Valdosta Daily Times

September 20, 2013

CPIE awards ceremony recognizes volunteers

Kristin Finney
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — On Thursday evening, the Valdosta City Schools and Lowndes County Schools hosted their annual Community Partners in Education awards ceremony.

Valdosta and Lowndes County school faculty joined together with area business representatives at the Valdosta High School Performing Arts Center to say their thanks to those businesses in the com-

munity who help the

education systems in

Valdosta succeed.

Entertainment for the evening came from the VHS Chorus under the direction of Taurence Phillips. The presentation of colors was given by Lowndes High Air Force JROTC. Dr. Janice Richardson of Valdosta High School welcomed everyone to the event. Lori Cauley of Southeastern Federal Credit Union led the Pledge of Allegiance and Jay Floyd, Principal of LHS said the invocation. Jennifer Steedley, Valdosta City Schools, recognized special guests before Lynne Wilson of Lowndes County Schools explained the different awards.

Several locals businesses and community members were honored during the ceremony. Pammy Cakes was named CPIE of the Year, Small Business (nominated by Southeast Elementary). Brandie Dame of the Valdosta Daily Times presented the award. She said of Pammy Cakes, “This community partner quickly has become the school’s ‘go to’ partner because honestly, when it comes to helping educate the children, they NEVER SAY NO!" Pammy Cakes has supplied Southeast Elementary with cake and ice cream for students each month, they also provide items for the faculty and staff throughout the year.

Pathway to Hope was named the CPIE of the Year, Large Business (nominated by Pinevale Learning Center). Dana Richards of Adams Orthodontics presented the award to Pathway. She shared praises of their business from PLC saying, "The school said, 'With their input, help and monetary donations, we were successful in meeting three of our five school improvement goals this past year.'" She continued, "This partner has not only become one of our most dedicated and effective CPIE partners this year, but a viable and productive part of the PLC family."

Annie Barbas of Master Gardeners was named Volunteer of the Year (nominated by Pinevale Learning Center). April Bruhl, of North Valdosta Chick-Fil-A explained that Barbas has been working with PLC for the past five years.  Bruhl also explained that Barbas along with several VSU students have provided entertainment and gardening experience to many local children and provided seasonal produce to aid the school in nutritious meal opportunities.  

Joann Stone of S.L. Mason Elementary was named Coordinator of the Year (nominated by SGMC and Papa John's Pizza. Jean Mackie, of Westside Elementary, shared testimonials on Stone. She said, "One nominator said: 'Her charm and grace are a welcome respite in the extra busy world we work in!'  A second nominator said, 'She always has a positive attitude and willing to help out in any way possible.  She is what this CPIE position was created for!'"  

Toys for Tots John Gates was named PAL of the Year (nominated by Pine Grove Elementary). Marie Sims, of South Georgia Medical Center and a member of the CPIE Advisory Council, said of Gates, "He gave books for each child to have their own copy, he donated items for good behavior, and he recruited a Santa to visit the school. This was in addition to what he is known best for - spreading Christmas joy to students throughout Valdosta, Lowndes County, and surrounding counties year after year. In one year, he and his wife provided toys to 82,321 children. Even with the current economic conditions, he continues to find a way to give to each child in need, making Christmas morning magic."

During the ceremony the Schools of Distinction were also recognized. Dan Davis, of Davis Creations and a CPIE Advisory Council member, introduced these schools by saying, "Each year, school coordinators work on a checklist to achieve the goals of CPIE.  These goals include:  faculty and staff orientation to CPIE, school kick-off, sign in sheets, action plans, publicity and news articles, program evaluation and school activities – all to support parental involvement, student attendance, improved academic performance, awareness of career options, recognition of teachers, and increased positive role models for students."

The Lowndes County schools recognized were Clyattville Elementary School, Dewar Elementary School, Hahira Elementary School, Pine Grove Elementary School, Lake Park Elementary School, Moulton Branch Elementary School , Westside Elementary School, Lowndes Middle School School, Pine Grove Middle School, Lowndes High School, and Horizon Academy.

Valdosta City Schools and coordinators that were recognized included were Valdosta High School, J.L. Newbern Middle School, J.L. Lomax Elementary School, Sallas Mahone Elementary School, S.L. Mason Elementary School , Southeast Elementary School, W.G. Nunn Elementary School and Pinevale Learning Center.

Anyone interested in becoming a CPIE partner can call Jennifer Steedley, Valdosta City Schools System Coordinator at (229) 671-6065 or Lynne Wilson, Lowndes County Schools System Coordinator at (229) 316-1854. You can also visit either of the schools’ system websites at or