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West Side Elementary School fourth-graders Kylee Carden and Michelle Massey, members of the school’s Tech Club, recently took first place at the Georgia State Technology Competition in their category and age division for producing a West Side Elementary School staff cookbook. Joining the winners are Kim Nichols, Catoosa County Public Schools assistant superintendent, and Steve Sawyer, director of technology for CCPS. The state competition was held virtually in mid-May.

A pair of West Side Elementary School fourth-graders, Kylee Carden and Michelle Massey, recently represented Catoosa County Public Schools in the statewide Georgia Student Technology Competition and earned first place in the Productivity Design category for grades 3 and 4.

The two students, members of the newly-created Tech Club at the school, won for their design and publication of a West Side Elementary School staff cookbook, featuring recipes submitted by the school’s staff.

West Side STEM teacher and Tech Club sponsor Cherise Dycus said the girls worked “tirelessly” on their project during free time and even after school since this past October, prior to the school being closed.

The original state competition had been scheduled for mid-March, but was canceled after concerns arose over COVID-19. Just days later, however, volunteers with the event began exploring their options and on April 18 it was announced that the GaSTC would be held virtually.

Participants in the competition were asked to submit a 10-minute video for the state contest, fully describing their projects.

The GaSTC victory for Carden and Massey followed their first-place wins at the countywide and the Northwest Georgia regional competitions.

“On a personal note, I found the students dedicated and hard working,” Dycus added. “They gave up a lot of free time to work on the project. It was a joy to teach them to use Publisher 2016. I’m so proud of their perseverance!

“I’m very proud of Kylee for stepping out of her comfort zone to present the project and (for) learning some video editing tricks. I’m looking forward to the girls adding more recipes and photos to their wonderful cookbook.”

“I’m so proud of the girls for their dedication to the project,” said WSE fifth-grade teacher Tanya Victor, another Tech Club sponsor. “I cannot wait to see what they achieve in the years to come.”

Other members of the West Side school staff also had praise for the students and their accomplishment.

“They worked very hard on this,” said WSE fourth-grade math teacher Christy Meadows. “It wasn’t easy for them to speak in front of others. They had to really step out of their comfort zone for this.”

Elizabeth Harrison, a fourth-grade reading teacher at WSE, called both Carden and Massey “very dedicated students.”

“Even with all the hard work they put into the tech competition, they worked just as hard on their regular school work,” she said. “They are amazing girls and I am so proud of them!”

“Everyone at WSE is so very proud of these girls and all they have accomplished, in and out of the classroom,” WSE Assistant Principal Lori Welborn said.

In addition to the win by Carden and Massey, Catoosa County saw three other projects earn awards at the GaSTC.

Battlefield Elementary School’s Evelyn Emerson took second place in Internet Applications (grades 3 and 4). Ringgold Middle School’s Mason Bone earned second place in Productivity Design (grades 5 and 6) and Heritage Middle School students Cooper Chappelear and Kaden Hackett took third place for Internet Applications (grades 5 and 6).

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