All posts by sagamorehillspta

Sagamore Robotics to National SeaPerch Competition

SeaPerch is a program that teaches students robotics/engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, and how to create technical applications through marine engineering. Sagamore Hills Elementary School students were divided into teams, given two underwater challenges to solve using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) they constructed themselves, and tasked with the responsibility of completing an engineering notebook. Our students worked together to decide how to solve the challenges, each with their own role in the process.

At the end of the season, we joined other schools at the 2017 Regional SeaPerch Challenge. Our three teams exceeded all expectations and blew us away! Their teamwork was exceptional and played a huge role in their success.

Team Echo was awarded third place in their division. Team members include: Alex Coursey, Bryce Garrett, Lauren Gabriel, and Omandee Karunanayake.

Team Magnitude was awarded second place in their division. Team members include: Matthew Russell, Christian Tucker, Alex Klein, and Evan Hackemeyer

Team AquaBots scored first place in their division, first place overall, and earned a spot at the 2017 National Seaperch Competition at GA Tech. Team members include: Ben Zajac-Cox, Julia Barker, Kirsten Gabriel, Rylie Gardiner, and Holt Solomon.

(Front row, left to right): Matthew Russell, Reed Barker (honorary member), Julia Barker, Kirsten Gabrial, Omandee Karunanayake, and Alex Coursey
(Back row, right to left): Mrs. Dix (coach), Lauren Gabriel, Mrs. Garrett (coach), Bryce Garrett, Alex Klein, Christian Tucker, Rylie Gardiner, Mrs. Quinn (coach), and Evan Hackemeyer
Not shown: Holt Solomon and Ben Zajac-Cox

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Art Show 2016-2017 at Sagamore Hills Elementary

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 6:30-8:00 pm
Sagamore Hills Elementary School
1865 Alderbrook Way, Atlanta, GA


Come experience a wonderful children’s art exhibit that will enrich your heart and soul! Take a tour of Australia and see Aboriginal X-ray art, Dreamtime Dot paintings, and masks inspired by the Torres Strait Islanders. Journey to China and view beautiful bamboo ink brush paintings, Chinese dragon shadow puppets, and “porcelain” tea sets.

Smile when you see a child’s interpretation of Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life or Dali’s long-legged animals. Sagamore students will lead you through their art experience using slide shows and actual demonstrations! Marvel at almost 1,000 works of art by the young artists of Sagamore Hills!


Visit special art-making stations at the show and make fun works of art to remember your experience! Create a dragon shadow puppet, design your own Chinese chop, make a mini-Chinese lantern, or try your hand at Aboriginal rock painting!

See you at the show!

Liz King, Art Teacher

We need your help to make this fantastic show happen. Please sign up for as many tasks as your schedule can handle! Thank you for supporting Sagamore’s Art program.


The PTA will also present nominees for next year’s Board at the start of the show.

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Garden Club update 2017-03

“Look…I’m Making A Plant!”

This precious quote from Kindergartner, Levi Anderson, was one of the many delightful comments, gestures and playful learning experiences shared between members and volunteers during both our Jr. and Sr. March S.T.E.M. Garden Club activities. Our theme this month was “Seed Starting”. Each group experimented with making their own nutrient-rich soil by combining regular top soil with a 100% organic seed-starting mixture.  We had plenty of these magical ingredients to go around thanks to a surprise contribution of a few extra bags from the Karlowicz family. Biodegradable peat pots and toilette tissue rolls were then filled to capacity with this compound. Using their fingers or craft sticks, members dug tiny holes for an assortment of vegetable, herb and flower seeds to be gently placed in their cozy new homes. One inventive group thought totally outside the box and custom designed roll-out seed tape using toilette tissue. Another mother-son team prepped a weed ridden bed for removal of these pesky plants once and for all. Everyone was working with one common purpose in mind, getting ready for Spring.

Many of the seeds used were donated through our newly formed partnership with the Sow True Seed organization in North Carolina. “Sow, Germinate, Grow, Pollinate and Save,” are the five intentions that dictate their corporate behavior. The STEM-tastic gardening adventures happening inside and out of the building on these days not only supported their effort but ours as well. These certifiably viable, open pollinated, non-hybrid GMO-FREE, heirloom, organic and traditional seeds represent the best there is…in other words…we got the GOOD stuff baby! It’s no wonder that after just one week of tender loving care by the ASA (after school care) participant’s SPROUTS emerged! We will continue to care for these now delicate seedlings in the greenhouse until our big April: Spring Garden Planting. This also marks a wonderfully progressive first for our S.T.E.M. Garden Clubs as we are transplanting seedlings we grew from seeds with our very own hands.

In addition to the relationship we are fostering with the Sow True Seed organization; we must acknowledge our newly forged partnership with The Home Depot in Decatur and old favorite Bonnie Plants. The Home Depot has donated $200 in community improvement coupons for use towards the purchase of gardening plants and supplies. A meeting is scheduled with Operations Manager-Milia Murdock, over the summer to discuss ongoing contributions throughout the 2017-2018 school year…To Be Continued. Our 3rd Graders received their annual delivery of Bonnie cabbage plants to take home and potentially grow big enough to win a $1000 scholarship. The leftover cabbage plants were generously donated to our school gardens. Third grade ASA participants led the Fourth and Fifth graders in transplanting these hearty greens into our Captain Plant Project Learning Garden. As you can see, happy gardening is an authentic thing at Sagamore Hills Elementary School.

Trivia Night Spring Fundraiser 2016-2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017
Doors Open 7:00 PM | Trivia Starts 7:30 PM

Briarcliff Wood Beach Club
1830 Morris Landers Drive
  • All Trivia Night proceeds fund PTA programs and events for the 2017-2018 school year!Sagamore Hills Elementary PTA’s 2016-2017 spring fundraiser is its first Trivia Night!
  • Get your friends together and reserve a table (max 8 per table), or just show up and make new friends!
  • Prizes given out each round
  • Keg provided, BYO snacks/drinks
  • Fantastic raffle prizes available for purchase
    • Sagamore Perks
      • Principal for a Day
      • Cafeteria Royalty
      • Parking Spot for PTA Events
      • 4 Front Row Seats at Graduation
    • Local Businesses
    • Gift Baskets
      • Relaxation (sponsored by pre-k)
      • Gift Cards Galore (sponsored by k)
      • Campfire (sponsored by 1st)
      • Summer Fun (sponsored by 2nd)
      • Game Night Fun (sponsored by 3rd)
      • BBQ (sponsored by 4th)
      • Wine & Pasta (sponsored by 5th)

I’m going to Trivia Night!

  1. Buy Trivia Night tickets and raffle tickets now; select how many of each you’d like after you “Add to Cart”
  2. Pickup your raffle tickets at Trivia Night and enter the raffles of your choice
$30 Trivia Night Ticket, Saturday, April 22, 2017, 7:00 pm
$5 Raffle Ticket

I just want a chance to win (and support the school)!

  1. Buy raffle tickets now; select how many of each you’d like after you “Add to Cart”
  2. Email , listing which raffles you’d like to enter
$5 Raffle Ticket

Your donation does great things for our students, thank you!

Donate to the Sagamore Hills Elementary PTA Enrichment Fund


See also

STEM Bridge Building at Sagamore Hills Elementary School

Every March, about 110 4th and 5th graders at Sagamore Hills Elementary School conduct a STEM project focused on Structural Analysis and Bridge Construction. Sagamore teachers Rachael Lambert and Terry High direct this exciting exercise over a period of two weeks, which includes:

  • Orientation
  • Structural analysis mathematics
  • Planning/time management
  • Design
  • Building
  • Testing every bridge to failure

Leading the activities is Stan Jones, chief structural engineer for Bennett and Pless engineers here in Atlanta. For the last several years he has developed and implemented this important training. Stan has his civil engineering bachelor’s from Auburn and MS from Georgia Tech and has practiced structural engineering around the globe for 40 years. He is the real thing and is a treasure. Stan was a major player in Sagamore’s STEM certifications last year.

Sagamore Hills elementary is a unit of the DeKalb County School District and is a neighborhood school located near Clairmont and Briarcliff Roads in the center of the County. The principal is Mrs Julie Taylor and for additional information she may be contacted at

Sagamore Jr. Robotics attending FIRST LEGO League Jr. World Festival Expo

The Wildcat Whizzes are 1 of 4 Sagamore Hills Elementary School‘s Jr. Robotics teams selected to attend the Jr. Robotics World Festival Expo in Houston, TX, Arpil 21–22, 2017, where teams from all over the world come together to present their research projects and robots. We are so excited!  This will be the first Jr. FLL Robotics team from the Dekalb County School District to be invited to the World Expo!

The Wildcat Whizzes were tasked with selecting an animal that shares a habitat with the honeybee. After researching the honeybee the team selected the wasp. They built a model that reflected their research and programmed it to move! The team members include: Kirsten Gabriel, Rylie Gardiner, Owen Flake, Shorani Roy, and Dorothy Baldwin.

The team members and their families are so excited and are making plans to attend. Teacher leaders Suzie Quinn and Kristen Garrett will also attend with the financial support of the school and its PTA.

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Willy Wonka Jr, Sagamore Hills Elementary School Play 2016-2017

  • Thursday, February 23, 7:00 pm: Adult-only (12+): $8 (includes dessert), pre-order by Tuesday Feb 21 (limited tickets at door)
  • Friday, Feb 24, 7:00 pm: adult $7, child $5

Tickets may be purchased:

  • With cash or check using an order form
  • At the door (limited at adult-only Thursday)
  • Online
Online (includes surcharge)
Thursday, February 23, 7:00 pm Adult $8.25
Friday, February 24, 7:00 pm Adult $7.25
Child $5.25

Questions? Contact .

Sponsored by the Sagamore Hills PTA.

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Join the PTA Board!

Why I like being PTA President

[Candid photo]
Shannon and past President Kristie McMahan having fun.
My name is Shannon Spillett and I am the outgoing PTA President. I just wanted to share with you my experience being PTA President and why I think you should do it as well!

I have volunteered around Sagamore since Pre-K. Those early days were filled with apprehension and were a little lonely. I didn’t know many people, and was looking for way to connect with other parents.

I enjoyed being a Room Parent and when a friend asked me if I might be interested in being PTA President, I said “Yes!” I figured it was a great way to be involved, meet new people and maybe learn a few new things.

As President, I get to help influence events, help the school, learn more about Sagamore, but most importantly for me, I have had a chance to make lasting bonds with people I would not have interacted with. It has made my days at Sagamore such a great joy. I got a chance to add to my resume, with a the time commitment of about 2 hours a week, with a position that was meaningful to me and my kids. Being President isn’t hard, it’s rewarding and I would recommend it to anyone! If you see me smiling at Sagamore, it’s because I have truly have a great time as PTA President!

Looking for a few good parents…

[Candid photo]
Current Board members Maya Meeks, Weatherly Polinski and Kate Eastburn want you to join the Board!
Like to help your school? Can you plan a birthday party? Have you ever run a meeting? You are qualified! You can be a member of the PTA Board. We have some open positions I am thrilled to tell you about.

Firstly, most of our Board members do have a full-time jobs. The time commitment centers around events and has a natural ebb and flow.

Our positions are called Vice Presidents (which can be added onto a resume if you are a stay-at-home parent looking to rejoin the working world someday). The VP each have very specific duties.

VP of Administration

Coordinates Open Houses and does PTA memberships and oversees the Room Parents. Rhonda Leake is currently this position and she’s a doctor! Her term is done at the end of the year.

VP of Communications

Does the newsletter, oversees the website and oversees the yearbook. Dave Barker is currently in this position and says he’s got some folks ready to help with the website stuff if you are worried about that!

VP of Fundraising

Does the Fall fundraiser, one spring auction over 2 years and one spring fundraiser, They over see boxtops and school store. Rachel Conrad, attorney, has been doing this position. She challenges you to beat her numbers!


Does our bookkeeping. This real life skill keeps our PTA running. Michelle Shevlin has kept us on budget. Her term is up at the end of the year,

PTA President

Oversees the VPs and signs contracts, answers emails, check requests and runs the monthly PTA meetings. There is a 2 President system, so you are never alone and someone is always there to help. Shannon Spillett’s time is up at the end of the year. She would like you to try it! It’s not hard! REALLY! Weatherly Polinski will continue on as PTA President for another year to help the new President learn and get ready to lead.

Interested? Contact Taylor Ackert at 404-660-1512 or email

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2016-01-16 MLK Day of Service

Just when we thought our partnership with Emory couldn’t get any better, they invite us to join them in hosting a third event during the MLK holiday. In our truly unique “Sagamory” fashion (yes, our relationship has evolved to the point of earning a moniker or “SHIP” name) we turned a contemplative day off from school into a day full-ON with service. Having it honor the memory of one of Atlanta’s own, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., made it more monumental. Sagamore families came out in droves again working elbow to elbow, with shovels, rakes, brooms, leaf blowers, wheel barrels, wagons and lawn bags in hand, loading, spreading, filling and moving in one accord. Emory matched our numbers by bringing their fiercely energetic Field Hockey and Jiu Jitsu teams along with the illustrious ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated-Nu Alpha Chapter. The weather even demonstrated signs of divine intervention by sprinkling us with rays of sunshine in lieu of rain drops. All we needed was the tune of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” softly playing in the background to take this day from fantastic to Over-The-Top. Instead, the Conrad and Karlowicz families pleasantly surprised our famished and parched crew with donations of a delicious assortment of Cheryl’s Cookies and bottled waters. With renewed energy, the Emory students firmly embraced their inner child and thrilled our students with “parent approved” high-speed wagon rides. As everyone reconvened in front of the school for a commemorative group picture and farewells, whispers of satisfaction filled the air followed by hopeful inquiries and promises of future partnerships. A dream conceived over fifty years ago lives on thanks to Emory and Sagamore.

Special Thanks:
Volunteer Emory • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.-Nu Alpha Chapter • Aria Desai & Family • Marin Karlowicz & Family • Mary Lawton Jones & Family • Laura Durbin and Family • Aiden & Sydney Conrad & Family • Henry & Charlie Farrell & Family • Kate, Elise and Maggie Bohm and Family • Caroline Chrystall & Family • Sarah Schied and Family • Hannah and Sadie Strohl and Family • Quinn Douglass and Family • Owen and Violet Flake & Family • Shane and Olivia Spillett • Ansley & Grady Ackert & Family • Gavin Messer & Family

Mrs. Tasha L. J. Messer
Edible Schoolyard Academy Alumnae 2016
Monarchs Across Georgia Certified
Captain Planet Project Learning Garden Liaison
Bachelors of Arts in Sociology
IRR SE Paraprofessional
Sagamore Hills Elementary School
1865 Alderbrook Road
Atlanta, GA 30345

2016-11-12 Emory Cares International Service Day

From Tasha Messer, Sagamore Hills Elementary School Paraprofessional and parent volunteer:

MISSION POSSIBLE: Emory Cares Service Days PAST and PRESENT!

As we entered this past holiday season, Volunteer Emory participants joined us for their annual Emory Cares International Service Day. Quoting their alumni association’s website, “Emory Cares International Service Day unites alumni, students, staff, faculty, parents, and friends to give back to their local communities. By bringing together diverse members of Emory’s community with a common goal of service, Emory Cares strengthens the bond with each other and the University, and increases Emory’s visibility around the world.”

Under the direction of Volunteer Emory staff member Phuong Tran, and fine leadership of Emory student’s: Xavier, Lauren, and Nived; their large and lively bus load of student volunteers arrived. Included in the group were members of the Bengali Association for Students at Emory (BASE) and Kappa Sigma (ΚΣ) fraternity. Their already enthusiastic faces brightened up even more once they saw the adorable mini Emory t-shirts worn by Sagamore students with alumni as parents. This ethereal meeting of Emory’s past, present and future created a simpatico moment. After THEY…shared their admiration of another creative sign made by the talented hands of Sagamore student’s; and WE…offered our sincere gratitude for another generous donation of supplies from them; EVERYONE…separated into their teams and got straight to work! The mission, that everyone had chosen to accept, was to make Sagamore’s campus look fabulous as we transitioned into the Fall and Winter seasons.

Throughout the day community members from all walks of life, including Emory graduates across generations, popped in to lend a hand of support. Seeing and hearing the connections being made with one another in this natural environment, all while accomplishing a common goal, was pleasing. The sheer number of individuals meticulous caring for our school on this day revealed to anyone passing by that this was truly a special place. The honks, smiles, and waves of support were immeasurable and a friendly reminder of the good we were doing. Before we knew it, neighboring homeowners all around us were out beautifying their yards as well…action begetting  action!

Sagamore students were not only hard workers but gracious host as well. They made it their duty to personally hand out water bottles to refresh our volunteers. This gesture, of course, was followed by many appreciative “AWES”.  As groups completed their task, a few managed to squeeze in enough time for a quick game of soccer. Watching the Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers revisit their youth and just be free-spirited children again was a joyful sight to see. There was only one reported “boo-boo” that needed bandaging; thank you Phuong for holding back the tears like a big girl. This was all followed by the entire Emory team convening for their usual moment of reflection. These poignant words…”Fulfilled”, “INVIGORATED”, “Helpful”, “De-Stressed”, and “SATISFIED” summarized their feelings about the day. The ultimate finale was Emory Project Leader, Xavier Sayeed, keeping his promise to race a few eagerly awaiting Sagamore students…it was a tie! With over 100 Home Depot Lawn and Refuse Bags filled to capacity, EVERYBODY was a winner that day!

Presently, Sagamore Hills Elementary School has demonstrated exemplary dedication to service in our community. As a result, Emory has invited us to join them in honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory with another day of service on our school campus. We, in turn, are inviting our entire Sagamore Hills Elementary School family (Faculty, Staff and ALL Club Members) to come out in support this effort. Please contact both Taylor Ackert ( and Tasha Messer ( if you plan to attend.

Emory & SHES-MLK Day of Service
Monday, January 16, 2017
12:00 pm-3:00 pm
*Sagamore Hills Elementary Schools’ campus

Honorable mention for attendance at the 2016 Emory Cares International Service Day goes out to the following:

  • Emory Student Volunteers
  • The Bengali Association for Students at Emory
  • Kappa Sigma Fraternity
  • Mary Lawton Jones and Family
  • Shane & Olivia Spillet and Family
  • Dan Acker and Family
  • Gavin Messer and Family
  • Marin Karlowicz and Family
  • Ansley & Grady Ackert and Family
  • Henry & Charlie Farrell and Family
  • Laura & Cate Durbin and Family
  • Olivia McMahan and Family
  • Omandee & Kalana Karunanayake and Family
  • Major Aristotle Rabanal (Emory Alumnus)
  • J.C. McBee


Mrs. Tasha L. J. Messer
Edible Schoolyard Academy Alumnae 2016
Monarchs Across Georgia Certified
Captain Planet Project Learning Garden Liaison
Bachelors of Arts in Sociology
IRR SE Paraprofessional
Sagamore Hills Elementary School
1865 Alderbrook Road
Atlanta, GA 30345