’s game proved to be a great showing or grit and character by the girls. Holly H. worked hard down low getting rebounds while Taya D., Mary T., Taylor R. and Reagan W. stepped up and played different positions throughout the night. As leaders in the school, the 8th Grade Lady Dragons have set a great standard of integrity and character that can be seen during every game.

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the arts

advanced art class offered

DeSana will now offer a quarter long Advanced 8th Grade Art Course for 3rd and 4th quarters. This class is designed for students who have excelled in all aspects of the general connections art course and have demonstrated their interest and ability to meet the challenge of a more intensive art curriculum. For more information on how to apply please see Mrs. Petit in the Connections Hallway Room 1240. Deadline to apply is December 9th at midnight.

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Pajama Day

Do you love wearing your pajamas to school? How about those fun pajamas that that have hoodies and tails? How about those awesome holiday jammies you got last year and never have a chance to wear them? Now is your chance! Support the 8th grade and wear your holiday or furry friend pajamas on Friday, December 9 for $2.00. Students can pay in the atrium on the morning of the December 9. Thanks for your support.


FUNDRAISER CONTINUES AT www.funds4books.com

We would like to thank those families who have already generously donated to our Funds4Books fundraiser. We are excited about our growing collection and the students get so excited when they see new books that have arrived. We are asking parents, grandparents, and friends to donate any amount they can, but if every family donated just 10 dollars, we would blast right through our goal and be able to add even more books. With your help, we can continue to build our collection and assure that students have current, topical, and desired resources available to them during their years at DeSana. To donate, simply click this link or go to www.funds4books.com to make your contribution online with a credit or debit card using our campaign code D6E5. All contributions will come with an e-mailed receipt.



Mark your calendars, mateys! The Scholastic Book Fair will be at DeSana on December 12th-16th! More details are coming soon. Interested in helping out with the Book Fair? Send a quick e-mail to pstrickland@forsyth.k12.ga.us and we will add you to the crew!

Follow the DeSana media center on Instagram! For a peek into what goes on inside our media center during the school day, follow @desanamediacenter on Instagram. We hope you “like” what you see!

altruistic endeavors

holiday house donations needed

Donations for the Holiday House are still being collected until November 29th for 6th grade and until December 2nd for 7th and 8th grade. Our 6th graders are collecting money to go on a shopping trip to Walmart to buy gifts for families in need this holiday season. Teachers in 6th grade will collect money donations until November 29th. Our 7th graders will be collecting toys and small electronics fit for a middle schooler! Our 7th grade teachers will collect toys and small electronics until December 2nd. The 8th grade is collecting toys, small electronics, and gift cards for middle schoolers! The 8th grade teachers will collect these items until December 2nd. Thank you for all your generosity during this holiday season. Have a wonderful break and a happy Thanksgiving!

The importance of altruistic endeavors

Altruistic Endeavors is one of the five key facets of our overall program. It is one of our core values, so to speak. We want our young Dragons to not only know what it is like to give back to their wonderful community and others, but to also experience it firsthand. Through many different DeSana service clubs, school wide charitable endeavors, and our first DeSana Day of Good Deeds (or D3 Day for short!) in the spring, we will work to provide our students with a variety of community service opportunities throughout the school year, in our local community, and in different parts of our country and the world.

So why encourage our young Dragons to get involved in community service? Well, first and foremost, it is the right thing to do; to learn to give freely and happily of one's time and talents and heart to help others, expecting nothing in return! But here are a few other reasons to consider encouraging your child to get involved in community service:

  • To help someone in need.
  • Those who give of themselves and their resources and help others, say they feel they receive a great feeling in return.
  • Helping others can expand your world and help you better understand what is happening in your community.
  • Meet new people and make new friends.
  • To improve our world by caring for the environment.
  • Giving back to one's community and others is an "added value" on your college resume.

Please check out opportunities for serving and helping others right here in the Dragon Digest and for students, on morning announcements!

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other important information


2016-2017 DeSana Middle School Yearbooks are now on sale! Please visit: balfour.com. Click “shop your school” and search for DeSana. Yearbooks are $32 and the sale ends January 31, 2017. Don’t miss out on the first DeSana Yearbook!!

411 - helpful links for you

thanks to our business partners

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*all american specialties


*browns bridge church

*chick-fil-a @ the collection

*dr. hom pediatric dentistry & alpharetta comprehensive dentistry

*dunkin' donuts @ highway 9 & mcfarland

*milton dental specialists

*north georgia promotions

*omega learning

*rbm of alpharetta

*The Joint Chiropractic @ The Collection