Education: American Legion supports Pepperell Middle’s STEM/robotics classes. Mobile-friendly new web home for Darlington. Model High’s  Barton Sopata earns All-National Honors Ensembles honor.

Education: American Legion supports Pepperell Middle’s STEM/robotics classes. Mobile-friendly new web home for Darlington. Model High’s Barton Sopata earns All-National Honors Ensembles honor.


Pictured left to right:  Terry Simmons, American Legion chaplain, Ron Pajor, James Cox, Mike O’Shea, Kim Baker, Ben Terry and Eric Waters.
The American Legion Post 136 presented Pepperell Middle School teacher Kim Baker with a check for $1,500. The money will be used to support Baker’s STEM and robotics classes. The American Legion is the nation’s largest organization of U.S. wartime veterans and their families. Since 1919, the American Legion has supported improvements in the community, and they continue this in their support of Pepperell Middle School.

Huge honor for Model High band superstar Barton Sopata: During the 2017-18 school year, along with other talented music students across the United States and overseas in military base schools, Barton Sopata from Model High School practiced with dedication to gain a chair or part in his local, district and state music honor ensembles. Now Barton will join the “best of the best” for the National Association for Music Education’s 2018 All-National Honor Ensembles Nov. 25-28,  at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

The All-National Honor Ensembles (ANHE) performers represent collaboration and creativity in its highest musical form. The All-National Honor Ensembles consist of a jazz ensemble, mixed choir, guitar ensemble (new this year), symphony orchestra, and concert band. Students were chosen through an audition process. The jazz ensemble will have 20 instrumentalists, the mixed choir 240 vocalists, the guitar ensemble 47 guitarists, the symphony orchestra 122 instrumentalists and the concert band 121 instrumentalists. Eligible students have qualified for their state-level honor ensemble program (not applicable to guitar students) and competed against top students for a spot in these national honor ensembles.

Barton is one of 120 students selected from across the United States, one of seven from the state of Georgia and has place in the top 4 trumpets selected to the group. MHS Band Director Tim Burton says that Barton is a joy to teach and knows he will accomplish everything he is determined to do.

Barton Sopata is a student with his sights set high. In his 7th grade year, he made a list of things to accomplish and he is well on his way to completing the list of tasks. Barton has placed as a member of the All State Band since his 8th grade year. In 2018, he was second chair trumpet in the GMEA All State Concert Band. Barton spent his 2018 summer touring the country as a member of the Blue Coats World Class Drum Corps. He is a member of the Atlanta Youth Symphony. He has also had the privilege of instruction from Dr. Raymond Mase, Head of Trumpet instruction at The Juilliard School in New York.

The Jazz Ensemble and Mixed Choir concerts take place 7-8:30 p.m. Nov. 27 and the Guitar Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band concerts begin at 10 a.m. Nov. 28 in the ballroom at Disney Coronado Springs Resort. The cost of admission is $10 per person. Tickets will be available for purchase onsite.

Darlington’s website,, has a fresh new look. The mobile-first site, which launched Wednesday afternoon, is a complete overhaul, including streamlined navigation, new content and more.

“We know that the website plays an integral role in every family’s path to Darlington, so our goals were two-fold,” said Tannika King, director of communications. “First, to build a mobile-first site with a more modern look and messaging that resonates with students, and second, to improve the user experience by organizing our content more effectively and defining clearer, more efficient pathways that convert visitors to prospective students. We are confident that we have delivered on both.”

Highlights of the new site include responsive design; larger, more dramatic visuals; student and faculty spotlight videos; a new “Explore” section to help prospective students get a feel for life at Darlington; content broken out by grade level for ease of navigation; a brand-new virtual campus tour; and more.

“The website does a great job telling the story of Darlington,” said Head of School Brent Bell. “We are a school that offers day and boarding students personalized academic and extracurricular opportunities – led by teachers and staff who are exceptionally accessible and encouraging – so that each can graduate with the confidence, connections, and compassion they need to succeed in college and their career, and be meaningful contributors to the greater good. We feel like this message comes across succinctly through the new site.”

After spending a year working on research and brand messaging with Atlanta firms Jackson Spalding and The Bantam Group, Darlington partnered with web development specialists from Red Clay Interactive out of Buford,  on the design and overall tone of the new website.

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