Emily Blevins, News Editor

This past Thursday evening, January 19, the Colonnade, or Catoosa County Civic Center, proudly hosted the 2017 Best of the Best Awards Ceremony. This rather prestigious event is held annually to recognize various stores, restaurants, schools, people, etc. within the North Georgia area for being the “best” at what they are or what they do after running against others in the area. I was fortunate enough to get invited and be able to attend and watch the ceremony. While I was there, there were dozens and dozens of awards given out, however, a couple awards in particular definitely stood out to me as they should to everyone who attends or is a part of the staff  at Heritage High School.

Before I go any further, I would like to add a few details regarding how the program and its awarding process works. Essentially there is a voting process that the communities of North Georgia participate in, and this process is what determines the winners of each category. Of the nominees with the most votes, three are chosen to be recognized as finalists and of them a final winner is chosen and announced at the event. As far as HHS’ role goes, our school has been consistently nominated for the “Best School” award in the past, yet we have not been entirely consistent in taking the first place title for it. This year, however, had something different in store for us. As the announcer of the awards read out the finalists for the award that night–Boynton Elementary School, Heritage High School, and Ringgold High School–our attending teachers sat at their table and listened closely with high hopes. Seconds later their hopes were fulfilled by hearing that our school had indeed won the award. The community voted and Heritage High School was deservingly awarded the title of “Best School.”

How extremely proud of my high school I’ve always been and forever will be, but on that night I became proud in a different way. I have had an abundance of school spirit and pride ever since I began my first year as a Heritage general in the sixth grade, but knowing that our school’s outstanding qualities shine outside of the school walls, and more throughout the community enough to cause us to win against every other North Georgian school out there is truly something for all of us to be proud of.  “I love it when our school gets recognized … We just need to keep doing the things that make the community notice us in academics and sports,” Dr. Ingle suggests. We are not a group that boasts, but more a group that is proud of the impact we can make on others; it is truly something to celebrate. Mrs. Petteys explains the reasoning for this achievement perfectly by simply stating that “we have amazing kids, staff, and administrators.” I am so thankful to be able to attend such a hard-working, productive, and humble school and I couldn’t think of another one that is more deserving.

Not only was our school recognized with this award, but a very special alumni of our school was recognized as well. As many know, recent graduate Katie Beth Carter passed away this past year, and because of the beauty and inspiration that she always carried with her and has now left behind for us, the community came together in order to recognize that and present her family with the “Best North Georgian” award in her honor. The leaders of the 2017 Best of the Best event chose to end the ceremony with this award and after doing so, the crowd gave the special recognition a standing ovation. What an extraordinarily special night. I will always be thankful to have had the opportunity to attend and I encourage anyone who has the opportunity in the future to do the same.