In January of 2015, Communities in Schools of Georgia completed its 13th annual statewide Student Achievement Month (SAM) event. The contest, designed to recognize Georgia students who are sometimes overlooked and often expected to underachieve, had more than 100 entries from elementary, middle, and high school students who received CIS services. The students competed at the local, regional, and state levels in the categories of written expression, public speaking, computer technology, and creative expression. Thirty-three students were regional winners, and nine were state winners.

Join us in offering a big round of applause for our nine 2015 SAM winners and read excerpts from their entries below!

Cordarian Blackmon Cordarian Blackmon headshot
Communities In Schools of Troup County
3rd Grade Student, Whitesville Road Elementary School
Winner: Written Expression
“When I started with Communities In Schools I was a little bad. … Mr. Cofield helped me to become a good student, be kind to others and he changed my life.”


evelyn juarez headshotEvelyn Juarez
Communities In Schools of Atlanta
5th Grade Student, Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School
Winner: Creative Expression
“I went to the CIS of Atlanta Summer Reading Program and it changed my life because CIS of Atlanta made me improve my behavior, my grades, and also attendance. … For the first time ever, I made it on the NBA (Never Been Absent) Team by having perfect attendance and not being tardy to class.”

Kaliyah Moore headshotsKa’liyah Moore

Communities In Schools of Atlanta
7th Grade Student, McNair Middle School
Winner: Creative Expression
“This year my CIS coordinator, Ms. Pam Hurst helped me a lot with dealing with things at home and feeling like I was disappointing everyone.
I like that she is always proud of me and I like that CIS made me confident and proud of myself.”



Fatoumata Kone headshot Fatoumata Kone
Communities In Schools of Atlanta
7th Grade Student, McNair Middle School
Winner: Written Expression
“Ms. Hurst told the girl “don’t let anyone take your spirit down so they can try to build their’s up”. Then Ms. Hurst told her about the CIS program. … The CIS program has also helped her with her grades. She started with C’s and D’s and now she has A’s and B’s. I guess you are trying to figure out who the girl is that I’m speaking of… well that is me, Fatoumata Kone!!!”


Asia BivinsAsia Bivins
Communities In Schools of Dodge County
11th Grade Student, Dodge County High School
Winner: Creative Expression
“My drawing represents how Communities In Schools helps students to grow into a bright future by connecting students with teachers outside of the classroom. … As the tree sprouts, the hands represents hope. If you have hope in yourself, you can reach for the highest.”


Brandon Hollins headshotBrandon Hollins
Communities In Schools of Atlanta
10th Grade Student, Westlake High School
Winner: Written Expression
“CIS of Atlanta has made a humongous difference in my life. This program has taught me to think before I act and make better choices in choosing friends. Before CIS it seemed like every week I was either out of school or in school suspension. Once when I was an honor student in middle school, I found myself failing miserably in almost all of my classes as a freshman in high school. But with help from CIS I am now back on track, more focused and determined to do better in my academics and behavior.”


Alexis Wolfe headshotAlexis Wolfe
Communities In Schools of Douglas County
12th Grade Student, Douglas County Performance Learning Center®
Winner: Public Speaking
“I never thought complete strangers would support me on my journey, I used to stay up all night and day and pray for help.
I guess God heard me.I have a better sense of independence,
I’m not ashamed to ask for help whether in life or on a test, I realized that by shooting through skies, I’d find success.”


travis riddle headshotTravis Riddle
Communities In Schools of Atlanta
9th Grade Student, Westlake High School .
Winner: Computer Technology
“CIS has made a major impact on the lives of students at Westlake High School. Under the supervision of Dr. Demona Warren, CIS at Westlake has helped students realize their potential and achieve their goals.”



MacKenzie Goodwin headshotMackenzie Goodwin
Communities In Schools of Candler County
5th Grade Student, Metter Intermediate School
Winner: Computer Technology
“They help us to learn how to become a good person when we grow up.”