National debate topic originated with AHS educator

Nicole Cornish

Toni Garrard Clay/AISD Communication Coordinator

This past November, Athens ISD announced that Nicole Cornish, the district’s dean of early college high school, was on the cusp of making a major mark on the national debate stage. Cornish put forth a monumental effort submitting for consideration a potential policy debate topic for high school students across the United States.

Athens High School is thrilled to report the National Federation of State High School Associations announced Wednesday that Cornish’s proposal — immigration — has been selected as the 2018-2019 policy debate topic throughout the United States.

“I am very honored,” said Cornish. “It has been a dream for my career to author a debate topic, and I am ecstatic that I reached it. I’m also very grateful to work for a district that is always supportive and made it possible for me to attend the national topic selection meeting.”

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AISD December Teachers of the Month

Athens ISD’s December Teachers of the Month are recognized during Wednesday’s Athens Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Pictured (from left) are Kimberly Hanson; second-grade social studies and language arts/reading teacher at Bel Air Elementary; Moises Sanchez, fifth-grade math and science teacher at Central Athens Elementary; Holly Allen, second-grade self-contained class teacher at South Athens Elementary; Kandyce Tull, eighth-grade U.S. history teacher at Athens Middle School; Brad Adair, independent living skills teacher at Athens High School; and Jessica Hemann, Career and Technical Education teacher of forensics and anatomy/physiology at AHS for 11th and 12th-graders. Not pictured is Operations Center Employee of the Month, Bart Latta, who does general maintenance work for the district. (Toni Garrard Clay/AISD)

Athens Public Education Foundation awards more than $37,000 in grants

Athens Public Education Foundation had its annual loud and proud classroom grant giveaway Thursday morning across all five Athens ISD campuses. Teachers across the district who successfully applied to APEF received funding for learning programs, projects or materials not covered under the district’s budget. At campus after campus, members of APEF and the Athens ISD administrative team — led by the AHS Band percussion section — surprised teachers with presentations of oversized mock checks. The grant monies will purchase items such as books, a turning wheel for clay, and earbuds that translate English to Spanish for the wearer. At the high school, it will also help fund the building of a “tiny house” by CTE (Career & Technical Education) students. More than $37,000 was awarded.

APEF is funded by private donations, voluntary school district employee giving and gifts from local civic organizations. To make a tax-deductible donation to APEF, go to or send mail to APEF at 104 Hawn Street, Athens, TX 75751. APEF is a non-profit corporation that is not part of the school district, though Athens ISD is the sole beneficiary of the foundation’s financial support. (Toni Garrard Clay/AISD)

Athens High School’s Robert Becker delivers on high expectations

Robert Becker

By Toni Garrard Clay/AISD Communications Coordinator

If a teacher’s success is decided by the number of students who revere him, Robert Becker is succeeding; if it’s determined by his students’ scores on standardized tests, Robert Becker is succeeding; if it’s determined by the professional accolades he’s received, Robert Becker is succeeding. You get the picture.

Becker teaches multiple math courses to students grades 9 through 12. Athens High School Principal Ginger Morrison calls him one of a kind. “He has amazing talent and is gifted at stretching students beyond their normal academic boundaries,” she said.

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Athens Middle School Builders Club officers

Members of Athens Middle School’s Builders Club were inducted during Tuesday’s Kiwanis Club luncheon. The Kiwanis Builders Club is a student-led community service organization. Officers are (from left) President Kennedy Brown, an 8th-grader; Vice President Altar Cuneyit, a 7th-grader; Secretary Elle Harris, 7th grader; and Treasurer Cage Hill, 7th grader. Builders Club is the largest service organization for middle school students, with more than 45,000 members worldwide. Members learn to work together and develop servant-leaders skills as they serve their school and community. (Toni Garrard Clay/AISD)