Category: Inspiration Station


By Dustin Turner SAIL is about to put its first school year in the record books and administrators already are planning for growth. The School for Arts-Infused Learning is Columbia County’s first charter school and provides students in grades K-6 with a rigorous academic and arts curriculum. The school must be doing something right: Next year’s enrollment is full at 504 students and there is a waiting list of about 1,400. That enrollment includes the addition of seventh grade. Other additions for the 2018-19 school year include full-time gifted, Spanish and special education teachers. The school also has launched a...

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The First Tee of Augusta

By Dustin Turner On a brisk March afternoon at The First Tee of Augusta, a group of students cheered each other on as they practiced putting a tennis ball on a golf green. Loud pop music played in the background. Obviously, this isn’t your average golf lesson and that’s okay with First Tee of Augusta Executive Director, Jill Brown. “The main thing is to make sure the kids have a great experience and that they are actually learning the core values and apply them on the golf course and away from the course,” Brown says. The First Tee of Augusta...

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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

By Dustin Turner The North Augusta Cultural Arts Council is known for bringing performing arts, music and visual arts to the city of North Augusta. Now, the organization is planning a spelling bee, complete with songs, a live orchestra and a comfort counselor for competitors who get eliminated. No, this isn’t your average school spelling bee. It is, however, a beloved Tony Award-winning Broadway hit. In The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, six quirky adolescents compete to crown the best speller. Ryan Abel plays Mitch Mahoney, who is the bee’s comfort counselor as part of court-mandated community service. “When...

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Augusta Autism and Disabilities Support Group

By Dustin Turner Lee Schel says the goal of the Augusta Autism and Disabilities Support Group is to provide a safe and comforting place that is free of judgment for people with autism and their families. He knows personally – his son, Evan, is autistic. “For me personally this group is very therapeutic in that I can go into a room with other adults and have an adult conversation with people who get it and understand what we are going through. When we are all at home, we are dealing with our challenges but to have a conversation with people...

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The 12 Bands of Christmas

By Dustin Turner The 12 Bands of Christmas fundraiser started in 2001 with a simple concept: Gather 12 local bands to put on an annual Christmas concert and donate the proceeds to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Joe Stevenson performed in one of the early concerts. He liked the concept and the mission so much that he came onboard in 2003 as executive director and has been leading the organization since. Though the official name of the organization is 12 Bands of Christmas, Stevenson said that is a little misleading. “These days, we are mostly referred to as 12 Bands....

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