A crowning achievement

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It was a dream come true for Kelsy Brown to be crowned Miss Westlake High School, but winning the title was only one of the ambitious teen’s many personal goals.


All A’s and B’s in high school, a high GPA and getting accepted to Albany State University, her favorite historically black college, were also on her wish list. The only obstacle standing in her way to success it turns out would be herself.

Kelsy’s transition from middle school to high school was difficult. She struggled with handling her course load, studying and choosing the right friends. With a low GPA at the end of the first semester in her ninth grade year, Kelsy found support in CIS Site Coordinator Dr. Demona Warren.


“I spent too much time hanging out with my friends and on extracurricular activities instead of my studies. I needed structure and to learn how to balance everything.” What followed was a 15-minute conversation that Kelsy says changed her life forever. “CIS was a big help. They made sure I stayed on track. And they were always there for me.”

Weekly sessions and check-ins with Dr. Warren helped Kelsy learn to manage her time and chart a course for success. She failed geometry in the 10th grade and it bought her GPA down again. In her 11th grade year, Kelsy was not happy with her SAT score and in 12th grade year her ACT score. She elected to retake the exams to improve it, and she did.

With each minor set-back, Kelsy recommitted herself to her studies, worked hard and reminded herself that she could do whatever she put her mind to. She even found time to fulfill another one of her passions — managing the school’s varsity basketball and football teams.

Dr. Warren said, “She’s not the same shy, soft spoken Kelsy that I first met. The confidence she exudes now is wonderful. I am super proud of her and what she has accomplished.”


Now the senior has a 3.2 GPA and will graduate in May. The reigning Miss Westlake was one of the guest speakers at the school’s Senior Baccalaureate Service.

“I’ve overcome a lot,” says the 18 year-old, who wants to become an elementary school teacher before opening her own day care facility. “I’m really proud of myself for what I’ve achieved.”

For the talent portion of the school Miss Westlake pageant, Kelsy performed ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ a spoken word that she co-wrote with her aunt. Her inspiration came from personal experience and witnessing the struggles that so many high school students encounter.

“There were times when I felt I couldn’t breathe and I felt overwhelmed,” she said. “I wanted to speak to all students, to let them know it takes time, but you just have to be strong and you can get through it.”

Fencing In The Schools comes to APS schools

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Atlanta Public School students fenced like Olympians during the kick-off of the Fencing In The Schools (FITS) program thanks to a partnership with Communities In Schools of Atlanta, Graduation Generation and FITS.

FITS, a non-profit founded by Olympic Silver Medalist Tim Morehouse, has brought the Olympic sport of fencing to over 15,000 students across the country. The program uses fencing to teach Olympic values and skills through Olympian role models.



Atlanta schools Maynard Jackson High School, King Middle School, D.H. Stanton Elementary and Toomer Elementary welcomed Olympians during assemblies in early March to kick-off the program. Olympians visited schools to share their stories and introduce fencing. The Olympians also conducted professional development for PE teachers.



Funding for the program, including fencing equipment for each school, has been provided by a donation from Rick Rieder, an Emory alumnus/trustee, Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. and member of the CIS National Leadership Council, along with a grant from Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Sports Matter program.

Check out the FITS program at Maynard Jackson High School featured on People 2 People on WSB-TV:



To watch FITS feature on Vice Sports click here.

Check out photos from the Maynard Jackson High School assembly below:

Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes has portrait dedicated in his honor

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CIS of Atlanta at Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School helped organize a ceremony honoring Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes with a portrait dedication.

Ms. Marilyn Holmes was in attendance to give the portrait of her husband to the school on behalf of the University of Georgia. Students shared their knowledge of Dr. Holmes' work and life through poems and songs. Poet Pamela Poole also shared a story of Dr. Holmes' life called "Once Upon a Time."

Dr. Holmes was an American orthopedic physician who was one of the first African-Americans to attend the University of Georgia. The Atlanta native was also the first African-American to attend Emory University School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. He has several landmarks named in his honor, including Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School, Hamilton E. Holmes Drive (Highway 280) in Fulton County; and the H.E. Holmes MARTA station in Atlanta. At the time of his death in 1995, Dr. Holmes was an orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta, associate dean and a member of the faculty of the Emory University School of Medicine and chairman of the orthopedic unit at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

The elementary school also celebrated the kick off of Men's Mentor Monday by distinguishing male mentors from the Atlanta community with a certificate. Men's Mentor Mondays will continue the fourth Monday of the month.

Check out photos from the event below:

D.H. Stanton ES shares importance of parental involvement

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D.H. Stanton Elementary School hosted Muffins for Moms and Donuts for Dads events to bring together fathers and mothers of students.

The purpose of the event was to provide parents support, words of encouragement and to share ways they can participate in their child's life and the impact of parental involvement.

Among those in attendance included the principal, assistant principal, counselor, parent liaison, and representatives from Safe Routes to School, Families First and Emory University.

Check out photos from the events below:

Donuts for Dads



Muffins for Moms

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