The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

Hall of Fame Inductees Express Gratitude to CHS Community

A photo of all of the Hall of Fame inductees and award winners. Photo Courtesy of The Blue & Gold

Once a year, the Chamblee Blue & Gold Foundation holds a banquet to celebrate past and present students, teachers, faculty, and parents within the Chamblee High School community. At this event, the foundation presents notable awards such as the Dianne Clark Award, Lifetime Service Award, and Business Champion Award, as well as inducts the most exemplary alumni into the Chamblee Hall of Fame.

“Chamblee High School was, and is, not just a place of education; it is a family. It is a community and a support system like no other. The journeys of our students are not just about academic excellence, [but] personal growth and resilience, and the support of our school communities,” said Gail Barnes, current principal of Chamblee High School.

The first inductee to the Chamblee Hall of Fame was Linda Epps, a business education teacher for 23 years at CHS. She was awarded for her entertaining and helpful teaching strategies that prepared students for the world of business outside of high school. Her tactics included teaching students how to type and perform a stellar handshake, as well as always having a smile on her face. Epps remarked on the welcoming nature of Chamblee High School.

“I am honored to be a part of the Chamblee family. After six months of retirement, I wanted to come back,” said Epps.

The second inductee to the Chamblee Hall of Fame was a former student. Vince Graham (‘82) founded I’ON Group and designed “Walkable Communities.” He was featured in the Wall Street Journal, Landscape Architecture, National Geographic, CNN, and BBC for his work.

“Chamblee’s mission is to foster social, physical, and emotional growth among students. I am honored to be a part of the leaders of Chamblee,” said Graham.

Jessica Lawson Hargrave (‘00) was recognized as one of the Chamblee High School Hall of Fame Inductees because of her impressive work as a producer in documentary films for her company, Tripod Media-Production. She has won seven Emmy nominations and five Critics’ Choice Awards for her work in the industry.

“The friends that I met in high school changed me forever, and I’m so grateful to have [had] that experience. There’s a reason that these relationships have lasted so long—it’s because [they] are a part of me. Chamblee will always be a part of me, which has made it difficult for [the school] to get rid of me. The Chamblee teachers and staff foster in their students a foundation of discipline and hard work by encouraging us to achieve. They encouraged us to see beyond ourselves, and to think beyond the pen and paper,” said Hargrave.

Kristen Holloway (‘07) was recognized for her excellence in the field of journalism. She was nominated for three Emmy awards for outstanding live reports of breaking news. Holloway originally aspired to become an attorney; however, it was her broadcasting teacher at Chamblee who encouraged her to become a newscaster.

“Some of my best memories were ‘Friday Night Lights’; cheering for the varsity football and basketball teams are some of the most fun and funniest moments, but I really loved the broadcasting class. It was the spark to start my career as a journalist. I remember my senior year, my teacher, John White, asked me what I wanted to do when I got older, and I quickly said I wanted to be an attorney. He said, ‘Well, you can major in anything and still go to law school. You should study journalism. You have a lot of potential,’ which just planted the seed for me. That’s exactly what I did,” said Holloway.

Holloway expressed her gratitude to White due to her success and contentment with her career. She encourages current students to keep open minds regarding their future professions. 

“Always listen to your teachers. You never know what potential you may have in something else, so feel like the world is yours,” said Holloway.

Earl Kuutti was the next to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Kuutti was an orchestra teacher at Chamblee from 1984-2020. He founded the strings program at Kittredge Magnet School, and served as the music director for the DeKalb Youth Symphony Orchestra. As his “thank you” for being inducted, Kuutti played a song on the cello. Kuutti spoke highly of his time at Chamblee.

“There was rarely a dull moment, except for when I would tell a joke,” said Kuutti.

Jimmy Partin (‘61) was one of Chamblee’s best athletes. In his senior year, he led the Chamblee Bulldogs football team to the state championships and was a role model for the entire team. After high school, Partin played football at Auburn University and became a naval lieutenant, serving in the Vietnam War. He later dedicated his life to teaching and mentoring young athletes at Dixie Academy in Louisville, Alabama. Unfortunately, Partin passed away in 2021 from prostate cancer. 

The last inductee to the Chamblee Hall of Fame was Norman Richards III, a former calculus teacher at Chamblee High School. In addition to teaching at Chamblee High School, Richards served the country as a captain in the United States Air Force. His wife, Martha Richards, accepted the award on his behalf.

“I’ve been reading notes written by students,” said Richards. “It is clear that he had a positive impact on every student that he encountered.”

In addition to inducting alumni into the Hall of Fame, the Blue & Gold Foundation awarded Leila Warren and Colin Renaldo the Dianne Clark Award, named after a former principal of Chamblee. Nancy Kelly won the Lifetime Service Award, and Galla’s Pizza won the Business Champion Award.

It was clear at the banquet that all of the Chamblee High School staff and alumni were proud to be a part of Chamblee’s history, stating that the school not only provides students with an amazing education but also nurtures growth and excellence within them. This is evident in the volume of accomplishments made by those honored at the banquet.

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About the Contributor
Finley Malone, Staff Writer
Finley Malone (‘26) is a sophomore and Staff Writer of the Blue and Gold. She hopes to be doing super cool college things with super cool college people in 5 years. Her three favorite things are Paint by Numbers, The Office, and her little angel of a cat, Pinkalicious.

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